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Merlo, Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 9783
Experience:  25+ years tax consulting. Specializing in returns for US citizens living abroad
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What is a certified letter from the IRS for?

Customer Question

I found a certified letter from IRS slip in my mail box. What could this mean?

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Merlo replied 8 years ago.

Have you had any correspondence from the IRS previous to this point concerning any possible problems on a tax return from an earlier year? Or are you currently on a payment plan of some sort with the IRS for back taxes?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I received a UPS slip stating that I have a certified letter from IRS. I was overseas for three months while I was gone I received two letters from IRS requesting $349.00 for 2007 tax adjustment. I did mail the money and was taken away from my bank on the 21st. I thought this may triggered the certified letter. If it an audit which year they will be targeting?

No unusual correspondence except annual minor adjustments which I paid.

Expert:  Merlo replied 8 years ago.

It is impossible to know for sure what the certified letter is regarding. Typically the IRS will not send a certified letter for notice of an audit, unless they had previously tried to contact you through regular mail and had no response.

Based on what you have told me about the amount you owed them, and the fact that you were gone for 3 months before finally getting around to paying the amount due, that is more than likely the reason for the certified letter. If you just paid them the amount due on the 21st of this month, they would not yet have had time to process the receipt of that money and post it to your account.

If that is what the letter pertains to, then more than likely they will have this payment posted to your account in the next few days. In fact, they may have already posted the payment and the letter just crossed in the mail.

Merlo and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you. You said that the certified audit letter is usually follow regular mail correspondents. Is this the typical IRS process? If so I have not received any letter from IRS regarding audit before this certified letter awaiting me in the post office. How likely is this letter in fact an audit letter?

Expert:  Merlo replied 8 years ago.

I can certainly not tell you with 100% certainty that this letter is not a notice of an audit, but I can tell you that typically they do not send out certified letters for that reason -- unless they had previously contacted you by regular mail about an audit, and had no response.

If you did not receive any prior correspondence about an audit, but you did receive two letters requesting payment of the amount you owed from a 2007 adjustment, then in all likelihood this certified letter pertains to the amount that you owed for 2007. Hopefully you can get to the post office early tomorrow and get this letter just to put your mind at ease, but it would be my guess that is what the letter pertains to.

Merlo and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Do IRS send regular mail audit letter before they send a certified letter? What is the IRS communication process for sending audit notification as you know it from your experience?

Expert:  Merlo replied 8 years ago.

From my experience, a letter from the IRS which informs you that your return has been selected for examination, will always be sent by regular mail. Typically a deadline date would be set for you to respond. If the IRS did not hear from you by the deadline date set in the original notice, they then might send you a certified letter to notify you of the pending examination on your return.

The fact that you received two letters from the IRS concerning the amount you owed them for the 2007 return makes it extremely likely that this is what they are contacting you about. If your payment was just made on the 21st of this month, that was only last Tuesday, so that was only 5 working days ago. The letter they generated would have been processed before they ever received your payment, so in all likelihood this is another notice concerning your payment due which just crossed in the mail before they posted your payment.

I hope when you finally get to read this letter that you will find out that is all it was concerning. Best of luck to you on this.