The IRS promulgates about 200 million written communications to American taxpayers each year. IRS tax attorneys say the agency uses approximately 1000 different form notices and letters for such things as requests for payment of back taxes, questions about unfiled returns, misfiled returns and/or filed returns with errors, changes in tax accounts, refunds, audits and requests for additional information.
If you’re like most taxpayers, getting one of these letters in the mail can produce a cold shiver up your spine. You can feel your palms begin to moisten as your heartbeat quickens, and your level of anxiety increases as your sweaty hand reaches for the letter opener. Tax lawyers and others observe that some poor souls never muster the courage to even open what they perceive to be a parcel of certain pain.
But tax attorneys say don’t panic. The worst thing you can do is throw the letter away or ignore it. Sticking your head in the sand and hoping your tax troubles will go away is never a winning strategy. Doing so not only delays getting your tax problems fixed, it can be costly with interest and penalties being tacked onto back taxes you might already owe.
IRS tax attorneys and others say the agency will typically work with you to deal with most any type of tax problems. These same tax lawyers remind you that the letters and notices you receive contain very important information you’ll need to have in order to deal with your tax problems. If you do hire a tax attorney, he/she will need to see the IRS correspondence you’ve received to better advise you regarding the tax case.
The IRS wants you to know it will never initiate an email to you as a method of first contact, nor will it call you prior to sending a letter or notice by regular U.S. mail. If you haven’t received any written communications from the IRS prior to receiving a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, tax lawyers and the IRS agree you should get that IRS employee’s name, telephone number and his/her IRS assigned number. Then call the IRS back, at its 800-829-1040 line, to confirm why you received a call and verify the identity of the earlier caller.
The IRS and several tax lawyers around the country warn identity theft is a growing problem and care should be given to protecting your social security number and your date of birth. If you are already the victim of identity theft and you are trying to sort through a myriad of tax problems, get the answers you need directly from the IRS and/or consult a competent tax attorney who may be able to help.
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