As being one of the few people here at Mason + Rich, PA without an accounting degree, I can tell you the title of this article scares me too. Before working here, I wouldn’t have had the first clue about what to do and I can also relate to the panic that runs through folks when they see anything from the IRS.
It is just a letter. Just a bunch of words on a page. This is not unsurmountable. It is usually easy to address. All you need to do is:
1. Open the letter and read it.
Do you understand it? Are they looking for something? Do you need to do anything?
2. Contact your CPA.
Give them a copy of all pages of the letter and have them help you figure it out. They are the experts. This is exactly why you pay them to handle these things. It’s like paying the guy to check out the noise your car is making and then having him fix it. Or like consulting your physician to figure out what is wrong and them telling you what you need to do. Let the expert do their job and fix it for you or at least recommend how to resolve the notice yourself if it is easy enough to address.
3. Relax a little, but stay vigilant.
Now that you have delegated the work or addressed it yourself with direction from your accountant, wait for your accountant to tell you that it is either all taken care of or they will let you know what to do next to get to the point of it all being settled. In many cases you will receive a response from the IRS so keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up. Once you receive this response you will want to send a copy of that to your accountant too.
What things should you not do?
2. Ignore it!
Frequently these notices come with a 30-day window (from the date the notice was mailed) in which they expect you to respond. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away it prolongs the issue. Be proactive so you meet this timeframe. And;
3. Unless you are highly competent in Taxes and Accounting, don’t try to handle it yourself without first contacting your accountant.
Don’t have an accountant already? Talk to one of ours. They are highly knowledgeable, friendly, competent and very easy to work with. Why stress and strain over something when help is so readily available?! When you have people you know, like and trust life is that much easier. We are those people. As our Managing Director, Jeff Kipperman, often says “help me to help you.”
One final point: please be aware that the IRS always sends letters, so unless you have previously communicated with an IRS employee you will not receive a call or email from them. This is a frequent tactic of scammers so if you have any qualms reach out to your accountant they can help.