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Understanding Your CP161 Notice

You received this notice because of the money you owe from your tax return.

What you need to do

  • Read your notice carefully ― it will explain how much money you owe on your taxes.
  • Check the list of payments we applied to your account to see if we applied all the payments you made.
  • Pay the amount owed by the date on the notice's payment coupon.
  • Make payment arrangements if you can't pay the full amount you owe.

  • You may want to...

    Answers to Common Questions

  • Do I have to pay interest on the amount I owe?
    Interest will accrue on the amount you owe unless you pay it by the requested payment date on the notice’s payment coupon.

  • Do I receive a penalty if I cannot pay the full amount?
    Yes. You usually will receive a late payment penalty. Notice 746, Information About Your Notice, Penalty and Interest has more information about penalties and interest.

  • What happens if I cannot pay the full amount I owe?
    You can arrange to make a payment plan with us if you cannot pay the full amount you owe.

  • How can I set up a payment plan?
    Call the toll-free number listed on the top right corner of your notice to discuss payment options or learn more about payment arrangements here.

  • What should I do if I disagree with the notice?
    Contact us at the toll free number listed on the top right corner of your notice. Please have your documentation (such as cancelled checks, amended return, etc.) ready when you call.


  • Tips for next year

    Consider filing your taxes electronically. Filing online can help you avoid mistakes and find credits and deductions for which you may qualify. In many cases, you can file free. Learn more about how to file electronically here.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 08-Dec-2014

How to get help

  • Call the 1-800 number listed on the top right corner of your notice.
  • Authorize someone (e.g., accountant) to contact the IRS on your behalf using Form 2848.
  • See if you qualify for help from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.