Another Letter from the I.R.S. Today

Another letter from the IRS . No signature required this time. It appears to be a generic form letter, and has probably the highest desperation-to-information ratio of any I’ve yet received.

The first of the three pages is a request, worded as a command, to “Provide Us With Your Telephone Numbers So We May Contact You” (yes, with every word capitalized), “Enclose your payment, tax returns or other correspondence and return with this cover sheet,” and “Fold this cover sheet so our address appears in the window of the enclosed envelope.”

Page two is the meat, such as it is:

Please Call Us About Your Overdue Taxes or Tax Returns

We have no record that you responded to our previous notices. As a result, your account has been assigned to this office for enforcement action, which could include seizing your wages or property. It's important that we hear from you within 10 days from the date of this letter.

IF YOU AREN'T ABLE TO PAY YOUR OVERDUE AMOUNT IN FULL, please call the telephone number listed above. Be ready to tell us what your monthly income and expenses are so we can help you arrange a payment plan.

IF YOU CAN FILE YOUR TAX RETURN WITH FULL PAYMENT, mail it to reach us within 10 days from the date of this letter. To help us apply your payment correctly, write your taxpayer identifying number and tax period on your check or money order and make it payable to the United States Treasury. Please send us your tax return and payment along with the enclosed return cover sheet in the envelope provided. Keep this letter for your records.

IF YOU CAN'T FILE YOUR TAX RETURN WITHIN 10 DAYS, please call us at the telephone number listed above. To help us determine if you need to file, be ready to provide us with your filing information. For an individual return, this should include your income, filing status, and total federal taxes withheld. For a business return, this should include wages paid, number of employees, and Federal Tax Deposits (FTD) made for payroll.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE SOMEONE ELSE to call us for you, we must have a signed statement from you allowing us to disclose your tax information to this person. You should make your statement on Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, which you can get from any IRS office or you can download a copy from the IRS web site ( You must send us a copy of the completed form before your representative calls.

This letter is signed by “Operations Manager, Automated Collection System” and is identified as a “Letter 2050” (part of the LT-16 packet).

Page three is just an explanation of how they calculate late payment penalties and interest, which is nothing new. Nowhere in the letter do they show the actual amount of what they’d like me to pay them or how much they’re charging me in penalties and interest, as they have in previous letters.

For previous installments in the nasty-letters-from-the-IRS series, see:

The IRS isn’t the only federal agency that takes money from people. A few days ago, the Erie Peace Initiative blog published the statements of six war protesters who refused to pay the $500 fines a judge had given them after they were convicted for their roles in a federal building blockade. For this refusal, they were sentenced to five days imprisonment.