Once tax season is over, most people breathe a sigh of relief and go on to other things. You looked over your federal return carefully before submitting it and thought all was well.
Then, a couple of months later, a letter from the Internal Revenue Service turned up in your mailbox, and from your point of view, that could only mean bad news.
Reasons for communication
There are many reasons for the IRS to contact you through a notice or letter:
- There is a balance due on your income taxes
- The IRS has a question about your return
- You need to provide additional information
- The IRS wants to verify your identity
- The IRS changed your return in some way
- You are due a refund that is smaller or larger than you expected
What you should do
If the IRS asks you to respond by a certain date, do not fail to do so. Otherwise, you risk incurring additional penalty and interest charges. Also, if you do not agree with the information presented to you, you will want to preserve your right to appeal. You can contact the IRS by phone, by letter or online. Remember to keep a copy of every notice or letter the agency sends to you, as you may need these documents at some point in the future.
You may want professional help to deal with a tax matter, especially if it is an issue that is more complex than simply owing money to the IRS. You could be looking at a tax audit, unpaid employment taxes or even the possibility that you could reduce your tax liability. Keep in mind there are always options available to you.
The envelope, please
The Internal Revenue Service is a very powerful organization, but contrary to popular belief, agents are not monsters. Their job is to collect taxes, and the agency has been working to make paying them easier for taxpayers. In short, the IRS has a legitimate reason for contacting you. It is probably not as scary a reason as you imagine, but you will have to open the envelope to find out.