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How to deal with the IRS

Old 06-13-22, 08:43 PM
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How to deal with the IRS

Hey gang, I'm turning to my favorite group of people (and the rest of you -- you know who you are ) for some free tax advice.

When I filed my 2020 taxes (May 2021), I made some mistakes. One of them I found June 2021 when I was filing for CA refund, so as a dutiful citizen, I mailed Unca Sam a 1040X with an explanation and a check.

One mistake I didn't find was I wrote one son's SSN wrong. So Apr 2022 the IRS finally starts looking at my original tax return, finds this mistake, and sends me a CP11 notice denying me my child tax credit and owe a balance.

Then today I get a CP22A in response to the 1040X I sent a year ago, saying we got your corrections, and you (also) owe us for that (even though my checkbook says I wrote that check back then)

So ever since I got the first notice, I've been trying to get somebody from the IRS on the phone. Every single time, I get through the menu, I end up with "sorry, call volume, try later". Getting closer to the Jun 17 deadline to respond to the CP11, I write a letter and explain the SSN mishap, but I continue to try calling, in case I can get through to a real human that can understand and just fix stuff.

But given the IRS will not suddenly start picking up the phone, what do I do?
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Old 06-13-22, 08:46 PM
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A shotgun, some sandbags and some cans of creamed corn! Also get one of those snake flags. One final piece of advice, don't listen to anything I have said! I am not a tax expert at all.
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Old 06-13-22, 08:47 PM
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TL;DR I got tax notices that I am confident I don't owe. At this point I welcome an audit so I can show them I don't owe. I can't get anybody on the phone, I can mail letters into the void, but there is no way to know if they're even received, let alone understood.

What do you do in this situation? Just mail letters into the void anyway?
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Old 06-13-22, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
But given the IRS will not suddenly start picking up the phone, what do I do?
You have to escalate. The next step for me would be to have a small plane fly a banner by their office that says "PICK UP THE PHONE!"
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Old 06-13-22, 09:17 PM
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Get a copy of the cleared check, write a letter with copy of cleared check as proof of payment. Assuming they they cashed it. If they didn't cash it, you need to cancel that check with the bank and re-write and send a new check.
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Old 06-13-22, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
You have to escalate. The next step for me would be to have a small plane fly a banner by their office that says "PICK UP THE PHONE!"
Sadly I can't fly planes, I can only ride bikes. Maybe I can ride a bike past their office, but I don't know if I'm fast enough to make a banner stay up in the air instead of just dragging on the ground
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Old 06-13-22, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Get a copy of the cleared check, write a letter with copy of cleared check as proof of payment. Assuming they they cashed it. If they didn't cash it, you need to cancel that check with the bank and re-write and send a new check.
Thx, it's not a matter of uncleared checks, they're rejecting my child tax credit because I got the SSN wrong. Instead of comparing my 2020 return to any of the previous 10+ returns where the same kid had the right SSN, and the 2020 return got one digit wrong, they are treating me as if I am defrauding them by claiming somebody without a SSN (an illegal immigrant maybe?) as a dependent child.

If only I could tell somebody "change that 3 into a 5" the SSN will validate, the child tax credit will apply, and my taxes will be PERFECT, the best taxes ever, the amount I pay is YUGE. But it's not possible to get anybody on the phone.

The first notice said 'contact us by Jun 17 2022 to resolve the errors'. The second one just said 'payment due Jul 4'.

Apparently it took them from May 2021 until Apr 2022 to even look at my original tax return, and from Jun 2021 until now to get my 1040-X amendment, so if I just write another letter (my only option?) they won't even see it until Jun 2023.
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Old 06-13-22, 10:00 PM
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If I mail a letter, would it be helpful if I mailed it such that I have a tracking number and can prove it was delivered? Or that more tracked kind where they have to sign so I have proof they received it?
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Old 06-13-22, 10:26 PM
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Also, the first notice came from Fresno. I don't even remember, but I guess I mailed my letter back to Fresno.

The second notice came from Austin. Should I send my second letter to Austin? Or Fresno?
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Old 06-13-22, 11:30 PM
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Send another form1040X (with the CP11) and with the right ssn number for the dependent on line 29. Explain why you're filing the amended return in Part III of Form 1040X. "Filing to correct the Social Security number for my dependent child (name)“ ….send it certified mail with return receipt.

eta...Certified mail with return receipt focuses on ensuring that the mail is delivered to the right person/authority and you have a date proof of when it was mailed and was received and signed for. Registered is for something that has value, needs insurance and is handled more safely, I prefer certified for the IRS because i have proof of sending/received and I make money on the time it takes for the IRS to cash my check which has been longer going through with the regular mail with certified, sometimes up to a month….and it’s cheaper than registered and they keep the records for certified for two years.

eta...the reason i have a cpa is to do my quarterly taxes and not have any problems, which i've never had.
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Old 06-14-22, 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
TL;DR I got tax notices that I am confident I don't owe. At this point I welcome an audit so I can show them I don't owe. I can't get anybody on the phone, I can mail letters into the void, but there is no way to know if they're even received, let alone understood.

What do you do in this situation? Just mail letters into the void anyway?
...not certain you understand the current situation at the IRS, so from the perspective of a guy who was once handcuffed in the local office, here goes.

The agency has been severely handicapped over the past ten years, by targeted budget cuts by the Republican side of the aisle ever since the IRS targeting controversy in 2013. They don't answer the phone for anyone except members of congress, and even tax professionals have complained loudly in the past couple of years about how ridiculous has become their standard of practice in issuing automated notices. I suspect the ones you are receiving are computer generated.

There used to be, at least, local offices, where if you were willing to get there at 8 in the morning, and stand in line, you had a shot at talking to a person. Often that person is of little help either, and certainly when I visited my local office 5 or 6 years ago as executor of my mother's estate, their main intention seemed to be finding something wrong with your request, and telling you to go away. Now, Covid protocols have pretty much shut down even that for the past couple of years. The IRS is fine with that, because they don't really have the people to fully staff the field offices any more, anyway. I do my own taxes, using Turbotax. I still make mistakes sometimes, and I still get notices.

Do everything in writing...this includes all communications...and send it via the Post Office requesting delivery confirmation. If you send them a letter without either registering it, or asking for delivery confirmation, they will tell you they never got it about half the time. Don't waste your time trying to get someone on the phone. The people answering the phones are their least skilled employees, and they've pulled a lot of them off phone lines to work on various backlogs of scut work, anyway.

If you've been screwing around with them for more than 6 months on some issue like you describe, copy all your correspondence with them (it needs to be in a file), and forward it all to your congressperson's office, asking them to please inquire on your behalf on this issue with a cover letter. Keep a copy of that, too. The agency is usually responsive to congressional inquiries.

If it makes you feel any better, I got an automated notice about a month ago on my 2020 return, telling me that I owed something like $20,000 for taxes and penalties for "hiding significant income". Which appears to be due to their computer matching of my pension income from CalPers (which in my case is free from taxation), with my return. But they apparently tossed all of the reporting that the various agencies did that would clarify the issue, because they got too far behind in entering it all in their database. Just threw it all away. More important things to do, and not enough personnel...or something. So it's just easier to let the automated notices go out, and put the burden on the taxpayer to clarify the issue.

Anyway, anything else I say here would get this tossed into P+R. Good luck, keep copies of everything, start a file, be obsessive in your exhibition of patience, don't be afraid to contact your congressman.
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Old 06-14-22, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Thx, it's not a matter of uncleared checks, they're rejecting my child tax credit because I got the SSN wrong. Instead of comparing my 2020 return to any of the previous 10+ returns where the same kid had the right SSN, and the 2020 return got one digit wrong, they are treating me as if I am defrauding them by claiming somebody without a SSN (an illegal immigrant maybe?) as a dependent child.

...again, in my case, this is pension income I've been receiving for 15 years. The computer matching program they use doesn't care, it just sends out a letter. In my case, I sent them an explanation, along with documentation, via PO delivery confirmation, to their payment center in Fresno. I don't expect to hear back from them for a few months at least. They might continue sending threats and delinquency notices, until someone actually looks at it.
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Old 06-14-22, 01:32 AM
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IRS Is In Crisis Mode (from January of 2022)

Per Erin Collins, head of the National Office of the TAS, in her annual report to Congress, stated that the IRS is in “crisis”. Keep in mind that IRS announced in its News Release IR-2022-08 that it will begin began accepting e-filed returns on January 24. While not every one of the close to 143 million U.S. taxpayers will be filing their returns in January or February, millions will file. So what is the crisis?

Ms. Collins reported to Congress that the IRS, due to staffing shortages and backlogs, has a crisis because it is still processing tax year 2020 returns. We are not talking about a few thousand unprocessed returns, but rather at least 11.6 million returns which is far in excess of its annual average of 1 million unprocessed returns going into the next filing season.



in our opinion, the crisis far extends beyond unprocessed tax returns. Other unacceptable conditions at the IRS include:
  • Mail sent to the IRS lying unopened for months – mail that includes tax returns, checks, and responses to IRS notices;
  • Taxpayer records not being maintained to reflect current transactions and correspondence;
  • 90-day letters demanding payment from taxpayers even though the IRS had cashed the checks;
  • Automated compliance action letters being erroneously sent to taxpayers in total disregard of the mess at the IRS. These incorrect tax notices and letters generate written responses and phone calls from taxpayers explaining that their returns were filed properly and payments were made;
  • The time that it will take the IRS to respond to these millions of letters from taxpayers notifying the IRS that its records are not correct will undoubtedly seriously increase the announced IRS paper backlog; and
  • The IRS finished the 2021 filing season with a backlog of 35.3 million returns that required manual processing.
...so we have plenty of company.
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Old 06-14-22, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
If I mail a letter, would it be helpful if I mailed it such that I have a tracking number and can prove it was delivered? Or that more tracked kind where they have to sign so I have proof they received it?
Nearly every correspondance I have with the IRS gets sent Registered Mail, Return Receipt Requested. I save all the return receipts along with my tax info for any given year in a file for 7 years.
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Old 06-14-22, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by clemsongirl View Post
Send another form1040X (with the CP11) and with the right ssn number for the dependent on line 29. Explain why you're filing the amended return in Part III of Form 1040X. "Filing to correct the Social Security number for my dependent child (name)“ ….send it certified mail with return receipt.

eta...the reason i have a cpa is to do my quarterly taxes and not have any problems, which i've never had.
I use a CPA for the same reason, that and my wife ran a small business for decades... the complication of the tax forms involved with the business and investments just made the CPA worth it. Oddly, the CPA made a mistake a few years ago, and seemed to have no problem communicating with the IRS directly.

In that above suggested letter, I might also include copies of any document that can support the birth and assigned SSN of the dependent.
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Old 06-14-22, 08:12 AM
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Get a great CPA, one with IRS experience. They know the system.
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Old 06-14-22, 09:12 AM
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Respond. No matter what... respond. As stated above, gather all documents and evidence (cancelled checks, returns etc) supporting your claim and send them (registered with return receipt) along with a cover letter describing in detail what you've done up to this point to try and rectify the problem. Now it's in their court.
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Old 06-14-22, 10:42 AM
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OK thanks all. Seems like (a) the problem is not as big as I thought, it's just the IRS is overwhelmed and there are millions in my same boat, and (b) the best course of action is for me CYA by attempting to further overwhelm the system with more correspondence.
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Old 06-14-22, 10:45 AM
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my daughter got stuck wit ha double dip from the IRS they took out over 9000.00 twice and have been trying for over a year to get it back.
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Old 06-14-22, 10:49 AM
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Yet you mention having written a check and now owing a balance. Did they cash the check ?. That would be proof that you should not have a balance due. The child's social security number error should probably be corrected with an amended return. I would be seeking out a tax accountant to help deal with all this at this point.
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Old 06-14-22, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
OK thanks all. Seems like (a) the problem is not as big as I thought, it's just the IRS is overwhelmed and there are millions in my same boat, and (b) the best course of action is for me CYA by attempting to further overwhelm the system with more correspondence.
...it could be worse. You might be working for them.
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Old 06-14-22, 10:51 AM
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Old 06-14-22, 11:05 AM
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Old 06-14-22, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Yet you mention having written a check and now owing a balance. Did they cash the check ?. That would be proof that you should not have a balance due. The child's social security number error should probably be corrected with an amended return. I would be seeking out a tax accountant to help deal with all this at this point.
I took a look at the checkbook and I have the dates and check numbers for the two checks I wrote: my original filing, and the1040X. I haven't checked yet on the bank website whether/when those checks have cleared. Would be interesting to find out, whether the IRS cashed the check asap and took a year to look at the form.

If I had not made the error with the SSN, I think I would not have gotten any notices; they would have accepted my calculation of my taxes owed, which I paid (probably more like I would not have triggered any automatic rejection systems/notices).

You are the 2nd to suggest another 1040-X. Would that be more effective than a free-text explanation in a letter, since it will fit more easily into their boxes?
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Old 06-14-22, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
You are the 2nd to suggest another 1040-X. Would that be more effective than a free-text explanation in a letter, since it will fit more easily into their boxes?
I suspect they would answer the letter with a notice to file an amended return. I had an error on a tax return once, my account did an amended return to correct the error.
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