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Receiving an IRS notice or letter: some things to keep in mind

David Letterman popularized the Top 10 list as an anarchic art form.

But the notion of a list of 10 things can also be utterly straightforward. And the IRS makes use of it, as many others do, to communicate useful information.

In this post, we will take note of the agency's latest 10-point list. It is about things that are useful for taxpayers to know when receiving notices and letters from the IRS.

It is a natural time of year for the IRS to be issuing a reminder about such notices. The filing deadline for federal income taxes has recently passed. And now many taxpayers will receive notices from the IRS, asking for this or that point of additional information.

Perhaps you already had some inkling that the IRS would ask about some particular aspect of your return and thought about amending it. Keep in mind that an amended return may not be necessary because the clarification the IRS seeks can be taken care of by responding to the notice you receive in the mail.

After all, many notices from the IRS are entirely routine. That is perhaps why the agency puts an encouragement to be calm at the top of its list of 10 things to know.

Of course, you shouldn't interpret this encouragement as reason to let your guard down, either. Any type of IRS contact requires your full attention. Read the notice or letter carefully. And if you don't agree with the proposed IRS action, be prepared to respond.

You should also be sure to keep a copy of what the IRS sent and keep it with your tax records.

Source:, "Ten Things to Know about IRS Notices and Letters," April 22, 2014

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