CP 88 Notice: Delinquent Return Refund Hold – Meaning & Actions Needed

cp 88 notice

As a general rule, individuals who fail to file their tax returns as required often find themselves in hot water with the IRS. Although the negative consequences of not handling your taxes properly may not be felt immediately, sooner or later, the IRS will catch up with individuals who have failed to file tax returns in the past. Whether your failure to file was intentional or you inadvertently made mistakes when filing past returns, the IRS has the right to hold future refunds until issues from the past are resolved.

How do you know if there are issues with your refund?

If you have filed your tax return and are expecting a refund, you may be surprised when you do not receive it. Some taxpayers are aware of situations that may result in the garnishment of tax refunds, such as prior tax bills that are still owed or past child support issues. If you are unaware of any such issues, you might not understand why you are not receiving your refund as anticipated.

What is a CP-88 Notice?

When the IRS holds a tax refund, they do not do so without notifying the intended recipient of their actions. If your refund is being held by the IRS as a result of past filing issues, you will receive Notice CP-88 from the IRS.


What does this letter mean?

Basically, anyone receiving a CP-88 Notice from the IRS is being notified that the IRS has processed your tax return and your refund is being held due to your failure to file the taxes for the previous tax year.

What steps need to be taken next?

Once you have received the CP-88 Notice, you will have to gather past documents that are missing and file any past due tax returns. If you have filed all past returns, you may be wondering why you have received this notice. In this situation the IRS may not have received all the documents making your previous returns unable to be processed. In any event, you will have to contact the IRS to determine what information is missing if you want to receive your refund. Understand that once your past returns are processed, any tax liabilities owed may be deducted from your return.

Is there a time frame in which to respond?

The notice you received may not provide a deadline for response. This is because there is no set time frame in which you are required to reply, however the longer it takes to resolve the issue, the longer it will take to receive your refund. In addition, any tax liabilities that may be owed will continue to accrue interest and penalties until resolved. For these reasons, it is in your best interest to respond as soon as possible to find out what you have to do to square up with the IRS.

Where do I find contact information?

All contact information regarding this notice will be printed at the top of the letter. Using the contact information provided, call the IRS as soon as possible to learn what steps must be taken to resolve this issue. If you have already addressed these issues in the past, you may have to explain this to the IRS representative who might refer you to the Office of Taxpayer Advocate for further arbitration.

You can find a list of qualified licensed tax professionals who can resolve your tax problems here or can start a new search by visiting our homepage. 

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