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Letter 531: The IRS Adjusted Your Return and You Owe Money


Content provided for general information. Talk to your advisor to learn about recent updates or other rules that may apply to your situation.

IRS Letter 531 notifies that the IRS has adjusted your tax return following an audit and you owe money. You may no longer appeal to the IRS because you missed the appeal deadline or lost your appeal. Your only remaining options are to accept the decision or file a petition with the United States Tax Court.

Why does the IRS send Letter 531 (Notice of Deficiency)?

Letter 531 is the final step of an IRS audit you lost. You now owe additional federal income tax.

You should have already received a notice of an audit of you tax return, a decision from the IRS, and information on how to appeal. Letter 531 is the IRS telling you that the audit is over and there is no longer anything you can do except pay what the IRS says you owe.

What if I can’t pay?

If you can’t pay the balance due, you have several payment options to pay your tax debt over time or delay collection.

What if I already paid?

If you already paid the amount Letter 531 says you owe, you should be set. The IRS may have printed the letter before it processed your payment, and payments can take several weeks to post to your account.

To make sure you don’t owe anything else for that tax year, check your IRS account online or give them a call.

How do I respond to Letter 531?

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