How to Notify the IRS of a Change of Address: Step-By-Step

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If you’re in the process of moving, you have a lot on your plate. You need to pack and label your boxes, hire movers, clean your old residence thoroughly, and put down deposits. On top of all of that, you have to update your address with dozens of entities.

Jump ahead to these sections:

Banks, credit card companies, utilities, subscriptions — everyone needs to know your new contact information. And one organization you might forget about altogether, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), needs to know, too. In this article, we’ll go into step-by-step instructions on the many ways you can change your address with the IRS.

One thing to keep in mind before you proceed is that notifying the IRS is only part of the story. You’ll also need to let your current employer and anyone you’ve been employed by in the past year know your new address.

This is so they can send your W2 forms to the right place in time for you to file your tax returns. Consider that the first step to this process, no matter how you decide to contact the IRS.

Why Update Your Address with the IRS?

It's important to make sure everyone knows about your new address change, especially the government. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is responsible for handling and processing your taxes. If they have an old, outdated address, you risk delays when filing your own taxes or getting a federal refund. 

In addition, the IRS uses this address for any benefits you might be eligible for under the federal government. If you're receiving Social Security benefits, for example, you'll want to make sure both the Social Security Administration and the IRS are aware of any address updates. 

Your address matters not only while you're living but also once you're gone. Not only is this how you'll ensure the IRS is notified of your death, but it also simplifies this process for your loved ones. Your family might count on these benefits from the government to make any final arrangements. 

Tip: Hold a virtual funeral for a loved one with GatheringUs.

ยป MORE: The practical steps after a loss can be the hardest. This checklist explains everything you need to do.

 

How to Notify the IRS of an Address Change by Phone

Changing your address with the IRS can be as simple as picking up the phone. Easy, right? That may depend on the time of year. If it’s nearly April 15, or tax day, wait times on hold can be an hour or longer.

When it’s not tax season, wait times become a lot more manageable. The IRS does offer a callback service, though. If wait times are long, you can call ahead and request a callback time when it’s your turn in the queue. 

1. Gather information

If you want to notify the IRS of an address change over the phone, you’ll need to have certain information handy. This includes:

  • Your full name
  • Your new mailing address
  • Your former mailing address
  • Your social security number (SSN), individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), or employer identification number (EIN)

A social security number is a nine-digit number assigned by the United States government. It is assigned to all U.S. citizens and certain eligible residents of the United States. This number allows the government to keep track of how many years you’ve worked and the amount of money you have earned. 

An individual taxpayer identification number is a tax processing number assigned to many resident and nonresident aliens as well as their spouses and dependents. An ITIN serves a similar purpose to a social security number and even follows a similar nine-digit format. 

An employer identification number is a federally assigned number given to business entities. It can also be used by estates and trusts in order to report on any income. 

The reason the IRS might ask for these numbers is so they can verify your identity even over the phone. Only give this number to an IRS representative if you called them, or if you received a call back from being in their on-hold queue. Never give it to a random caller who claims to be calling from the IRS.  

2. Call the IRS

To reach the IRS by phone, call 1-800-829-1040. They are open from Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Representatives can offer individual assistance in a variety of matters, including a change of address. In addition to confirming your SSN, ITIN, or EIN, they may ask for other information to verify your identity. 

How to Notify the IRS of an Address Change In Person

If you prefer handling address changes in person, you can always visit a local IRS office. Every IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) will see people by appointment. 

1. Compile information

You’ll need to know all the same information for an in-person visit that you do for a phone call. Once again, that information is:

  • Your full name
  • Your new mailing address
  • Your former mailing address
  • Your social security number (SSN), individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), or employer identification number (EIN)

Be sure to have that information on-hand and readily accessible when you arrive for your appointment

2. Visit a Taxpayer Assistance Center

You can visit the IRS website and use their office locator tool to find a TAC near you. Once you call and make an appointment, you can just go there in person. They can help you with your address change or any other tax-related information you may need. 

How to Notify the IRS of a Change of Address Online

The IRS doesn’t currently offer a universal option for changing your address online. As noted above, they’re very cautious about the potential for identity theft. Automated online identity verification isn’t as secure as a personalized approach.

Still, there are exceptions to every rule. If the IRS mailed you a refund check and it got returned to them, you may have the option to update your address online.

The IRS offers an online “Where’s My Refund?” tool that allows you to search for your refund status. You’ll need to plug in the following information:

  • Your SSN or ITIN
  • Your filing status (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, qualifying widow/widower)
  • The exact amount of your expected refund

Once you’ve done that, you may be given the option to change your address online. If not, you will need to call the IRS, write in, or visit a TAC in person.  

How to Notify the IRS of an Address Change In Writing

Another way you can communicate a change of address to the IRS website is in writing. There are actually a few different methods for that. The easiest way is to just use your new address when you fill out your tax return. The IRS will automatically update their files and make that your new address on record. If your move is happening far outside of tax season though, there are other ways you can change your address in writing. 

1. Gather necessary information

You’ll need to know all the same information that you do for a phone call or an in-person visit. Once again, that information is:

  • Your full name
  • Your new mailing address
  • Your former mailing address
  • Your social security number (SSN), individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), or employer identification number (EIN)

Additionally, you’ll need to provide your signature. This is for identity verification purposes. If you are married and filing jointly, you will also need to include the same information for your spouse, and they’ll need to provide their signature as well. If you’re legally separated, you and your spouse will need to notify the IRS of address changes independently from one another.

The easiest thing to do when sending notification of an address change to the IRS is to use their change of address document called Form 8822-B. Just print it out, fill it in, and send it on.    

2. Determine where to mail your correspondence

There are a few different ways to figure out where to send your tax return. If you have a good organizational system for storing important documents, pull up last year’s tax return to see where you sent it. You can then send Form 8822-B to the same address.

If you filed your tax return online or don’t have access to a past mailing address, don’t worry. The first page of Form 8822-B breaks down the different mailing addresses where the form can be submitted. Just use the criteria listed to determine where you need to send it. 

Step-By-Step Guide on Notifying the IRS of an Address Change

Moving, including getting rid of things while moving, makes for a stressful time. The accompanying to-do list is massive. You have so many things on your plate that it’s inevitable that certain things will fall by the wayside. Notifying the IRS about a change of address is one of those things that may fall pretty low on your priority list. But it’s important to take care of it in a timely manner. If you wait until tax season, you may miss out on crucial information.

If the IRS sends you a notice of a tax deficiency to a once-valid address, you’ll be on the hook for any late fees, interest, or other penalties. If you’re entitled to a tax refund and it’s delivered to the wrong address, you could face a lengthy delay in getting it sent correctly.

The onus is on you to let the IRS know where to send any correspondence. With this step-by-step guide, now you know how simple updating your information can be.   

If you're looking for more help while moving, use our free change of address checklist.


Sources

  1. “Topic No. 157 Change Your Address - How to Notify the IRS.” Irs.gov, Internal revenue Service, 2013, www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc157.
  2. “Address Changes.” Irs.gov, Internal revenue Service, 15 November 2019, www.irs.gov/faqs/irs-procedures/address-changes.

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