Questions and Answers About Notices

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Hello, I’m Cheryl Sherwood, IRS Director of Campus Compliance Services with some questions and answers about notices.

I know if I got a letter or notice from the IRS, I would have questions. I’m going to answer six of the common questions we receive, so if you get an IRS notice, the process of responding to it will be as simple and smooth as possible.

The first question is: Why did I get a notice questioning items on my return?

You likely got a notice from either the IRS’s Automated Underreporter or the Correspondence Examination (Exam) Unit. The Correspondence Exam Unit is doing the audit.

An Automated Underreporter – or AUR -- notice is sent when differences are detected between information you report on your tax return and information a third party, such as an employer or bank -- reported on a Form W-2 or 1099. AUR will issue Notice CP-2501 or Notice CP-2000.You’ll see this on the upper right corner of the notice.

Exam will often ask for proof of items you’ve taken as a deduction or claimed as a credit on your return.

Exam uses several different letters to contact taxpayers about such differences, but the most common are the CP-75 and a 566 Letter. You’ll see this on the upper right corner of the notice.

Question number 2: What should I do if I get a notice from one of these areas?

First of all, don’t panic – but don’t ignore it either.

Read it carefully and review your tax return. If you use a tax professional, give a copy of the notice to them as soon as possible.

If you agree with the proposed changes in the notice, you should sign the notice and return it to us as soon as possible.

Question number 3: What if I don’t agree with the changes?

If you don’t agree, it’s very important to respond within the timeframe indicated on the notice.

Write directly to the address on the notice and explain why you disagree. Include any documents or information you think we should consider. Be sure to include the response page, your explanation and documentation, and keep copies of everything you send.

Question number 4: If I don’t understand the notice or want to talk to someone about the notice, what number should I call?

You should call the number printed on the upper right-hand corner of the notice.

When you call, have a copy of your tax return in hand along with the notice. This will help us work with you to get your issue resolved quickly.

Question number 5: What happens if I don’t respond to the notice?

Ignoring the notice will not make the problem go away.

If we don’t get a response, additional notices will be sent -- including a certified letter. Your tax account will eventually be adjusted based on our information.

Not responding will only delay the process and result in additional interest and possibly penalties applied to any amount you owe. It may also result in the IRS assessing an incorrect amount, so if you have information that would change our figures, it’s to your benefit to provide it.

And the last question: What happens if I receive another notice from IRS and it seems as if you haven’t considered the information I provided previously?

If you gave an explanation to IRS and it appears that we haven’t considered it, give us a call to ensure we received the information. We may ask you to send it in again.

Please reply as soon as possible, and within the timeframe shown on the notice. This is generally 30 days.

I hope this information about IRS notices is helpful. For more questions and answers, visit our Web site, IRS.gov and type the words “Understanding Notices” in the search box.

For the IRS, I’m Cheryl Sherwood.