RECRUITMENT IN PROCESS

The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel is Actively Recruiting

For more information, go to the Join TAP page

Search

Issue 38435

CP12 Math Error Notice Content Review

Project 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 1559 Page 1,

What you need to do

Review this notice and compare our changes to the information on your tax return. There shouldn’t be a comma after the word notice.

IRS Action:Adopted

ID 1559

Adopted – Proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1560 Page 1 & 2,

What you need to do

“If you do not agree with the changes” should be placed before “If you agree with the changes we made” The number of steps the taxpayer must take if they don’t agree is much longer than what they need to do if they agree. This gives the appearance that it is easier to just agree with the changes by placing the burden of proof on the taxpayer.

IRS Action:Adopted

ID 1560

Adopted – Proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1561 Page 1 & 2,

What you need to do

“If you do not agree with the changes” should be placed before “If you agree with the changes we made” The number of steps the taxpayer must take if they don’t agree is much longer than what they need to do if they agree. This gives the appearance that it is easier to just agree with the changes by placing the burden of proof on the taxpayer.

IRS Action:Not adopted

ID 1561

Non-Adopted

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1562 Page 2,

What you need to do

Second Bullet under “If you don’t agree with the changes” “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 supports 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.” The language currently being used introduces the term “reversal.” That term is used as both a noun and a verb in the same sentence and creates a third transaction. (i.e., original claim, change by IRS, and reversal).

Referring only to the original claim and the change the IRS made simplifies the instructions.

Systemic advocacy told us that the IRS will reverse the change if the TP provides the information to justify the original return after the 60-day period but before the CSED. The current last line of this paragraph implies that if the issue isn’t resolved within the 60 days it’s a “done deal”.

Information provided to the taxpayer should be consistent with information provided on IRS.gov related to CP12 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. which appears to indicate the taxpayer can call or write the IRS to preserve formal appeal rights.

IRS Action:Adopted

ID 1562

Second Bullet under “If you don’t agree with the changes” Adopted – proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1563 Page 2,

Under What you need to – cont.

Last sentence under “if you don’t agree with the changes” We will proceed as if you agree with the information in this notice if we do not 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.

IRS Action:Adopted

ID 1563

Last sentence under “if you don’t agree with the changes” Adopted – proposed implementation date February 1, 2021

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1564 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 1564

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

icon
current report

2019 TAP Annual Report

The 2019 TAP Annual Report highlights our key recommendations to improve IRS customer service and summarizes our key accomplishments and activities, including the 224 recommendations submitted to the IRS in 2019.

Download