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Moving? Let the IRS know

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Whatever your reason for moving, be it a temporary disaster displacement or settling into your forever dream home, you need to let the Internal Revenue Service know where you are.

Americans typically are a peripatetic lot. We move to be nearer family, to take new jobs, to enjoy the retirement lifestyle we've carefully planned.

Other times, our moves are not a choice we wanted to make. After a major disaster, for example, folks who lived in a hard-hit area decide enough is enough. They're outta there.

I totally get it. Even though our house in South Florida suffered relatively minor damage after being near the landfall of two hurricanes within three weeks in 2004, it was enough to make us pack up and head back home to Texas. Specifically, to a more interior location.

A similar shift is happening in the wake of Hurricane Ida. Many who were in her path, which ranged from the New Orleans, Louisiana, area to the Northeastern United States, have moved.

Some of the relocations are short term while repairs are made. Other Ida-prompted moves, like ours more than 16 years ago (Yikes! It's been that long?!), are to new, permanent residences in other parts of the country.

Whatever the reasons for your new locale or how long you plan to be there, you need to let the Internal Revenue Service know your whereabouts. The recommended method way to do that is to send the agency Form 8822, Change of Address.

Much money being mailed: Ideally, most of us deal with the IRS one time a year, when we send in our annual Form 1040.

But in recent years, millions of taxpayers have become regular pen pals with Uncle Sam's tax collector.

First, there was a series of COVID-19 economic impact payments in 2020 and early 2021. Now the IRS is sending out monthly Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) amounts through then end of this year.

Many of these coronavirus-prompted payments were directly deposited. But not all. They are sent as Treasury checks via the U.S. Postal Service.

And the IRS still is snail mailing some very delayed regular filing refunds.

If you're getting any of these tax payments by mail, you need to make sure the money comes to the right house.

Other IRS communications: In addition to distributing a variety of cash, the IRS also has resumed sending out taxpayer notices about recent filings.

One of the most common communications from the IRS is prompted when the IRS thinks you made a tax filing mistake and owe more money. The IRS has sent out more than 11 million of these so-called math error notices through mid-August of this year.

And while getting a letter from the IRS is not what most folks want to see in their mailboxes, you need to make sure you get the notices, too.

If the IRS notice information is wrong, you must respond within the time frame noted in the mailing and show the tax collector why your filing was correct.

Or if the IRS is right about the error and subsequent due tax, you need to know that, too, so you can pay it as soon as possible. That's the only way to stop accruing late payment penalties and interest.

Filing an address change form: To ensure that all IRS correspondence — and money! — finds you, give the tax agency your new address by submitting Form 8822.

Form 8822 is the form for individual filers. If you filed a joint return, and are still residing with your spouse, both you and your spouse should sign the form or statement.

It's also the form to file for new addresses related to Gift, Estate, or Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Returns.

If you've moved your businesses, send the IRS Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party - Business.

And yes, you'll have to mail the form. The IRS isn't accepting any version of 8822 electronically. Yet.

The IRS has a special web page showing where to mail Form 8822 based on your prior home address.

Limited AdvCTC online change option: The IRS does have a special online address change procedure, but it's specifically for AdvCTC payments.

Relocating taxpayers getting these payments can use the Child Tax Credit Portal to update their addresses.

However, to ensure that other tax-related correspondence gets to you expeditiously, the IRS recommends you also let it know of your physical address change by filing Form 8822.

Temporary moves, too: You need to send in a Form 8822 even if your move is a short-term one, which often is the case for those displaced by a disaster. Sometimes it takes a while to find a new place to settle.

That's an issue raised on the IRS' special frequently asked questions for disaster victims web page. Here's the Q&A:

Q: What address should be used on a taxpayer’s return considering the number of times they may move and may not remain at a current address for a long period of time?

A: Taxpayers should use their current address when filing. If the taxpayer moves after filing the return, they should update their address with the IRS by calling the IRS Disaster Hotline at 866-562-5227, or by filing Form 8822, Change of Address. The IRS also recommends that taxpayers notify the Post Office serving the old address.

Why notify the IRS: I totally understand that most of us have a natural tendency to try to keep our heads down and stay out of the IRS' sight.

But the reality is that when it's your tax money involved, either more for you or more you must pay, the IRS knowing how to reach you is better for both you and the agency.

So whatever your reason for moving, and regardless of how long you plan to be there, let the IRS know where it can find you.

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Jason Jones

Speaking from personal experience, I find that filing the Form 8822, Change of Address form to the IRS is a totally useless exercise, even if filed certified mail, return receipt requested, because the IRS never acknowledges the change nor makes any effort to update the address, they always still sends notices or correspondence to the old address. I tried this twice, once in 2010 and again in 2015. I then resolved to only update the address once I file my subsequent tax return. I can only imagine this problem being exacerbated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your advice is ideal, but for me, was only an exercise in futility.

Kay Bell

Thanks, Joe, for the state reminder. Living here in Texas where we don't have an individual state income tax, I too often forget about all the others. Kay

Joe Hill

Good advice.
Don't forget the state tax authority as well.

Three years after I moved from California one day my credit dropped from 810 to 570!
California had placed a lien even though I owed no taxes.

When queried, they said "we didn't know you moved" and that basically you are guilty until proven innocent. I did ask them if they thought it strange that no payments (W2, 1099, etc) were reported for me.. they had no answer for that.

It all got cleared up but it took months and many letters / phone calls. I'm glad I didn't need to borrow money during that time.

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