Coronavirus Stimulus Checks: Many Filing For Recovery Rebate Credit Got Faulty ‘Math Error’ Notices

Published on

The IRS is currently sending out the third coronavirus stimulus checks, but there are many who are still waiting for their first and/or second stimulus checks. Such people were required to file the Recovery Rebate Credit along with their 2020 tax return. However, many who did file the Recovery Rebate Credit to claim their coronavirus stimulus checks may have a reason to feel cheated because of faulty “math error” notices.

Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues

Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Coronavirus Stimulus Checks: Who Got Faulty "Math Error" Notices?

The IRS sent “math error notices” to millions of people who filed for the Recovery Rebate Credit. However, according to the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), these letters or notices were faulty as they failed to inform people about one of their legal rights.

These letters were sent primarily due to the corrections that the IRS made to the 2020 tax return of those who filed for the Recovery Rebate Credit. As per the TAS, these notices failed to inform people that they have 60 days to question the correction that the IRS made to their tax return.

“[O]mission of this critical piece of information was beyond just bad customer service; it was a clear infringement of a taxpayer’s right to be informed and right to a fair and just tax system,” the TAS said in a blog post.

So, this means that if you also got a math error notice from the IRS, and you believe it’s incorrect, then you have 60 days to dispute it. You can raise a dispute for the math error, and this process is called an automatic abatement. Once you file for automatic abatement within the given time period, the IRS would have to reassess its correction.

Moreover, the TAS notes that what makes these notices even more confusing is that they don’t even include the term “math error” on them.

How Does The IRS Plan To Rectify This?

If you have received a math error notice, but the 60-day time period to raise the dispute is already over, then don’t worry, there is some good news for you. The IRS has acknowledged the issue.

Now, all the new math error letters that it will be issuing will include the information on the 60-day dispute period. And, for the letters that the IRS has already sent, the agency said it will be issuing supplemental notices, giving people a fresh 60-day window to raise any dispute.

“Good news – since this issue has been raised by TAS, the IRS has agreed as of July 22, 2021, that all future math error notices where an RRC adjustment is being made will include the 60-day abatement period language,” the TAS said.

The TAS recommends to the IRS to clearly mention in the letter the date by which a taxpayer can submit the abatement request. Also, these notices must clearly identify the math error that the taxpayer made with their tax return. On the other hand, it is recommended that taxpayers reach out to the IRS as early as possible to get their issue resolved.