What to Do When You Receive IRS Notice CP501 for Unpaid Taxes

If you receive an IRS Notice CP501, it means the IRS believes you owe unpaid taxes. While getting a notice like this can be stressful, don’t panic. By understanding what IRS Notice CP501 means and taking appropriate action, you can resolve your tax debt. This guide will explain what CP501 is, why you received it, and most importantly, what you need to do next.

What is IRS Notice CP501?

IRS Notice CP501, also known as a “Balance Due Notice,” is the IRS’s way of formally requesting payment for taxes you owe. It is the IRS’s first notice demanding payment. If you filed your tax return but didn’t pay the full amount due, the IRS will send Notice CP501 requesting immediate payment of the unpaid balance.

Why Did I Receive IRS Notice CP501?

You received Notice CP501 because the IRS believes you have an outstanding balance on a past tax return. Reasons for receiving this notice include:

– Underpaying taxes when you filed your return
– The IRS made corrections to your return resulting in additional tax
– You did not respond to previous IRS notices about unpaid taxes

What are the Next Steps After Receiving CP501?

If you receive CP501, you have several options:

– Pay the amount due – The simplest option is to pay your balance by the due date on CP501, which is typically 21 days from the date of notice. You can pay online, by phone, or mail. This will stop IRS collection actions.

– Dispute the balance – If you disagree with the amount the IRS says you owe, you have the right to dispute it. Respond to the notice in writing explaining why you disagree. Provide supporting documentation.

– Request an extension – If you need more time to pay in full, you can request an extension of up to 120 days. This prevents additional penalties and interest from accruing.

– Enter a payment plan – Instead of paying the full amount at once, you may qualify for a monthly payment plan. This allows you to pay over time while avoiding harsh collection actions.

– Submit an Offer in Compromise – If you can’t afford to pay your tax debt in full, this allows you to settle for less than you owe based on your finances. Strict eligibility requirements apply.

– Request Currently Not Collectible status – If paying any amount would cause financial hardship, you can request the IRS temporarily delay collection until your financial situation improves.

What Happens if I Don’t Respond to CP501?

It’s important not to ignore IRS Notice CP501. If you don’t pay the amount due or make payment arrangements by the due date, here is what will happen:

– The IRS will send Notice CP503 assessing additional penalties
– Interest will continue accruing on your unpaid balance
– The IRS can file a Tax Lien against your assets
– The IRS can levy your wages, bank accounts, or other assets
– Additional IRS notices will be sent demanding payment

To avoid harsh collection actions, respond to CP501 right away. Consider hiring a tax professional for assistance negotiating with the IRS. With the proper response, you can resolve your tax debt.

In summary:

– CP501 is the IRS’s first notice demanding payment for unpaid taxes
– It requires a response within 21 days to avoid penalties and interest
– You have options like payment plans and Offers in Compromise
– Ignoring CP501 leads to serious IRS enforcement like levies and liens
– Work with a tax expert for the best chance of resolving your tax problem

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is an IRS CP501 notice?

A: An IRS CP501 notice is a notification sent by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to inform taxpayers about unpaid taxes they owe to the government.

Q: What should I do if I receive a CP501 notice?

A: When you receive a CP501 notice, it’s important to take prompt action. Ignoring the notice could lead to serious consequences, so it’s best to address the issue as soon as possible.

Q: How do I respond to an IRS CP501 notice?

A: When responding to an IRS CP501 notice, carefully read the notice and follow the instructions provided. You may need to contact the IRS to discuss payment options or request tax relief.

Q: What does it mean to owe money to the IRS?

A: Owing money to the IRS means that you have unpaid taxes that are due to the government. It’s important to address this issue promptly to avoid potential penalties and interest.

Q: What is the deadline for responding to the CP501 notice?

A: The deadline for responding to the CP501 notice is typically specified in the notice itself. It’s crucial to adhere to this deadline to avoid any further complications.

Q: Can I request tax relief after receiving a CP501 notice?

A: Yes, you can request tax relief from the IRS after receiving a CP501 notice. There are various options available, such as setting up a payment plan or negotiating with the IRS for a reduction or resolution of your tax debt.

Q: Should I contact a tax attorney after receiving a CP501 notice?

A: It may be beneficial to contact a tax attorney for guidance and assistance in handling the CP501 notice, especially if you have concerns about your tax situation or need help navigating the IRS procedures.

Q: What happens if I ignore the CP501 notice?

A: Ignoring the CP501 notice can lead to serious consequences, including additional penalties, interest, and potential legal actions by the IRS. It’s crucial to take the notice seriously and address the unpaid taxes promptly.


Q: Can the IRS send additional notices if I ignore the CP501 notice?

A: Yes, if you ignore the CP501 notice, the IRS may send additional notices, such as the CP503 notice, as reminders of the unpaid taxes. It’s important to respond to these notices to avoid further complications.

Q: What are my options for paying the amount due mentioned in the CP501 notice?

A: You can explore various payment options, such as setting up a payment plan or paying the balance in full. It’s important to review the notice carefully and determine the best approach for resolving the tax debt with the IRS.