Can I deal with the IRS on my own?


Q. My mother got a letter from the IRS saying she owes back taxes and penalties and interest. Is this something I can take on without a lawyer or CPA?
— Unsure

A. It depends.

The tax notice was sent to your mom because there is a discrepancy between the amounts reported to the IRS by others and the amounts that were included in her tax return, said Gail Rosen, a Martinsville-based certified public accountant.

The IRS could be correct or it could be wrong.

Rosen said you must read the details on the notice to see if you understand the difference.

“If you think that you are correct, documentation should be submitted to support your position,” she said. “If you agree that your mother does owe money, I suggest that you pay what is owed, plus interest and ask for a penalty abatement.”

Either way, you need to respond to the IRS per the directions in the notice.

Rosen said it’s best to send all responses to the IRS certified mail, return receipt requested, and keep a copy of what you sent for your records.

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This story was originally published on July 30, 2019. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.

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