Taxpayers: What is the worst thing to do if contacted by the IRS?

It is not uncommon for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to reach out to taxpayers. This contact itself may seem like a nightmare, but taxpayers can make the situation even worse if they do not act appropriately.

What is the worst thing a taxpayer could do when contacted by the IRS?

The worst response is to ignore the mailing. The IRS generally reaches out with a request for more information or with an additional tax bill. The agency may also require the taxpayer to contact the IRS. The agency will not forget about you and a failure to act can result in the agency increasing their enforcement efforts.

Another bad idea: lying to the IRS. Willfully attempting to evade tax obligations is likely to result in criminal charges.

What should a taxpayer do if contacted by the IRS?

First, it is important to note the agency is most likely to reach out via a mailing. The agency is not known to call taxpayers. Those who do receive a phone call should be wary of a scam. This is particularly true if the caller demands the taxpayer provide a social security number or payment over the phone.

Those who receive a mailing to read through it thoroughly and take action. For some, this may mean providing the agency additional information, for other it could mean fighting back against allegations of false information on one’s tax returns. Those who believe the issue will result in a large tax bill are wise to seek legal help. An attorney experienced in tax controversies can review the correspondence and discuss your options.

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