Why Did the IRS Send Me Money?

Receiving unexpected money from the IRS can be confusing and raise questions about the source and purpose of the funds. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the various reasons why the IRS might send you money, helping you interpret the accompanying notice or letter and take appropriate actions.

Reasons for Receiving Money from the IRS

The IRS may send you money for several reasons, including:

  • Tax Refund: This is the most common reason for receiving money from the IRS. It occurs when you have overpaid your taxes, either through withholding from your paycheck or estimated tax payments. The IRS calculates the overpayment based on your tax return and issues a refund.

  • Amended Tax Return Refund: If you filed an amended tax return to correct errors or make changes to your original return, the IRS may issue a refund if the amended return results in a lower tax liability.

  • IRS Tax Adjustment: The IRS may adjust your tax account after reviewing your return or receiving additional information. If the adjustment results in a refund, the IRS will send you the overpaid amount.

  • Economic Impact Payment: The IRS issued Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to eligible individuals and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. These payments were not considered tax refunds but were intended to provide financial assistance.

  • Advance Child Tax Credit: In 2021, the IRS began sending advance payments of the Child Tax Credit to eligible families. These payments were intended to provide monthly financial assistance and reduce the amount of the credit received at tax time.

Identifying the Source of the Payment

The IRS notice or letter accompanying the payment will provide details about the source and purpose of the funds. Look for the following information:

  • Notice or Letter Number: The notice or letter number, typically found in the top or bottom right-hand corner, can help you identify the specific reason for the payment.

  • Explanation of Payment: The notice or letter should explain why you are receiving the money, such as “Tax Refund” or “IRS Tax Adjustment.”

  • Amount of Payment: The notice or letter will state the amount of the payment you received.

What to Do with the Payment

If you agree with the information provided in the IRS notice or letter, you generally do not need to take any action. The funds are yours to keep or use as you wish.

However, if you believe there is an error or have questions about the payment, you should contact the IRS at the phone number or address provided in the notice or letter.

Receiving money from the IRS can be a welcome surprise, but it’s important to understand the source and purpose of the funds. By carefully reviewing the accompanying notice or letter, you can determine why you received the payment and take appropriate actions if necessary.

Why did IRS send me money?


Why do you get money from the IRS?

On that form, you indicated the amount of taxes that needed to be withheld from each paycheck. Taxpayers receive a refund at the end of the year when they have too much money withheld.

What happens if the IRS accidentally gives you money?

Refer to IRM 21.4. 5.12 (6), How to Repay an Erroneous Refund or Return an Erroneous Refund Check or Direct Deposit. The recipient of an erroneous refund has a legal obligation to repay the amount to the IRS.

Why am I getting a refund from the IRS?

How refunds work. If you paid more through the year than you owe in tax, you may get a refund. Even if you didn’t pay tax, you may still get a refund if you qualify for a refundable credit.

Why did I get a refund check from the IRS with no explanation?

So if you receive an unexpected IRS refund check or bank deposit, what should you do? First, don’t deposit or cash the check. Immediately take it to your nearest IRS office and ask for verification. An IRS agent can tell you why you received the check, and whether anyone else filed for it without your knowledge.

Why does the IRS send a letter to a taxpayer?

Every year the IRS mails letters or notices to taxpayers for many different reasons. Typically, it’s about a specific issue with a taxpayer’s federal tax return or tax account. A notice may tell them about changes to their account or ask for more information. It could also tell them they need to make a payment.

Why does the IRS send a notice?

The IRS sends out letters or notices for many reasons. Generally, it’s about a specific issue with a taxpayer’s federal tax return or tax account. A notice tells a taxpayer about changes to his/her account. Your notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give you instructions on how to handle the issue.

Why is the IRS holding my tax refund?

There are many reasons why the IRS may be holding your refund. You have unfiled or missing tax returns for prior tax years. The check was held or returned due to a problem with the name or address. You elected to apply the refund toward your estimated tax liability for next year. The IRS is reviewing your tax return.

What should I do if the IRS changed my tax return?

Do read the notice. If the IRS changed the tax return, the taxpayer should compare the information provided in the notice or letter with the information in their original return. In general, there is no need to contact the IRS if the taxpayer agrees with the notice. Do respond timely.

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