IRS Resolutions: What to Do When the IRS Sends You a Letter

Preston Rosamond |

Picture this: It’s a calm Sunday afternoon and you decide to check your mailbox for the first time in a week. While you’re sifting through the countless pieces of junk mail and magazine subscriptions you haven’t canceled, you see it—a letter from the IRS. 

Immediately a million thoughts race through your head: Did I do something wrong? Am I being audited? Could I go to jail?

Chances are, there is no need to panic at all. The IRS sends out millions of letters each year, which are usually harmless. So just take a deep breath and consider taking these 3 steps if the IRS sends you a letter.

1. Make Sure It’s Legitimate

Fake IRS letters, emails, and phone calls are some of the biggest threats faced by taxpayers. But know this: The IRS will never contact you via email, text message, or social media. (1)

If you receive a suspicious letter from the IRS, protect yourself by making sure it’s legitimate. You can tell the letter is legitimate if: 

  • It’s delivered via the United States Postal Service (USPS).
  • It’s in a government envelope and has an IRS seal on it.
  • It includes your truncated tax ID number and the tax year in question.
  • The IRS contact information is at the top of the letter.
  • The letter lists your payment options (There should be several payment options, and checks should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury.)

If you’re still unsure if the letter is legitimate, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. You can read more about IRS scams here

2. Identify the Reason for the Letter

As I said before, don’t panic if you receive a letter from the IRS. It doesn’t automatically mean you’re being audited. The IRS usually mails letters for the following reasons: (2)

  • You have an outstanding balance.
  • Your refund amount has changed.
  • The IRS has a question about your return or needs additional information.
  • The IRS changed your return.
  • You need to verify your identity.
  • Your return has been delayed due to processing.

3. Respond to the Letter 

Once you’ve identified the reason for the letter, take action if needed. In some situations, such as when you receive an informational notice from the IRS, you may not need to do anything at all. If action is needed, your letter should include step-by-step instructions on how to resolve the issue. Keep copies of the letter and your response on file.

If the IRS letter states you owe money, you can either pay the balance in full using the methods in the notice or you can set up a payment plan. Since the IRS has been known to make an error or two, be sure to confirm the amount due before paying. 

We’re Here to Help

Dealing with the IRS can seem complicated and scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re preparing your taxes, facing an audit, or anything in between, we at The Rosamond Financial Group are here to help. To learn more, book a free introductory meeting online or call my office at 830-798-9400 or email  

About Preston

Preston Rosamond is a financial advisor and the founder of The Rosamond Financial Group Wealth Management, LLC with nearly two decades of industry experience. He provides comprehensive wealth management and financial services to individuals, professionals, and families who enjoy simplicity and seek a professional to help them pursue their goals. Preston personally serves his clients with an individual touch and a sincere heart, and his servant’s attitude is evident from the moment you meet him. Learn more about Preston or start the conversation about your finances with him by emailing or schedule a call with our online calendar.