If you’ve received a CP11 Notice or math error notice, the IRS believes you made a mistake on your tax return and owe additional tax. The IRS has already made changes and is sending you a bill. You have the right to dispute the changes if you don’t agree with them.
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This post is provided for general information only. Please confirm the details and circumstances of your unique situation with your tax accountant or other appropriate advisor before taking action.
Why does the IRS send CP11 notices?
The IRS sends CP11 Notices for miscalculations. You may have missed a step when completing your tax return, checked the wrong box, or entered something in the wrong line.
Here are some common situations where you might receive a math error notice.
- Errors with your Recovery Rebate Credit such as saying that you didn’t receive the stimulus payments when you did or entering the wrong amount you received.
- Not being eligible for or miscalculating tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit.
- Your estimated tax payments not matching what you entered.
- Doing your taxes by hand and making a math error on one of the lines.
What does a math error notice do?
The IRS has made math error corrections due to what it believes are return errors that you made. You owe additional tax and possibly a late payment penalty and interest. When the IRS sends this notice, it believes the changes to your tax return are final.
What if I’m not sure if the IRS is right or I disagree?
The IRS may not always be right. In addition, just because you made an error doesn’t mean you truly owe that tax. The IRS may agree that you don’t owe money after you fix the error and/or supply additional documentation.
You can either follow the instructions on the CP11 Notice to respond, or you can hire an Enrolled Agent or other tax professional to help you.
Some CP11s require very simple fixes, while others are more complicated. Whether you need help depends on how well you understand what the IRS changed and your comfort level in dealing with them.
What does the amount due include?
The amount due is the total amount you currently owe the IRS. If you don’t pay by the due date on your notice, your penalties and interest will increase.
If you recently made a tax payment, it may not reflect in your amount due. Payments can take several weeks to process.
Why did the IRS adjust my refund for the stimulus payment I never got?
You can view more information about stimulus payments here. In most cases, you will need to call the IRS and request that they trace the payment.
What if I already filed an amended return?
If you already filed an amended return before receiving a CP11 notice, you may not owe the balance due. Your changes may already cover it if you submitted a payment with the amended return.
First, review your amended return to see if it matches what the IRS says on the CP11 notice. If it does, check your payment status online or contact the IRS.
If your amended return doesn’t match the changes on your CP11 notice or you otherwise disagree with the changes, respond to your notice explaining why. Include a copy of your amended return since the IRS may not have processed it yet.
How do I pay my balance on IRS notice CP11?
If you agree with the changes made by the IRS, you can mail in your payment with the enclosed payment coupon. You can also pay online at the IRS website.
There is a payment due date listed on your notice, but since your payment was actually due at the tax filing deadline, you’re already being charged interest and penalties. Pay as soon as possible to reduce your tax liability.
If you’re not able to pay your unpaid tax balance and need a payment arrangement, you can request a payment plan with monthly payments. Interest and penalties apply to your unpaid balance until you pay in full.
If you don’t pay, the IRS will take the money from any future tax refund you receive on future tax returns until you pay off your balance. It’s usually much better to get an installment agreement or make other payment arrangements with the IRS.
When you ignore tax debts, the IRS will impose additional interest and penalties and may take other collections actions like a notice of intent to levy.
How can you verify whether a CP11 notice is real?
Your IRS CP11 will be about something you included on your tax return. If it’s talking about deductions or credits you never heard about, it may be a scam. The one exception might be if it says you missed something, but that item should apply to your tax situation.
Your notice will look like this example on the IRS website. You can also go to irs.gov and look up the phone number to call. Never call the phone number on a notice you aren’t sure about, because if it’s a fake, the number will go to the scammers.