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Understanding Your CP138 Notice

This notice tells you that all or part of the overpayment on a return you filed was applied to other federal taxes you owe.

What you need to do

  • Read your notice carefully. It will explain why we couldn't apply the amount you requested to next year's taxes. It also will suggest additional steps for you to take, depending on your situation.
  • If you requested the overpayment in question to be applied to another tax period, you will need to make an additional payment for that tax period.

You may want to

  • Download a copy of Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer (if it was not included with your notice).
  • Retain the notice for your records.
  • Review your records for the overpaid tax period and the tax period(s) to which it was applied.

Answers to Common Questions

Q. How can I find out what caused my overpayment to be reapplied?

A. Please contact us at the number listed on your notice for specific information concerning your tax return.

Q. What should I do if I disagree with the changes you made?

A. If you disagree, contact us at the toll-free number listed on the top right corner of your notice.


Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 08-Feb-2016

Printable samples of this notice (PDF)



How to get help

  • Call the 1-800, 1-866 or 1-888 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.