The first thing to do is to check the return address to be sure it’s from the Internal Revenue Service and not another agency.
If it’s from the IRS, the notice will have instructions on how to respond and provide a specific website link for you to visit for additional information located at the end of the notice or letter. Visit I Got a Notice From the IRS for further details including what to do if the notice is not from the IRS.
First and foremost, don’t ignore notices from the IRS. Even if you can’t pay the taxes you owe, responding to a notice before the due date could prevent a lot of trouble. Be sure to keep your address up to date with the IRS so you receive all notices and letters.
- If you can’t pay the full amount you owe, you have payment options to help you settle your debt over time.
- If you disagree with the IRS that you owe the debt, you may be able to raise your arguments in a CDP hearing, an equivalent hearing or request an audit reconsideration. See also Publication 1660, Collection Appeal Rights, and Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don’t Agree.
- You can hire an attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), or enrolled agent to help you if you wish. If your income is below a certain level, you may qualify for Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) representation.
Also, if the IRS has already issued a CDP notice for that particular tax debt, then you can still request a hearing with Appeals either before or after the IRS files a Notice of Federal Tax Lien. You will need to request a conference through the Collection Appeals Program (CAP), but unlike a CDP hearing, you may not seek review of Appeal’s determination in the U.S. Tax Court. See Publication 1660, Collection Appeal Rights, for a full explanation of the CAP regarding Lien Enforcement.
You can also ask that the IRS manager review your case informally. You can obtain the manager’s name and phone number by contacting the employee listed on your notice. IRS employees are required to give you their manager’s name and phone number.
Once a lien arises, the IRS generally can’t release it until you’ve paid the tax, penalties, interest, and recording fees in full or until the IRS is no longer legally able to collect the tax. However, in certain circumstances a lien may be withdrawn, discharged, or subordinated. Visit Liens on the TAS website for further information.