It’s natural to fear that a letter from the IRS might contain bad news, perhaps a hefty tax bill, penalties, or some confusing tax jargon that you’re not equipped to decipher. While the reality is often that the letter is simply a reminder or a notice of some important activity, apprehension can still prevail.
Here’s the good news: while an IRS notice might seem intimidating at first glance, it doesn’t necessarily need to be stressful.
The key lies in understanding that these notices serve specific purposes and are not designed to incite panic. Instead, they are tools the IRS uses to communicate with taxpayers.
Below, we’ll break down some of the most common IRS notices and letters so you can decipher those complicated codes without skipping a beat.
But, if this IRS letters & notices guide is still not enough, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. At Instant Tax Solutions, we’re here to help and can easily review any IRS tax letters and notices to help you parse out any next steps.
We’ll make sure that you’re prepared to respond to any complicated requests and have everything you need to keep your financial standing in tip-top shape.
So don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today. Call (888) 485-8109 to schedule your free appointment today.
Get Help in Boise Responding to IRS Notices and Letters
Receiving an IRS notice is just the first step in a process that, with the right approach, can be manageable and stress-free.
First and foremost, remember that timely action is your greatest ally when dealing with IRS notices. Ignoring a letter — or procrastinating opening it — can lead to increased interest, penalties, or even legal consequences.
So, let’s dive into the essential steps to take when you receive one of those IRS envelopes.
Before you respond to an IRS notice, it’s crucial to understand its contents fully. Each notice serves a specific purpose, and knowing why you received it is the first step in the process.
Here are some critical points to consider:
- Understanding Proposed Adjustments: In situations like the CP2000 notice, where the IRS proposes adjustments to your return, you must review these adjustments carefully. They are not final determinations but rather initial proposals and can indicate that your refund is either more or less than you initially expected.
- Calculating Penalties and Interest: Alternatively, if your notice involves penalties and interest, try to look through the document to determine whether these are calculated. The IRS charges interest on unpaid taxes and penalties, and knowing the numbers can help you anticipate any additional fees, as well as how long you have to repay the amount owed.
If it helps, consider working through this checklist whenever you receive a letter or notice from the IRS:
- Review the Notice Carefully: Begin by carefully reading the notice, paying attention to the issue it addresses and any specific instructions provided. Understanding the IRS’s concern is the first step to resolving it.
- Compare It With Your Tax Return: If the letter relates to a change (or correction) to your tax return, compare the information in the notice with your original return. Determine whether you agree or disagree with the IRS’s proposed adjustments.
- Respond to Any Due Balance Notices: If the notice indicates that you owe additional taxes, penalties, or interest, it’s crucial to address this promptly. Consider your payment options and act accordingly.
- If Needed, Contact the IRS: In many cases, you won’t need to call the IRS, but if you do, use the number provided on the notice. Be prepared with a copy of your tax return — and the notice itself — when you call.
- Avoid Common Mistakes: Watch out for common errors, such as ignoring the notice, missing deadlines, or failing to provide the requested information, because these small issues can quickly cost you time and money.
Understanding Boise IRS Tax Letters & Notices
Whether you’re receiving a federal or state-specific notice, it’s important to open up the letter right away. Below, let’s review some of the most common IRS notices you might receive in any state.
- CP2000 – Notice of Proposed Adjustment: This notice will often arrive when there’s a discrepancy between your reported income on your tax return and what third parties, such as employers or financial institutions, reported to the IRS. While this notice may seem alarming, it’s simply a proposal for adjustments rather than a final verdict.
- CP14 Notice – Balance Due: If the IRS believes you owe additional taxes, penalties, and interest, you might receive a CP14 Notice. It provides a breakdown of the amount due, but don’t ignore it: This notice is a signal that it’s time to take action.
- Letter 2205 – Return Selected for Examination: Boise taxpayers may receive Letter 2205 if their tax return has been chosen for an audit. While this might raise concerns, audits are a routine IRS procedure and usually mean you were simply randomly selected for review.
Additionally, while these are common letters for any U.S. citizen, keep in mind that Boise may have specific tax deductions or credits that could impact the discrepancies that are being highlighted.
A Guide to More Complicated IRS Letters and Notices
IRS notices and letters can sometimes resemble a maze of codes, regulations, and legal language. That said, by breaking down the ‘components’ of an IRS letter, taxpayers can begin to see what these codes actually signify and discern a serious, high-impact letter from a more casual notice.
These elements can also help you pick out a legitimate IRS letter from a poser or even a counterfeiter. Many companies will “dress up” their letters with official-sounding language, barcodes, and printouts that look like forms, all in an effort to confuse you into thinking it’s official government correspondence (always check for small print to see if they’re disclosing the ruse).
Criminals will use an even more direct approach of copying IRS letters outright, but they often miss a few key details.
Below are some of the most important elements to look out for when reading an IRS letter and deciphering what, exactly, it means for you.
Decoding IRS Letter Components
Before you start panicking, review each of the following ‘pieces’ of your letter.
- The Form or Notice Number: This is often located in the top or bottom right-hand corner of your letter and can help you find the IRS resources you’ll need to address the issue at hand. This number is a crucial identifier and ultimately specifies the type and purpose of your letter.
- Contact Information: The IRS provides contact information in each letter so you can follow up with the appropriate party when you’re ready to handle the request. This contact information may include a phone number, address, or website where you can find additional information.
- Subject Line: The subject line is designed to succinctly convey the letter’s purpose.
- Body of the Letter: This section will contain a more detailed explanation of the issue or request and typically outline the specific problem at hand, as well as instructions on how to proceed.
- Deadlines: Most IRS letters will include deadlines for responding or taking action; missing these deadlines can lead to penalties or further complications.
CP and LTR Codes
Additionally, there are two common types of codes you may encounter at the top of your letter’s notice number. These include notice codes starting with ‘CP’ and those beginning with ‘LTR.’
CP (Computer Paragraph) notices and LTR (Letter) notices serve different purposes, and their seriousness can vary based on the taxpayer’s individual circumstances. Neither can be universally classified as ‘more serious’ than the other, but they do often signal a different level of intent.
For example, CP notices are often generated by automated systems to inform taxpayers of specific issues, such as proposed adjustments to a tax return (e.g., CP2000), balance due notices (e.g., CP14), or requests for missing information (e.g., CP12). They’re typically less complex and involve straightforward issues.
Meanwhile, LTR notices are often used for more complex or specialized matters, such as notices of federal tax lien filing (e.g., LTR3172) or notices of deficiency (e.g., LTR3219). These notices can involve more significant tax issues, such as the IRS’s intent to assess additional tax liabilities, potential legal actions, or a need for a formal hearing.
Dealing With IRS Letters & Notices? Let Us Help
If you receive a letter from the IRS that you find particularly alarming, it’s important to bring it to a tax expert for formal review. In some cases, there may have been an error filed that’s worth disputing, and in Boise, residents can follow the IRS’s established procedures to quickly address any discrepancies.
On the other hand, if you receive a letter that you cannot dispute — but are still alarmed by — bring it to our office. We’ll help you work through the next steps and come up with a plan for repaying any debt you owe or filing for any relief program you may need to take advantage of.
Keep in mind that the longer you wait to open up or deal with that complicated letter, the more time and money you may be wasting. Most notices will come with clear deadlines and penalties, so there’s no use in wasting another minute.
So don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today. Call (888) 485-8109 or contact us online to schedule your free appointment today.