What Causes My E-File Tax Return to Be Denied?

by Sean Butner
Your electronically-filed return can be rejected for a number of reasons.

Filing your taxes electronically is quicker and more accurate than paper filing. When you submit your tax return to the Internal Revenue Service, a program will check your return against other tax returns prepared with your taxpayer number. If everything matches up and no other returns were filed, you’ll hear back that your return was accepted and, if you are due a refund, when to expect your refund. Sometimes the program kicks the return out, and sends you notice that it was denied.

Error Codes

When you receive notice that your return was denied, the letter will provide an error rejection code. The IRS maintains a website that provides some of the common codes, along with their suggested solutions. For taxpayers who prefer to speak to someone, the IRS also has a taxpayer assistance line that individuals can call with questions. Call 1-800-829-1040 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time -- Pacific time for those in Alaska and Hawaii -- with your error code for personal help from someone at the IRS.

Taxpayer Number Mismatch

One of the quickest ways to trigger an error is to have a typo in your last name or your taxpayer number. The IRS checks all taxpayer numbers against a master file, which is tied into the Social Security Administration’s records, and will reject any return electronically filed that doesn’t match the master file. In addition to errors in the taxpayer’s name and number, any dependent, spouse or employer misidentified on your tax return could trigger a similar denial.

Already Claimed Number

Similarly, the IRS checks all taxpayer numbers against other returns. You can’t file Form 1040 multiple times, or claim dependents that someone else is claiming. These errors often occur when there’s a typo, but might be the result of someone fraudulently attempting to file a return or claim someone else on their taxes. Check that you put the information down correctly on the return, and consult with the taxpayer assistance line if your return continues to reject.

If the Return Continues to Reject

Occasionally, you might not be able to use the e-file service to submit your tax return. If your return continues to be rejected by the IRS, your only solution might be to print it out and stick it in the mail. Consult the taxpayer assistance line before mailing your return to make sure there aren’t any solutions you overlooked. Check the instructions for the Form 1040 to ensure that you’re mailing your return to the appropriate address for your location.

About the Author

Sean Butner has been writing news articles, blog entries and feature pieces since 2005. His articles have appeared on the cover of "The Richland Sandstorm" and "The Palimpsest Files." He is completing graduate coursework in accounting through Texas A&M University-Commerce. He currently advises families on their insurance and financial planning needs.

Photo Credits

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