CP 88 - Delinquent Return Refund Hold
Why You Got This IRS Notice
You got an IRS Notice CP 88 in the mail because the IRS is holding your tax refund because you have failed to file a return in previous years. The IRS may also hold your current year tax refund if you failed to provide them an explanation on why the previous return was not file, even if you were correct in not filing it.
How to Resolve This Tax Problem
First things first: you must file the missing tax return(s) as soon as possible. More often than not, simply filing a prior year return will take care of the problem and the IRS will release your tax refund to you. As mentioned above, even if you did not need to file in the past, you must provide the IRS with a detailed explanation why. This explanation can be mailed to the IRS or sent electronically. If you are having trouble getting started, you can call the IRS at the number listed on the top of your notice. Depending on how many previous returns you need to file to get current with the IRS, you may want to arrange for a tax professional to process your returns for you. These representative can generally do this quickly and for a minimum fee.
CP 90/CP 297 Final Notice - Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing
Why You Got This IRS Notice
You received IRS Notice CP 90 or CP 297 because you have an outstanding IRS tax debt and the IRS is about to issue a levy against your property and/or any federal payments due to you. Examples of such payments include contractor/vendor payments, OPM retirement benefits, SSA benefits, your salary, or employee travel advances or reimbursements. Your private property such as real estate, automobiles, business assets, bank accounts, wages, commissions, and other income are also subject to levy. This notice is your final warning from the IRS to get current and resolve your tax problem or face the consequences. This is their way of telling you they will collect from you one way or another, even if they have to seize your property to do so. The notice is also telling you that in addition, the IRS may file a Federal Tax Lien if they have not already done so.
How You Can Fix This Tax Problem
We understand this is an extremely stressful situation and you may feel like there is nothing you can do. The natural tendency is to do nothing and to simply let the government levy your property. This is not in your best interest. Please take action immediately, because there are some simple actions you can take to stop the levy and begin the process of resolution with the IRS. There is always a solution.
If You Can Pay the Tax Debt
If you have the ability to pay off the tax debt, your best alternative is to pay the IRS what you owe immediately. This will stop the levy, stop the penalties and interest fees, and stop the harassment. Pay the amount due as shown on the notice. Mail your payment in the envelope the IRS sent you and enclose a copy of the letter you received so that the IRS correctly credits your account. Make a copy of the check or money order and the letter for your records. You can also pay electronically or over the phone by calling the IRS number listed at the top of the notice.
If You Can Not Pay the Tax Debt
Many times people can't pay what they owe, which is how they got in the situation in the first place. If you find yourself with this notice and do not have the ability to pay off your tax debt, your best alternative may be to call a tax professional to get some tax help. These representatives can legally step between you and the IRS to negotiate and settle with the IRS on your behalf. There are a number of alternative payment options that may be available to you that these tax professionals know about and use on a daily basis. There may be some immediate steps that can be taken to give you more time, or depending on your situation the IRS may agree to accept less than you owe. It all depends on your unique situation and circumstances, which is why many firms offer free consultations so that they can learn about your tax problem before outlining a plan of action. A few common solutions include entering into an installment agreement or proposing an offer in compromise.
Time is Running Out
Please take action and call the IRS, a tax professional, or pay your balance due immediately. You have 30 days from the date printed on the notice to contact the IRS before they issue a levy. If you don't pay or make arrangements to pay, as mentioned before the IRS has several options available to collect the money. One option not discussed above is to garnish your wages, which means the IRS will take money out of your paycheck each week automatically in order to receive payment.
If You Do Not Agree with the Notice
If the notice catches you off guard and you do think it is wrong, you or your tax representative must call the IRS immediately to begin the process of explaining the situation and coming to a resolution of the matter. A common reason you may feel this way is if you have already paid or arranged for an installment agreement. If after contacting the IRS you still do not agree with the proposed action the IRS comes up with, you have the right to file an Appeals Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing request. Your request for a CDP hearing must be filed within 30 days of this notice for full CDP rights. Again, the services of a reputable tax professional can go a long way in resolving your tax matter, because they know the various options available and are familiar with dealing with the IRS.
CP 297A Notice of Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing
Why You Got this IRS Notice
The root cause of why you received IRS Notice CP 297A is because you have an outstanding tax debt that has been unpaid for a long time. Specifically, the notice is telling you that the IRS issued a levy against any federal payments due to you, such as certain payments, retirement benefits, or your salary. The levy could also apply to private property or financial assets you hold, like your savings or checking account. This notice is slightly different than CP 297 in that the IRS issued the levy without giving you an opportunity for a hearing since you previously requested a hearing within the last 2 years.
How to Resolve this Tax Problem
There are several options available to you, and depending on your particular circumstances you should carefully select the best way for you personally to reach a tax resolution with the IRS. A tax professional can help fix your tax problem by listening to the details of your unique situation and then taking action with the IRS on your behalf. Considering the severity of this issue and the fact that your property or accounts are about to be levied by the IRS, seeking tax representation may be the best option especially if you do not have the time or expertise to quickly resolve your tax problem.
One of the options you have available to you is to file a Form 12153, Request for a Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing, to appeal the levy action. If you have already paid your tax debt, reached out to a tax representative for tax help, or arranged for an installment agreement, you should make sure your account reflects this. The appeals process can be time consuming, but may be the best option if you feel like the tax debt you owe is incorrect. You have 30 days from the date of the notice to file a Form 12153, so act quickly.
Another path to resolution with the IRS is to pay in full the amount due as shown on the notice. The IRS makes this option the easiest one, since it is in their best interest to collect outstanding tax debts from taxpayers quickly and in full. If you have the ability to do this and agree with amount of the tax debt reflected in the notice, then this is the most advisable course of action. Paying off your debt will stop the late fees and penalties from accumulating and will end the harassing letters from the IRS.
If you find yourself in a situation where you can't pay the whole amount immediately, call the IRS or a tax professional to make alternative arrangements to satisfy your tax account. This may include settling your tax debt for less than you owe by entering into an installment agreement or proposing an Offer in Compromise with the IRS. If you don't pay or make arrangements to pay, as discussed above the IRS may levy your real estate, automobiles, business assets, bank accounts, and other income.
CP 91 Final Notice Before Levy on Social Security Benefits
Why You Got this IRS Notice
IRS Notice CP 91 is telling you that because of an outstanding tax debt on your tax account, the IRS is planning to levy against 15% of your Social Security benefits. You have 30 days from the date printed on the notice to resolve this tax problem by seeking professional tax help or by working directly with the IRS yourself. After 30 days, the IRS may actually levy a part of your Social Security benefits.
How to Resolve this Tax Problem
Similar to a majority of tax problems, this situation can be resolved if you pay the amount due as shown on the notice. The IRS should have included an envelope with you notice so that you can send them a check or money order. If you pay off you tax debt in this manner, be sure to enclose a copy of the notice the IRS sent you to make sure they correctly credit your account. If you can't pay the whole amount now, call a tax professional or the IRS directly to make alternative arrangements to get some tax help. This may include entering into an installment agreement or proposing an offer in compromise. Remember that if you don't pay or make arrangements to pay, the IRS will issue a levy against your Social Security benefits to collect the money.
If you have any questions or do not agree with the notice, call your tax representative to get a detailed explanation of why you received the notice and what your options are to resolve this tax matter. Another option is to call the IRS at the telephone number provided on your notice and try to fix your tax problem directly with an IRS Agent. Do not call the Social Security Administration. If you do not agree with the proposed action, you have the right to request an appeal under the Collection Appeals Program (CAP) or you may be entitled to an Appeals hearing. Your request must be filed within 30 days of the notice, and a tax professional can walk you through this process and even represent your case on your behalf to the IRS. If you have already paid or arranged for an installment agreement, you should still notify your tax professional and the IRS to make sure your account is current.
CP 161 Request for Payment or Notice of Unpaid Balance, Balance Due
What this IRS Notice is Telling You
You have received IRS Notice CP 161 because you have an outstanding IRS tax debt. The IRS is making you aware of this situation and is making a request to you that you timely pay your tax bill. Please note that the notice is not a math error notice but rather it shows you the amount of underpaid tax according to IRS records. In this sense the notice is similar to when you go to the bank and check your checking account or savings account balance to see what amount is in your account. The middle section of the notice shows the tax you reported on the return, the underpayment amount, and the credits the IRS applied.
How to Fix this Tax Problem
Often times the issues that caused you to receive an IRS Notice CP 161 can be taken care of quickly. The most important thing to remember is that the IRS needs a response from you or your tax representative as soon as possible so that the tax problem can be resolved.
Speak with a Tax Representative or Begin an Investigation
A good first step to begin your investigation is to check the list of payments the IRS applied to your account. Frequently a misapplied payment that you had made previously is the reason for the balance due. If that's the case, or if the amount of your payment differs from the one the IRS shows on the notice, you need to bring this to the attention of a tax professional or call the IRS so that they can look for it in their records.
If you decide to call the IRS directly to try to resolve the issue of a misapplied payment, have your canceled check handy because the IRS may ask you to read the encoding information that's printed on the back of most checks. The IRS should record the information and suspend any collection activity while they look for it. If they still can't find the payment, the IRS should send you a letter asking for a clear photocopy of both sides of the canceled check.
If the amount of your payment doesn't agree with amount shown on the notice, you can try sending the IRS a photocopy of both sides of the canceled check along with a copy of your bank statement showing the amount that was deducted from your account. This may take more time than finding a missing payment, but just like in that situation, IRS should suspend all collection activity until your tax issue is resolved.
Sometimes the problem can be not due to an issue with one of your payments, but rather from the total tax the IRS is claiming that you owe. If the notice shows a total tax amount that's different from the tax you reported, try to call the IRS and let them know about the situation. A tax representative can quickly step in as well if you are not getting the issue resolved by simply calling the number listed at the top of the notice. If you used a photocopy of a return you previously filed, the IRS may have processed it to the wrong account. The IRS processes a huge number of returns all throughout the year, and sometimes they process a return in a wrong tax period or give credit to the wrong taxpayer.
Reaching a Tax Solution with the IRS
If the IRS finds the missing or misapplied payment then they will apply it to your account and remove or reduce any penalties and interest caused by the underpayment. However, if the payments shown in your records agree with the amounts listed on CP 161, the IRS insists you should pay the total amount due by the date shown on the notice. You see, in a way you are held hostage to whatever the IRS records say because more often than not, those records are correct. There are sometimes mistakes, however. If you think that the IRS records themselves are incorrect, then you should speak with a tax professional to learn about your options on how to proceed.
If you don't pay the amount due by that date, the IRS will charge you additional penalties and interest. If you can't pay the amount due in full at the moment, then you may be able to request an installment agreement that allows you to pay what you owe in smaller, more manageable amounts. There are several other options available depending on your particular situation, and a tax professional can provide insight, make recommendations, and take action with the IRS on your behalf.
CP 521 Installment Agreement Reminder Notice
Why this Notice is Important
IRS Notice CP 521 contains important information about the installment agreement that you previously set up with the IRS. Specifically, the notice is telling you that your monthly installment agreement payment is due to the IRS on the specific date indicated. The exact amount of this monthly payment is also given in the notice.
What You Need to Do
You need to simply follow the instructions given in the letter. Primarily this means you need to start making arrangements to pay the amount due as shown on the notice. These payments are recurring, which means you will need to remember to make the payment on time each month, or you will be hit with late fees and interest. One way you can do this is to mail the IRS your payment in the envelope provided. Your tax professional can also provide help by arranging for these tax payments to be automatically made for you each month from the account of your choice.
If You Miss an Installment Agreement Payment
If you make your payment late or don't pay it at all, the IRS may subject you to additional fees for re-establishing your installment agreement. The IRS has already met you half way by agreeing to your installment agreement, and so in general, they are not very forgiving if you miss an installment agreement payment. If you don't make your scheduled payment, you will be subject to levies on your wages or bank accounts in addition to federal tax liens being filed against your property or rights to your property. The lien gives the IRS a legal claim to your property as security or payment for your tax debt.
If you find yourself in this position, call a tax professional to work on your behalf with the IRS to see what further arrangements can be done. You still have options available, but at this point it is advisable to seek a tax representative to negotiate with the IRS on your behalf. If you fail to take action immediately, you may soon find the next notice, CP 523, in your mailbox.
CP 523 Notice of Default on Installment Agreement
Why You Got this IRS Notice
You got this notice because of major payment problems connected with your installment agreement with the IRS. This notice is informing you that the IRS intends to terminate your installment agreement and that they may even issue a levy against your wages and/or bank accounts. Each IRS Notice CP 523 is unique to each taxpayer's situation, so the notice tells you the specific reason for this action in your case. There are a number of possible reasons for why you could have received this notification, including missing a payment, having a new balance due, or not filing your tax return.
Actions to Resolve this Tax Problem
The IRS is surprisingly passive in this situation: their official advice is to contact them immediately at the number printed at the top of the notice and to let them know what you will do to correct the problem. The problem is, oftentimes you don't know what to do or even actually how you got in this situation. To make matters worse, you only have 30 days from the date printed on the notice to contact the IRS and begin trying to resolve the issue. This can be an extremely stressful situation.
There are options available and you need to move quickly. You may speak with a tax professional to explain the situation and to ask for his or her representation on your behalf with the IRS. In this way you can arrange for an experienced tax professional to provide the expertise and time to work with the IRS in the most effective manner to resolve your tax problem and help you pay off your tax debt. You can also chose to call the IRS directly and begin the process with them on what steps you must take to satisfy their demands. The last thing you want to do is to freeze and do nothing, because having your property levied or you wages garnished by the IRS will most probably be the result.
If you do not agree with the reason that the IRS is canceling your installment agreement, contact your tax professional or an IRS Agent to discuss it. You have the right to file an appeal, which you can either do yourself with the IRS or have a tax professional assist you with. If you have already taken a corrective action mentioned above and you thought your installment agreement was being reinstated, you should call the IRS to make sure your installment agreement actually was reinstated.