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IRS Acknowledges Sending Erroneous Balance Due Notices to Some Married Couples

Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Jul 29, 2022

GettyImages-174879501 IRS Internal Revenue Service

The IRS has issued a statement acknowledging that some payments made for 2021 tax returns were not correctly applied to taxpayers’ accounts and that, as a result, the taxpayers who made these payments are receiving erroneous balance due notices. The IRS said that these are largely payments that were made by the second taxpayer listed on a married filing jointly return submitted through an online account. But it noted that some other taxpayers may also be affected outside of this group. 

The IRS said that recipients of the erroneous notices do not need to take immediate action. The agency said that is “researching the matter and will provide an update as soon as possible. Taxpayers who paid only part of the tax reported due on their 2021 joint return, should pay the remaining balance or follow instructions on the notice to enter into an installment agreement or request additional collection alternatives. Taxpayers can ensure that their payment is on their account by checking Online Account under the SSN that made the payment.” It said that any assessed penalties and interest will be automatically adjusted when the payments are applied correctly. 

The IRS provided additional information to tax professionals, noting that, in general, when certain payments are processed, programming does not move the payment to the married filing jointly account if the payment is: 

• not electronic and is made by the secondary spouse. 

• electronic, is made by the secondary spouse, and posts before the joint return indicator is present to identify the primary taxpayer. 

• made by the secondary spouse using the Online Account (OLA) Make a Payment functionality.

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