The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has confirmed that a "systematic" error led to erroneous balance due notices being issued to some married couples who filed their taxes jointly this year.
Forbes reported on the situation, confirming that tax professionals around America began noticing the problem in early June -- many CPAs and tax preparers took to social media to detail their clients' experiences.
The outlet shared specifically:
Generally, the misapplied payments were made by the spouse (second taxpayer listed) on a jointly filed return. And most of the time the misapplied payments were made using an electronic payment method.
It is, however, important to note that some taxpayers who fall outside of this demographic may also be impacted by the erroneously issued balance due notices.
If you think you have been incorrectly billed after paying your federal taxes on time, the IRS has stated that there is no immediate action that needs to be taken. You also don't need to contact the IRS by phone or email at this time.
The online IRS newsroomhas been updated with the following statement regarding the mistake:
Taxpayers who receive a notice but paid the tax they owed in full and on time, electronically or by check, should not respond to the notice at this time. The IRS is researching the matter and will provide an update as soon as possible. Taxpayers who paid only part of the tax reported due on their 2021 joint return, should pay the remaining balance or follow instructions on the notice to enter into an installment agreement or request additional collection alternatives. Taxpayers can ensure that their payment is on their account by checking Online Account under the SSN that made the payment. Note that any assessed penalties and interest will be automatically adjusted when the payment(s) are applied correctly.
In short, the IRS is well-aware of the agency's error and taxpayers simply need to wait for the issue to be fully resolved -- the good news is that you don't actually owe any additional money if you received one of these incorrect notifications by mail.
Recently, the IRS pledged to improve the overall taxpayer experience with a new five-year plan.
In an official release, the IRS shared details about its goal to help taxpayers over the coming years:
The IRS Strategic Plan FY2022-2026 will serve as a roadmap to help guide the agency's programs and operations. The plan will also help meet the changing needs of taxpayers and members of the tax community.
Perhaps someday soon, "systematic" errors like this will be a thing of the past.
Were you impacted by this tax problem affecting joint filers?