The Proper Way to Address a Letter to the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service sends correspondence for a variety of reasons. When you receive an IRS notice that requires a response, important information about what you need to send and a mailing address is included. The IRS is a large organization with many offices. Each office processes different types of information and in most cases your letter must be sent to an address that differs from the location where you normally send your tax return. If you send your letter to an address not provided with your notice, the IRS may take longer to process your response.

Information on Your Notice

Your notice contains information you’ll need to draft a proper response to the IRS. Most IRS notices reserve the bottom third of the letter for you to tear off and enclose in an envelope provided with your notice. The voucher lists other information the IRS uses to process your response, so send the voucher with your correspondence if you still have your notice. If you don’t have the notice, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and ask for the address to which you must send your letter. An IRS agent will look at your account to see which notice you received and give you the correct mailing address.

Format Your Letter

The format of your response letter should look neat and approach the subject of your response. In the upper left corner, write the date and the IRS address to which you are sending your correspondence. Create a subject line with the letters “Re:” followed by your IRS notice number. You will see your IRS notice number in the upper right corner of the letter. Often, the notice number begins with CP or LP. On the second line below the subject line, write your Social Security number and name. If the notice concerns your business, write the name and EIN of your company.

Write the Body

The body of your letter is the meat of your correspondence. You’ll use this section to explain your response to the notice. Use as much detail as possible to describe your position. Include dates of circumstances when necessary and attach any additional documents that support your story. Avoid writing your response directly on the notice sheet, unless the IRS specifically provides a space for your response and directs you to use that area.

Mail the Letter

If you use an envelope provided by the IRS, place the address from your notice voucher behind the envelope window. If you aren’t using this type of envelope, write the IRS address on your own envelope. Most IRS addresses contain only a city, state and nine-digit zip code, so don’t be worried if there isn’t a street address listed. However, do use the whole nine-digit zip code as the last four numbers direct your mail to the right place. If the IRS requires your response by a particular date, mail your letter from a post office and purchase a certified mail receipt. This receipt is postmarked and proves the date you sent your letter. Keep this receipt with your records in case the IRS challenges the date of your response.