IRS Letters You Should Never Throw Away

Receiving a letter from the IRS can immediately trigger anxiety, even if it’s informational and does not require action on your part. That being said, the worst thing you can do with IRS communications is to ignore them. Oftentimes, letters from the IRS are not a cause for concern and are easy to resolve—but first you’ll have to open them! While the IRS recommends taxpayers hold onto records and communications for three years, some letters require a proactive response from you, the taxpayer. Here are three types of IRS letters you, as an Orange County taxpayer, should never throw away.

1. Audit Notification
If you are selected for an audit, the IRS will send you an audit letter via certified mail. It will list your full name, taxpayer ID (or social security number), the form number, and an explanation of what information they are reviewing. It will also include the IRS agent’s contact information and instructions for completing the process. It is best in these cases to consult with an experienced Irvine tax attorney to ensure your interests are protected in the audit.

2. Adjustment Letter
An adjustment letter from the IRS typically provides notice that you owe additional taxes or that they have adjusted your refund amount. The letter will always include instructions on how the IRS wants you to respond, and you are generally given 30 days to do so. If you disagree with the assessment, the letter will typically require you to mail a written response explaining why. It is a good idea to consult with a tax attorney to get a better understanding of what kind of information the IRS is evaluating in these circumstances.

3. Tax ID Theft
If the IRS suspects that someone has stolen your social security or tax ID number and used it to file a fraudulent tax return, you may receive a “Potential Identity Theft” letter. Usually, it will include a link to an online tool you can use to verify your identity and tell the IRS whether or not you filed the return in question (other means for verification include a phone number for you to call or a local Taxpayer Assistance Center you can visit). If you receive this type of letter, read it thoroughly and follow the steps outlined to resolve the matter.

It is important to be wary of any suspicious communication purporting to be from the IRS. Remember, the IRS will never contact you via social media, email or text message. Their first line of communication is usually U.S. mail (and sometimes certified mail).

If you receive a letter from the IRS, don’t panic! Whether the letter contains good news or bad, it is important to thoroughly read any communication from the IRS and act promptly—if needed—to resolve issues. If action is required on your part, an experienced Orange County tax attorney can help you figure out exactly what you need to do.

Allison Soares is a partner and tax attorney at Vanst Law. Before starting her own practice, Soares was a partner at a tax law firm where she honed her skills handling a wide variety of tax and employment-related cases. In addition to her legal work, she has worked in accounting and utilizes that knowledge to her advantage while handling cases involving EDD audits.

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Allison Soares

Allison Soares, a renowned tax attorney, excels in representing clients before the IRS, FTB, EDD, and CDTFA. With a Bachelor of Arts in Finance from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a transformative teaching stint in Brazil, Allison’s diverse background enriches her legal expertise. She pursued law at St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami, complementing it with an MBA in accounting and forensic accounting. Further honing her skills, she obtained a Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of San Diego School of Law. As an adjunct professor at San Diego State University, Allison imparts her knowledge in tax procedures, practice, and ethics. Her accolades include being named Best of the Bar by the San Diego Business Journal and multiple Super Lawyer recognitions. Committed to community service, she volunteers with Forever Balboa Park and Friends of Balboa Park. Allison’s authoritative contributions in tax law are showcased through her publications and speaking engagements.

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