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Opening an IRS notice or letter: things to keep in mind

Once again this year, the tax season featured a spike in scams run by fraudsters posing as IRS agents, trying to get people to give out personal information over the phone or by email. As NPR reported, the IRS commissioner responded by repeating the agency's long-held position of sticking to old-fashioned letters when initiating contact with taxpayers.

But how should you respond when you get a letter from the IRS? Though the notice or letter may not be a scam, it is likely to require action on your part.

In this post, then, we will inform you about some of the basic considerations to keep in mind in responding to correspondence from the IRS.

On the up side, it is worth noting that receiving an IRS notice isn't necessarily bad news. For example, it is possible that the notice is about your getting a larger refund than you expected.

Of course, the news isn't always that good. It may be indeterminate news, such as when the IRS asks for more information about something before it can process your income tax return.

It is also possible that the IRS may have already concluded you are supposed to pay additional tax. When you receive such a notice, you do need to respond. But the mere sending of the notice does not mean that the IRS is right. With the help of a skilled tax attorney, there are numerous ways to contest IRS actions.

In any case, the IRS has recently redesigned its notices to give each notice number a code. You can go online if you like to see the full listing of these notice numbers.

The main thing, though, is to open the letter and find out what's inside. It won't be a scam, but rather something you will need to deal with in some way.

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