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After the 2015 tax season, the IRS sent me a bill for my 2014 tax (because I made an amendment), which I paid immediately.

A few days later, a check from the IRS for my 2015 arrived, which I deposited.

Finally, an IRS letter arrived explaining that they already deduced the amount I owed on my 2014 tax from my 2015 refund check, meaning that I shouldn't have paid the 2014 bill.

Given that I did, would they notice and refund me that amount or do I need to contact them and ask for it?

  • Did the letter mention that you overpaid, or did they not realize that you sent a check based on the first letter? – mhoran_psprep Sep 23 '16 at 11:43
  • They did not realize that I sent a check for my 2014 tax. – Heisenberg Sep 23 '16 at 14:25
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    To be clear, you mean during the filing season this spring (2016) after you filed (and they processed) your return for 2015? If you indicated on the check or payment voucher it was for 2014 and they posted it to 2014 in addition to the offset, that 'module' now shows overpaid and they will refund it -- but probably not very fast. IRS still does a lot of their processing on 1970s-style batch systems and it may take a month or two. If you don't hear by then, call 800-829-1040 and check your account status. – dave_thompson_085 Sep 23 '16 at 19:35
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If they know/agree that they owe you money, they will send it to you, unless you explicitly told them to apply it to next year's taxes.

  • How can you be so sure that they will send a refund? – Ben Miller Sep 23 '16 at 11:56
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    Because that's what they do. They really have no interest in keeping money they aren't legally entitled to. The IRS is annoying, and not always efficient, but they really are essentially honest and as trustworthy as any large organization can be. The base assumption really can be that if they agree they owe you money, they will send you the money -- my audit resulted in a large refund check after I submitted the corrected paperwork. (I'd forgotten to claim a large pile of investment losses; they caught it for me.) If you do your part, they will do theirs. – keshlam Sep 23 '16 at 12:40
  • I understand, but it's the "not always efficient" side of the IRS that makes me hesitate to be certain that the check is already in the mail. – Ben Miller Sep 23 '16 at 12:50
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    If you think it got lost somewhere, write or phone. Never hurts to check. – keshlam Sep 23 '16 at 13:23
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    (Of course @heusenberg expressing uncertainty is entirely appropriate... ;-) – keshlam Sep 23 '16 at 14:20

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