The worst thing that you can do is to ignore the notice or letter you received.
There are many things that you will be able to do. First, if you had someone professionally prepare your return for the year involved, contact that professional and tell him or her about the notice that you received. You may also want to begin gathering your tax records and copies of the returns you filed for the year involved for later review. Even if your return was not professionally prepared, you may wish to consider contacting a tax professional such as an accountant or CPA to work with you in responding to the communication.
The notice you received may be a mistake or may be resolved very easily. By working with your professional tax advisor, many times the matter can be resolved through simple correspondence.
A lot of people become afraid when they receive any kind of communication from the IRS or their state taxing authority. They may be afraid they made a mistake or forgot to include some item on their return. Perhaps, they are afraid because they cannot afford to pay the tax claimed. They just don't have the money right now.
Does this sound like you?
None of these are good reasons, however, to ignore or not answer the notice. The government, both state and federal, sends out thousands of tax deficiency notices and letters each year. A variety of payment methods and arrangements are usually available. What you and your advisors need to determine is the notice correct, and what alternatives do you have available. Just because you receive such a notice doesn't mean you are evading taxes or are in trouble. The sooner the matter is resolved, the less you have to worry.