Generally, the IRS will always make first contact with you through the mail. The two exceptions to these are if collection agents, or special agents visit you in person. If you ever get a phone call from someone claiming to be the IRS, there are two easy steps to verify if they are who they say they are.
IRS agents should always give you their ID number if they are speaking with you on the phone. If they don't provide you with a number, it is a big red flag. If they give you an ID number, write down the number along with the agent's name.
Call 1-800-829-1040 (1-267-941-1000 outside the US) and ask the agent on the phone to verify the ID number.
First step is to stay calm. If you get a letter from the IRS, it is not the end of the world.
If your tax return was covered with IRS Audit Defence from us:
Email email@example.com ASAP with "IRS CONTACT" as the subject, and explain in the email what the letter was (it is located on the bottom of each letter). Also please provide us with the best telephone number we can reach you at.
We will reply within 24 hours, and provide preliminary next steps. We will also send Form 2848 for you and your spouse (if filed jointly) to sign, giving us the permission to represent you before the IRS.
Please sign, and return Form 2848 through the portal ASAP.
Work with us in a timely fashion to have the matter resolved quickly, so you can move on with your life.
If you tax return is not covered with IRS Audit Defense:
Read the letter. There will always be a contact number you can call if you have questions. You can also always call 1-800-829-1040 or 1-267-941-1000 if you have any questions.
Make sure to reply to the letter in a timely fashion. If you live in the US, this is generally 30 days. If you live outside the US, this timeframe is generally 60 days.
Make sure that you do everything the IRS asks you to do. If you skip steps or leave out certain pieces of information, it can adversely affect your tax return.
There is a good IRS website which explains the process in more detail: Link
If you need help with your IRS problem, feel free to contact us, and we can give you a quote on how much it would cost to represent you before the IRS.
About the author: Ian Davis is currently Canada’s only former IRS auditor; and Founder and President of US Tax Resources Inc. A Canadian firm whose mission is to provide stress relief from US tax through simple and affordable tax preparation and advisory services.
Ian is a dual US/Canadian citizen living with his family in Canada.