IRS Statement about CP59 notices (02/18/2021)
The IRS has posted a statement on its website acknowledging that it mistakenly sent non-filer notices to thousands of taxpayers regarding their 2019 returns (“CP59 notices”). The IRS shouldn't have sent the CP59 notices because it hasn’t finished processing all the 2019 returns that were filed.
Background. The IRS sends CP59 notices to taxpayers who failed to file the federal tax return that was due during the prior filing season (e.g., tax year 2019 returns that were due to be filed in 2020). (Understanding your CP59 Notice)
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS scaled back its operations to focus on mission-critical activities, including accepting returns and sending refunds. The IRS shut down all its Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) and reduced its mail processing operations. See IRS mission-critical operations continue but no face-to-face assistance available (03/25/2020).
The reduction in mail processing caused a significant backlog, which the IRS is still dealing with. (IRS Operations During COVID-19: Mission-critical functions continue)
Mistaken CP59 notices. In early February 2021, the IRS issued CP59 notices to approximately 260,000 taxpayers. These notices claimed the notified taxpayers didn’t file their 2019 federal tax returns.
However, due to pandemic-related shutdowns, the IRS hasn’t finished processing all the 2019 returns that have been filed.
According to its statement, the IRS shouldn’t have sent the CP59 notices because some of the notice recipients may have filed a 2019 return that still hasn’t been completely processed.
The IRS says that taxpayers who filed their 2019 tax return, but still received a CP59 notice, can disregard the notice and do not need to take any action. There is no need to call or respond to the CP59 notice.
“The IRS regrets any confusion caused by this mailing.”
Reference: For how to avoid a penalty for failing to request a filing extension, see FTC 2d/FIN ¶V-2774.
IRS & FTB Problem-Solving
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