If the Internal Revenue Service is posting videos on YouTube, it certainly means that we are now truly and forever locked into the digital age. This being said, I like what it is that the IRS is doing with its video series. They recently posted the video below to help people who have received a notice from the IRS. I really believe that the IRS believes that they are helping. This is why I like this video.
The video is set in the context of a letter that asserts an additional tax debt. So I will discuss it in this context.
The video suggests that if an IRS notice asserts that you owe additional tax, you should call to set up a payment plan to pay off that tax. However, things are rarely as simple as the video makes it seem. The government does (from time to time) get it wrong. Yet, the solution suggested in the video? Call to set up arrangements to pay the tax.
Aside from the petty comment I could make about spending 30 minutes on hold before getting through to someone that could help you, you may not actually get through to someone that can, in fact, help. It is most likely that you will end up discussing the IRS notice with someone whose job it is to set up a payment plan. Yet, if you don't owe the tax, talking to these people may not get you where you need to go.
The solution? Don't take a notice from the IRS as the gospel. The assertions in the notice could be wrong. The IRS will even admit this much. It is not unusual for them to send a notice based on less than all of the information. Quite simply, you are in a much better position to know the whole story than the IRS. It is for this reason that you should think about what the notice says. Consider the situation as a whole and decide whether a payment plan is appropriate or whether the IRS' information needs to be corrected. Who knows, with the complete information, the tax problem might go away completely.
There is one bit of advice in the video that I believe everyone should follow - If you get a notice from the IRS, DO NOT IGNORE IT.