Receiving a notice from the IRS can be a surprising, and usually concerning, event. With the right help, though, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Your tax attorney in Mississippi can help you understand how to deal with it.
Understanding Your Notice or Letter
Every year, millions of taxpayers receive letters and notices from the IRS regarding their federal tax returns or tax accounts. First, you must read the letter carefully. Most correspondence you receive will be about a specific issue with your tax return or tax account, and it might inform you of additional information needed to process your tax return or even notify you of a balance due.
Not all notices imply that you owe money. Some letters or notices may simply request additional information, while others may inform you of calculations the IRS has made.
Always take note of the notice number located in the upper right-hand corner of the document. This will be crucial if you need to reference the specific issue in future correspondence with the IRS or your lawyer.
Why Did I Receive a Letter from the IRS?
A common misconception is that receiving a letter or notice means you did something wrong. This isn’t always the case. The IRS might mail you a notice for various reasons, including:
- Informing you of a change to your account
- Requesting additional information about a specific tax return
- Notifying you of the money you owe or that the IRS owes you a refund
- Providing details on a payment plan if you cannot pay your owed taxes
- Alerting you about changes to your return with a CP2000, for example
Sometimes, a notice or letter might even be sent if the IRS needs to verify your identity.
Ensuring the Authenticity of IRS Correspondence
Scams are everywhere these days, so it’s important to check that the letter or notice you received is genuinely from the IRS. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer using social media or text message. Initial contact from the IRS will always come through regular mail.
If you receive a suspicious letter, media, or text message that claims to be from the IRS, we advise not responding to it. Instead, call the IRS directly to verify its authenticity. The number in the upper right-hand corner of your genuine IRS notice will help you when calling, and you should also immediately contact your tax attorney in Mississippi.
Immediate Steps to Take After Receiving a Legitimate Notice or Letter
If we can emphasize one thing, it’s this: do not ignore a genuine notice from the IRS. Always read the letter carefully, as most correspondence provides detailed instructions on what you need to do next. If you agree with the information presented, you might not need to take any further actions. However, if you don’t, it’s essential to respond quickly.
In cases where you owe additional money to the IRS, prompt payment can help minimize interest and penalty charges. If you can’t pay the full amount, speak with your tax attorney about submitting a payment plan request.
If you’re unsure about any details in the letter or notice, it’s always a wise decision to consult a tax professional. We can explain the reason for the contact, provide guidance on responding, and assist you in ensuring that all necessary steps are taken to resolve the matter quickly.
When reviewing the notice or letter, you may discover discrepancies between what the IRS claims and your own records. Prompt action is required in this case. Begin by comparing the information in the notice with your own tax return and other financial records.
If you find that the IRS made an error, gather all pertinent documents that support your case. This may include copies of federal tax returns, payment receipts, or any other relevant financial records. Once you’ve organized your evidence, respond to the IRS in writing. Ensure you include the notice number from the upper right-hand corner of their letter for easier reference. Send your response via certified mail to guarantee delivery and maintain a copy of the correspondence for your records.
In your written response, explain the discrepancies clearly, and provide a detailed breakdown of why you believe your figures are correct. Attach copies (not originals) of the documents that support your claim.
If all that seems like too much, don’t worry. It’s your attorney’s job to help you understand the letter or notice and respond to it correctly. IRS letters and notices will always be about a specific issue that your tax lawyer in Mississippi can help you with.
If you owe money to the IRS, address the balance due promptly. Delay can result in additional interest and penalty charges, adding to your financial burden. If you cannot pay the entire amount at once, consider the following options:
You can propose a payment plan to the IRS, allowing you to make monthly payments until your debt is settled. Ensure you’re consistent with your payments to avoid further complications. Work with your tax attorney to develop a plan that works for you and which the IRS is likely to accept.
In certain situations, the IRS may accept a reduced amount to settle your debt. This generally occurs if the IRS believes they might not be able to collect the full amount due to financial hardship.
You can pay your taxes by electronic funds transfer, credit card, check, or money order. Ensure you follow the instructions in the notice or letter when making a payment to ensure it’s properly credited to your account. For added peace of mind, never make a payment without having your tax lawyer go over the letter or notice first.
Don’t Stop Communicating With the IRS Office
While the idea of contacting the IRS can seem intimidating, communication is often the key to resolving tax issues. If you’re unclear about the reason for the contact, or need additional information or help, don’t hesitate to have your tax lawyer call the IRS directly. With your notice at hand, we’ll be able to dig into the specifics and find out what’s going on and what you need to do.
Protecting Your Identity
In today’s digital age, there’s a heightened risk of identity theft. While the IRS takes measures to protect taxpayers, it’s vital to remain vigilant. Remember, the IRS will never contact you using social media or text messages. If you’re ever in doubt about a letter from the IRS or any form of communication that claims to represent them, always verify its authenticity. Don’t take any action without talking to us if you’re not 100% certain.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls
While every notice or letter from the IRS can differ in the specifics, there are some common mistakes taxpayers should be wary of making:
Delaying your response or action can lead to additional interest charges and complicate the matter further. If you’re worried about talking to the IRS, discuss the matter with us right away and let us get on it on your behalf.
Every detail in the IRS correspondence matters. Even a minor oversight can result in misunderstandings or additional issues. Your Mississippi tax lawyer will make sure you don’t miss anything.
If the IRS sends you a subsequent letter or notice, do not disregard it, assuming it’s a repeat of the previous one. It might contain new or updated information pertinent to your case.
Failing to Seek Assistance
While some taxpayers do handle IRS matters on their own, nearly every tax situation will go better if you have the expertise of a tax lawyer on your side. If you’re unsure about any part of the IRS communication, consult us.
Consideration for Special Circumstances
There are instances when taxpayers face challenges, such as natural disasters or personal tragedies, which may make it impossible to respond in a timely fashion to the IRS. In such cases, be sure to notify the IRS about the circumstances affecting your ability to comply. They might offer extensions or special provisions based on the situation, especially if your attorney helps you craft the request.
Always Follow Through to the Final Steps
Once you’ve addressed the main concerns outlined in the IRS letter or notice, ensure you follow through with any final steps. This could include mailing additional documentation, setting up a payment plan, or simply confirming the resolution of the issue. It’s crucial to keep copies of any correspondence you send in response to the IRS and to use certified mail for any vital documents you send them.
After responding to a notice, you should expect to receive a follow-up notice from the IRS confirming the resolution or outlining any further steps. Be patient, as mail response times can vary.nIf you are ever in doubt about a notice or letter’s contents or requirements, seek professional advice.
Contact us at Damiens Law Firm, PLLC right away at 601-957-9672 if you need help. We understand the complexities of tax law and can provide guidance tailored to your unique situation. Let’s ensure your tax matters are resolved efficiently and accurately.