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  • Writer's pictureRachel Litwack

HELP! I got a letter from the IRS!

This notice from the Internal Revenue Service just arrived. What do I do now?

It may seem alarming to receive a letter (or fax) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). But our many years of experience have shown that in most cases, most issues can be resolved simply. In some instances sending in some missing documentation, or revising a tax return will alleviate the IRS's concerns. Other times a call or a written explanation responding to the IRS's letter can have positive results for clients.

So, you have a letter from the IRS for your organization. What steps should you take?

First of all, read that letter from the IRS very carefully. Don't automatically send it to your accountant or auditor without looking. Generally these letters specify why you are receiving them, and spell out the steps to rectify the matter. In some cases it has nothing to do with your audit. Sometimes it's a payroll tax that was paid late. Whatever the reason, read it carefully as soon as you receive it.

Next make a note of the due date for timely response. Usually those are tied to penalties, which can add up over time. Definitely don't leave it for later. It's always better to reply in a timely manner. Once you send a reply to an IRS letter, it stops the penalty clock from ticking away to the sound of more money.

Then based on what the letter says, check to see if you have whatever the letter is asking for, and if you do not have it, it's time to contact your accountant, bookkeeper, or auditor to assist you.

As I said above, more often than not the documentation is available, or can be provided quickly (need an amended 990 quickly?) and if you are not habitually late paying taxes, you can request and likely receive a waiver of penalty fees.

If you decide to ask your auditor or accountant for assistance, make sure to send them all documentation you received so they can efficiently help you.

*LEGAL DISCLAIMER The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney or the Internal Revenue Service for advice regarding your individual situation.


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