Most IRS letters have two options: agree with the changes the IRS is making or send a written explanation of why the IRS is wrong and you are right. This post explains what you should consider when responding to the IRS and gives some examples you can use.
What happens when you get a notice or letter from the Internal Revenue Service?
There are over 100 different IRS notices and letters, but most of them fall into a few general categories.
- You didn’t make a payment or pay enough.
- The IRS wants additional information.
- The IRS is making changes to your tax return.
When you didn’t pay your full balance or the IRS makes changes that say you should have paid more, you may owe additional taxes plus tax penalties.
You do not have to agree with the IRS. You have the right to pay the exact amount of taxes you owe and no more. The IRS knows it doesn’t always have all of the information it needs and gives you a chance to respond.
Depending on the IRS notice or letter, there are usually two ways you’ll be asked to respond.
- More information. When the IRS asks for more information, it isn’t sure whether or not you calculated your taxes correctly. If you don’t provide the requested information, it might recalculate your taxes based on the information it has.
- Final decision with right to appeal. In some cases, the IRS is pretty sure you did your taxes wrong and that it knows what they should be. You’ll get a proposed change and have a certain number of days to appeal. If you don’t appeal, the IRS changes will stand.
How long do you have to respond to an IRS letter or notice?
The deadline to respond to the Internal Revenue Service depends on what letter or notice you receive. The deadline is usually between 30 to 90 days.
Your letter should have a deadline to respond on it.
Note that the deadline is to provide your answer to the IRS. If you want to get help from a tax professional, you should contact one well before the deadline. Whether you send your answer or a tax professional does, the IRS has to get the answer by the deadline on your IRS letter.
If you don’t respond in time, you might face additional penalties plus interest. You could also get a threatening IRS certified letter.