What Happens If Never Received IRS Letter?

Its not uncommon during tax season for tax payers waiting for a delayed refund payment to be surprised that the delay was due to the fact that they never responded to one or more IRS letters mailed to them.

IRS letters, or correspondence notices, detail any actions or adjustments the agency has taken on your tax filing and provides specific numbers to appeal, get more details or resolve issues related to your return and refund.

Not all letters from the IRS are bad or require specific action. Some can just be informational about an automatic adjustment the IRS has mad. However if action is needed from the taxpayer, you should promptly respond.

Taking action per instructions in the letter and/or calling the official IRS number generally saves you from having to go to an IRS office in person or file an amended return.

How do you know if your refund is delayed because of a failure to respond?

If it has been more than 21 days and you have no update on Where is My Refund (WMR), IRS2Go app or via your tax transcript, may taxpayers call the IRS.

This is when they may realize that their refund payment was held up due to a failure to respond to an IRS letter asking for further information or to undertake additional tax return filing or identity verification.

….. I was told to by the IRS since my 21 days have already passed and apparently two letters were sent out, but I’ve never received them…..

IRS Letter or Notice

What to do if I didn’t get my IRS letter?

But if you have not received a letter or cannot see details in your IRS account, despite having being told one was sent by an IRS agent, you will need to take action asap. This assumes you provided your correct address in your latest filing.

If you’ve lost your notice, you call the following general IRS number for help : Individual taxpayers: 800-829-1040 and for business taxpayers the number is 800-829-4933.

However if you believe that you have been a victim of identity theft, i.e. a fake address on file for you, call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245 right away so they can take steps to secure your tax account and match your SSN or ITIN.

They will take you through a series of identity verification checks based on records they have on you, which are mainly based on past filings. If they cannot fully verify your identity or address, you will like to have to go to one of their offices in-person around the country.

Given over 150 millions returns are e-filed annually and with lots of stimulus related tax credits on offer (free government money) there has been a lot of fraud.

If the above method does not work and you are stuck in a never ending loop with the IRS You can call a tax advocate for help if this does not resolve your issue

Seeing if you got a letter via your IRS account or transcript (code 971)

You can also see if the IRS issued you a notice via your tax transcript, assuming you can access it via your IRS account.

Look for codes on tax transcript, which show what is/has happened with your tax return processing, reasons for potential delays, when a refund will be paid or why it is delayed.

Code 971 Notice Issued on Tax Transcript

The code for letter will be 971 – Notice Issued. This doesn’t always mean a physical letter is sent, but is a good indication that the IRS has performed some form on action on your return and may have send you a letter.

Generally its the other codes, like 570 or 810, that indicate your return is held up for further processing and may need some action from the tax payer.

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2 thoughts on “What Happens If Never Received IRS Letter?”

  1. Mom passed away Feb 8, 2023. I filed her taxes through United way per attorney advice. This was in March 2023. (Now May 30th) Her IRS says still being processed. When I requested a transcript it says it’s empty. I’ve received no correspondence other than the transcript I requested. We filed the 1310 form I believe as I’m her representative for her affairs. Not sure what to do next. This is the only thing left from her affairs. Received the state refund which a mistake was made where I had to send in more info and her refund was more than was expected. I assume maybe the same error they made is the hold up? How long should I wait to notify them?


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