Letter 12C: The IRS Needs More Information

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IRS Letter 12C (officially labeled LTR0012C) is a notice that the IRS needs more information before it can process your return. The most common reason is a missing form.

How can you identify an IRS Letter 12C?

The letter will come in the mail (never email) and be on official IRS letterhead. The letter number will be at the top of the page and may be abbreviated as LTR 12C or in the long-form LTR 0012C.

It will contain a phone number, but you should use the numbers on the IRS website if you’re unsure of the letter’s validity.

Why does the IRS send letter 12C?

The IRS sends this letter for three reasons.

  • Missing forms or schedules on an individual tax return.
  • Verification of income, withholding, or credit amounts. For example, a missing W-2.
  • Documentation needed related to the Premium Tax Credit (Obamacare subsidy).

The letter does not mean you did or did not correctly calculate your taxes. It simply means the IRS needs more information to verify your tax return.

What should you do in response to IRS Letter 12C?

The IRS will tell you exactly what information they need. This might be a form you receive from an employer or healthcare provider, or it could be a form or schedule you were supposed to complete when you filed.

There are three general outcomes.

  • You track down the documents and they exactly match your tax return, so there should be no changes to your taxes owed.
  • The documents don’t match your tax return, so the IRS will recalculate your taxes owed. If you underpaid, interest and penalties may be added.
  • You can’t find the documents, which may lead to the IRS disallowing deductions or credits, using its own calculations, or performing an audit.

If you’re in the first category, it’s probably safe to return the documents as instructed in the letter. If not, you may wish to seek professional advice about whether you can avoid penalties and how to support your tax return.

Should you file an amended tax return?

The IRS generally recommends that you do not file an amended tax return. It will make any necessary adjustments to your original return based on the information you provide.

However, if you discover additional errors or find that the information substantially changes your tax return, it may be in your best interest to go ahead and amend your return.

What happens if the amount you owe changes?

If the amount you owe changes, the IRS will send you a bill. You have several options depending on whether you agree or disagree with what you owe.

If you underpaid your tax, interest and penalties will usually apply from the original due date of the return. To reduce the penalties and interest you’ll have to pay, make payment arrangements as soon as possible.

How long do you have to respond to IRS Letter 12C?

The deadline to respond is generally 20 days from the date on the top of the letter. Check the specific instructions on your letter.

If you disagree with the letter, are unsure how to respond, or believe it may lead to penalties, you should contact a tax professional immediately.

Need personal help? Click here for additional free resources or to find an accountant, attorney, or other professional near youRemember: This blog post and the comments provide generalized information that may be out of date or inaccurate for your situation. Always schedule a personal consultation with an appropriate licensed professional in your area before taking action. For full terms of use, click here.

Have general questions about this post or want to learn more about a related topic? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Comments are public, and I can’t provide individual advice, but it helps me make the posts more useful for the future. Please do not post personal information. If you need personal assistance, please contact the relevant government agency or hire an appropriate professional near you.

18 Comments on "Letter 12C: The IRS Needs More Information"

  1. I received 12c letter 9/4/2020. I responded within 5 days with everything they needed. I kept trying the irs app to check status. it was still saying no date aat this time. As of 1-1-2021 everywhere I check it has no information. i have called so many times to talk to someone, and finally someone outside the irs gave me new number. Since 1-10-2021 i have called spoken to 5 different individuals, & they all, but one, say the same thing. There is no record of my filing & that i should think about going to an agent to possibly refile cause mybe it wa rejected, which only one person told me that. the other person One irs worker told me that my info they requested was received, but that there is no record of it anywhere T THIA TIME OF EVEN BEEN FILED. I TOLD HER that the state taxes i filed were returned and applied to fines. I am really tired of checking my account, the internet & the irs and calling. i finally went to H&R to file this years, 1st time not doing it myself, someone implied sending them back in cause they see no record anywhere also. So, i am doing just that. even if it takes another 2 years, covid aside, there should at least be record of where it is. this years i am afraid to file.

  2. Donald Bender Jr | March 17, 2021 at 10:57 am | Reply

    We got a letter in August of 2020 stating you needed more info on our 2019 taxes. Our tax preparer sent everything in on September 8th,2020. have not received any information on our tax return. we were due a refund. I called yesterday and was talking to someone, she was working on it while talking to me and somehow we got cut off. I haven’t been able to get through on the phone now. Any idea whats going on with our return?

    • This is not the IRS. You will need to call the IRS until you get through. If you filed on paper, they are months behind on processing those.

  3. Hannah McDonald | February 23, 2021 at 12:58 am | Reply

    I filed my 2019 taxes on 4/23/2020. I received a letter 12C in september of 2020 and responded within 20 days. I still have not gotten a 2019 tax refund or any other sort of correspondence from the IRS. Every time I have called, the person has said that they “see it as processing” and to call again in 30 days. When I check “Where’s my refund” it gives me an error notice. Is this going to impact my 2020 tax return/refund?

    • There are currently severe processing delays at the IRS. Whether it would affect a different year depends on exactly what the issue is. The IRS is the best source of information despite the hold times. If you go to someone local, they may be able to give more information based on exactly what your form says.

  4. I received a letter recently regarding my 2018 tax return, stating “Schedule 1 incomplete or missing” and “Schedule 4 incomplete or missing” in 2020.
    Also, it has my then ITIN to which I already requested to have everything moved to my new SSN.
    I’m confused why they are requiring more information when I already paid + the late fees when they billed me, confirming that I’ve paid the amount of the tax owed.

    Am I being audited for this?

    • IRS bills are based on your original tax return or IRS adjustments and don’t confirm that the calculation of what you owed was correct. The IRS has now decided there is something it needs to verify that could potentially result in changes to your return.

  5. I was put into this plan by an agent who called to help me decide which insurance plan would best suit me since I recently retired early and had to wait one year until I was eligible for medicare. This was a mistake, my income was greater than the required income to be a part of this program, according to my calculations I will now owe THOUSANDS of dollars to the IRS on top of the premiums that I paid for the inadequate insurance that most doctors did not want to accept. I cannot reach anyone at the IRS and I am stuck with this bill that I was misguided into accepting. The system is broken and the citizens are left with paying the consequences for a broken system. I am stuck now between a rock and a hard place.

  6. Betty Harrison | May 4, 2020 at 9:04 am | Reply

    I received letter 12C about a 1095A form concerning information from the Market Place Insurance, they have been contacted twice and saying they mailed the form out but I never received it. What can I do to get my refund which is much needed, this have been going on since I received that 12C letter on March 11, 2020.

  7. I filed in dec 31 they sent me a letter saying they needed the healthcare paper i took it right to my accountant she faxed it right over. im still waiting for my refund its been almost 4 months please help me

    • You can try checking your IRS account transcript online or calling them (if you can get through now), but you really need to go back to your accountant since she knows the full details.

  8. I received my 12c paper. Sent in all documents the asked for. What I want to know is how long will it take to look over documents? By what the letter states you have to respond within 20 days, but do to the covid-19 where does that leave me, because I out of work with no job, and I have a household to support and I have been waiting patiently.

  9. Charles Bernard | March 28, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Reply

    The LTR 12C letter from IRS office in Kansas City is asking for a confirmation of my social security Number because according to the social security administration my social security number matches that of a person who is deceased. I checked my 2019 tax return and my SS# is correct on all pages, Fed and State.
    THIS LOOKS LIKE A SCAM and all IRS offices are temporarily closed for the virus.
    Please suggest a direction

    • The IRS still does have limited phone support at this time via their main number, but I don’t know if they have people in that can tell you if the notice is legit or why they sent it. You could also try visiting SSA.gov and trying to look up your information there. Checking your credit reports and monitoring for possible identity theft until you can get an answer would also be good ideas.

    • Hi Charles, I just got a letter from IRS with same information, saying my social number matches of a person who is deceased. How did you get his resolved? Was this a scam? Thanks for your help.

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