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IRS Mistakenly Mails 200,000 Balance Due Notices

After preparing a client’s return, I explain the nature of the tax due, if any, as well as options for payment of the liability.  Popular payment methods are by direct debit or credit card.  For direct debit, I can provide the client’s bank account information with the return when it is e-filed, and designate a date for debiting.  For a credit card payment, I merely provide to the client the tax agency’s website that lists payment service providers.  For example, here is the list of service providers for credit card payment of federal taxes.  It’s up to the client to timely pay the liability.

For the 2010 tax year, payment (and the tax return, of course) is due April 18, 2011.  Often, the return and payment are handled separately, the former before the latter.  This tax season, the IRS has not handled some of these separate submissions cleanly.

Yesterday, Forbes reported that the IRS mistakenly mailed over 200,000 balance due notices to taxpayers who filed electronically, but have not yet made payment.  Recipients include taxpayers who designated a later date for direct debit.  If a taxpayer pays the balance reflected in the notice, then it’s very possible he/she will pay the same liability twice.  An overpayment is refundable, assuming the taxpayer doesn’t owe other back taxes, but it’s an avoidable inconvenience.

If you receive one of these notices, be sure to check out this IRS web page that discusses your options to properly address it.

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