Understanding your CP16 Notice
We sent you this notice to tell you about changes we made to your return that affect your refund. We made these changes because we believe there was a miscalculation. Our records show you owe other tax debts and we applied all or part of your refund to them.
Printable samples of this notice (PDF)
Tax publications you may find useful
- Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer
- Publication 3498-A, The Examination Process
- Find a copy of any necessary tax forms and instructions
How to get help
Calling the 1-800 number listed on the top right corner of your notice is the fastest way to get your questions answered.
You can also authorize someone (such as an accountant) to contact the IRS on your behalf using this Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative (Form 2848).
Or you may qualify for help from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
What you need to do
- Read your notice carefully — it will explain the changes we made to your tax return.
- Correct the copy of your tax return that you kept for your records.
- Contact us within 60 days of the date of your notice if you disagree with the changes we made.
You may want to...
- Download copies of the following materials (if they weren't included with your notice):
- Review your tax return with you preparer, if you used one, to help you determine if the changes we made are correct. Complete and send us a Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative to authorize someone (such as an accountant) to contact us on your behalf.
- Prepare documentation showing why you don’t agree with the changes we made.
Answers to Common Questions
How can I find out what caused my tax return to change?
Please contact us at the number listed on your notice for specific information concerning your tax return.
What should I do if I disagree with the changes you made?
If you disagree, contact us at the toll free number listed on the top right corner of your notice.
If you contact us in writing within 60 days of the date of this notice, we'll reverse the change we made to your account. However, if you're unable to provide us additional information that justifies the reversal and we believe the reversal is in error, we'll forward your case for audit your case. This step gives you formal appeal rights, including the right to appeal our decision in court before you have to pay the additional tax. After we forward your case, the audit staff will contact you within five to six weeks to fully explain the audit process and your rights. If you don't contact us within the 60 day period, you'll lose your right to appeal our decision before paying the tax.
If you don't contact us within 60 days, the change won't be reversed and you must pay the additional tax. You may then file a claim for refund. You must submit the claim within three years of the date you filed the tax return, or within two years of the date of your last payment for this tax.
What if I disagree with the debt my refund was applied to?
You will need to contact us using the number provided on your notice to discuss your account information.
Tips for next year
Consider filing your taxes electronically. Filing online can help you avoid mistakes and find credits and deductions that you may qualify for. In many cases you can file for free. Learn more about e-file.
If you have any dependent children, remember to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit the next time you file your income tax return. Complete and attach a Form 1040 Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit to your return to claim this credit.
Understanding your notice
Reading your notice
Your notice may look different from the sample because the information contained in your notice is tailored to your situation.
Notice CP16, Page 1
Notice CP16, Page 2
Notice CP16, Page 3