You’re Being Audited, But Don’t Panic

The IRS has been offering tax tips all summer long by way of its “Summertime Tax Tips” series. Some topics have been more helpful than others. This is the latest one (my thoughts inserted in blue). Its called “Eight Tips for Taxpayers Who Receive an IRS Notice.” I don’t find it too helpful.

  1. Don’t panic. Many of these letters can be dealt with simply and painlessly. Really?  Don’t panic?  That’s your #1 bit of advice? So, if the notice says that I’m being audited or that I owe, I’m supposed to remain calm?
  2. There are number of reasons the IRS sends notices to taxpayers. The notice may request payment of taxes, notify you of a change to your account or request additional information. The notice you receive normally covers a very specific issue about your account or tax return. Yes, there are a number of reasons the IRS sends notices, but most of the time they just want your money.
  3. Each letter and notice offers specific instructions on what you need to do to satisfy the inquiry. In other words, “read the notice carefully, dummy.”
  4. If you receive a correction notice, you should review the correspondence and compare it with the information on your return. “Again, read the notice!
  5. If you agree with the correction to your account, usually no reply is necessary unless a payment is due. “Don’t send us any unnecessary docs.”
  6. If you do not agree with the correction the IRS made, it is important that you respond as requested. Write to explain why you disagree. Include any documents and information you wish the IRS to consider, along with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Mail the information to the IRS address shown in the lower left part of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response.This is actually kind of helpful.
  7. Most correspondence can be handled without calling or visiting an IRS office. However, if you have questions, call the telephone number in the upper right corner of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available when you call. In other words, “Only call us as a last resort.”
  8. It’s important that you keep copies of any correspondence with your records. Hopefully you took the advice in tip #1 and didn’t panic and toss your notice in the trash.

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