Last friday, I received a mail from the IRS stating that there was a discrepancy in my filing of personal taxes for 2016 vs what was reported by other institutions. The letter did not go into detail on what the discrepancy was. Both my wife and I are on W2.

The letter stated that they had sent me several notices for payment and since I had not responded (this is the first notice I am seeing and I have not moved in over 3 years), they had been applying a compounding 4% interest on me. They have given me a new due date of Jan 28th for me to make a payment, else I would be fined another 4% for the next six months.

I am shocked as this is the first time I am hearing about this and the sum is not a trivial amount (almost $6k now). So I called the IRS to try to figure out what the discrepancy was. However, due to the shutdown, IRS offices are closed and I can't get anyone on the phone either.

What are my options here? If I owe the govt. money, of course, I am going to pay but I would like some clarify on why and what I am paying for.

  • 11
    First, make sure it's legitimately the IRS and not a scam.
    – Kevin
    Jan 15, 2019 at 22:44
  • 3
    The letter should show how much they calculate you owed as well as how much you paid (via W2 withholdings), do their numbers match your 2016 tax return? Do the instructions tell you to make payment to United States Treasury?
    – Hart CO
    Jan 15, 2019 at 22:45
  • 2
    Smells a bit like a scam. Are there contact details in this letter, and if so, do these contact details match those of any official IRS office obtained from a reliable source (like the irs.gov web site)?
    – brhans
    Jan 15, 2019 at 22:59
  • 2
    I too thought that this was a scam. So I created an account at irs.gov/e-file-providers/… and I see that the amount due matches the notice I received
    – Rao Venu
    Jan 15, 2019 at 23:21
  • What is the notice type? Is it a CP2000?
    – TTT
    Jan 16, 2019 at 4:54

1 Answer 1


Good job being suspicious and taking steps to confirm the validity of the letter.

Unfortunately, you'll likely not be able to get more information until filing season begins on January 28th (IRS will be ~60% staffed at that time). If you are able to pay the amount allegedly owed, you could do so now and then reach out to them after the 28th to get more information. That way, if the amount owed is legitimate you avoid further penalty/interest. If it was erroneous you can get it sorted out be refunded some or all depending on how much you actually owed if any. Your money could be tied up for quite a while with this approach.

Since they claim to have contacted you numerous times about this matter, I don't imagine they'd view the recent shutdown as a reason to waive additional fees/penalties, but they might.

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