If there is one letter that the IRS should eliminate, it’s the 2645C letter. This letter has never really worked the way it was intended. We first described the rationale behind the 2645C way back in 2014. It wasn’t working then, and it doesn’t work now, almost 10 years later. It is supposed to function as an acknowledgement that the IRS has received something from the taxpayer and that the IRS will review and provide some kind of response (or request for additional time) within the next 45-60 days.
If something is mailed to the IRS, an acknowledgement letter is not a bad idea… in theory. For example, an acknowledgement letter might eliminate the need to call the IRS to make sure they received what was sent. During the pandemic it was not a good idea to send physical mail to the IRS because they literally were not opening it, and even snail-mailed tax returns were not being processed normally. Things are somewhat better now, but I think this period of inattention has made taxpayers, and particularly tax professionals, very reluctant to send physical mail to the IRS. However, the 2645C letter doesn’t work for a few different reasons:
- The 2645C letter is too vague,
- The 2645C letter is not mailed out promptly,
- The follow-up estimates are not accurate.
The 2645C is not customized so that it pinpoints what exactly was received, so if there are multiple concurrent issues on a tax account, it is impossible to determine what the letter refers to. Also, the 2645C is often mailed out weeks – or even months – late, causing all kinds of confusion to the taxpayer and their representative. Sometimes these letters appear out of nowhere after the issue has already been resolved. And we’ve all seen a 60-day follow up turn into 90, then 120, and so on. This has become more like the rule than an exception.
Sometimes the IRS will even send out the 2645C letter following a telephone contact from the taxpayer or their representative. Again, an acknowledgement letter might theoretically be helpful when sent in response to something that was mailed to the IRS, but what good is a 2645C letter that is sent in response to a telephone inquiry? If you’re on the phone with the IRS, why would you need the IRS to confirm that they took a call from you? It is just confusing and unnecessary, especially if the letter comes weeks after the phone call. If you can think of a good reason to keep this letter, or if you have ever found it helpful, please explain in the comments!