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Chronicles of Tax Advisors

The Truth About IRS Letters

Posted by Dave Motes Posted on Oct 26 2015

When you receive a notice from the Internal Revenue Service, what do you do?  Do you simply hide it, or worse yet throw it in the trash can and believe you did not receive it? Probably the worst thing you can do is to ignore it and not respond or communicate with the IRS.  So many tax issues can be resolved by simply communicating with the IRS immediately after you receive that first notice. 

Although many times the notice is almost cryptic and confusing, it should be reviewed carefully.  And at the minimum, if you do not forward the letter to your tax expert, which is something you should always do, pick up the phone and communicate with the Internal Revenue Service.  When you are finally connected with an IRS representative (be prepared to hold from 15 minutes to an hour plus; my experience this tax year has been an average of about 42 minutes), make sure to write down the agent’s name and identification number.  Most agents blurt this information out as quickly as they can, and if you fully comprehend all they are saying, then you are fast!  Make sure you slow the agent down and have them repeat their name and ID number to you; read those back to them so they can confirm. Last but not least, write down the date and time and TAKE NOTES. 

The first thing you should ask the IRS agent is to explain the notice to you. Then, confirm your understanding of her explanation by restating it to her. Again, try to jot down some notes while you talk.  Ask the agent what you need to do to resolve the issue.  If either you or she is unsure, then you need to consider consulting with a tax professional for help. 

The important nugget of truth to grasp from this article is to timely communicate with the IRS when they communicate with you by mail.  BE CAREFUL of tax scams by telephone. The IRS will not call you by telephone until they have at first communicated with you by regular mail. So if you get a menacing, threatening phone call, you can count it as a scam. In that case, jot down the information from the phone message and report the call and caller to the IRS. Never provide personal information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank information, etc. over the phone to someone who purports to be an agent of the IRS.


Dave Motes, CPA

Authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a federally authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audit, collections, and appeals. 



Disclaimer: The information in this blog is for general informational and educational purposes only, including any comments provided by blog visitors. All stories described are accounts of actual experience with actual clients of Tax Advisors. Postings are not solicitations or legal advice. This information is not intended to create and receipt of it does not constitute an agent-client relationship. The reader should not rely or act upon any information in this site without seeking professional legal counsel or advice from his or her tax professional.