Receiving a letter from the IRS can make your heart sink and raise a lot of questions. Correspondence from the government agency is not always clear, so understanding what your letter means is of utmost importance.
Here are some common questions and answers to help you make sense of your IRS letter.
Why did the IRS send me a letter?
Before you track down the reason behind the letter, make sure it legitimately came from the IRS. An official document should have notice or letter numbers on the top or bottom right corner, which you can search for on the IRS website to verify authenticity.
The IRS sends notices and letters for many reasons, including:
- A change in your tax refund amount
- They have questions about your tax return, want to verify who you are or need more information from you
- You have an outstanding balance
- They altered your return
- There is a delay in your return
What should I do now?
Read through your document several times to pick out the pertinent information. If the IRS requests that you respond with more information within a time frame, doing so can prevent further interest or penalties and allow you to appeal if you do not agree with an IRS decision. If the IRS says you owe money, you can ask for an extension or delay on collections to get your finances in order. However, when your money and quality of life are on the line, addressing the IRS without proper guidance is potentially dangerous.
Understanding what your IRS letter means and taking the proper actions in response can help protect you from unpleasant dealings with the federal government.