Here are tips you would want to follow if you need to contact the IRS and cross out a major tax-related item on your to-do list.
In this article:
- Do Not Panic
- Thoroughly Read the Notice/Letter That You Received
- Take Advantage of Faxable IRS Instructions and Forms
- Visit the IRS Website
- Contact the IRS via Mail
- Contact the IRS by Phone
- Drop by Your Local IRS Office
- Pay in Full or Pay What You Can
- Keep All Received IRS Letters and Notices
- Be Wary of Suspicious Letters and Notices
What to Do If You Need to Contact the IRS
1. Do Not Panic
Remember to keep calm if you received a notice from the IRS. After all, the agency sends these notices for various reasons.
For instance, the IRS might just be in need of additional information or perhaps they just need to verify your identity. Both of these scenarios require you to contact the IRS.
There are also cases when these notices reach you so you contact the IRS informing you of vital details regarding your taxes. These include possible eligibility for a larger refund and a notification regarding potential delays in processing your IRS transcript.
Other reasons include information about changes in a tax return, questions about your tax return, and informing you of an existing balance that needs to be settled immediately.
2. Thoroughly Read the Notice/Letter That You Received
The official letters and notices sent by the IRS contain all the valuable details you need to know. This is why it is crucial that you peruse the contents of these correspondences to avoid any future mixup.
If the letter you receive contains information regarding changes on your current tax return, make sure to compare details with your expired tax return. Remember that regardless of the reason behind the letter or notice, it is in your best interest to contact the IRS in the quickest way possible.
Giving the IRS your immediate response affords you two advantages.
First, you might be able to save your account from incurring interests and penalties should the letter be in relation to back taxes. Second, it gives you the right to appeal should you disagree with the notice’s content.
3. Take Advantage of Faxable IRS Instructions and Forms
The IRS readily sends relevant instructions and forms via fax, upon request. You can contact the IRS TaxFax service at 703-368-9694.
This mode of response best serves taxpayers from whom the IRS requested updated information or identity verification.
4. Visit the IRS Website
The IRS maintains a website that is updated regularly. Virtually every tax-related information and publication you need to educate yourself can be downloaded via the website.
If you are in need of IRS forms, these are also downloadable 24/7. The IRS online portal even runs a planning calculator that can be used by taxpayers for free.
Relevant tax law changes and updates are also published on site. Before you contact the IRS for a one-on-one meeting with one of its agents, it might be a good idea to pay the agency’s website a visit first.
5. Contact the IRS via Mail
If you are in no hurry for a reply after you contact the IRS, you can always reach the agency by way of mail or courier. The most efficient way to go about this is by reaching out to your local taxpayer assistance center.
Expect the IRS to respond to your correspondence after 30 to 45 days. For mailed tax refunds, processing extends to six to eight weeks, compared to the 3-week processing via e-file.
6. Contact the IRS by Phone
Should you prefer to contact the IRS via phone, here are the relevant IRS toll-free numbers you can call.
- 1-800-829-3676 (for forms, instructions, and publications)
- 1-800-829-1040 (for questions regarding personal income taxes)
- 1-877-777-4778 (The Taxpayer Advocate)
- 1-800-829-4477 (Pre-recorded messages on a wide range of tax matters)
Keep in mind these phone lines get inundated with calls during tax season, which lasts from February to April.
7. Drop by Your Local IRS Office
The IRS runs a network of taxpayer assistance centers in key localities. These satellite IRS offices provide all pertinent tax-related services.
These IRS offices will either allow walk-in service or operate solely by appointment, depending on which location you chose. Multilingual service is also provided.
You may want to visit the IRS website to know the specific policies and service hours of these satellite offices.
8. Pay in Full or Pay What You Can
Official IRS letters and notices are sometimes quite straightforward with their intent. They seek to collect, which must not be neglected.
If you can pay in full, then, by all means, please do so. This means you let yourself off the hook easily.
However, if it is not in your capacity to pay in full, you should still file your tax return. Failure to do so will result in interests and penalties that will further complicate your financial situation.
9. Keep All Received IRS Letters and Notices
Collect and safe-keep each and every letter you receive from the IRS. These are legal documents that might be of use to you at a later date.
Keep them in a multi-leaf envelope with appropriate labels. Doing this allows you ease of access should you need to return to these correspondences in the future.
10. Be Wary of Suspicious Letters and Notices
Not all letters and notices bearing the name and logo of the IRS happens to be legit. This is most true if said correspondences are sent via e-mail, text message, or social media platforms, soliciting personal information from their recipients.
Be wary of phishing.
Phishing Definition: A scam wherein potential victims receive unsolicited messages from dubious sources posing as legitimate agencies or organizations, asking for personal and financial details to be used in fraudulent activities.
Contacting the IRS can be stressful. However, if you follow the aforementioned tips, you will see this item on your to-do list can be resolved with calm and ease.
Have you received a letter or notice from the IRS in the past? Please share your story in the comments section below.
If you owe back taxes, visit taxreliefcenter.org for more information on tax relief options.