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Notice CP501

1st Notice – Balance Due

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Notice Overview

The Notice CP501 (also referred to as the 1st Notice) is mailed to you because there is a balance due (money you owe the IRS) on one of your tax accounts.

This notice or letter may include additional topics that have not yet been covered here. Please check back frequently for updates.

What does this letter or notice mean to me?

The Notice CP501 (also referred to as the 1st Notice) informs you that there is a balance due (money you owe the IRS) on one of your tax accounts and tells you how much you owe, when it’s due, and how to pay.

The Notice CP501 provides various options on how you can pay the balance due (e.g., via electronic payment options on Paying Your Taxes on IRS or via check or money order payable to the United States Treasury.

If you can’t pay the full amount by that date, you need to figure out what payment options might work for your situation, and act to set up a payment plan or discuss other ways to pay off your balance. Being proactive in addressing the tax debt may prevent additional penalty and interest charges and eliminate the need for the IRS to take action to collect the balance. For specifics, see I got a notice from the IRS.

If you choose not to respond to the Notice CP501, the IRS may send further taxpayer collection notices to you requesting payment for the tax balance owing. The IRS may also file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien or issue a levy.

For specifics on your particular notice, visit Understanding your IRS Notice or Letter.

How did I get here?

You have a balance due on your tax account. This notice is being sent to you to let you know how much you owe, when it is due, and how to pay.

What are my next steps?

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.

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Is it from the IRS?

If it’s from the IRS, the notice will have instructions on how to respond to the notice received and who to contact. If the notice is not from the IRS, visit I Got a Notice From the IRS for further details.

Next, you should read the notice carefully. It explains how much you owe, when your payment is due, and your payment options.


If it’s from another agency, such as a state tax department, you’ll need to call that office for an explanation.

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If you disagree

If you disagree with the notice, call the IRS at the toll-free number on the top right corner of your notice. Please have your paperwork (such as cancelled checks, amended return, etc.) ready when you call. See also Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don’t Agree


If you can’t pay the full amount by that date, you need to figure out what payment options might work for your situation, and contact the IRS to set up a payment plan or discuss other ways to address your balance.

Being proactive in addressing the tax debt may prevent additional penalty and interest charges and eliminate the need for the IRS to take action to collect the balance. For specifics, see I got a notice from the IRS.

If you believe you have an acceptable reason for interest or a penalty to be removed or reduced, you may complete Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement, or send a signed statement to the IRS explaining your reason why. For specific instructions, see Notice 746, Information About Your Notice, Penalty and Interest.

Where can I get additional help?

Understanding your notice or letter

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If you still need help

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayers’ rights. We can offer you help if your tax problem is causing a financial difficulty, you’ve tried and been unable to resolve your issue with the IRS, or you believe an IRS system, process, or procedure just isn’t working as it should. If you qualify for our assistance, which is always free, we will do everything possible to help you.

Visit www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov or call 1-877-777-4778.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS and TAS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS. LITCs can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. In addition, LITCs can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. For more information or to find an LITC near you, see the LITC page on the TAS website or Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

Related Letters and Notices

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Notice CP501, 1st Notice – Balance Due