PPROA Pipeline - Page 12

12 GUEST COLUMN No News is Good News If you are like the majority of Americans, you probably filed your income tax return on or before April 15th. Check that off your list and now you are done dealing with the government until next year, right? Well maybe. Just like a few people win the lottery a few of us will go to our mailbox sometime before next tax season and discover a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). There are a lot of reasons that the IRS might send you a notice. What should one do if one is so lucky as to receive said notice?? Well I went on the IRS website and pulled off some of their tips for dealing with a notice.  First and foremost, do not panic! You can probably take care of a notice by responding to it.  Second, an IRS notice typically will be about your federal tax return or tax account. It will be about a specific issue, such as changes to your account. It may ask you for more information. It could also explain that you owe tax and that you need to pay the amount that is due.  Third, each notice has specific instructions, so read it carefully. It will tell you what you need to do.  Fourth, you may get a notice that states the IRS has made a change or correction to your tax return. If you do, review the information and compare it with your original return.  Fifth, if you agree with the notice, you usually don’t need to reply unless it gives you other instructions or you need to make a payment.  Sixth, if you do not agree with the notice, it’s important for you to respond. You should write a letter to explain why you disagree. Include any information and documents you want the IRS to consider. Mail your reply with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Send it to the address shown in the upper left-hand corner of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response. (Probably much longer–my comment)  Seventh, you won’t need to call the IRS or visit an IRS office for most notices. If you do have questions, call the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and the notice with you when you call. This will help the IRS answer your questions. (Also bring along a lot of patience as they may not answer the phone right away.–me again)  Eighth, always keep copies of any notices you receive with your other tax records.  Ninth, be alert for tax scams. The IRS sends letters and notices by mail. The IRS does not contact people by email or social media to ask for personal or financial information.  Finally, for more on this topic visit IRS.gov. Click on the link ‘Responding to a Notice’. Also, see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. You can get it on IRS.gov/forms at any time. Now here are a few of my own tips:  For those of you who used a paid preparer, be sure and visit with your tax professional before you respond to the notice. If you prepared your own return using a software package - well I guess like the commercial says "talk to the box".  Do not ignore the notice. Trust me, the IRS is not just going to go away. As a corollary to that, give your tax professional a copy of the first notice. Giving them copies of the fourth or fifth notice makes it much harder to resolve the matter. Again, don't ignore the first notice!!  Remember, you are a U.S. Citizen and the IRS works for you (Just keep repeating that).  Who knows, the next time you go to the mailbox, you may get lucky and it will only be a jury summons waiting for you. Tax thought for the month: "The taxpayer – that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take a civil service examination." ~Ronald Reagan Mike Connor, Managing Partner, Connor McMillon Mitchell Sheenum