Moving tip number 8822: notify the IRS of your new address.
In a recent bench opinion (Kenan, Docket No. 22293-16), the taxpayer argued that the IRS did not send his notice of deficiency to his last known address, and so the notice was invalid.
The taxpayer filed his 2010 federal income tax return in April 2011 and his 2011 federal income tax return in April 2012. Both returns showed the same address.
In June 2012, the taxpayer moved to a new address.
In February 2013, the IRS mailed a notice of deficiency (by certified mail) regarding the 2011 federal income tax return to the address shown on the taxpayer’s 2012 return (the “last known address”).
In April 2013, the taxpayer filed his 2012 federal income tax return. That return showed his new address, as well as an overpayment of tax, and requested a refund.
The IRS applied the refund to the deficiency shown on the notice, and also garnished the taxpayer’s wages and levied his bank account for the unpaid difference.
The taxpayer contacted the Taxpayer Advocate for help, and learned about the notice. He said he never received the notice.
He also said that he had filed change of address forms with the post office, and that the IRS was required to update taxpayer addresses by referring to the United States Postal Service National Change of Address database.
That database retains change of address information for thirty-six months. If a taxpayer’s name and last known address in IRS records match the taxpayer’s name and old mailing address contained in the database, the new address in the database is the taxpayer’s last known address, unless the IRS is given clear and concise notification of a different address.
The taxpayer said that because he had notified the post office of his new address, and the IRS offered no proof of compliance with the requirement to update his address using the database, the notice of deficiency was not mailed to his “last known address” and was invalid.
Because the taxpayer offered no proof that he had notified the post office of the change of address, the court could not determine what he submitted to the post office or when, and could not say that he proved the address shown on his 2012 return was not his last known address for purposes of mailing the deficiency.
The court sided with the IRS.
In the opinion, the tax court listed three documents the taxpayer could have used to support his claim.
Can you name the documents the taxpayer could have used?
The IRS offers at least five ways for taxpayers to provide notification of address changes. Can you name them?
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At the hearing, the taxpayer did not give evidence sufficient to let us find either when he submitted his form to the post office nor exactly what he put on it. He offered only his testimony, and no documents, not
a copy of the change of address form he submitted,
a copy of the confirming letter that the post office would have sent him,
nor any piece of mail showing a forwarding by the post office before or during the relevant time period.
File IRS form 8822, Change of Address or Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party – Business
Use your new address when you file your current tax return
Send a signed written statement with your full name, old address, new address, and social security number to the address where you filed your last return.
Provide notification in person or by telephone.
Change your address through the US Postal Service.
Editorial Note: If you change your address using the postal service forms, be aware that any difference in the IRS’s record of your name and old address, on the one hand, and the postal service’s data of you name and the new address, on the other, would be a reason for the IRS not to use the post service address as a last known address.
Examples of differences include
the name and old address as rendered on the notice to the post office differing from the last known address maintained in IRS records,
the presence or absence of a middle name,
the use of initials or a nickname,
or an abbreviation or misspelling of a street name or city name.