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What is a CP16 notice?

Mark Steber Chief Tax Information Officer Published On June 22, 2020


IRS notices are letters sent to inform taxpayers of important tax information. Each one is different, but we can explain what the CP16 is about.

Understanding your CP16 notice

The IRS made changes to your tax return due to a miscalculation or errors found on your tax return. Those corrections resulted in changes to your refund. Since you owed another tax debt,  all or part of your refund was applied to the outstanding tax debt.

Type of Notice 

Tax return error; taxes owed for previous, or other types of, tax returns

Why you received the CP16 notice

You received a CP16 notice because the IRS made changes to your tax return to correct a miscalculation and that led to a change in your refund. However, that additional money was applied to tax debt you owe the IRS.

Likely next steps

As always, carefully read the notice, which will explain the changes to your return and the amount applied to your existing tax debt.

If you disagree with the notice, you need to contact the IRS at the toll-free number listed on the CP16 in the top right-hand corner or by mail within 60 days.

If you have additional tax debt, you need to either pay the full amount or set up a payment plan. You can also contact a tax professional to learn more about your options.

CP16 Notice deadline 

There is no deadline unless you disagree with the IRS changes. Then, you have 60 days from the date of the notice to contact the IRS.

About the Author

Mark Steber is Senior Vice President and Chief Tax Information Officer for Jackson Hewitt. With over 30 years of experience, he oversees tax service delivery, quality assurance and tax law adherence. Mark is Jackson Hewitt’s national spokesperson and liaison to the Internal Revenue Service and other government authorities. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), holds registrations in Alabama and Georgia, and is an expert on consumer income taxes including electronic tax and tax data protection.

More about Mark Steber Our Editorial Policy

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