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6 Tips for Handling an IRS Letter

January 23, 2017

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends millions of notices and letters to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. Here are some tips to know just in case one happens to show up in your mailbox:

1. Don't panic!

It is easy to panic in situations like this, but most of the time, you only need to respond in order to take care of a notice from the IRS.

2.  Respond

Even if you do not agree with the notice sent to you, it is important for you to still respond. You should write a letter to explain why you disagree. Be sure to:

  • Include any information and documents you want the IRS to consider
  • Mail your reply with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice
  • Send it to the address shown in the upper left-hand corner of the notice
  • Allow at least 30 days for a response
3. Be prepared to call

If you have any questions, call the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and your notice handy when you call. This will help the IRS answer your questions.

4. Keep your notice

Store copies of any notice you receive with your other tax records in a safe place, in case you need to refer to it in the future.

5. Review changes or corrections

If you get a notice stating that the IRS has made a change or correction to your tax return, review the information and compare it with your original return.

6. Be aware of fake notices

The IRS sends letters and notices by mail only. If you receive an email or social media message asking for personal or financial information, it is most likely a scam.


The IRS has more information on their website, including a publication detailing the IRS Collection Process.

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