The IRS Isn’t Perfect: 5 Ways the IRS Can Incorrectly Determine Tax Liability

We often think of the IRS as an ominous entity who is out to take as much of our money as they can. However, despite our frustration with this important government entity, we still tend to take their statements and determinations at face value without question, when in reality the IRS is run by people just like you and me who are very capable of human error. The IRS can most certainly make mistakes, and although it doesn’t happen often, these mistakes can impact the tax liability that is assigned to you. Keep your eyes out for the following five relatively common IRS errors and learn how to take action if needed.


  • They misplaced your information – If you still mail your taxes to the IRS instead of filing online, it’s in your best interest to use certified mail for every document you send. With the sheer volume of paperwork that the IRS receives, it’s no wonder they sometimes lose your income statements, payments, or even your entire tax return itself. The troubling part is that even if you claimed to mail something to them, if they don’t have it, the burden of proof is on your shoulders.
  • The wrong Social Security number was used – Most of the time this issue comes about when a change has been made either switching to or away from filing a joint return. The IRS may confuse income and apply it to one person’s social security number rather than the other, or may misapply payments. They also may may simply type the wrong number into the system, creating another entire batch of issues.
  • Incomplete correction of errors – If you’ve discovered an error on a previous return and were able to get the IRS to fix it, congratulations! However, one common mistake seen by taxpayers occurs when the error itself is resolved, but the attached penalties or interest are not also addressed. Again, the IRS is comprised of humans who are not perfect, and it’s possible that not all mistakes will be completely corrected.
  • Fees are calculated incorrectly – Even when the information on your tax return has been checked by you and your tax professional and everything is accurate, it’s still possible for the IRS to miscalculate your penalties and interest. Your data could have been entered incorrectly, or there could just be a glitch in the system. Either way, you shouldn’t necessarily take the amount of the penalties and interest you’re assigned at face value.
  • They haven’t removed your lien – A tax liability can often come with a lien on your property and remains in place until you have paid in full. While the IRS is quite prompt in issuing liens, they often fall behind when it comes to removing them. Federal law stipulates that the lien must be removed within 30 days of full payment. Often times this doesn’t happen until months later.  It is important to check your county records to ensure that liens filed against you are properly released after you have paid your tax liability.


These are just a few of the possible mistakes the IRS can make. If you feel that you are being charged incorrectly or there is another issue needing legal attention, please contact the Law Office of Robert V. Boeshaar. We are well versed in the tax code and can help you to resolve your tax complications as efficiently and effectively as possible.