Improvements to the IRS notice response systems

IRS Notices

Improvements to the IRS notice response systems

For U.S. citizens residing in Israel, one of the biggest concerns is receiving a dreaded IRS notice.  It isn’t a fun experience; unfortunately, with the complexity of international forms and filings, it can be a common one. While the Israeli tax system is smaller and you can typically get an agent on the phone to sort an issue quickly, the IRS, catering to a vast population, has historically faced hurdles in timely communication and processing. However, recent advancements in the IRS’s approach are set to make responses to notices and correspondence more efficient, a particularly significant change for those in Israel.

Traditional IRS Delays and Notice Issues


For many U.S. expatriates in Israel, receiving IRS notices often means dealing with delayed timelines. By the time these notices arrive, the response period is typically nearing its end or has already passed, creating a stressful situation for taxpayers trying to comply from abroad.  Additionally, the IRS systems are mainly automated, and the robotic system commonly sends out notices while it is still processing information that will override the notice.  However, once the letter goes out, it causes the taxpayer undue stress and worry that their filing isn’t correct.

The Frustrations of Paper Mail in IRS Correspondence


Responding to IRS notices via traditional mail has been a point of contention, characterized by lengthy delays and a lack of acknowledgment from the IRS. This process has been particularly cumbersome for overseas residents, often leading to prolonged periods of uncertainty and lack of clarity. If you try to resolve the problem over the phone, you are often stuck on long delays that end with a cut line or the agent refusing to help and requiring you to mail in a response.

IRS’s New Digital System: A Step Towards Improvement


In a significant move to enhance efficiency, the IRS has introduced a digital system for submitting documents and correspondence. This new approach, which includes confirmation of receipt, promises to alleviate some of the challenges expatriates face. It marks a shift towards more immediate and transparent communication. Further, in October of 2023, they improved the system to include many more additional notices that can be responded to by digital upload.

Realistic Expectations: Progress Amidst Potential Delays


While this development is promising, it’s essential for U.S. citizens in Israel to remain patient and anticipate potential initial hiccups as the system evolves. As with any significant digital transformation, delays and bugs may occur in the early stages. Nonetheless, this change is a step in the right direction towards a more expatriate-friendly tax process.


The IRS’s move towards digital correspondence and document submission is a welcome change for U.S. expatriates in Israel. It indicates the agency’s commitment to improving its services and responsiveness. As this system develops, it is hoped that the tax filing and response process will become smoother and more efficient, easing the burden for U.S. citizens living abroad.


The digital response tool can be found here, along with a video explaining how to use it.  Additionally, the IRS has shown promise by improving additional online resources such as their ID.Me system, and now allows electronic signatures which you can read about here.


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