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Why Did the IRS Reject My Tax Return?

Tax Information
A woman with glasses and wearing a yellow shirt looks seriously at her laptop while tracking her tax refund.

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The IRS rejecting your tax return can be a scary thing. Thankfully, it’s usually nothing to be overly concerned about.

Let’s examine why your income tax return may be rejected and what to do if you find yourself in that situation.

What does a IRS rejected tax return mean?

If you get a notice from the IRS that your federal income tax return has been rejected, it means they noticed an error and sent the return back to you for correction.

How will I be notified that my return has been rejected?

Depending on how you file, the IRS will typically notify you of a rejected return by email or regular mail. In the rejection notice, you’ll find a rejection code and an explanation of why the return was rejected.

Be wary of scammers attempting to steal your information, and always verify that the rejection notice came directly from the IRS. Watch out for scam calls in particular — the IRS will not usually call you about a rejected return unless they’ve repeatedly tried contacting you by other means.

How will I be notified that my tax return has been rejected?

The IRS can reject your return for a variety of reasons. Here are some common ones:

  • Missing or inaccurate information – If a name or number doesn’t match what the IRS has on file for you, they could reject your return. For example, if you changed your name after marriage, you need to update your name with the Social Security office for the IRS to know about your name change. Another issue could be a typo in a name or number when e-filing your return.
  • The return was already accepted – The IRS will reject your return if they previously accepted a return with your Social Security number (SSN) or taxpayer identification number (TIN). If this happens, it could be a sign of fraud or identity theft.
  • You claimed a dependent claimed on another return – If you attempt to claim a dependent (such as a child) already claimed on another tax return, your return would be rejected. An example could be a divorced parent trying to claim their child when their spouse already claimed the child on their return. The same could happen if the dependent files their own return and claims themselves.
  • Your electronic signature doesn’t match – When you e-file, the IRS asks you to provide your adjusted gross income (AGI) from the previous tax year or an Identity Protection PIN to verify your identity. If the number(s) you provide do not match what the IRS has on file, your return will likely be rejected.

What should I do if my return is rejected?

If the IRS rejects your return, you must correct any errors and resubmit your return as soon as possible. You may be able to e-file your updated return for small mistakes like a typo, or the IRS may instruct you to mail in a paper return for more serious errors like identity theft.

How do I fix my rejected IRS tax return?

Once you’ve determined the error that triggered the rejection, you need to correct the mistake and resubmit your original return.

How long do I have to file my corrected return?

If the IRS rejects your federal return, you must correct any errors before the tax deadline (April 18 for tax year 2022). If the IRS rejects your return on or after Tax Day, you will have five days to correct and resubmit your return.

Some states have different grace periods for rejected returns, so always check how many days your state allows to re-file.

How can I prevent my return from being rejected?

You can take some precautions to minimize the chances of the IRS rejecting your tax return.

When e-filing, take extra care to make sure there are no typos in any names or numbers. Some common culprits that could cause a rejection are mismatched names, SSNs, employer EINs, electronic signature numbers, or an expired TIN.

Another action to take is to file your return early. This gives identity theft criminals less time to file a fraudulent return using your information.

My return was rejected due to identity theft. What should I do?

If someone used your stolen personal information to file a fraudulent return and claim your tax refund, acting as soon as possible is essential. Respond to any IRS correspondence right away by calling them with the number provided. You should also print and mail in Form 14039 with your filed return.

The IRS has a detailed page about what to do in the event of tax-related identity theft.

 

This article is for informational purposes only and not legal or financial advice.

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Your max tax refund is guaranteed.

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