Don’t worry if you receive one of the millions of letters the IRS sends to taxpayers every
year, but don’t ignore it either. IRS letters typically are about a specific issue on your
federal tax return or tax account and include specific instructions on what you need to
do to respond.
Generally, the IRS sends a letter if:
• you owe additional tax;
• you are due a larger refund; or
• the IRS is requesting payment or needs additional information about your return.
Many of these letters can be dealt with simply, without having to call or visit an IRS
For example, you may get a letter that states the IRS made a change or correction to
your tax return. If you do receive this letter, review the information and compare it with
your original return. If you agree, you usually don’t need to reply unless it gives you
other instructions or you need to make a payment.
However, if you don’t agree with the letter, it’s important for you to respond. Write to
explain why you disagree and include any information and documents you want the IRS
to consider. Mail your reply to the address shown in the letter along with the bottom
tear-off portion of the letter, if provided. Keep copies of any correspondence with your
tax records. Allow at least 30 days for a response from the IRS.
If you have questions, call the telephone number in the letter. Have a copy of your tax
return and the correspondence available when you call.
Check Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter on IRS.gov for samples of the letters
we send, including the reason we send it and a list of enclosures we might include.
Since parts of our letters vary depending on account conditions, the samples may not
exactly match the letters we mail. The basic message, though, will be the same.
If you receive a letter that looks suspicious and appears as though it came from the IRS,
visit the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov. The IRS never asks for
personal information via e-mail or social media.
For more information about IRS notices and bills, see Publication 594, The IRS
Collection Process. Information about penalties and interest is available in Publication
17, Your Federal Income Tax. Both publications are available at IRS.gov.