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Issue 38434

CP 11 Math Error Notice Content Review

Issue Statement: A review of math error notices for content and clarity is essential to ensure that taxpayers understand the message(s) that each notice is intended to convey in terms of the specific IRS change(s) to a tax return to decide if they agree, and if not, what actions must be taken within a limited timeframe to contest the IRS’ assessment.

Goal Statement: IRS uses its math error notices authority to prevent a refund of an improperly claimed credit or deduction, however notices need to be refined to allow taxpayers to understand their obligations and options. Current Math Error Notices do not make clear what changes are being made to the return or what rights the taxpayer has regarding a dispute with the change.

Math Error Notices in current form impact six of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights: the right to quality service, the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax, the right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard, the right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum, the right to privacy and the right to a fair and just tax system.

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1549 Page 1,

“Amount Due” “There was a miscalculation on your 20XX Form 1040” … Eliminates “we vs. them”

IRS Action:Not adopted

ID 1549 Page 1,

“Amount Due” Non-Adopted

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1550 Page 1,

“What you need to do immediately “if you disagree with the changes we made” …then “If you agree with the changes we made”

Rearranging the content reduces the impression that it would be faster and easier to just agree with the changes made.

IRS Action:Not adopted

ID 1550 Page 1,

“What you need to do immediately Non-Adopted

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1551 Page 1 & 2,

“What you need to do immediately continued “If you agree with the changes we made” …then “If you disagree with the changes we
made.”

Emphasis in agree or disagree with the changes makes clear the taxpayer has the option/right to disagree with the changes, rather than just the amount due. Creates consistency.

IRS Action:Adopted

ID 1551 Page 1 & 2,

“What you need to do immediately continued Adopted – proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1552 Page 1,

“What you need to do immediately Review this notice and compare our proposed changes to the information on your tax return. Make it clear to the taxpayer the changes are only proposed if they have the right to disagree. Remove excess comma after the word notice.

IRS Action:Not adopted

ID 1552 Page 1,

“What you need to do immediately Non-Adopted

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1553 Page 1,

“What you need to do immediately

Review this notice and compare our proposed changes to the information on your tax return. This is a critical step in the taxpayer’s decision to agree or disagree. This instruction should be bolded to make clear this is the first step they should take. Remove excess comma after the word notice.

IRS Action:Adopted

ID 1553 Page 1,

“What you need to do immediately Adopted – proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1554 Page 1 – Page 2,

“What you need to do immediately

This section is split by the payment coupon. It should be kept together if possible. When taxpayers get notices from the IRS, the inclination is to immediately see how much they owe before even reading the notice. The reader’s concentration is lost after seeing the amount. Splitting the instructions for the TP to follow immediately causes confusion and frustration.

IRS Action:Partially adopted

ID 1554 Page 1 – Page 2,

“What you need to do immediately Partially Adopted – Based on – Per TAP 37335 CP10, IRS agreed to move the order of sections “Changes to your XXXX tax return and “What you need to do”. However, due to spacing, the section may still split to the second page depending on the number of math errors. Proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1555 Page 2,

“What you need to do immediately -continued “To preserve your formal appeal rights, including the right to appeal our decision in tax court, you must contact us by phone or in writing within 60 days of the date of this notice. If you provide us information that support your original return, we will reverse the change. If we believe the information you provide does not support your original return, we will forward your case for audit, in which case you will be contacted by the audit staff within 6 weeks to explain the process and your rights.” Add this paragraph as a bullet under the “If you disagree with the amount due”

IRS Action:Adopted

ID 1555 Page 2,

“What you need to do immediately -continued Adopted – proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1556 Page 2,

“What you need to do immediately -continued

We will proceed as if you agree with the information in this notice if we don’t hear from you within 60 days.

This lets the taxpayer know they have 60 days. The word “assume” is dismissive and carries a negative connotation.

Remove the contractions for better grammar.

Information provided to taxpayers should be consistent with information provided on IRS.gov related to CP11 when queried by taxpayers. Also, it should be consistent with guidance found in IRM 21.5.4.4.1, IRM 21.5.4.4.2, IRM 21.5.4.5.4, and IRM 21.5.4.5.5.

IRS Action:Adopted

ID 1556 Page 2,

“What you need to do immediately -continued Adopted – proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1557 Page 3,

“If we don’t hear from you”

“If we don’t hear from you” should indicate what the IRS will do next, not what they expect the taxpayer to do.

IRS Action:Adopted

ID 1557 Page 3,

“If we don’t hear from you” Adopted – proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1558 Page 3,

“Your payments and credits”

This section should have a “Your Calculations” column, like the “Your tax calculations” section above. The suggested change would show the taxpayer where IRS calculations differ from their own calculations.

IRS Action:Partially adopted

ID 1557 Page 3,

“Your payments and credits”

Partially Adopted – IRS will add column if programming allows. Proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

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2019 TAP Annual Report

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