Why the IRS Says Your Information Doesn’t Match [2024] 

Why the IRS Says Your Information Doesn’t Match [2024] 
Updated on April 9, 2024

If you’ve received a notification from the IRS saying your tax return doesn’t match their records, you’re probably wondering what went wrong—and how you can fix it. Here’s what you need to know. 

Key Takeaways

  •  IRS mismatches often occur due to discrepancies between your tax return and IRS records, potentially caused by outdated personal information, transcription errors, or third-party mistakes. 
  • Resolving a mismatch requires reviewing your information, correcting any mistakes, and possibly filing an amended return. 
  • By carefully reviewing your tax forms and keeping your IRS information up to date, you can avoid future discrepancies. 

What It Means When the IRS Says Your Information Doesn’t Match Their Records 

When you file your taxes, the IRS will compare the information you provide with their records. If your return doesn’t match the details they have on hand, they will send you a notice informing you that there’s a discrepancy. This may be due to outdated records, a transcription error, or a deeper problem. 

Preparation is key.

Dreading the last minute scramble pulling together your tax documents? Despair no more! This simple checklist lists the documents you need to have on hand when preparing to file.

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Common Causes of Mismatched Information Explained 

Outdated Records 

If you’ve changed your personal information without notifying the IRS, it may trigger a mismatch. For example, if you moved to a new home, the IRS may still have your old address on file. When you submit a return with your new address, the IRS will want to know why the information doesn’t match their records. The same thing could happen if you’ve changed your name. You can update your address on IRS form 8822. The name on your tax return must match what the Social Security Administration has on file for you. If your name changed, but you haven’t gotten a new Social Security card to reflect this, you’ll generally have to continue filing using your previous name. 

Transcription Errors 

Another reason your IRS information may not match is simple human error. A mathematical mistake or typo on your return could create problems when processing your information. Alternatively, the IRS may have entered your information incorrectly themselves. Either way, this discrepancy will likely trigger a notice. 

Third-Party Tax Discrepancies 

A third party may be responsible for your IRS information not matching. That third party may have submitted a W-2 or 1099 that conflicts with the details on your return. Other common forms that result in discrepancies are forms 1099-B for income from brokerage accounts, forms 1099-R for distribution from retirement accounts or pensions, and forms K-1 for a partnership investment. It’s also possible that the third party later needed to make a correction to one of these tax forms and you never received the new form. Whatever the cause may be, the IRS will want to know why the information doesn’t align. 

Identity Theft 

In rare cases, someone stealing your identity could result in a mismatch notice from the IRS. For example, if someone used your Social Security number to file a tax form in order to obtain a refund fraudulently, the IRS system could flag it for not matching the information you provided on your return. They might also issue you a 6-digit Identity Protection Personal Identification Number, or IP PIN, each year. This number will need to be entered on your return in order for it to be electronically filed. 

What to Do When Your Information Doesn’t Match IRS Records 

Once you’ve received a notice informing you that your IRS information doesn’t match, there are a few steps you may need to take to resolve the issue. 

Review and Correct Your Information 

Review the IRS notice and compare it with your own records. Examine recent tax returns, W-2s, 1099s, and any other relevant financial documents. If you find any discrepancies, correct them. This may mean updating your personal details with the IRS, such as your name, address, or Social Security number. 

File an Amended Return 

If you identify errors in your tax return, you may need to file an amended return. Use Form 1040-X to correct the errors and provide accurate information. Keep in mind that amending your return can take time and that the IRS processes amended returns much slower than original returns. The sooner you start the process, the better.  

Contact Relevant Entities 

If the discrepancy stems from information provided by employers, financial institutions, or other entities, contact them immediately. For instance, if your employer made a mistake when filing a W-2 on your behalf, contact them to send a corrected statement.  

Reach Out to the IRS 

If it isn’t clear where the discrepancy comes from, contact the IRS for more context. Be friendly and polite and see if they can help you understand what went wrong. Often, a quick conversation is all it takes to sort out any problems. 

Keep a record of all communications with the IRS, including dates, names of representatives, their ID numbers, and summaries of conversations. This documentation can be invaluable in resolving issues efficiently. 

Seek Professional Assistance 

Dealing with IRS issues can be complicated. If you’re uncertain about how to proceed, it’s wise to seek professional help. Tax professionals, such as CPAs or tax attorneys, can offer valuable guidance, manage communication with the IRS on your behalf, and help ensure that the issue is resolved as efficiently as possible. 

The IRS tax code is 7,000 pages. Want the cliff notes version for expats? Let us help.

How to Avoid an IRS Mismatch 

Maintain Accurate and Organized Records 

The best way to avoid an IRS mismatch notice is to maintain accurate and up-to-date records. Keep track of all your financial documents, including tax statements (like W-2s and 1099s), deduction records, and previous tax returns. Organize these documents by year and type for easy access. Then, regularly cross-check your documents with your tax filings for consistency. 

This will also make it easier to identify and correct any errors if the IRS does contact you about a discrepancy. 

Double-Check All Tax Forms 

When filing your taxes, pay close attention to all forms you receive or submit. If you catch a mistake before filing your return, you can avoid having to amend it later. Carefully review any W-2s or 1099s you receive, and if you notice any errors on a form sent by your employer or a government agency, contact the issuer immediately for a correction. 

Be aware of the signs of tax-related identity theft, such as receiving a notice about a tax return you didn’t file, additional taxes owed, refund offsets, or IRS records indicating collection actions taken against you for a year you didn’t file a tax return. If you suspect identity theft, respond immediately by contacting the IRS and following their guidance. 

Pro Tip

Regardless of any discrepancies in your tax return, it always pays to be aware of potential scams. The IRS provides valuable insights on how to spot a scam and protect yourself from fraud. You can learn more about this on the IRS website.

Use Professional Tax Preparation Services 

Filing your taxes can get complicated, especially if you live overseas. Consider using professional tax services, especially if your tax situation is complex. A qualified tax preparer can help make sure that your tax return is accurate and complete. They can also provide advice on record-keeping practices and help you understand your tax obligations. 

If Your IRS Information Doesn’t Match, We Can Help You Sort It Out! 

Receiving a notice from the IRS can be intimidating. The good news is that in most cases, resolving a discrepancy in your taxes is a quick and easy process. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can. 

At Greenback Expat Tax Services, we give Americans around the world the support they need to file their taxes accurately and on time. Our expat tax services are tailored to every individual’s unique needs. Just let us know how we can help! 

Knowledge is power. Get personalized advice from one of our expat expert accountants.

Whether you need tax advice to prepare for a move abroad, to buy property or even retire, Greenback can help. Consults upfront can help avoid costly mistakes and stress later.

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