A couple of houses on our block are for sale. We've been watching the painters and window washers and steam cleaners and landscapers come and go.
And that's just part of the sale process.
Once the deeds are transferred, my former neighbors get to alert everyone of their new addresses. That includes family, friends, creditors (if they're not family or friends), subscription services, financial account managers, and the Internal Revenue Service.
Yep, you need to let Uncle Sam's tax collector know where you're going.
Why the IRS needs to know: I get it. Most of us have a natural tendency to try to keep our heads down and stay out of the IRS' sight. It might seem like any added contact with the tax agency could just be asking for trouble.
Plus, sending the IRS your change of address data seems a bit unnecessary, especially when there are so many more pressing relocation issues.
After all, the agency will find out where you are when you file your 1040 next year. The IRS says that when your return is processed, it will update its records to show your new abode.
Then there's that change of address information you give your old Post Office. That will make sure all your mail is forwarded to your new home, right? Maybe.
Concerns about identity theft could cause problems. Some documents, including government checks — like an old-school tax refund check from the U.S. Treasury — often are returned to sender instead of being sent to a new address.
Notices and more need to be delivered: There are times, long after Tax Day, when the IRS needs to touch base with you. The first way it does that is via a mailed letter, notice, or, in some cases, special payment.
That third option happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The IRS was in charge of sending out various economic impact payments and advance Child Tax Credits. While many of those special amounts were directly deposited into bank accounts, some were sent via the U.S. Postal Service.
But even in routine tax years, you want to make sure that you don't miss any IRS correspondence.
True, a tax notice isn't the most wanted piece of mail. But if you don't get it, you won't be able to take the necessary action to answer the IRS questions within the time frame detailed in that letter.
Responding, and on time, is the only way to set your tax situation straight and end any accruing penalty and interest charges.
So let the IRS know your new address as soon as you're settled. It's not hard, as the following details show.
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, an excerpt of which is shown below.
As the form's full title notes, 8822 is used for address updates related to taxpayers who file individual, gift, estate, or generation-skipping transfer tax returns.
If you and your spouse are moving and you file a joint return, each of you must sign Form 8822. However, if your move is related to the break-up of your marriage, if you and your spouse previously filed a joint return and you now have separate residences, each of you needs to notify the IRS of your new, separate addresses.
Then mail the form(s) to the IRS. That's right. The tax agency isn't accepting Form 8822 electronically. Yet.
Check the IRS.gov page that shows where to mail Form 8822 based on your prior home address.
If you can't download and print Form 8822, the IRS will accept a letter informing it that your address is changing. Be sure to provide your —
- full name,
- old and new addresses,
- Social Security number(s) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), and
Phoning it in: You also can call the IRS to inform it that your address is changing. The main assistance number is (800) 829-1040, and is open in the continental United States from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
The phone number page has added numbers for specific filing situations, as well as a link to check the latest call wait times.
To complete the address update audibly, you'll have to give the IRS representative your —
- full name,
- old and new addresses,
- date of birth, and
- Social Security number or ITIN.
Before taking that info, the IRS agent also might request additional information, also spelled out on the phone number page, to verify your identity.
Business moves: If you move your business, send the IRS Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party - Business.
Or, as in the case of an individual taxpayer, you can write the IRS instead. The letter should include the pertinent old and new address info, but rather than use your personal tax identification number, list your employer identification number (EIN).
If the change of address relates to an employment tax return, the IRS issues confirmation notices for the change to both the new and former address. Notice 148A goes to the employer's new address, and Notice 148B to the former location.
Temporary moves, too: You also should send the IRS a Form 8822 even if your move is a short-term one.
This often is the case for people who've been forced to move because of a major disaster. Sometimes it takes a while to find a new place to settle.
The matter of multiple moves is raised on IRS.gov's special frequently asked questions for disaster victims 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.
Give the IRS plenty of time: While the IRS has increased its staff recently, thanks to additional funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, it still will take some time for your new address to make it into the system.
That's especially true since, because the IRS requires you send a paper form, the snail mailed Form 8822 (or letter) data has to be manually entered by an agency employee.
How much time? The IRS says it can take four to six weeks for a change of address request to be fully processed.
That's why you need to get your updated address to the IRS as soon as you have it. Also, if you use a tax preparer, be sure to also notify that tax pro, too.
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. 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 the agency and you.
You also might find these items of interest:
- Relocation costs no longer deductible for civilian moves
- Don't ignore that IRS letter and nine other tax notice tips
- Tax Day 2023 is later for major disaster victims in 7 states