Understanding your 2802C letter


What this letter is about

You received this letter because we determined that your withholding doesn’t comply with our guidelines. If you do a correction now, you will avoid receiving a lock-in letter in the future that tells your employer to increase your withholding rate. You can disregard this letter if you already corrected your W-4.

What you need to do

  • Use the Tax Withholding Estimator to determine your correct withholding amount. Complete the W-4 provided in the letter and give to your employer.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a 2802C Letter?

This letter is a self-correcting letter. The goal is to have you, as the taxpayer, self-correct. The Tax Withholding Estimator located on this site is an effective tool to help you determine your correct withholding amount. You don’t need to take any action with the IRS. Simply fill out another W-4 with the correct withholding and give to your employer.

What happens if the IRS determines that I do not have adequate withholding?

We can tell your employer to withhold federal income tax at an increased rate. We do this by issuing a “lock-in letter.” At that point, your employer must disregard any Form W-4 that decreases the amount of your withholding. You’ll receive a copy of the lock-in letter, and we’ll give you some time before the lock-in rate is effective to submit a new Form W-4. If you write to the IRS, include a statement that explains why you believe you’re entitled to a different withholding rate or number of withholding allowances. Once we issue a lock-in letter, you won’t be able to decrease your withholding unless we approve it.

What if I don’t want to submit a Form W-4 to my employer?

Once you are issued a lock-in letter, you will be given a telephone number to call the IRS for a modification. You will have 60 days to call the IRS. After that date, your employer must withhold income tax from your wages at a single rate with zero allowances.

Tips for next year

Ensure that your withholding is adequate.