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There are many reasons why the IRS would send the letter or notice by certified mail.
One example is when a taxpayer with a monitored installment agreement, they will receive Notice CP 523, Defaulted Installment Agreement — Notice of Intent to Levy. (See IRM 18.104.22.168.) The notice or letter is sent by certified mail for taxpayers with domestic addresses, or by registered mail if taxpayers have foreign addresses.
A notice of deficiency is sent by certified mail.
Normally these notices are sent certified because there are time limits to respond.
Even if the taxpayer does not sign for the letter the IRS is not prohibited form taking any further action. It is not always bad news.
Is generally best to get the letter and open it. Delaying would only cut down your time to respond if the notice gives a time period.
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My husband did not file his taxes in 2009 and this was discovered when we filed jointly for 2012. he has filed for that year and was owed money. I am still waiting for a refund from the irs since they took all of our joint refund.
yes I did file form 8379 after we had already filed the taxes. wouldn't the certified mail be for me then, not my husband?