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What to do if you get a letter from the IRS

There are few pieces of mail that are more likely cause your heart to skip a beat than an envelope from the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS mails millions of letters for a variety of reasons. Likely the happiest reason is a refund check, the most difficult will be an audit. The organization understands that some have a hard time dealing with all the paperwork and may not even be comfortable interacting with a large government organization. They have now issued a list of do’s and don’ts if you receive correspondence from the taxman. These include:

Dont panic: The IRS sends letters of audit or collection to individuals and businesses, but it more likely to be something else where action is needed. The instruction on what that action is and how to do it will be in the letter.

Dont ignore it: Most letters from the IRS are about tax returns and tax accounts. You will likely need to take action – the directions on what to do are in the letter. Sometimes there is an issue where delays can cost you additional money, so it is always best to act promptly.

Do review it: Sometimes information is corrected by the IRS and it is advisable to read it and verify that it is accurate. Then save a copy along with any additional notes for your records.

Dont reply unless it is requested: There may be a matter of the IRS just notifying you of certain important information.

Do reply if you disagree: If you disagree with the information in the letter, it is important to write back to the address given at the bottom of the notice. You should support your argument with additional proof using information and documents for them to review. The taxpayer should expect to wait at least 30 days for a response.

Do be prepared if you use the phone: It is generally best to correspond via mail. If you feel it necessary to call, have the letter, your tax return and all the information you need in front of you.

Do not fall victim to a scam:The IRS does not use social media or text as method for contacting you. First contact will almost always come through the mail.

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William T. Peckham
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Austin, TX 78701
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