Generally speaking, the IRS sent you certified mail to show it attempted to give you notice of whatever issue the IRS wants to address with you.
The IRS sent you certified mail because the IRS wants to protect itself in case, among other reasons, you argue the IRS failed to give you notice and an opportunity to a hearing. If the IRS fails to give you notice and an opportunity for a hearing then in certain cases the IRS brings up Constitutional issues regarding your right to Due Process. Also, the IRS is required to send certain notices via certified mail (often they can either do that or hand deliver).
Importantly, ignoring the IRS certified mail fails to benefit you because the IRS meets its notice requirement if the IRS gives you notice in person (hands you the letter) or sends you the letter via certified mail to your last known address regardless if you accept delivery of the letter. In other words, the “bury your head in the sand” technique accomplishes absolutely nothing in regard to the IRS certified mail.
How did the IRS decide to send certified mail?
Generally, the IRS decides to send a you a letter through certified mail through pre-defined policies and procedures. The IRS includes these policies and procedures in its Internal Revenue Manual (a guide that IRS employees should follow assuming they know their own rules).
Mostly, an IRS computer automatically sends IRS letters including certified mail. Sometimes, if the IRS assigned an IRS employee to work on your case, this IRS employee may manually send you a letter through certified mail.
For example, when the IRS audits you, the IRS assigns an Auditor to review your tax records. This Auditor may manually send you important letters through certified mail such as the Income Tax Examination Changes letter (a letter that usually claims you owe the IRS more taxes).
Further, if you owe the IRS money, the IRS may assign a Revenue Officer (a human being who looks to collect from you and ensure you comply with tax laws) to work on your case. This Revenue Officer may manually send you important letters through certified mail such as the Final Notice, Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing letter.
What letter did the IRS mail?
Something important such as the IRS decided to audit you, you failed to sign some tax form, or the IRS issued you a letter called the Final Notice, Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing because you failed to pay your taxes despite multiple IRS collection notices.
Do not panic. Instead, focus on resolving the IRS issue. Whatever the IRS mailed, you can either attempt to resolve the issue on your own or hire someone who can. First, you are better off receiving the certified letter from the IRS than not. Why? Because the IRS letter includes important information such as why the IRS issued the letter, your rights to dispute whatever the IRS claims, and important deadlines to appeal or dispute whatever the IRS claims.
If you refuse to receive the IRS letter, how will you know what the issue is? If you do not know what the issue is, how will you know what to do to resolve the issue? In any case, just because you decide to ignore the issue, does not mean the IRS will. Generally, ignoring the IRS issue causes you more headaches and trouble than if you worked to resolve the problem as soon as possible. In other words, you are better off knowing what the IRS mailed so you can act accordingly.
For instance, the IRS sends through certified mail a letter called Final Notice, Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing (the IRS usually calls this the CP90 or 1058 letter). This Final Notice letter explains your rights and requests an immediate response. If you fail to respond after 30 days, the IRS may send levy notices to any financial institution it suspects holds your funds under your SSN, EIN, or name, and, among other things, the IRS may send notices to any entity who filed a W-2 or 1099 form under you. In return, levy notice recipients must freeze your account or pay the IRS all or a part of your wages or money owed to you. As you can see, opening the Notice of Intent to Levy letter and responding within 30 days’ time will save you time, money, and many headaches.