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tl;dr: the IRS made a mistake regarding my 2016 tax return, and after a year of phone calls and letters back and forth they can't seem to fix it. Is there a good chance I'll have any better luck by going to the local IRS office in person?

Details: I filed my 2016 return in April 2017. Later I realized we missed one of my wife's W2 forms so we amended the return in Oct 2017 and sent in the additional tax payment of approx $2500. The check cleared in Nov 2017, and in Dec 2017 we received a letter saying we owed interest on the additional tax since it was 6 months late. The interest came out to about $50, we paid it, and that payment cleared in Dec 2017. Life was good.

A few months later in 2018 we received a CP2000 letter from the IRS saying we missed a W2 on our tax return and we owed $2500! At first it seemed like a simple mistake: maybe this letter had been triggered before the amended was received, and somehow got accidentally sent out months later. But upon further inspection, the starting numbers the form used for the income calculation were the amended numbers, not those from the original return. In other words the CP2000 was trying to add in the same missed W2 that we already added in to the amended. I have sent multiple letters explaining this, and multiple phone calls, and the IRS still thinks we owe them $2500 + interest. Two weeks ago we received a letter which made me believe the problem was nearly resolved; the letter stated we had paid the $2500, and now only owe about $240 more in interest. Of course that's wrong since we already paid the interest in 2017, but this was the first time they at least admitted the $2500 was already paid. I hadn't bothered to call yet about that letter, but today I got another letter stating I owe $2500 again, plus about $200 in interest, as if the letter from two weeks ago didn't exist. Life is annoying.

Since the snafu still persists, I'm now wondering if I might have better luck bringing all my documentation to an IRS office and seeing if I can get them to fix this once and for all. But I don't want to take a half day off of work just to end up banging my head against the wall in front of an IRS employee. Or worse yet, I don't want the IRS employee to tell me they get it, and yeah it's an obvious mistake, but there's nothing they can do about it there; I have to send in a letter...

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    Have you tried contacting your state's Local Taxpayer Advocate with the Taxpayer Advocate Service yet? – Ben Miller Mar 14 at 3:50
  • @BenMiller - yes. They routed me to the proper department in the IRS which I couldn't call directly. And that department instructed me on how to write my letter, which I did, and that was my last correspondence before the most recent two letters. I suppose that would be my next phone call again. – TTT Mar 14 at 3:52
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    As with any government interaction, patience is your guiding virtue. Ask the person you're talking with to summarize the process for you. Showing respect for their expertise, and asking questions of them as an expert advisor engages their vanity. And most of them are experts in how the system works. Take notes. Get a case number and use it on all correspondence, and refer to it on any calls. Get your agreements in writing. Keep all the correspondence incoming, and copies of all outgoing. – Xalorous Mar 15 at 13:48
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tl;dr: No, the local office will not be able to help (in this case).

I called the local office IRS scheduling department to potentially schedule an in-person appointment. I explained the issue and the person I spoke to said the local office would not be able to help in this case because to resolve the issue a change needs to be made to my tax account. She gave me the correct phone number to call, which was the Underreporting Department, and instructed me to have my original and amended returns in front of me when I spoke to them along with the notices I received. That is the same department I spoke to on the phone previously, so unfortunately this meant I had to simply try again. However, at least I knew not to waste my time with the face-to-face appointment.

As instructed, I called the Underreporting Department again, and spoke to someone that initiated the process for correcting the problem. Fast forward a few weeks and I received a notice in the mail stating my balance is now $0, so I know the issue has been resolved.

Please note this answer does not say anything about the usefulness of an IRS face-to-face appointment in general. Rather, only that in my particular case it would not have been helpful.

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Do not trust the IRS or any information they provide to you. There are lots of well meaning and nice people there, but if the IRS give you bad information and you act on it, the IRS are not responsible, and are legally protected from any responsibility. Their mistake becomes your mistake.

Hire an accountant and/or tax attorney, preferably one with an existing relationship with the IRS, and get their help. They can solve this issue quickly and effectively, while the IRS keep you spinning in circles until you simply give up.

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