The federal coronavirus stimulus checks helped in reducing poverty last year. However, for some, these checks could have been a cause for confusion as well. Many coronavirus stimulus check recipients reported getting math error notices from the IRS.
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According to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, there has been a significant spike in “math error” notices from the IRS, and this has left many taxpayers confused. From Jan. 1 through July 15, the agency sent about 9 million such notices, compared to 628,997 notices sent in the same period last year.
Further, the Taxpayer Advocate Service notes that of the 9 million notices, about 7.4 million notices are related to stimulus payments. These math error notices are generally due to adjustments to one’s account. The adjustments could be due to larger or smaller refunds, as well as money owed.
Also, you might have got the math error notice if the IRS found anything wrong in your tax return, including a missing or incomplete Social Security number, or if your name doesn’t match the IRS records, or if there was a wrong filing status.
Some taxpayers, however, report that these notices lack important details, including calculation details. This, in turn, makes these notices more confusing as taxpayers aren’t sure about the reason they got this notice.
Moreover, some notices are vague and do not even specify the exact math error that the IRS corrected in the taxpayer's return. Instead of giving the exact reason, some notices lay down a series of possible errors that the agency may have corrected.
What To Do If You Get A Notice
If you also received a math error notice from the IRS, then the first thing you need to know is that you have 60 days to respond. If you don’t respond within 60 days, then the adjustment is deemed to be final. Moreover, you also lose the right to file a petition against the adjustments.
Some of the math error notices that the IRS sent this year didn’t include the information on the 60-day notice period. Thus, the agency is now resending those letters, clearly stating the time after which it won’t entertain any requests for changes.
You can also call the IRS if you have any questions about the adjustments. However, it may take some time and patience to finally reach a representative.
One can also request for an abatement. Once you make the request, the agency will have to comply and abate the assessment. If the abatement is granted, the IRS then needs to follow the deficiency procedures to reassess the tax.
If you accept the adjustment, but are unable to pay the full amount in one go, then you can work out an installment agreement with the IRS. Moreover, you can also work on a compromise, or request to be placed in currently not collectible status.