Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceTaxesUnited States · 6 months ago

Year mistake on my taxes?

I just logged onto the irs website to see if my payment processed yet, and it did, however it somehow got checked into the 2020 tax year and not the 2019 tax year, which is weird because I sent the payment via money order. My brother in law says he made the same mistake one year and had to pay the same amount for the accurate year, as the irs wouldn’t refund his payment and claimed they couldn’t correct the error but he’s also known for some tall tales every now and again.

What can I do about this? Or do I basically have to make the payment again?

4 Answers

  • Eva
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    You can call them and have the payment applied to the proper year.  Make sure you write the form number and year on any payment you send.

  • Anonymous
    6 months ago

    If the amount is small, I'd make the payment again and remember to include the estimated amount on your 2020 taxes.

    If the amount is NOT small (and that depends on you), CALL.  The money can be moved, but requires a human to do the adjustment.  The wait time on 1-800-829-1040 is horrendous and you need to reach Accounts Management.

    .When you mailed in the money order, did you include a payment voucher?  If so, you were supposed to use form 1040-V, not a 1040-ES form.  If you in fact used a 1040-ES form, the IRS was supposed to post it to 2020, but is not heartless.

    Here's the Internal Revenue Manual write up.  First paragraph says the payment cannot be moved, then THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS. Since your payment amount will match what you owe exactly, #2 applies to you even if you used form 1040-ES.

    IRM 21.6.3

    Taxpayer requests to apply current year estimated tax payments to a previous year's outstanding tax liability cannot be honored. IRC § 6402(a) provides that in the case of an overpayment, the Secretary, within the applicable period of limitations, may credit the amount of the overpayment against any liability in respect of an internal revenue tax on the part of the person who made the overpayment and shall refund any balance to such person. The Service is authorized to make a refund only if an overpayment exists. Therefore, the Service does not have the authority to apply an estimated tax installment to an outstanding tax liability until the estimated tax installment constitutes an overpayment. An "overpayment" cannot be determined until after the close of the tax year when the tax liability is determined.


    The restriction above does not apply to a payment incorrectly processed as an estimated tax payment due to an IRS processing error. This can be verified by reviewing the payment document and/or requesting the payment Document Locator Number (DLN).


    Obvious taxpayer errors, such as AMS history shows the taxpayer called for a payoff amount and that amount posted as an ES payment.

  • 6 months ago

    Your brother is correct - you will have to make another payment against your 2019 tax debt.

    On your 2020 tax return you'll show the accidental payment as a payment, so it will either cover your tax owed or be refunded to you if the total of all your payments is more than your total tax liability.

    You could theoretically do nothing, allow the 2019 debt to go unpaid - its unlikely the IRS will take any collections action against you before next April (other than interest charges), then when you file your 2020 return the refund from 2020 will (probably) be offset to pay the 2019 tax owed. But that's an expensive option because you'll incur a year's worth of interest and penalties on the 2019 tax debt AND there is no guarantee that offset will even happen automatically. The IRS is so behind right now with COVID restrictions slowing down operations and stimulus payments to sort out that there's no guarantee they'll have offset's in place for 2019 tax debts when 2020 returns start coming in.

  • 6 months ago

    Make the payment again.

    When you file your 2020 taxes after the end of the year, you'll get back what you paid or you'll owe less.  You won't lose any money.

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