What Should You Do If IRS Sends You ‘Missing Tax Return’ Notice

by Josh Lanier

The IRS is awash in unprocessed tax returns from last year as the new tax season begins. That backlog has created a host of problems, the agency warned. It’s why some people who filed their tax returns last year and paid their bills may still get a letter warning them there is no record of their 2020 return. What should you do if you get one of these “missing tax return” notices?

In December, the IRS still had more than 6 million individual unprocessed tax returns to get through. And one of those millions of returns could be yours. That might be why you received an automated CP80 notice, CNBC points out. The agency says it’s aware of the mistake and is working to fix it.

“We have already decided to suspend notices in situations where we have credited taxpayers for payments but have no record of the tax return being filed,” the IRS said in a statement. “In many situations, the tax return may be part of our current paper tax inventory and simply hasn’t been processed.” 

The letter explains that the recipient should refile their 2020 tax returns. Don’t do this, the IRS says now. This will only contribute to the backlog and make the problem worse. That step is for those who didn’t file a return last year.

You Should Call to the IRS, But Prepare to Wait

However, tax experts say that you shouldn’t ignore these letters.

“The worst thing you can do is ignore something or assume it’s a mistake,” Sharif Muhammad, founder and CEO of Unlimited Financial Services told CNBC. “I’ve just learned over the years that it’s better to have your ducks in a row.”

He suggests calling the IRS even though it could take hours to reach someone. Once you get an agent on the phone, explain the situation. Fax a Form 9325, which confirms that you filed electronically, or you can submit the paper trail if you filed through the mail. The IRS doesn’t accept emails.

Make sure they received your paperwork. Don’t assume they’ll update your file, Muhammad stressed.

“I will fax something to them while we’re on the phone, wait for them to receive it, and ask them to make a note on the file,” he said.

But calling the IRS is a tricky proposition. The agency is understaffed, and hold times can stretch over several hours. That’s even if you reach someone.

Alysha Holliday, 30, of Ohio, struggled to reach an agent when she called about her refund. She suggests calling early.

“You have to call at 7 in the morning or you will not be able to talk with someone,” she said. ” I have called at 7:30 a.m., and the automated line has said that they are too busy and to call the next business day.

If you received a CP80 notice, the IRS says to call 800-829-8374 to speak with an agent about your case.