- Days left
The Internal Revenue Service has announced a new warning letter it will be sending to taxpayers. It's replacing a letter than used to go out which suggested changes to income, deductions and credits. The new letter will simply tell taxpayers to check their tax returns, and if they think they've made a mistake, they should file an amended tax return.

With the old letters, the IRS calculated an amount due and included that with the notice. Now, no such estimate of taxes due will be calculated. The IRS computers are still doing the same thing they did before, which was to match tax return information against documentation received from outside sources, such as W-2s, 1099s, and K-1s. The difference is that the IRS will no longer be telling taxpayers what differences have been identified.

It seems a little counterproductive to just send taxpayers letters that hint that they've done something wrong. The old letters seem much more useful in that they identified the actual reason for sending the letter -- we think you've made a mistake and here is what it is. Now, taxpayers are instead told the IRS thinks they may have made a mistake, but the taxpayer is left to guess at what the error might be.

How does this new letter enhance the tax collection process? I have no idea. I can't imagine that it helps at all. The tax code in the United States is incredibly complicated, and playing an additional guessing game with taxpayers seems to be a waste of time. The IRS has said that they are going to test the new letters and see if they result in additional collection of taxes. If they work, their use will be expanded.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

A Comparative Look at State Taxes

Ever wondered which state has the highest gas tax or the lowest overall tax burden? Interact with the infographic below to compare income tax, property tax, and other taxes by state.

8 Things You Think Are Tax Deductible That Aren't

There?s a fine line between looking to save money on your taxes and taking deductions that will raise eyebrows at the Internal Revenue Service. Some taxpayers are tripped up by expenses that they assume are tax deductions, but don?t qualify under IRS guidelines. Here are a dozen items that can lead to unpleasant surprises in case of an audit.

9 Things You Didn?t Know Were Tax Deductions

Few realizations are more painful than realizing that you forgot to include a tax deduction that would have lowered your tax bill or increased your tax refund on your tax return. Here are some tax deductions that you shouldn't overlook.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum