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Getting Noticed by the IRS


Normally, it is nice to be noticed. For example, if I forget our anniversary or a family member birthday, I do get reminded. I also love when people notice my blogs and comment on them.

However, sometimes being noticed isn’t so great especially when Congress wants IRS to “notice” more taxpayers. Generally, this only requires the IRS to notify you at “your last known address” for any notification or notice. This is a critical point that everyone should know about,and is found in about 20 different Code sections. Thus, if IRS sends you a notice to the address listed in their Master File database, they have met their notification requirement even if you haven’t lived there for twenty years. While there are some exceptions, they are few and far between that would require the IRS to go beyond what is in their database as a recent tax court decision shows.

Mr. and Mrs. Gregory filed their 2014 tax return from an address in Jersey City, NJ. The return was selected for examination, and the IRS issued a Notice of Delinquency (which is effectively a bill) in 2016. However, in the meantime, the Gregorys moved to a new address. What made this case interesting is that the Gregorys notified IRS using two different forms:

  • First they showed their new address on a new power of attorney form (IRS Form 2848) in 2015.
  • Secondly, they put their new address on an extension to file form (IRS Form 4868). This is something that I would bet many of you would also do or also have done.

Sadly, the Tax Court said that neither form would put IRS on notice that the Gregorys moved and that IRS would need to change the address for them found on IRS’s database. Thus, by the time the Gregorys found out about their notice of deficiency, it was too late for them to contest it.

The Tax Court noted that in order for IRS to be on notice of the new address, you have to sent them “clear and concise notification” of a different address.

The problem is that IRS has a specific form to notify them of address change, IRS Form 8822, which is their “Change of Address Form.” Both Forms 2848 and 4868 are NOT good enough returns to properly notify IRS for a change of address and are not deemed “clear and concise notification.”

One possible alternative to using IRS Form 8822 is to attach a letter to the tax return extension (IRS Form 2848) that says, “Please use our new address for all future communications.” That could have been deemed clear and concise notification.

Sandy’s elaboration: If you are going to go through this trouble of notifying IRS, you might as well file the right form (IRS Form 8822 ” Notice of Change of Address”) and attach it to any extension.

Bottom line: While getting noticed by the IRS isn’t as fun or desirable as getting noticed by a handsome suitor or a beautiful woman at a dance, it can be equally important to your happiness. So be sure to follow the proper procedure and file the proper form of notifying IRS in case of a change of address. You will make your life less taxing.

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