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Why Did the IRS Reject My Tax Return?

The IRS may reject your tax return for many reasons, and while it can be a scary situation, it is often something that can be easily resolved. Today we will cover a few of the major reasons why your return may be rejected, how you will be notified, what you should do, and steps to prevent this situation from happening in the future.  

Why Your Return May Have Been Rejected

If the IRS rejects your tax return, it is likely due to an error other than a simple math mistake. The IRS will typically correct math errors without rejecting a return. Outside of math errors, the IRS can reject your tax return for a number of reasons. Here are a few of the common ones:  

  • Inaccurate or Missing Information. Your name, date of birth, and/or Social Security number do not match what the IRS has on file. For example, if you changed your name after marriage, you need to update your name with the Social Security Administration for the IRS to know about your name change.  
  • Dependents Claimed on Multiple Returns. If you attempt to claim a dependent that has already been claimed on another return, yours will be rejected. For example, you and your ex-spouse both claimed the same child as a dependent on your returns. 
  • Your Return Was Already Accepted. Another return with your Social Security number and information was previously filed and accepted for that tax year. If this is the case, it could be a sign of fraud or identity theft.  
  • Incorrect PIN or Prior Year AGI. The IRS uses a personal identification number or your prior year’s adjusted gross income to help prevent fraud. If your PIN or adjusted gross income does not match with the ones on file with the IRS, your return will be rejected. 

How Will I Be Notified of a Rejected Return?

For taxpayers who submit returns by mail, the IRS will send a notice by mail with an explanation of the rejection. For e-filers, the IRS would send you an error code and explanation of why the e-file return was rejected. If a company electronically filed your taxes, they would notify you of the error and would work with you to correct the return.  

The IRS will never call, text, or contact you via social media. Scammers often impersonate the IRS and use these methods to reach out to victims to demand money or personal information.  

What to do if Your Tax Return Was Rejected

The IRS will typically notify you of a rejected return within a few hours after submitting. Be sure to work quickly to correct any errors and resubmit. For simple errors, like a typo, you may be able to correct the error and e-file your updated return. Otherwise, for larger errors like identity theft, the IRS may ask you to mail in a paper return. 

If your return was rejected and you e-filed by the due date, the IRS will consider your return filed on time if you make the corrections and e-file again within 10 days or up to 5 days after the filing due date of your return. If you are mailing a paper return, you have until the tax filing deadline or 10 days after the IRS rejects your return, whichever option is later, to respond. 

How to Prevent Rejection in the Future

Allowing yourself plenty of time for preparation can help avoid mistakes in the future. For example, if you recently got married and are updating your name, be sure to report the name change to the Social Security Administration. If you have been issued an Identity Protection Pin in the past, but misplaced or forgot the pin, you will need to request a new one or retrieve your old pin online on the IRS website. 

Though most errors can be easily fixed electronically or on paper, it is best to thoroughly review your return before submitting to avoid issues. Also keep in mind that while most errors will simply cause your return to be rejected, some may trigger an audit. If you have any questions regarding a rejected return or you are facing an audit, reach out to our team for assistance.  

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