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Lawmakers want to change how the IRS corrects tax mistakes

Lawmakers say that when the IRS fixes mistakes, they too often don't provide clear details as to what caused the error.
Lawmakers want to change how the IRS corrects tax mistakes
Posted at 12:24 PM, Apr 19, 2024

A bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed legislation that would require the Internal Revenue Service to provide more details to taxpayers when automatically correcting a tax return. 

According to the IRS, the agency can automatically fix a return due to a simple math error, or if a form is forgotten. 

"The IRS will correct the math error while processing the tax return and notify the taxpayer by mail. The agency will send a letter requesting any missing forms or schedules," the IRS said. 

However, the lawmakers, who include two Republicans and two Democrats, say the IRS needs to be clearer when explaining why they made these changes. The lawmakers say the bill would have greater benefit to non-English speaking and low-income Americans. 

“Filing your taxes can get confusing — and sometimes, mistakes happen,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts. “And when they do, taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to decipher confusing, intimidating, and financially-impactful letters from the IRS. It’s time to improve procedures and notices that correct these errors so that hardworking Americans can get the money they’re entitled to and get back to their daily lives.” 

SEE MORE: What happens if you missed the deadline to file your taxes?

The IRS MATH Act would require the IRS to identify the line item the IRS is changing, explain the reason for the change and clearly list the taxpayer’s required response date. The time to challenge the IRS' correction would remain 60 days. 

"The IRS is confusing enough,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisina. “If there’s a mistake on a tax return, the IRS needs to explain it in plain English and there must be clear lines of communication. Taxpayers should have every opportunity to keep their hard-earned income.”

The bill has not yet been assigned to committee. 

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