IRS Notice

The IRS sends many different types of notices to taxpayers, covering all manner of tax-related issues. IRS letter CP503 is the second reminder from the IRS that you owe a balance on one of your tax accounts. This notice follows CP501, the first balance-due reminder. Failure to respond to that first notice means you’ll eventually be sent CP503. 

While the IRS had paused many notices due to the Covid pandemic, as of November 2023, they have largely resumed sending this, and other notices, to taxpayers. Keep reading if you want to figure out how to respond and what to expect, or contact us now to get help today.

What Does IRS Notice CP503 Mean?

IRS Notice CP503 is a formal reminder that you have a due balance on one of your tax accounts. The IRS will typically send up to three such reminders to taxpayers who have either failed to pay their tax bill or failed to initiate an agreement for a payment plan. 

Notice CP503 is the second of these reminders, and it comes after Notice CP501. The last and final reminder is Notice CP504. 

CP503 details how much you owe, including interest and penalties. It will also list the due date for payment, and some of the potential consequences if you fail to make payment. You’ll also find contact details for you to get in touch with the IRS if you need to make a formal dispute of the notice, or arrange a payment plan.

Why Did I Receive Notice CP503?

You will have received a CP503 letter if you still owe a balance on your tax bill to the IRS. 

This notice follows CP501, which is the first reminder from the IRS about your due balance. CP503 is sent if you fail to respond to CP501.

What to Do if You Receive IRS CP503 Notice

If you receive a CP503 notice it’s important to take it seriously and take the time to read the letter in full. It’s your responsibility to ensure you understand the notice and respond appropriately. Here are some tips from the IRS regarding what to do if you receive this letter:

  • Read your notice carefully.
  • Pay the amount you owe by the due date shown.
  • Arrange a payment plan if you can’t pay the balance in full.
  • Contact the IRS if you disagree with the notice by calling the number shown.

Receiving notices from the IRS is often stressful, to say the least. If you are in agreement with the IRS regarding the balance on your account, then your first step should be to pay the balance owed, if it’s possible for you to do so. 

If you can afford to pay the balance right away, you can simply tear off the pay stub attached to the notice, and write a check or money order as per the instructions given. You may also be able to pay online. If you’re unsure about how to make payments or have any questions about it, simply give the IRS a call on the number provided in the letter.

If you disagree with the total balance owed according to your CP503 letter, you should contact the IRS via the toll-free number shown on the notice. From there you can initiate the process for a formal dispute.

If you are in agreement regarding your CP503, but you can’t pay the balance in full, then you can contact the IRS and discuss your payment options. You may be able to set up a payment plan with the IRS, and even reduce the total balance owed.

IRS Payment Plans for Notice CP503

If you don’t have the finances to pay the balance in full by the due date, you should contact the IRS immediately to start a payment plan or make other arrangements. The IRS offers several kinds of payment plans for taxpayers who cannot pay their debt in full, and getting this process started is important if you want to avoid further notices and risk of collections, liens and other potential consequences. 

Here’s a look at some of the most common payment options available:

IRS Installment Agreement

The IRS offers payment plans, or installment agreements, that allow you pay off your tax balance in manageable monthly payments. There are several different kinds of installment agreements, including short-term and long-term plans. You’ll be eligible for different installment agreements depending on your financial situation.

IRS Hardship

Hardship is another potential option offered by the IRS. Hardship is an extreme option for taxpayers who can provide documented proof that paying their tax balance would cause financial hardship. If hardship is granted, the IRS will put a temporary stop to all collection activity. 

This program is also known as currently not collectible (CNC), or status 53. To qualify, taxpayers must demonstrate that they cannot afford to pay the tax owed and still cover their basic living expenses.

Offer in Compromise

Offer in Compromise, or OIC, is another option for those who cannot afford to pay their tax bill in full. In this case, you negotiate with the IRS to settle the taxes owed for an amount that is less than the total balance owed. There are strict income requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for OIC.

Can I Ignore IRS Notice CP503?

Whether you agree or disagree with the total balance the IRS says you owe, it’s never a good idea to simply ignore an IRS notice. CP503 is a second reminder of balance due, and failure to respond will result in the IRS issuing you Notice CP504, which is a final reminder and a formal notice of the IRS’s intent to levy your assets.

In addition, any applicable interest accrued, as well as potential penalties, will be applied to your account if you simply ignore the notice. That’s why it’s important to respond as quickly as possible.

That said, there may be certain circumstances in which you can reliably ignore notice CP503. These are as follows:

  • If you have recently paid your balance in full (within the last 21 days).
  • If you have recently begun making payments via an installment agreement. 
  • If the IRS has recently issued you currently not collectible (CNC) status.
  • If you are in the process of filing bankruptcy and a stay has been issued to your creditors.

Tips for Responding to a Letter from the IRS 

The majority of letters sent by the IRS contain specific instructions to help taxpayers address the issue at hand. Usually, an IRS notice will require the recipient to take some action, so it’s important to respond in a timely manner. 

It’s also a good idea to review and verify any financial details included in an IRS notice. There can sometimes be discrepancies between the information you provided and the information the IRS has detailed in their letters. 

If you do notice any inaccuracies, this should be brought to the attention of the IRS. Each IRS notice will contain contact information in order for you to make payment, ask for a payment plan, or submit a dispute.

Finally, it’s always wise to keep a copy of any letter you receive from the IRS, as well as copies of any documentation you submit to them. Keeping organized, up to date records can reduce your stress load when communicating with the IRS.

How to Spot Fake IRS Letters

Tax-related scams are not uncommon, and scammers regularly target taxpayers with fake IRS letters. In order to protect yourself and ensure you’re dealing with a legitimate issue, make sure to scan any IRS letter for red flags. 

While some IRS notices will naturally contain serious subject matter, the IRS will never threaten you with jail time, or use threatening language to get you to pay your tax bill. Knowing the signs of a fake letter could potentially save you from becoming a tax scammer’s next victim.

Get Help with Your CP503 Notice

While a CP503 letter is a relatively simple IRS notice, a complex tax or financial situation could make it hard to know how to respond. The most important thing is not to ignore it, as that will only make your situation more severe. If you’re feeling at a loss about how to handle your tax bill, finding a reliable tax professional can make all the difference. 

No matter your situation, a qualified tax attorney will be able to lighten the load and help lead your communications with the IRS. Our experts at Seattle Legal Services are ready to provide the professional service you need to navigate your tax issues reliably. To get help now, contact us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CP503 letter from the IRS?

A CP503 letter is a second reminder of balance due from the IRS, relating to one of your tax accounts.

What happens after IRS Notice CP503?

If you fail to respond, an IRS CP503 Notice will be followed by a CP503 letter, which is the final reminder and declaration of intent to levy.

How do I respond to IRS Notice CP503?

If you can, you should respond by paying the amount owed by the due date shown on the notice. Payment can be made quickly and easily online, or by mail. Follow the instructions on the notice to correctly make payment.

If you can’t pay the balance in full, you might be eligible for a payment plan with the IRS.

If you wish to dispute the balance owed, you can contact the IRS on the relevant number shown on the letter.