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In recent weeks taxpayers have received many IRS notices stating they have not paid their 2019 taxes even though the tax was timely filed and paid.


It seems during the pandemic when IRS workers were off, the IRS accumulated unopened mail in trailers set up outside the IRS facilities.  With the electronic filing system the actual tax return and balance due goes into the IRS computers immediately when efiled.  As a result the system is generating balance due notices with penalties and interest because IRS has not had time to match up paper payments with electronically filed returns.  In some cases the mail containing your check is still sitting in a trailer somewhere and has not been opened yet.


If you receive one of those notices and check your bank for a copy of the payment, do not stop payment if the payment has not yet cleared.  The IRS says when they get time to open the mail they will post the payment as being made when you mailed it.  If you stop the payment and issue a new payment you will be charged penalty and interest up to the time you make the second payment. 


If your check did clear we suggest you make a copy of the cancelled check (front & back) and send it in along with a copy of the notice so the IRS can match it up.  Unfortunately, that means now they have more mail to open and they will be further behind.


Things will eventually get reconciled but while you wait you may get more “valentines”  (automated notices from IRS) because their computer systems automatically send out a series of notices for tax due until the tax is shown as paid in full.


Look at it this way, at least you are getting mail!