Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter

September 12, 2016
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Your notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give you instructions on how to handle the issue.

If you agree with the information, there is no need to contact them

Why was I notified by the IRS?

The IRS sends notices and letters for the following reasons:

  • You have a balance due.
  • You are due a larger or smaller refund.
  • They have a question about your tax return.
  • They need to verify your identity.
  • They need additional information.
  • They changed your return.
  • They need to notify you of delays in processing your return.

Next Steps

Each notice or letter contains a lot of valuable information, so it’s very important that you read it carefully. If they changed your tax return, compare the information we provided in the notice or letter with the information in your original return. 

If your notice or letter requires a response by a specific date, there are 2 main reasons you’ll want to comply:

  • to minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
  • to preserve your appeal rights if you don’t agree.

Pay as much as you can, even if you can’t pay the full amount you owe. You can pay online or apply for an Online Payment Agreement or Offer in Compromise. Visit their payments page for more information.

Keep a copy of your notice or letter
It’s important to keep a copy of all notices or letters with your tax records. You may need these documents at a later date.

Contact the IRS
The IRS provides their contact phone number on the top right-hand corner of the notice or letter. Typically, you only need to contact them if you don’t agree with the information, if they request additional information, or if you have a balance due. You can also write to the IRS at the address in the notice or letter. If you write, allow at least 30 days for our response.

The location of the notice or letter number

You can find the notice (CP) or letter (LTR) number on either the top or the bottom right-hand corner of your correspondence.

When the notice or letter isn't listed on this page

They will continue to add more correspondence to their website. If your notice or letter isn't listed on the IRS.gov page and you have questions, call the number on the top right-hand corner of your correspondence.

When the notice or letter looks suspicious

Please visit the Report Phishing page on IRS.gov if you receive a notice or letter that looks suspicious and was designed to appear as though it came from the IRS. You can also call 1-800-829-1040. They never ask taxpayers for personal information via e-mail or social media.