If you want your tax refund as soon as possible, don’t disregard letters from the Internal Revenue Service.
Despite the fact that Tax Day has passed, letters are common at this time of year. They are typically requests for additional information about your tax return or to verify your identity. If you do not respond, you may be delaying your tax refund for weeks or months, or it may go unclaimed.
You may also receive an adjustment letter, which informs you of any additional taxes owed or a change in the amount of your refund. Typically, the adjustment is the result of incorrect information on your tax return.
These letters explain how to pay any taxes owed as well as how to dispute your claim if you believe the IRS made an error in their calculations.
If you receive an IRS letter or notice, here are three things you should do.
1. Do not be alarmed.
Not all IRS letters will contain a tax bill or a notice of an audit. In fact, some may include a check for a tax refund that you weren’t expecting, based on an adjustment made to your tax return on your behalf by the IRS.
2. Do not dismiss it.
If your letter necessitates a response or other action, respond as soon as possible. If you owe money to the IRS, you should pay it as soon as possible to avoid escalating late penalties and interest charges on your bill. And even if you owe nothing, you may be delaying your refund.
If you do receive a bill and are unable to pay it, the IRS offers a repayment plan that can be paid back in installments over time. Remember, you will not be imprisoned simply because you are unable to pay your tax bill.
3. Save the letter
In general, the IRS recommends that taxpayers keep records, including letters and notices from the agency, for three years from the date they filed their tax return. Many of these letters contain information about money owed to you, such as economic stimulus payments, that can be used as a reference when completing your tax return. They can also be used to assist you in resolving an IRS dispute.
If you are unsure whether the IRS has received your tax return or if your tax refund has been delivered to you, go to www.usa.gov/check-tax-status.