Did You Get a Letter from the IRS? Don’t Panic.
- IRS Notices
- CP Series Notice
- Automated Notices
- Frequent Errors
- ID Theft
- Penalties and Interest
- What You Should Do
- What We Will Do
Now that most tax refunds are deposited directly into taxpayers’ bank accounts, the dream of opening your mailbox and finding an IRS refund check is all but a thing of the past. However, since the IRS now does most of its auditing through correspondence, an IRS letter can likely increase your heart rate and, in some cases, ruin your day.
CP-Series Notice – When the IRS thinks it detects a potential issue with your tax return, it will contact you via U.S. mail; this is done with a CP-series notice. Please note that the IRS’s first contact about a tax delinquency or discrepancy will never be a phone call or email. Such calls and emails are a common tool of scammers; if you get one, simply hang up the phone or delete the email. If you are concerned about the validity of a given message, please call this office.
Most commonly, CP notices describe the proposed tax due, as well as any interest or penalties. The notice will also explain the examination process and describe how you can respond.
These automated notices are sent out year-round, and they are quite common. As the IRS tries to close the tax revenue gap, it has become more aggressive in its collection efforts. In addition, as many taxpayers now use low-quality tax mills or do-it-yourself software, the number of notices sent because of preparer error have increased. Missed checkboxes, misunderstandings of available credits, and overlooked income all add up to more errors.
The first step the IRS uses in this automated process involves matching what you reported on your tax return to the data that third parties (e.g., employers, banks, and brokers) reported. When this information does not agree, the automated collection effort begins.
Don’t Panic – These notices often include errors. However, you do need to respond before the deadline specified on the notice (usually 30 days) or else face significant repercussions. The notice may even be related to suspected ID theft. For instance, someone may have gained access to your tax ID (or that of your spouse or one of your dependents) and tried to file a return using the stolen ID. The first step is to determine which type of notice you have received.
A CP2000 notice is very different from the other CP notices (which deal with issues such as identify theft, audits, and the earned income credit). The CP2000 notice includes a proposed—almost always unfavorable—change to your tax return, and it gives you the opportunity to dispute the proposed change. Procrastinating or ignoring this notice will only cause the IRS to ratchet up its collection efforts, which in turn will make it more difficult for you to dispute the proposed adjustment.
Sometimes, the IRS will be correct. You may have overlooked a capital gain or income from a second job. It is also possible that the IRS has caught someone else using your SSN in order to work or otherwise stealing your identity. Quite frequently, however, the IRS is incorrect, simply because its software isn’t sophisticated enough to pick up all the information that you report on the schedules attached to your return.
These notices of proposed change will also include penalties and interest. Even if you do owe the tax, this office may be able to get the penalties and interest abated for due cause.
It should be noted that in the era of Post Covid Pandemic and Covid Stimulus, loans and credits that the IRS has difficulty keeping up and they have chosen to put many returns that have these items in them to a manual process and this causes major delays. We have several folks who have not received 2019 refunds so those of you who have 2020 refunds you are waiting on patience is the word for post pandemic IRS. Whenever possible make any payments online so your account gets immediate credit to eliminate notices because your checks are sitting in a mail pile somewhere.
When you receive an IRS notice, your first step should be to immediately contact this office and to provide us with a copy of the notice. We will review the notice to determine whether it is correct, and then we will consult with you to determine how best to respond.