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IRS letter indicating ‘We haven’t received your tax return’ Terry gets IRS answer!

By Terry Savage on December 28, 2021 | Taxes & Economy

Hi Terry.
No question this time – I just want to alert your readers that the IRS is now sending out automated threat letters informing 2020 taxpayers that ‘We haven’t received your tax return’, we have a credit on your account, and you may need to re-file your return. The ominous part of the letter reads: ‘If you don’t file your return or contact us, you may lose this credit’. Today I got one of these letters – just in time for my Christmas stocking!
The credit amount on the letter exactly matches my reported 2020 tax liability. And in March 2021 the IRS cashed the check that I submitted in the SAME ENVELOPE as my 2020 paper form 1040. Note: I can’t e-file because TurboTax chokes on some of the documentation I have to submit with the return. So I knew that the IRS actually did receive my 2020 tax return. But what the Ho-Ho-Ho did they do with it?
Fortunately I was able to reach an IRS agent this evening ( 7:00 PM CST on December 23) at the 800-829-0922 number given on the IRS letter (after roughly 10 minutes hold time). After checking my account, the agent confirmed that the IRS does indeed have my 2020 return but they still have not processed it. The agent stated that IRS cashes the checks immediately but they are behind on processing returns. And in the spirit of the season, automated IRS threat letters are now going out to taxpayers whose returns are waiting to be processed. The agent then put a note in my file documenting that I contacted the IRS today and that the agent confirmed my 2020 return was received. The agent also confirmed that I will not lose my credit before the IRS processes my 2020 return. The agent was unable to send me email or other written confirmation that today’s conversation took place. So I took notes, including the agent’s name and ID #. The agent also concurred that it would be good to phone IRS again in a few weeks. Once IRS confirms that my 2020 return is processed, I will request a mailed 2020 tax transcript for my records (through irs.gov).
It was a big relief to speak with a helpful IRS agent immediately after receiving the letter – as the letter’s content & tone were not what I needed, mixed in with today’s Christmas cards! If any of your readers share my situation, I recommend contacting the IRS at your earliest convenience. But don’t let the letter wreck your weekend – there’s a good chance the IRS has received your return but simply has not processed it yet.
After receiving an automated threat letter (that apparently was mass-mailed to a number of unfortunate 2020 taxpayers) and wasting my time and the agent’s time confirming that I really did file my 2020 return, I now understand why the IRS is so overworked!
If only they had time to nail the high rollers who pay $750 a year (or nothing in some years) to the IRS, while raking in millions and sponging off the taxpayers.
Thanks Terry for all they advice and help you give us!
Merry Christmas and Happy/Healthy 2022!

Terry Says

My contact at the IRS gave this answer, and it makes perfect sense to me. But EVERYONE, before reading through this entire scenario, follow this advice: Whenever mailing ANYTHING to the IRS, do it by certified mail, return receipt requested!

OK, here’s the response from the IRS when I gave them your full question:
Likely, this is a CP80 notice, typically sent to folks that appear not to have filed but made payments or otherwise have credits posted to their account.

As you can see from IRS.gov/CP80, the notice asks the recipient to file, if they haven’t done so already, or send a copy of the return, if they have.

As you know, by law, a person has three years to claim a refund. That’s why the notice has the cautionary notation that the credited payments, to the extent they create an overpayment, will be lost if a return isn’t filed.

I know we’ve talked about this before, but a good piece of advice to give your readers who receive what they think is or could be an IRS notice is to check for a notice or letter number. Armed with that info, readers can find information about that letter or notice and tips on responding to it on IRS.gov/Notices.



a personal
finance question