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The IRS thinks I owe them $43,000… Where do I start?

Question

Title. In 2013 or ’14, I completed some copywriting work for an ad agency to the tune of $900. I paid all the right taxes, made sure everything was well documented, blah blah blah.

Fast forward to last week— I check the status of my tax return in the IRS app and get a notification that I’m not getting a return this year and they’re using that money to pay off an outstanding debt. This is odd to me because I always pay my taxes … I’m a single guy, I own a condo and work full time. Not very complicated stuff, I do a freelance job every now and then and always withhold taxes. I’ve never **not** gotten money back at the end of the year, so why would I not file every year? What could I possibly owe?

Well, I checked my mail and I received a nice letter from the IRS stating that I owe them $43,000 and some change. Once I was able to pick my jaw up off the ground, it looks like that $900 job I completed more than 5 years ago was somehow processed as a ***$90,000***. At first, I assumed the agency I worked with filed incorrectly. Nope. I received a copy of the 1099 from them and it says $900, meaning this was the IRS’ mistake.

I haven’t called the IRS back yet, but I thought I might ask here. Does anybody have any advice in dealing with something like this? Should I bet getting my money back from this year’s return once they make that correction? Is there a specific number I can call for something like this? Thanks for any help you can provide. I’m a little freaked out by this.

Answers

Someone answered:

Send in a copy of the notice with a copy of the 1099, with a cover sheet explaining the situation.

Someone answered:

Have not experienced what you just have, but I had a similar experience of a [much] smaller magnitude. My experience was quick and easy. If this is truly a mistake, definitely should be resolved. There is usually a number on the notice that you can call. Get in contact and work towards getting it resolve ASAP. I'm pulling for you man. That's a pretty shitty mistake!

Someone answered:

You should be able to simply contact the IRS on the number provided in the notice and sort it out. Data entry issues happen, and this doesn't seem particularly complicated to work through. Be sure to take careful notes and keep any correspondence related to this matter.

If things go south at any point where you start to worry about this being mishandled further, contact a tax professional to help you through it.