Notice CP05A: “We completed our initial review and need more information.”

June 18th, 2013 by Lapekas Law Staff

A Notice CP05A may follow a Notice CP05. A Notice CP05A indicates that the IRS wasn’t satisfied with its initial review of your tax return. In short, a Notice CP05A means that the IRS is continuing to audit your return, the IRS continues to hold your refund pending a final decision, and you need to provide certain documentation to support the items listed in the prior notice, most likely, the Notice CP05. The Notice CP05A—unlike the Notice CP05—requests that you respond to the IRS so that the IRS can determine whether you:

  • Incorrectly reported income
  • Incorrectly reported income tax withholding
  • Incorrectly claimed tax credits
  • Incorrectly claimed withholding on your Social Security benefits
  • Incorrectly claimed “Household help” and/or
  • Incorrectly claimed Schedule C income

The Notice CP05A should never be put in the “to do when I get around to it” pile. The consequences of failing to respond can be costly and time consuming.

The Notice CP05A sets forth a deadline by which the IRS expects to receive the requested documentation. If you fail to respond, the IRS may disallow all or part of your refund or send you a notice of deficiency. In other words, if you fail to respond to the Notice CP05A, you will have to dispute the IRS’ determinations in, depending on the circumstances, the IRS Appeals Office, the United States Tax Court, or a United States District Court.

What should you do if you get a Notice CP05A?

If you receive a Notice CP05A, you need to act. Though the IRS is generally only requesting documentation in the Notice CP05A, it’s advisable that you do the following:

1. Do you remember the “Who you’re gonna call” person you should have identified when you received the Notice CP05? (See Blogpost dated X, X, 2013). Now is the time to call them. A tax attorney will be able to discuss with you the types of documents that the IRS expects and help ensure that the documents are sufficient to support the items on your return and are organized in a way that will make this clear to the IRS. He or she can also alert you to any deficiencies in your documentation and anticipate problems that may arise during the audit. A tax attorney will also be able to evaluate whether a criminal investigation might ensue. In that case, it is highly advisable to proceed only as advised by your tax attorney. A small investment in legal advice now may potentially save you money, time, and, in the event a criminal investigation follows, your freedom.

2. Gather the requested documents, and any other documentation which you think may be helpful. If you do not have what you need, think of who may have documents which will support the items on your return. For example, consider sources such as your bank, credit card company, employer, employees, or accountant, among others. Could these people have documents which you may need? If so, contact them immediately to request the documents

3. If you haven’t already done so, as explained in the previous post “Notice CP05”, locate a copy of the return that you filed and copies of the information returns that you received. (“Information returns” are the documents filed by third parties and include documents such as W-2s, Forms 1098 and 1099.) Verify that the numbers on the Information Returns, such as the amounts paid and amounts withheld, are accurately reflected on your return.

4. If you move before the IRS makes a final determination, make sure you update your address with the IRS by filing a Form 8822 Change of Address (available at Note that the IRS is not obligated to locate you—they will send notices to you at your last known address, which generally is the address you reported on your last tax return or Form 8822, whichever was filed last.

5. Follow the advice of your tax attorney and RELAX. When you hire a qualified person to represent you before the IRS, you aren’t just paying him or her for their time, you are paying for your peace of mind. So, ask them questions, make sure you understand their advice, and follow it.

And lest you forget . . . losing sleep or worrying about the “what if the IRS…?” scenarios never resolved a problem with the IRS. Your sleep and peace of mind are invaluable. Besides, a rested individual is more productive and thus, likely to earn more income, than a tired, worried one. That’s a result both you and the IRS can enjoy!