Oxnard, CA asked in Tax Law for California

Q: We owed the IRS $1250 for 2017. I sent an amended return with a check. They keep demanding a payment of about $1250.

They cashed the check for $202 last March, but keep sending letters that don't respond to questions I ask, and provide no justification of the amount they're demanding. Specifically, the tax rate on the 2017 return was about 10%. The corrected tax they claim would use a rate of about 93% on the additional income. It seems like a scam. They keep asking us to sign a consent agreement that we owe the amount they ask for without any calculations.

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3 Lawyer Answers

A: I'd suggest calling into customer service directly. https://www.irs.gov/help/telephone-assistance

Ask them what's going on. There are fake notice letters out there, but if you're mailing automated collections they don't always respond. You'll likely hear from a revenue officer eventually.

Or hire a professional to resolve it. I understand that can be expensive but you may be able to get a small flat fee or it may be worth a few bucks to just have a tax attorney review the situation and tell you what's going on; or that it's a scam and to ignore it.

A: Since this problem is not unique to Florida--where I practice law--I will offer you the same advice I have offered to all of my Florida clients--including my grown children--if or when they are ever involved in a dispute over back taxes owed to the IRS: Do NOT ever try to fight with the IRS--about anything. Why? Because you cannot win--and because the penalties and interest will continue to increase the original amount owed to a point where you may never get away.

Linda Simmons Campbell
Linda Simmons Campbell
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Burlington, CT

A: Try calling your local taxpayer advocate to see if they can help. They should be able to explain what is going on. Here is a link to their website https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/contact-us

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