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My husband and I filed our taxes last month. We were excited to see that by itemizing our deductions we were going to get a decent sized refund (less than $3,000).

A couple of weeks letter instead of receiving a direct deposit into our bank account, we got a letter from the IRS. It said that they reviewed our filing and that we owed them taxes (approximately $700). Surprised at the big difference we reviewed the letter individually and together to make sure we understood how they came up with that number.

We noticed that they didn't include our estimated tax payments and so we decided to call the next day to go over the return with them on the phone.

IRS Helpline – Actually Helpful

I called around 8am to give myself plenty of time to hunt for papers if necessary. I really wanted to get this over with as soon as possible. After confirming my identity, I spoke with someone and within 10 minutes or so we were able to get to the bottom of the problem. The estimated tax payments were misapplied so I was transfered to another department that could fix that right away.  The next person was helpful as well and the only reason I was on hold for a few minutes was so he could go ahead and adjust all the payments in the system while I was on the phone.

I was told it'll take about 3 weeks to process the return and refund (yay!) and I would receive letters in the mail for each of the adjustments.

Types of Notices and Letters Sent by IRS

If you haven't received a letter from the IRS it may seem intimating, but the IRS does have a list of the types of letters they send out to tax payers so you can figure out quickly by simply looking at the top right of the first page for the form letter and number. It's helpful as you pretty much know what paperwork you need ready during your conversation. It sped up the process considerably for us.

Notice or Letter NumberTitle
CP 11Changes to Tax Return, Balance Due
CP 11AChanges to Tax Return and Earned Income Credit, Balance Due
CP 12Changes to Tax Return, Overpayment
CP 14Balance Due
CP 21BData Processing Adjustment Notice, Overpayment of $1 or more
CP 22AData Processing Adjustment Notice, Bal Due of $5 or more, Balance Due
CP 22EExamination Adjustment Notice, Balance Due
CP 23Estimated Tax Discrepancy, Balance Due
CP 49Overpaid Tax Applied to Other Taxes You Owe
CP 57Notice of Insufficient Funds
CP 88Delinquent Return Refund Hold
CP 90/CP 297Final Notice – Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing
CP 297ANotice of Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing
CP 91/CP 298Final Notice Before Levy on Social Security Benefits
CP 161Request for Payment or Notice of Unpaid Balance, Balance Due
CP 501Reminder Notice – Balance Due
CP 503Second Request Notice – Balance Due
CP 504Final Notice – Balance Due
CP 521Installment Agreement Reminder Notice
CP 523Notice of Default on Installment Agreement
CP 2000Notice of Proposed Adjustment for Underpayment/Overpayment
Letter 0484CCollection Information Statement Requested (Form 433F/433D); Inability to Pay/Transfer
Letter 0549CBalance Due on Account is Paid
Letter 668D(LP 68)We released the taxpayer’s levy.
Letter 0681CProposal to Pay Accepted
Letter 0757CInstallment Privilege Terminated
Letter 1058 (LT 11)Final Notice prior to levy; your right to a hearing
Letter 1615 (LT 18)Mail us your overdue tax returns.
Letter 1731 (LP 64)Please help us locate a taxpayer.
Letter 1737 (LT 27)Please complete and site Form 433F, Collection Information Statement.
Letter 1961CInstallment Agreement for Direct Debit 433-G
Letter 1962CInstallment Agreement Reply to Taxpayer
Letter 2050 (LT 16)Please call us about your overdue taxes or tax return.
Letter 2257CBalance Due Total to Taxpayer
Letter 2271CInstallment Agreement for Direct Debit Revisions
Letter 2272CInstallment Agreement Cannot be Considered
Letter 2273CInstallment Agreement Accepted: Terms Explained
Letter 2318CInstallment Agreement: Payroll Deduction (F2159) Incomplete
Letter 2357CAbatement of Penalties and Interest
Letter 2603CInstallment Agreement Accepted – Notice of Federal Tax Lien Will be Filed
Letter 2604CPre-assessed Installment Agreement
Letter 2761CRequest for Combat Zone Service Dates
Letter 2789CTaxpayer Response to Reminder of Balance Due
Letter 2822CVRU Acceptance of Proposal to Pay (30,60,90, 120 days)
Letter 2823CVRU Monthly Payment Plan Confirmation
Letter 2840CCC IAPND Installment Agreement Confirmation
Letter 3030CBalance Due Explained:Tax/Interest Not Paid
Letter 3127CRevision to Installment Agreement
Letter 3217CInstallment Agreement Accepted: Terms Explained
Letter 3228 (LT 39)Reminder notice.
Letter 4903 (LT 26)We have no record of receiving your tax returns.
Letter LP 47Address Information Request
Letter LP 59Please contact us about the taxpayer levy.

Source: IRS

Your Tax Returns

If you haven’t received your tax return or you’re curious, just go to the IRS’ site and enter your information. You may also receive a letter from them, but in many cases, it's simply a request for more information or calculation you can work out with them.

How about you? Have you ever received a letter from the IRS? What was it for? Were you able to get it corrected easily or did it take some work? How did the process work out for you?

Photo Credit: David Reber’s Hammer Photography

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

8 comments add your comment

  1. Thanks for information Elle. I haven’t received a letter from the IRS. Reading your story at least won’t make me feel anxious in case I get one. I’ll keep the codes you have provided.

  2. Good or bad, I only received an audit notice letter from the IRS more than 25 years ago! Are they going to pay you interest? If it were your mistake, you would have to pay interest. It would only be fair!

  3. The IRS really are quite helpful nd nice. They know that the tax code is ridiculously complicated and errors occur.

    Glad you got a refund!

  4. We got a letter from the IRS about 6 years ago telling us that we owed as well, instead of getting a refund. In the end the IRS was correct in our case as we had forgotten to claim some unemployment income thinking it had been the previous year. Unfortunately we went from a refund to a bill of $800, but it was our own fault. 🙁