The Most Common Causes of E-filing Problems

3/1/2015 | Written by: Karen Reed, EA

When your electronically filed tax return is rejected by the IRS, it can be frustrating. But, most of the time, there’s a simple explanation for the rejection, and the errors can be easily fixed.

The most common IRS reject problems relate to entries of names (last names in particular), Social Security Numbers, birth dates, and the prior year’s AGI (adjusted gross income) or e-filing PIN. If the information in the return does not match Social Security Administration or IRS records, the return will be rejected by the IRS’s electronic filing system.

While all of the above errors are fixable, sometimes a tax return cannot be e-filed, period. The IRS requires that a return be mailed in if certain forms are included in your return, or if the same person appears as a dependent or taxpayer on more than one tax return in the current year. A W-2 with a blank box 1, or with box 16 of W-2 exceeding box 1, will also be rejected. In addition, you cannot electronically file prior year returns, amended tax returns, or returns which report no taxable income. Tax returns that were prepared using software overrides will need to be mailed to the IRS as well.

If during your attempt to e-file you learn that a tax return has already been filed using your Social Security Number, you may be a victim of tax identity theft. If you suspect this is the case, visit the IRS’s Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft for instructions on what to do and how to report it.