Having any sort of contact with the IRS can be terrifying. When a notice arrives by mail, you may anxiously await learning of an audit or other bad news.

However, you may receive a notice from the IRS for many reasons. While most Michiganders prefer to only hear from the IRS when they receive their tax refunds, the government agency may have other purposes for contacting you. When you do receive a letter in the mail from the IRS, keep these four considerations in mind:

Remain calm

While a notice could inform you that the IRS is auditing you, the agency may also contact you for various other, less daunting reasons, including:

  • You must verify your identity
  • Your refund amount is larger or smaller than you anticipated
  • You must provide additional information for your tax return
  • You must answer a question about information on your tax return
  • The processing of your return has been delayed

Carefully read through the notice to learn the reasoning behind the notice and next steps to take.

Take appropriate action

Often the only action you must take after receiving a notice is to respond in a timely manner. In some situations, the notice may not even require a response. Carefully read through to understand any action you must take.

Do not ignore the notice. If you disagree with the letter, you may contest it in a written response. The IRS advises sending a letter to the appropriate address indicated on your notice with supporting documents or other evidence. Allow up to 30 days for a response back.

Keep documentation of the notice

Even if the notice seems relatively insignificant, keep a copy of it along with your tax records from the year. If you responded to the IRS, also keep a copy of your correspondence with the records.

Verify whether the notice is from the IRS

Unfortunately, scammers target individuals across Detroit, Michigan and the rest of the country. When the IRS contacts you, look out for key signs that it may be fraudulent. The IRS typically only contacts individuals via notices in the mail. If you receive a phone call, email, social media message or in-person visit, refrain from providing confidential information until you can verify the request is legitimate.

Receiving contact from the IRS does not have to be nerve-wracking. Keep a clear head, carefully read the notice and promptly respond if necessary.