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IRS: Letters sent from the IRS explained

Sometimes the IRS will send letters to taxpayers in order to notify them of an adjustment or payment due.

IRS envelope from a letter sent with the American flag

This tax season, you may see more letters than you’re used to, but don’t be alarmed.

Any letter you get will have the reason with directions on how resolve the issue, if there is one.

If you agree with anything stated in the letter, you do not need to contact the agency.

You can verify if the letter is real by contacting the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.


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What reasons would the IRS send a letter?

There are various reasons for them to send you a letter in the mail, but here are a few.

  • You have a balance owed
  • You’re due a bigger or smaller refund
  • The IRS has a question regarding your tax return
  • The IRS needs to verify your identity
  • They need more information from you
  • They adjusted your return
  • There are delays you need to be aware of regarding your tax return


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What to do if you get a letter

Read the letter thoroughly, and make sure you understand its contents. These are important details.

If you’re required to respond, be sure you do as soon as possible.

There are two reasons you want to reply by the date they ask.

First, you do not want to incur interest or penalty charges.

If you end up not agreeing with the details of the letter, you will lose your right to appeal the decision if you wait too long to respond.

Sometimes the letter is sent to settle a balance due. If you do owe this money, it’s a good idea to pay as much as you can at that moment.

Even if you can’t pay the entire amount, it’s best to pay part of it.

You can do this online as well as apply for an Online Payment Agreement or Offer in Compromise.

Keep any letter sent to you with your tax records.

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Letters sent by the IRS

Letter 6416 or 6416-A

This letter is the Advance Child Tax Credit Outreach Letter.

This was mailed in June of 2021 and estimated the amounts taxpayers could get in advanced payments.

Letter 6417

This letter lets taxpayers know about changes to the 2021 Child Tax Credit and how it impacts families with kids under 18.

President Joe Biden signed this letter. It came on White House letterhead.

It went specifically to families that could likely expect that advanced payments for the child tax credit in 2021.


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Letter 6419

This letter details the exact amount taxpayers were paid for their 2021 advanced child tax credit payments.

It will help families understand what they were already paid and how much they can now claim as a credit on their return.

If you received advanced credits, you will need to file a tax return.

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