I got a letter or notice from the IRS. What should I do?

  • Don't ignore it. Most IRS letters and notices are about federal tax returns or tax accounts. Each notice deals with a specific issue and includes specific instructions on what to do.
  • Don't panic. The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies do send letters by mail. Most of the time, all you need to do is read the letter carefully and take the appropriate action.
  • Don't reply unless instructed to do so. There is usually no need for you to reply to a notice unless specifically instructed to do so. On the other hand, if you who owe you should reply with a payment. IRS.gov has information about payment options.
  • Do take timely action. A notice may reference changes to your  account, taxes owed, a payment request or a specific issue on a tax return. Acting timely could minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
  • Do review the information. If a letter is about a changed or corrected tax return, you should review the information and compare it with the original return. If you agrees, you should make notes about the corrections on your personal copy of the tax return and keep it for your records.
  • Do respond to a disputed notice. If you don't agree with the IRS, you should mail a letter explaining why they dispute the notice. You should mail it to the address on the contact stub included with the notice. You should include information and documents for the IRS to review when considering the dispute. You should allow at least 30 days for the IRS to respond.
  • Do remember there is usually no need to call the IRS. If you must contact the IRS by phone, you should use the number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. You should have a copy of your tax return and letter when calling the agency.
  • Do avoid scams. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer using social media or text message. The first contact from the IRS usually comes in the mail. Taxpayers who are unsure if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov.