Tax Tips: What Do You Do If You Get a Letter From the IRS?*

You get a letter from the IRS. First, don’t panic.

The agency sends millions of letters to taxpayers every year.

What do you do? Here are some tips:

  • Don’t ignore the letter. Most IRS correspondences are about tax returns or tax accounts and deals with specific issues. The letters provide specific instructions about what to do.
  • Don’t panic. Most of the time taxpayers need only to read the letter carefully and do what it says.
  • Be prompt. IRS notices may refer to changes in taxpayers’ accounts, taxes owed, or payment requests. Responding to inquiries helps minimize potential charges for interest or penalties.
  • Review the letter carefully. Notices may request changes or corrections to tax returns. Compare the information in the letter with your original return. If you agree with the changes, make the changes on your personal copy of your return. Keep it for your records.
  • Don’t respond unless you’re told to. You don’t have to respond to an IRS notice unless the agency specifically requests a response. However, if you owe money, respond promptly. Go to for more information.
  • Respond to a dispute. If you don’t agree with the IRS, mail a letter to the agency explaining why you disagree with the information in a notice. Mail your letter to the address on the stub at the bottom of the notice. Include documents and other information to support your position. Allow at least 30 days for the IRS to respond.
  • Don’t call. You usually don’t have to call the IRS. If you do, use the number on the upper right-hand corner of the notice.
  • Avoid the scams. The IRS doesn’t use social media or text messages to make contact. The agency’s first contact is usually by mail.


Other details may apply, and you can find more information on the IRS website.


* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.


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