If you received a letter from the IRS, don't panic, and please refer to my previous post on what to do when you receive a letter from the IRS.
The most common notices (letters) mailed by the IRS are simply requesting information that is missing from your return. These notices are mailed because you didn't include a schedule, forgot to sign the return, or did not include forms showing withholding such as a 1099 or W2. If you receive one of these letters, return the missing information and the issue should be resolved.
Other common notices include matching and notification notices. Notifications are mailed when a change is made to your return and no action is required if you agree with the changes.
Matching notices occur when the information you provide does not match the information reported to the IRS by employers and financial institutions. If the numbers in your return do not match, the computer will correct the discrepancy and mail a letter to inform you that a change has been made to your return. Double check the changes to see if you (or the IRS) has made a mistake. If the letter is correct, follow the instructions in the letter and respond accordingly. If you do not agree with the changes, a phone call to the IRS is a good place to start, and if that does not correct the issue you may want to contact a tax professional.
Other letters include audit notices, reminder notices, final reminder notices, and notice of intent to levy. I will discuss audit notices in one my next posts. If you receive an audit notice you should contact a tax professional immediately. The reminder notice occurs when the IRS sends you a notice of a balance due and you did not make a payment. This is follow by final reminder notice letter and then a notice of intent to levy.
The notice of intent to levy is the most serious notice. If you ignore this letter, the IRS usually will attempt to garnish wages, social security, levy bank accounts, and place a lien on your assets. Respond to the letter immediately, either by mailing a response to the address listed on the notice or calling the IRS at the number listed on the first page of the letter. There are ways to stop a levy, lien, or garnishment and I will discuss these in more detail in another post.
As with everything related to the IRS, it is difficult to provide comprehensive information related to taxes on the web. Please do not rely on this article without consulting your tax professional. If you have received a letter from the IRS or have questions about a letter received, contact a tax professional.