What if Letter 6419 or IRS records don’t match what I received for Child Tax Credit payments?

As of late December 2021, the IRS had a backlog of 6 million unprocessed individual tax returns and 2.3 million unprocessed amended individual tax returns from last year. As a result, this tax season is expected to include delays in processing. In this article, we will share five steps to help avoid delays and what options you have if records don’t match.

Why it’s important for your records to match the IRS records 

If the amount you enter in your tax software for the monthly, advanced Child Tax Credit payments differs from what the IRS states it sent to you, it can cause a delay because it will go into a manual correction process. 

Avoiding a manual correction is ideal, so first let’s explore ways to reconcile the records.

What to check if the IRS records don’t match your bank records:

  1. Double and even triple check the IRS’s numbers on the Child Tax Credit update portal or your online tax account. Look at when each payment was sent and how it was sent. Some people received some payments via direct deposit and some by check. 
  2. For married couples, each spouse will receive a Letter 6419, and you may have to look at both spouses’ accounts to verify payments. In any case, you’ll need to keep both of these IRS letters.
  3. Double check your bank records. If you received direct deposits, verify each one arrived around the date the IRS indicated. If you received one or more physical checks, verify to see if the deposit went through and note the date.

Hopefully, the numbers match after a thorough review, and you can go ahead and file your tax return with an accurate number. If that is the case, you can stop here. 

But if your numbers still don’t match the IRS records, you’ll have to decide the best available options. 

Available options when your bank records don’t match the IRS records:

Note: It is important to understand that resolving a discrepancy in IRS records will likely result in a delay in receiving your tax return. Check our tax time guide with more information about how to prevent delays and how to monitor the status of your refund. 

1) Trace your payment

If the IRS shows a payment you didn’t receive, you should request a payment trace to determine where the payment went. 

To request a payment trace, call the IRS at 800-919-9835 or mail or fax a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund to the IRS. 

This is the first step in determining if someone else received the funds or if a check was lost. If so, you will get guidance on how to proceed. Also, if you determine you were a victim of identity theft, the IRS provides identity theft guidance here, and the FTC provides guidance here.

Most likely, this process will take weeks or months. If you aren’t willing to wait that long, you have a couple of options. 

2) Filing with your numbers

If you are sure your records are correct and the IRS records are incorrect, you can file with your numbers, but know you will be flagged for a manual review. For many people in previous years, the delay ranged from a few days to a few weeks. Plus, if the IRS does adjust your tax return, they will send you a letter telling you about your appeal options and process. 

About the manual correction process

With the manual correction process, the IRS will determine the real number and also what advanced Child Tax Credit amount you received through your tax return. If necessary, they will adjust your tax return and your refund amount or amount owed. When they do this, they will send you a letter letting you know what the adjustment is and what you can do if you disagree with the IRS. 

This letter will be a Notice CP12. The IRS directions will provide a phone number and a mail-in option you can use to request that the IRS reverse their decision and they may do so even if you do not provide documentation. This appeal has to be done within 60 days. However, if you don’t provide documentation for the reversal or if they still question your position, they will forward your case to the Examination department and it may go into an audit process.  If you miss the 60-day deadline any reversals must be substantiated and you may also follow the normal procedures to file an amendment later. 

The Taxpayer Advocate Service has more information on Notice CP12

With this option, your return may take an exceptionally long time to process. 

3) Filing with the IRS numbers

If you trust the IRS records (or if you would like to use their number for simplicity), you can use the IRS numbers when you file your taxes despite a difference in records. If you do this, the IRS expects most tax refunds to be received within 21 days for electronic filers using direct deposit. 

However, if it is later confirmed that the IRS numbers were wrong, you may need to file an amended tax return to receive the difference in the refund balance. Many amendments this year are expected to take longer than normal to process as well. It could take months for amendments to be processed.  

Hopefully, this overview will simplify the process and help you navigate this situation. 

Here’s one last tax tip: Knowing more people have experienced significant delays than ever in the past few years, it may be a good choice to manage your tax refund to get it as low as possible by withholding less in your paycheck. This way, you would get more money in your paycheck, and if your tax refund is delayed, it may not be as harmful to your finances.

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