June and July- summer travels, beach time, relaxation.... and the time when the IRS begins sending out letters to taxpayers! There are a host of letters that are sent, including tax adjustment letters (they say you owe more money or less), inquiry and examination letters requesting more information for your return, and many more. The letters often feel very scary for taxpayers, and can put a serious dent in your vacation mindset.
First things first, to quote the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: DON'T PANIC.
Secondly, don't just blindly pay whatever your notice says, nor should you toss it in the trash, stuff in under a pile a papers for later or just ignore it. Often these letters have a requirement that you respond within 30 days. Take that deadline seriously. Which means: send this document to your accountant ASAP so some researching can happen.
In addition to sending this to your accountant, you can help your accountant out with obtaining your transcripts online. You can create an IRS account online that shows you all account activity, payments you've made, items posted to your account and taxes filed. You can do that here: https://www.irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account. Alternatively, you can provide written authorization to your accountant to access your account. This information will be necessary to help resolve the issues.
Tax returns are adjusted for a variety of reasons. It could be that one of your brokerage accounts had an adjustment or correction, that you were missing a document that didn't get filed on the return or didn't match the IRS records, that the IRS wants more information regarding a tax credit you are claiming, or that the amounts of estimated tax payments you made do not match their records.
Because there are so many reasons, it is important to ask for help in resolving it. In some cases, your accountant may refer you out to a tax resolution specialist. A specialist can be very helpful in that their practice is fully focused on tax resolution so they have the time and knowledge to dedicate to resolving your tax issue that your regular accountant may not have.
So remember: stay calm, take a deep breath, and act quickly