IRS pushes back against math error recommendations

In addition to calling on the IRS to more closely monitor how quickly it responds to those cases, the reports recommends that the agency give priority to math error cases involving the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is used by lower-income taxpayers.

“Delays in addressing taxpayers’ disputes of math error adjustments could result in taxpayers not timely receiving tax benefits to which they are entitled or in a loss of revenue to the federal government,” the report says.

But the IRS was cool to the report’s recommendations, asserting that it has limited resources and noting that it usually sends interim letters to taxpayers if their cases will not be handled within 30 days.

The agency’s Richard Byrd also noted that the IRS receives some 20 million paper letters each year.

“While important, replies to math errors represent a small fraction of our overall inventory,” Byrd wrote.

For their part, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have touched on math error every now and then in recent months, at times in the discussion over how to best monitor the use of tax credits.

Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles William BoustanyFormer lawmakers call on leadership to focus on unity Partial disengagement based on democratic characteristics: A new era of US-China economic relations Lobbying world MORE Jr. (R-La.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee, signaled in May that Congress should look at whether the IRS should have wider math-error authority.