I've just received an utterly bizarre letter from the IRS, excerpted below:
Form: 1040 Tax Period Ending: 12-31-1985
Our records show you have reported and paid all tax due on the interest and dividends that you received for the year shown above. We have notified the payers of interest and dividends whom we previously advised to start withholding, to discontinue backup withholding effective January 1. Those payers will stop withholding unless you are subject to backup withholding for some other reason.
Furnish a copy of this notice, by December 31 at the latest, to any other payers of interest or dividends who are withholding because you were unable to certify that you were not subject to backup withholding. Also, give a copy to any payer who did not receive our stop notice by December 1 (for example, because of undelivered mail). Those payers will discontinue withholding no later than thirty days after receiving a copy of this notice.
As far as I know, I've never been subject to backup withholding, and there are certainly no payers that might have been withholding anything back in 1985 that are still paying me anything. That was approximately the year of the first income tax return I ever filed; I can easily imagine that I got something wrong on my first try, but I can't imagine that it could take 30+ years for the problem to clear itself up, without any prior notices being sent to me!
Does anyone have any idea what's up with this? Is there any action I need to take? (The notice did come with a return envelope, but there was absolutely no hint as to what I might want to return in it.)