If the IRS accepts your tax return as originally filed, you’re done. If it proposes changes, a few things can happen.
If the IRS doesn't accept your documentation, you’ll get a letter explaining any proposed changes to your tax return.
Contact the IRS at the number shown on the letter, if you don’t understand the changes. If you do understand them, decide if you agree or disagree with some or all of the changes.
If you agree with all of the proposed changes:
- Sign the agreement page of the letter.
- If you owe any additional tax, penalties, and interest, you should pay it as soon as possible, so the IRS won’t charge you any more interest. (If you can’t afford to pay the complete amount, contact the IRS to discuss payment options, or see more information on Payment Plans.
- If the proposed changes result in a refund, you can generally expect to receive it in six to eight weeks provided there are no other unpaid tax obligations or other debts the IRS collects.
If you don’t agree with some or all of the proposed changes:
- Don't sign the agreement.
- Respond to the IRS by the due date on the letter. This could include sending additional documentation or an explanation to support your position.
- If you need more time to submit your response, call the number on letter before the due date to ask for additional time.
If the IRS's examiner still proposes changes to your return, you can:
- Request an informal conference with the examiner’s manager prior to the response date in the letter.
- Request a conference with the Office of Appeals prior to the date in the letter. Make this request in writing. Include your reasons for disagreeing with the IRS.
If you don’t respond by the due dates on the letters, the IRS may disallow what you claimed on your return and issue a Statutory Notice of Deficiency. This is a legal notice that the IRS is proposing an additional deficiency (balance due). It gives you 90 days (150 days if addressed to you outside the United States) to petition the United States Tax Court (Tax Court) for review of your case. Once you petition the Tax Court, if you haven't already had a conference with the IRS Office of Appeals, the IRS Office of Chief Counsel may forward your case to Appeals for a conference. Both the Office of Appeals and the Tax Court are generally “prepayment forums” which means you can dispute the proposed adjustment before the IRS assesses or requires you to pay any additional tax.
The 90-day or 150-day deadline to file a petition in Tax Court can't be extended. If you miss the deadline, you won't be able to have a judge review your case without first paying the amount due. The 90 or 150 days doesn't include as the last day a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday in the District of Columbia.
There are fees to petition to the Tax Court. If you can’t afford to pay the filing fees, you can ask for a waiver.