IRS Changes to Your Tax Return: CP21 Notice and CP22 Notice

The IRS sends a CP21 Notice or CP22 notice when it made changes to your tax return. The changes may be something you requested, something the IRS did automatically, or the results of an audit. You may owe money, get a refund, or have no change to what you owe.

If you disagree with the notice, you have the right to appeal. If you agree but can’t pay, you have other payment options.

Table of Contents

Types of CP21 Notices and CP22 Notices

Notice/Letter NumberNameNotesExample Notice/Letter
CP21A NoticeChanges to your [Year] Form 1040The IRS made the changes you requested. You owe money.Example
CP21B NoticeChanges to your [Year] Form 1040The IRS made the changes you requested. You’ll receive a refund.Example
CP21C NoticeChanges to your [Year] Form 1040The IRS made the changes you requested. There is no change to what you owe. Your account balance for this year and tax form is $0.Example
CP21E NoticeChanges to your [Year] Form 1040The IRS made changes as a result of your audit. You owe money.Example
CP21H NoticeChanges to your shared responsibility payment (SRP)The IRS made the changes you requested. This changed your shared responsibility payment for not purchasing minimum essential health coverage.Example
CP21I NoticeChanges to your [Year] Form 5329The IRS made changes to your tax return as a result of a previous notice for Individual Retirement Account (IRA) taxes. You owe money.Example
CP22A NoticeChanges to your [Year] Form 1040The IRS made the changes you requested. You owe money.Example
CP22E NoticeChanges to your [Year] Form 1040The IRS made changes as a result of your audit. You owe money.Example
CP22H NoticeChanges to your shared responsibility payment (SRP)The IRS made the changes you requested. This changed your shared responsibility payment for not purchasing minimum essential health coverage.Example
CP22I NoticeChanges to your [Year] Form 5329The IRS made changes to your tax return as a result of a previous notice for Individual Retirement Account (IRA) taxes. You owe money.Example

How to Respond

You should carefully review the notice for accuracy and to see if it matches your understanding of that tax year. You must respond by the deadline listed, so don’t delay looking into and seeking professional help if needed.

If you have doubts about whether a notice is real, go to the IRS website and call one of the publicly-listed phone numbers. Have the notice available so you can give the representative information from it.

Agree to the Changes

Assuming that you believe you’ve corrected all mistakes on your return, you can generally accept that the balance due is correct. One of the main exceptions would be if you previously sent a payment that the IRS hasn’t processed. You can check this by reviewing your account on the IRS website.

Disagree with the Changes

For the notices where you requested changes, the change will usually be as requested. Check that the IRS accepted your changes as-is and didn’t make further adjustments or not allow the changes. If they did, your notice will have instructions to respond.

For a CP21E Notice or CP22E notice following an audit, you may be able to request an audit reconsideration, file an amended return, or appeal to the Office of Appeals. You may do so by following the instructions on your IRS notice that explains the results of the audit or with the help of a tax professional. Please note that the deadlines are very strict, so you need to respond ASAP.

For a CP21I notice, the first step is calling the number on the notice to review your account with an IRS representative. If you still disagree or aren’t sure, consult a tax professional.

Reduce What You Owe

The amount listed on the notice will include the additional taxes based on the changes plus interest and penalties. Interest and penalties are automatically calculated by a computer based on your original due date.

You may be eligible for interest or penalty waivers due to being in a federally-declared disaster area or having some kind of hardship. For example, you might have been affected by a hurricane but the IRS didn’t know because you later moved and filed under your new address rather than your address at the time of the storm. In a situation like this, you or your representative should call the IRS to discuss your account.

Even if the penalties are correct, you should also check to see if you’re eligible for first-time penalty relief.

Making Additional Changes

If you need to make other changes to your return, you should file an amended return. To reduce potential interest and penalties, you should consider paying any amount you owe now instead of waiting for a new bill. If the IRS later reduces what you owe, you can request a refund.

Balance Due Payment Options

The notice will have a due date to pay. Additional penalties and interest may apply if you pay later. You can:

Getting Your Refund

You will automatically get your refund as a check in the mail in about 4-6 weeks. If you’ve changed your address, contact the IRS ASAP.

Future Audit Chances

Only CP21E Notices and CP22E Notices mean you’ve been audited. However, it is still possible the IRS could later look into other issues.

CP21I Notices and CP22I Notices do not necessarily mean the IRS has conducted a full audit. It is still possible the IRS could later look into other issues.

The notices for changes that you requested only mean that the IRS is using the new information you provided. The IRS has not audited this information. It’s just like filing your tax return. The IRS goes by what you said but may later choose to audit or adjust your tax return.

Conclusion

If you get a CP21 or CP22 Notice, carefully review the changes the IRS made. If the IRS is right and you owe money, pay as soon as possible to reduce your interest and penalties. If you disagree with the notice or aren’t sure, you may want to talk to a tax professional.