Receiving a letter from the IRS can be a scary experience, but it doesn’t need to be if you know what to do. Here are seven things to keep in mind if you ever receive a letter.
Don’t panic — not all letters from the IRS are requests for additional tax or notices that you’re being audited. Here are some other reasons the IRS will send you a letter:
- Your refund will be different — either bigger or smaller — than you expected.
- The IRS has questions about something on your return.
- The IRS needs additional information.
- They need to verify your identity so you can get an Identity Protection PIN.
- They made changes to something on your return.
- Your refund will be delayed.
Whatever the reason, we can help you sort it out and make sure you don’t pay any more tax than you need to.
Don’t ignore it. Most notices have a time frame (usually 30 days) to respond, and your options may be limited once the deadline passes. Ignoring a letter from the IRS is an especially bad idea if you owe additional tax because delays can potentially add interest and penalties to the total.
Read the letter carefully. Letters from the IRS generally have instructions on what to do next, but these letters are notoriously confusing. So don’t hesitate to bring the letter to us so we can advise you accordingly on what to do next.
Don’t call one of those 1-800 Get Tax Help Now numbers you see on late-night TV. Those firms don’t have access to any secret knowledge, and some of those companies have been known to charge a large upfront fee, but then fail to finish the job.
Don’t talk to the IRS without representation. The job of an IRS Revenue Agent is to extract as much money as possible from taxpayers. We have experience with the IRS, so we know how to deal with them. We’ll protect your interests and make sure you don’t pay any more than you’re legally obligated to do.
The IRS communicates by letter, so if you get a phone call or email asking you to pay additional tax, it’s a scam. Hang up the phone or delete the email. The IRS does sometimes pay a visit to a taxpayer in person, but that generally only happens in special circumstances and when a taxpayer has ignored a long series of letters.
Keep copies of any letters you get with your tax records. If you send anything to the IRS, keep a copy of exactly what you sent them. The IRS is a big organization, and sometimes things can get lost.
The most important thing to do when you get a letter from the IRS is to open it, read it, and call us. Don’t ignore it or toss it out. Our CPAs at Schanel & Associates will provide you with the guidance you need and work to resolve the matter with your interests at heart. Contact us today to discuss and resolve your IRS concerns.
Schanel & Associates is a CPA firm specializing in accounting, tax, business valuation and litigation support serving Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties and beyond since 1993. Our CPAs and accounting professionals work with individuals, businesses, estates and trusts to provide everything you need under one roof. For more information, contact us today at 561-624-2118.
Glenn Schanel is the founding Principal of Schanel and Associates. Glenn Schanel is a CPA with over three decades of experience helping people and organizations manage, make sense of and benefit from their finances. He oversees areas that include auditing, accounting, tax, business valuation, forensic accounting, litigation support and other consulting services to both business and individual clients.