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

Sample IRS CP22A Notice

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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.

Types of CP21 Notices and CP22 Notices

Notice/Letter Number Name Notes Example Notice/Letter
CP21A Notice Changes to your [Year] Form 1040 The IRS made the changes you requested. You owe money. Example
CP21B Notice Changes to your [Year] Form 1040 The IRS made the changes you requested. You’ll receive a refund. Example
CP21C Notice Changes to your [Year] Form 1040 The 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 Notice Changes to your [Year] Form 1040 The IRS made changes as a result of your audit. You owe money. Example
CP21H Notice Changes 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 Notice Changes to your [Year] Form 5329 The 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 Notice Changes to your [Year] Form 1040 The IRS made the changes you requested. You owe money. Example
CP22E Notice Changes to your [Year] Form 1040 The IRS made changes as a result of your audit. You owe money. Example
CP22H Notice Changes 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 Notice Changes to your [Year] Form 5329 The IRS made changes to your tax return as a result of a previous notice for Individual Retirement Account (IRA) taxes. You owe money. Example

What Should You Do if You Receive a CP21 Notice or CP22 Notice?

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.

What Should You Do if You Agree with the Changes to Your Tax Return?

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.

You will need to pay the stated amount by the date on the notice. If you can’t pay in full, you can review your payment options here.

What Should You Do if You Disagree with the Changes to Your Tax Return?

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.

Is it Possible the Changes to Your Tax Return are Correct, but the IRS is Charging You the Wrong Amount?

In most cases, the IRS bill should show the same amount of tax due that you included on your amended return or other request for changes. Interest and penalties are automatically calculated by a computer based on your original due date.

One exception might be where the IRS decided to make its own changes to your return. In that case, you should have received a separate notice. You can respond to that notice if you disagree.

You may also have been eligible for interest and/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.

What if You Need to Make Other Changes to Your Tax Return?

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.

Can You Still Be Audited After Receiving a CP21 Notice or CP22 Notice?

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.

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