IRS sent incorrect balance due notices to married taxpayers


The Internal Revenue Service admitted some married couples received erroneous balance due notices for 2021 tax returns.

The IRS added that no immediate response to the notice or phone call were necessary right now and it’s working on fixing the problem.

“The IRS is aware that some payments made for 2021 tax returns have not been correctly applied to joint taxpayer accounts, and these taxpayers are receiving erroneous balance due notices (CP-14 notices) or notices showing the incorrect amount,” the IRS said in a statement Wednesday.

The Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Samuel Corum/Bloomberg

The incorrect notices generally came after payments were made by a spouse who was the second taxpayer listed on a married filing jointly return submitted through the couple’s online account with the IRS, but some other taxpayers may have also been affected outside that group.

The overburdened agency advised couples to wait until it worked out a solution to the problem, unless they really do owe extra taxes. 

“Taxpayers who receive a notice but paid the tax they owed in full and on time, electronically or by check, should not respond to the notice at this time,” said the IRS. “The IRS is researching the matter and will provide an update as soon as possible. Taxpayers who paid only part of the tax reported due on their 2021 joint return, should pay the remaining balance or follow instructions on the notice to enter into an installment agreement or request additional collection alternatives. Taxpayers can ensure that their payment is on their account by checking Online Account under the SSN that made the payment. Note that any assessed penalties and interest will be automatically adjusted when the payment(s) are applied correctly.”

The IRS also had some extra information specifically for tax professionals: “In general, when certain payments are processed, programming does not move the payment to the married filing jointly account when the payment is:

  • not electronic and is made by the secondary spouse.
  • electronic, is made by the secondary spouse, and posts before the joint return indicator is present to identify the primary taxpayer.
  • made by the secondary spouse using the Online Account (OLA) Make a Payment functionality.”

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