Report a Change of Address to the IRS

by Kevin on February 16, 2010

Chalk this up in the “things I had no idea existed or needed to exist” category.

The IRS has a specific form for you to turn in when you permanently change your address.

Just like there is Form 1040 (Individual Tax Return Form), Form 1040EZ (Income Tax Return for Filers with No Dependents), and Form 1040X (Amended Individual Tax Return)…

…there is a Form 8822 for Change of Address.

Why Form 8822 Exists

Directly from the form itself (emphasis mine)

The use of this form is voluntary. However, if you fail to provide the Internal Revenue Service with your current mailing address, you may not receive a notice of deficiency or a notice and demand for tax. Despite the failure to receive such notices, penalties and interest will continue to accrue on the tax deficiencies.

There’s your reason. If the IRS ever sends you anything and it goes to your old or wrong address, it’s your fault.

That would be bad.

I might also note that the above section is in the paperwork reduction information on the form. Because mailing in a form instead of noting your change of address online reduces paperwork.

I digress.

Why Changing Your Address with the IRS Can Be Important

Let’s say you work your regular day job during the year. You also do some consulting on the side at the beginning of the year on a 1099 basis.

Working on a 1099 basis means instead of being a W-2 employee, where the employer withholds and pays all of the appropriate taxes (as well as the employer portion of taxes), the 1099 contractor’s pay has no withholding taken from it.

It’s up to you to pay the taxes on your own.

You did the 1099 work in January, were paid in February, and completely forgot about the work. You never paid those taxes, but the company that paid you reported the expense to the IRS as a 1099 payment.

You file your taxes with no mention — and no payment — of those taxes.

Then you move.

The IRS receives your tax return and finds a glaring issue. You owe them several thousand dollars in taxes on that 1099 consulting you did at the beginning of the tax year.

They send you a letter.

To your old address.

You never receive the letter. The IRS sends another letter. Then another.

Before you know it — literally — penalties, fees, and the back tax have piled up.

Change Your Address with the Internal Revenue Service

You may be sitting there thinking “but I don’t do any 1099 consulting so I don’t need to change my address with the IRS”.

Wrong.

Do you really want to test your luck when you’re dealing with the IRS?

In other words now that you know you need to change your address with the IRS whenever you move, why wouldn’t you?

Add this to your task list when you move:

  • Change your address with the IRS
  • Change your address with the United States Postal Service

Doing the above two items should cover a majority of your bases in regards to receiving important tax documents from the government. They’ll have your correct address or if they send it to your old address the postal service will automatically forward it to you.

Am I the only one that had no idea the IRS had a form specifically to let them know you changed addresses? Leave a comment!

{ 1 comment }

Carmelo March 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I own a business that I relocated, but haven’t changed the address with the IRS; however most correspondences come to my home address anyway. Now, how do I change my business address only?

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