Tax Planning/Letter from IRS


Hi Owen
My wife received a letter from IRS Kansas City, MO office. It reads, ‘thank you for your correspondence of October 16, 2015. We’re sending your correspondence to our Philadelphia, PA office. Someone will contact you within 60 days’. It references ALL tax periods 2006 to 2014, Form 1040 CIVPEN.  

First off, we/she hasn’t sent any correspondence to the IRS for anything related to this. We have no idea what it’s about. I sent a letter to IRS back in October 2015 requesting a payment plan to pay about $6,000 in taxes for 2014, but that’s the only correspondence we’ve sent. And that payment was made in full about two weeks ago and the check has cleared. We have no other outstanding tax liability. And FYI, we’ve always filed married/joint, not high income earners, $50,000-$100,000 range.

Second, my wife called the Philadelphia phone number listed on the letter and the representative she talked to said she can’t find anything of an outstanding status in the system related to my wife’s SS # or anything related to this specific letter. She did make the comment that civpen refers to civil penalty. That representative referred my wife to the IRS Nashville, TN office bankruptcy specialist (we’re in chapt 13), and that specialist said she CAN pull up the letter but has no idea what it refers to.  

Very strange that, 1. we never contacted the IRS about anything like this AND 2. the fact that one representative doesn’t show anything “outstanding” relating to my wife’s SS # or the letter, and the other representative doesn’t know what the letter means, or so she says.

Obviously, we’ll just wait for any further correspondence, but just wondering, you ever seen anything like this?

Not asking for any specific advice, just trying to understand why my wife might receive correspondence from something she never initiated, and if it makes sense that two IRS reps don’t understand it either.

Thanks so much,

Don - without seeing the actual letters, I cannot say for sure what is going on, but I can make a couple of observations:

1. CIVPEN does mean "civil penalty" and that is added on to certain types of returns.
2. If you sent a letter to the IRS in October 2015 and they are saying that they are responding to your correspondence of October 16 2015, that is probably the response.
3. Very often, letters from the IRS are in the "print queue" days or weeks before they are sent.  If you made a payment two weeks ago, likely this crossed in the mail.
4. This could be some sort of fraud-related correspondence.

Without seeing the actual letter, I cannot be certain.

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As an Enrolled Agent, I am fully capable of providing tax advice as it relates to personal and business income taxes. Enrolled Agents are the only Federally licensed tax practitioners and are admitted to practice before all administrative functions of the IRS. My specialty is working with small business owners who file Schedule "C" and helping them to structure their business in such a way as to maximize as many tax advantages as possible. I also enjoy working with individuals who have both routine as well as complex tax situations. I prefer to concentrate on individuals and small business tax planning.


I have a 25 year background in financial services including tax, bookkeeping, insurance, real estate and securities. I was previously the Chief Financial Officer of a local and national franchise organization. I am currently semi-retired, but used to own (in partnership with another EA) an individual and small business financial engineering firm where I work with nearly 2,500 individuals and small business owners in nearly every state and almost every continent, assisting them in all aspects of their tax and financial well-being. I have prepared or reviewed more than 8,000 tax returns in my career.

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Enrolled Agent, Admitted to Practice Before the IRS, Accredited Tax Preparer, Fellow of National Tax Practice Institute, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor (1999-2011), Sleeter Group Certified QuickBooks Consultant, Life & Disability Insurance Agent License (California, Texas, Maine), Real Estate Agent License (California); Many years of continuing education in all these fields.

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