Stimulus Payments Triggered IRS ‘Math Error Notices’. What You Should Know

If you’ve received a ‘math error’ notice from the IRS, you aren’t alone. Millions of U.S. taxpayers have received similar messages over the past few years, as the IRS has had to adjust tax bills due to stimulus payments and child tax credits. 

While receiving any notice from the IRS can be stressful, navigating a math error notice correctly can help you avoid penalties. Read on to learn more about how stimulus payments triggered IRS ‘math error’ notices. Then contact our Levy & Associates team for tax assistance. 

What is a Math Error Notice? 

Despite its name, an IRS math error is not necessarily a miscalculation by the IRS. Instead, it often represents an adjustment to your account, resulting in a smaller or larger tax return.  You could receive a math error notice due to: 

  • Clerical mistakes
  • Miscalculations
  • Arithmetic errors
  • Inconsistencies on the return
  • Deductions that exceed IRS limits

The IRS issues a few types of math error notices:

  • CP11: The IRS changed your tax return due to a miscalculation, and you now owe more money.
  • CP12: The IRS corrected a mistake on your tax return, resulting in a change to your refund.
  • CP13: The IRS changed your return, but your account balance is $0. 

The IRS will indicate the type of error notice and how you should proceed in its letter. 

Why Did You Receive a Math Error Notice? 

One of the primary reasons taxpayers received math error notices for 2021 was errors when calculating taxes with stimulus payments. 7.4 million math error notices out of 9 million total were related to stimulus payments. Many taxpayers claimed their stimulus payments incorrectly, leading the IRS to recalculate and rectify this issue. 

While stimulus payments triggered IRS ‘math error’ notices for millions of Americans, you could have received this notice for another reason. Your letter will state the reason the IRS flagged your account. 

What to Do If You Receive a Math Error Notice

If you received a math error notice from the IRS, you may be confused about how to proceed. Unfortunately, the IRS isn’t clear about taxpayers’ options in these letters. 

In reality, you will have 60 days to contest the math error notice if you believe it is incorrect. You can request an abatement or a reversal of the adjustment over the phone or through the mail. If you have trouble reaching the IRS by phone, as many taxpayers do, you should send a letter as soon as possible to ensure that your reversal request falls within the 60-day period. 

As long as the IRS receives your request for abatement within 60 days, it must honor your request. However, it may review your case further through an audit procedure if it still believes there is an issue. 

Recently, the IRS updated its math error notices to include the date by which the recipient must request abatement. If you do not contact the IRS by this date, you may still be able to contest the notice. However, you’ll need to provide sufficient evidence that the math error notice was erroneous. 

Altogether, responding as quickly as possible can help you receive a favorable outcome from your math error notice. 

Our Tax Experts Can Help 

When stimulus payments triggered IRS ‘math error’ notices, many taxpayers felt confused and overwhelmed. If you’re unsure how to navigate this error, our tax experts can help. We’d be happy to review your IRS notice, help you contest the notice, and provide tax guidance and assistance to prevent future math errors. 

Contact our team at Levy & Associates today at 800-TAX-LEVY to schedule a tax consultation. 

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