Here is my approach to dealing with an IRS notice.
- Understand the exact reason for the adjustment. Fortunately, Where's My Refund provided the details of why my return was changed. It specified that an incorrect number had been transferred from Schedule D to Form 1040.
- Check a copy of the return. Since I do our return by hand, I always make a copy to keep for reference. Upon inspecting my return, I notice that I forgot to put parentheses around a negative total. So the IRS calculated the total as positive, even though a math check would have shown the value was negative.
- Call the IRS early in the day. On Monday morning, at 7:05 AM, I called the IRS and was connected to a representative in less than 5 minutes. I tried calling back at 7:45 AM and was disconnected due to "unusually high call volume" and instructed to call back at another time.
- Determine what needs to be done to correct the error. Since the only error was a missing negative sign, the adjustment was categorized as a "math error" and could be corrected over the phone. The representative agreed with my explanation of the missing negative sign and recalculated the results, which matched my original return. So the error was corrected, and my original refund was reinstated. If needed, I was ready to file an amended return, but that wasn't necessary.
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This is not financial or tax advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
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