CP12 Notice: Changes to Your Form 1040

The IRS sends a CP12 notice when it believes you made a mistake on your tax return that changes your expected tax refund. This might mean a larger refund, a smaller refund, or an amount due turning into a refund.

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.

When does the IRS send a CP12 Notice?

The Internal Revenue Service sends a CP12 notice when it discovers math or calculation errors that change the amount of tax that you owe. Since you’re still owed a refund, the CP12 notice is sometimes called an IRS adjusted refund letter or overpayment letter.

The cause of the changes might be errors in adding or subtracting, entering information in the wrong line, skipping a step, or checking the wrong box.

The IRS generally won’t send a CP12 notice because you missed a deduction or credit or because it believes you don’t qualify for one. This is not a math error. The IRS would usually need to request additional information before making an eligibility adjustment. That would fall under a different notice or letter.

Here is an example of this notice.

Is the IRS really trying to give me money?

The IRS’s job is to make sure your taxes are right not to take as much money as possible. If the IRS determines that you overpaid, you will receive a refund check or direct deposit.

Will I get interest?

In some cases, you may receive interest if you overpaid your taxes and the IRS has to refund you. This is usually when the IRS didn’t process your refund in a timely manner. The IRS does not pay interest on tax refunds issued within the normal processing times after you file your tax return.

If you receive interest, you will see a note on your check labeled “INT Amount.” The interest may be paid separately from your refund.

IRS interest is still taxable income. If they paid you $10 or more, you should receive a 1099-INT. All interest must be reported on Schedule B.

Why is my refund check smaller now?

In some cases, your IRS notice CP12 may show a refund smaller than you expected. In that situation, the IRS is saying that you made one or more mistakes, your total tax liability is actually higher, but you still paid too much.

For example, you may have calculated that you’re owed a $1,000 refund. Before the IRS refunded you, it recalculated your refund to $500.

The good news is that because the IRS caught the potential error before it refunded you, it generally won’t assess a penalty and interest.

If the IRS reduces your refund and you disagree, you have the right to appeal. The IRS doesn’t always get it right especially in complex tax situations.

Keep in mind that if you just accept the smaller refund without questioning it, you may lose the right to claim the rest of your refund especially if the deadline to amend your tax return has passed. You generally need to contact the IRS within 60 days.

If you received a CP12 notice about your Recovery Rebate Credit or stimulus payments, see Missing, Unclaimed, and Rejected Stimulus Payments to check if you were eligible and how much you should have received.

Should I always accept a larger refund?

There are two situations where you may not want to accept a larger refund without carefully going over your tax records.

Are you unsure that there are no other errors on your return?

If one mistake you made when filing your taxes led to you overpaying, you could have a second mistake that cost you more as well. Accepting the CP12 only gets you the refund for the first mistake. You may also be able to file an amended return to get a refund for the second mistake.

Do you know the IRS is wrong?

For example, you might have filled out a form incorrectly and the IRS tried to fix it by giving you a refund. Instead, you know that if the form was filled out correctly, you would have actually owed even more.

If you accept the larger refund and the IRS later finds this problem in an audit of prior tax years, you’ll owe interest and penalties on the tax debt.

Do I have to respond to the IRS?

If you agree with the changes, you don’t need to do anything. The IRS will automatically send your refund as they calculated.

If you disagree with the changes, you must contact the IRS within 60 days. If you respond by mail, include a written explanation of why you think the IRS is wrong.

The IRS will generally automatically reverse the changes if you contact them. They will often, but not necessarily, issue your refund in the original amount you claimed.

If you ask the IRS to reverse the changes, three things could happen:

  • You provide supporting information. They agree with you and accept your original tax return.
  • You provide supporting information. They disagree with you and say the refund you received was too high. You may owe additional taxes plus interest and penalties.
  • You don’t provide supporting information. The IRS will review your tax return. If they don’t determine you were correct, they may audit you. The result could be that you owe additional taxes plus interest and penalties

Can I track my CP12 refund status?

The IRS Where’s My Refund tool is generally only for your original tax return. You may be able to see your CP12 refund status if the IRS held your original refund pending the changes.

When the IRS finds errors in your tax return before it issues your refund, it will put your refund on hold. You’ll see a message saying they need more time.

Your refund should arrive 4-6 weeks after you got your notice. Your online status may or may not change to approved. You can also check your tax transcript to see if the IRS issued your refund.

How to Verify a CP12 Notice

Your CP12 will be about something you included on your tax return. If it’s talking about deductions or credits you know nothing about, it may be a scam. On the other hand, if you receive a letter telling you you missed the Child Tax Credit and you have a child, you want to look into it.

Your notice will look like this example on the IRS website. You can also go to irs.gov/cp12 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 who may be trying to steal your Social Security Number.

Where to Respond

If you choose to handle this on your own instead of hiring a tax professional, the IRS letter will tell you where to mail your response. It will typically be one of these addresses depending on which IRS office is handling your income tax return. These addresses may change, so always use the address on your letter.

  • 3651 S. Interregional HWY 35, Stop 6121, Austin, TX 78741
  • 201 W. Rivercenter Blvd. Stop 361, Covington, KY 41011
  • 5045 E. Butler Ave., Stop 36102, Covington, KY 41011
  • 333 Pershing Rd. Stop 6120 N-1, Kansas City, MO 64108
  • 1973 N. Rulon White Blvd. Stop 6121, Ogden, UT 84404
  • IRS, Stop 6120, Kansas city, MO 64999

The IRS letter may also provide a number where you can fax your tax documents instead. It will typically be one of these numbers. These numbers may change, so always use the number on your letter or on the IRS website.

  • 1-855-204-5020
  • 1-855-262-0485
  • 1-559-456-7233
  • 1-855-892-7588
  • 1-855-309-9361

If you’ve been trying to call the IRS and can’t get through, see this post.

How long does the IRS take to respond?

The IRS often takes 6-8 weeks to respond after you reply to your notice. You may receive Letter 2645C if they expect to take longer.

For tax years 2020 and 2021, the IRS is still having very long response times due to the backlog of work during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is causing major delays in refunds especially regarding the Recovery Rebate Credit. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do except write a letter to your Congressman saying the IRS needs to reform its processes.

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Leave a Comment

All comments are public and may be posted with or without edits. Don't include any sensitive information. This is not the IRS — I did not send you a letter or hold your refund.

31 thoughts on “CP12 Notice: Changes to Your Form 1040”

  1. I agree with the information in the CP12 notice sent to me dated April 18, 2022. Kindly send me my refund check. Thank you – Anne Vourtsis

    • This is not the IRS. If the notice says you will receive a refund in 4-6 weeks (or some other time), no other action is needed. If you moved since filing your tax return that the notice covers, call the IRS ASAP.

    • I disagree with the reduction as the CP12 says. I have called maybe a hundred times to get answers and each time i get a ‘due to high volume we cannot take your call etc.” i have called each day at exactly the time the office opens and still get the same answer??? Today the 60 day period ends. It was a 2000$ dollar difference and still no help?

      • They will *probably* waive the 60 days if you explain you have been calling once you get through. You can also respond by mail or fax which gives you proof of when you contacted them.

        I’ve heard some people are having an easier time getting through later on Fridays. At this point, they might actually even be busier first thing in the morning since everyone has been trying that trick.

  2. I received a cp12 letter and was told my error in my dependent info and gross amount. I don’t see how. And then it said my gross was over the amount for Qualified for. We found an error on your 2021 Form 1040, which affects the following area of your return: Recovery Rebate Credit. We changed your return to correct this error. As a result, you are due a refund. Can I submitted documentation online, do I have to mail it?

    • You can’t submit documents to the IRS online. You can submit a response by fax, and there are online fax services you can use.

  3. The CP-12 I received from the IRS had the same numbers as were on the tax forms I filed. There were NO changes. All of their numbers were identical to my numbers. There was no discrepancy. Why then did they send me a letter stating there were changes made on my tax forms when all of my figures were the same as theirs?

    • It could be something really small like you filled something out incorrectly but fixing it didn’t change the final numbers. Another common situation is if you have more than enough deductions to owe $0 in income taxes, increasing or decreasing deductions might not change what you owe. Once the IRS flags something for review, they will often send out a notice as a way of closing out their work.

  4. CP12 does not give enough information. Recovery rebate was not allowed. No explanation.
    No math errors on the return. After almost three hours of waiting for a person the agent had to transfer me to another person. Another hour wait and still unresolved. 🙁

  5. I received my CP12 notice and have yet to have it deposited into my account. I received this on November 22, 2021.

    • You can view your account at IRS.gov to see whether they sent a payment, it’s still on hold, or they held it for something else. You can also call the IRS, but it’s very hard to get through right now.

  6. I received a CP12 Recovery Rebate Credit notice. It says Adjusted Refund. Does this mean this is in addition to the original refund that I am expecting? Or is this what my new 2021 tax refund will be?

    • If it says “We made changes…. As a result, you are due a refund of $____,” that should be the new refund amount not an addition.

  7. I filed my 2019 tax return on or about 12 Feb 2020. I received my cp12 notice on March 29 2021 stating that I should receive my refund in 4 to 6 weeks, and it has been near 20 Months
    This is after all of the correspondence between irs and myself. Also I have called every phone number possible, and always get an automated answer and then hung up on.

  8. i got my letter on may 3,2021 why have i not received my refund yet and how do
    i check to see when it will b deposit into my account

    • The letter should explain the timeline for the refund or if you need to take additional action. You can also use the IRS Where’s My Refund tool or call the IRS.

    • CP12 from DEP. of treasury dated April 5, 2020 Re: adjusted refund $1,448.00. When will it be deposited into my bank

      • If you haven’t gotten your refund after well over a year, you need to call the IRS to find out what happened. They may not have had correct bank info for you or you accidentally threw away the check. The IRS will need to trace that refund.

    • i recieved an adjusted refund and to be honest im still lost i even try to call irs for more information but i couldnt get no help no one evers pick up the phone. I just need someone to get back to me asap to let me know whats what and how much im suppose to get and when am i suppose to get my adjusted refund? Ill take any help with finding my answers

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