Seeing a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in your mailbox might make your heart skip a beat. Even though you always pay your taxes on time and believe you have paid them in full, a letter from the IRS is often the sign that there has been an issue.
If you open your mail, only to discover that the IRS has sent you a warning notice about a potential lien or levy because of an alleged shortfall in your tax payments, you may feel panicked. However, you have rights when the IRS alleges that you have not met your income tax obligations.
Those rights include the right to due process. If you disagree with the amount that the IRS claims you owe, you can potentially initiate a review process to protect yourself and your finances from IRS actions.
The IRS makes mistakes about taxes all the time
Although they may be the federal authority tasked with tracking income information and collecting the appropriate amount of tax from both individuals and businesses, the IRS frequently makes mistakes in its enforcement of tax law.
For example, a mistake on tax paperwork from an employer or an investment brokerage where you have an account might lead to the IRS wrongfully assuming that you have not fully paid your taxes. Only through careful review of the IRS’s information and your own financial records can you pinpoint the source of the alleged shortfall, counter that claim with your own evidence and potentially avoid a levy or lien against your assets.
You don’t have to handle IRS issues alone
Although an underpayment of taxes leading to a lien or levy isn’t necessarily a criminal matter, it can easily turn into one. You have the right to partner with an attorney when dealing with the IRS. You may also need the assistance of an accountant. The accountant who helped prepare your taxes should help. A forensic accountant might help you make sense of discrepancies between your records in those of the IRS.
Understanding that you have the right to challenge the IRS’s claim and the right to get help with that process could lead to a successful appeal and the protection of your property.