Understanding IRS Correspondence

Any letter from the IRS may make your heart skip a beat, but we’re here to tell you that not all IRS correspondence is created equally. Some letters may just serve to inform you that Uncle Sam has received your tax documents and you’re good in his eyes. Others may require immediate attention and the aid of a qualified U.S. tax attorney or tax relief specialist. Here’s a list of some of the IRS’s favorite notices and how each should be dealt with. If you’re unsure of how to deal with a notice, make sure to contact a trustworthy tax law firm immediately as many letters are time sensitive.

Before digging in, let’s take a moment to discuss what a genuine IRS letter looks like. If you are receiving correspondence from the “IRS” via email or social media informing you that you owe money or have a tax lien, disregard it! The IRS will not contact you via email or social media, however scammers will. You can report phishing here. A genuine letter from the IRS will arrive in the mail in an official IRS envelope. The letter will be on IRS letterhead and have a form number that can be checked on the IRS website.

Now that you know you’ve received a genuine letter from the IRS, make sure to the read it carefully. All letters will tell you how to deal with them and what information the IRS may need from you.

Change in Refund

If your refund is larger or smaller than what you claimed on your tax forms, the IRS will send you a letter informing you of this. While most people won’t argue if the government is telling them they’re getting more money back, the letter will have information of the appeals process if you’ve been told you’re receiving less money than you thought you were. Pay attention to the deadlines they set and the date on the letter. Promptly send any information for an appeal to the IRS via certified mail and retain the receipts and originals.

Change on Tax Forms

Oops! The IRS has found a mistake on your 1040 or other form! If you agree a mistake was made and the IRS has properly corrected it, then congratulations, you don’t have to do anything. If, however, you disagree with the mistake, carefully read the appeals process and check the dates. If the mistake is something that could have repercussions for you or your business, check with a tax relief attorney as soon as possible so all paperwork can be completed in a timely fashion.

Underreported Income

After checking the tax forms filed by your employers, the IRS believes you have underreported your income. Check your 1040, W-2s, 1099s, and K-1s for any errors and respond to the IRS as soon as possible. If there was an error, send in the correct information. If there was not an error, follow the appeal process.


Uncle Sam fears you’re shorting him. He is now requesting his fair shake. First, double check your forms and look for any errors. If your tax bill is exorbitant or something just doesn’t feel right, contact a tax law firm immediately as the IRS has strict deadlines.

Failure to File Taxes

Hey, did you forget about April 15th? Uncle Sam and the IRS are wondering why you haven’t been filing your taxes. Perhaps the last batch of tax forms got lost in the mail or maybe it slipped your mind, regardless you’ll need to pay catch up. A tax relief service may be able to help you reconcile your issues with Uncle Sam and get you back on good footing with the IRS.

There are plenty of reasons the IRS may contact you. Make sure you read and reread any correspondence carefully. Keep your tax forms organized, as well as any correspondence with the IRS. Anything you send the IRS should be sent certified mail to ensure you have a receipt. Also, because the IRS loves its deadlines, contact a knowledgeable tax attorney immediately if you believe you need representation.

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