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IRS sends bills to taxpayers with the wrong due date for some

The IRS said it sent bills to taxpayers with the wrong due date, erroneously telling some California residents that their payments were due in 21 days when, in fact, they have until later this year to pay up. 

The tax agency on Wednesday apologized for the error in a statement. The bills were sent out to taxpayers who have a balance due to the IRS for the 2022 tax year, with the agency noting it is legally required to send the notices, called IRS Notice CP14.

The IRS didn't disclose how many taxpayers received an erroneous letter, but Jackson Hewitt, the tax prep company, said on Wednesday that the agency is sending out "millions" of the notices this month.

The error stems from a decision earlier this year to provide more time to most taxpayers in California to file their taxes due to natural disasters such as winter storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides. This year, most Americans had until April 18 to file their annual tax returns without an extension, but the IRS pushed back the deadline to October 16 for residents of many California counties, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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"While the notice received by taxpayers says they need to pay in 21 days, most California taxpayers have until later this year to pay under the disaster declaration," the IRS said in its statement. 

It added that the letters included "a special insert" that informed the recipients that the payment date on the letter doesn't apply to people who are covered by a disaster declaration. 

Some accountants and tax preparers posted alerts on social media to their clients about the erroneous letters, seeking to inform them that they don't need to send money to the IRS until October. 

"We are told that the IRS's computers will stop the interest and penalties, but they cannot stop the letter from being generated and sent out," wrote Kilgore & Co. Accountancy on Facebook. "So, if you are a resident of one of the counties covered by the disaster declaration, you should simply ignore the demand and disregard the due date shown on it."

"Just be sure to pay what is due by 10/16/2023. No penalties or interest will be charged in the meantime," the firm added.

In general, people who receive a CP14 letter should pay close attention to the notice, Jackson Hewitt advised. That's because taxpayers who owe money to the IRS can face interest and penalties. If the balance isn't paid, the tax agency can eventually file a notice of federal lien, which alerts other creditors that the IRS has a secured claim against your assets.

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