IRS notices can look scary, but you shouldn’t stress out if you receive one. The IRS sends notices for a variety of reasons, and as long as you respond as directed, there’s no cause for alarm. In its Tax Tips newsletter, the agency offers insight into its notices, and why there’s no need to panic. 

  • Notices are typically about a specific issue on your federal tax return or tax account—requesting additional information, notifying you of a payment owed, or telling you about changes to your account. 
  • If you need to take action on the notice, it will give you specific instructions on what you need to do. 
  • If a notice states that the IRS has made a change or correction to your tax return, review the information and compare it with your original return.
  • If you agree with the notice, you shouldn’t need to reply unless it says that you need to send information or make a payment.
  • If you don’t agree with the notice, you will need to respond, explaining why you disagree. Be sure to include the information and documents you want the IRS to consider. Mail your reply with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice to the address shown in the upper left-hand corner of the notice.
  • The majority of notices don’t require that you call or visit an IRS office. But if you have questions, you can the number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice.
  • Keep copies of any notices you receive with your other tax records.
  • Be aware that the IRS only sends letters and notices by mail. If you receive an email or contact on social media asking for information, it’s someone posing as the IRS, probably attempting to phish or scam. 

If you’d like to learn more about IRS notices, you can read additional information on the Responding to a Notice page on the website. Also check out Publication 594.