Decoding IRS Reference Number 9001: What Does It Mean? - alleviatetax.com

October 14, 20190
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If you’re looking into tax relief, you’re probably in a state of panic.

You’re worried that you owe money to the IRS and you’re not sure how you’re going to pay it back.

Then, when you try to check your return, it gets even worse: you get an error message with IRS reference code 9001.

Take a deep breath.

This is a fixable problem.

Here’s what you need to know to sort out code 9001.

Understanding IRS Reject Codes

Before we talk about IRS reference number 9001, you have to understand what reject codes are.

If you’re like many taxpayers, you’ve submitted your taxes and are eagerly checking Where’s My Refund for your refund status.

If you’re not checking Where’s My Refund, it’s a popular IRS tool that tracks your federal refund through three stages:

  1. Return received
  2. Return approved
  3. Refund sent

At each stage, the IRS provides you personalized information based on processing.

As soon as the IRS processes your return and approves your refund, you can see your refund date.

However, if you log on and get an error code, it indicates that something is wrong with your return or some other piece of information isn’t adding up.

What Does It Mean When You Get a Reject Code?

Fortunately, the IRS knows that there’s a long list of potential errors that a taxpayer could make based on the complexity of their return.

When you get a reject code, the number of the code indicates what’s wrong.

There are hundreds of error codes out there, ranging from your telephone number listed as all zeros (code 305) to duplicate elements (code 901).

Generally, any code below 2000 indicates an error directly related to your return.

Any code above 2000 generally indicates a different problem, which means your return may be completely valid.

Keep in mind: error codes also apply to IRS tools, so you may receive an error message that has nothing to do with your return or processing of the return.

Don’t Panic

With that in mind, there’s one thing to remember before we go any further: do not panic.

The average person isn’t a tax attorney or an accountant, which means that most people make mistakes on their taxes.

In 2018, 80% of people made mistakes on their forms that could affect their returns.

Despite jokes about death and taxes, the IRS is not actually out to get you.

They’re doing their job, and their job is to make sure you’re paying the taxes you owe.

As long as you are who you say you are and you pay your taxes, the IRS will leave you alone.

Every tax issue is ultimately fixable.

Take a deep breath.

What is IRS Reference Number 9001?

With that in mind, let’s talk about IRS reference number 9001.

9001 is part of a set of error codes in the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) indicating a set of guidelines.

Fortunately, the code itself tells you exactly what it means, which in the case of 9001 is rather banal.

It doesn’t mean your return has been flagged for an audit.

It doesn’t even mean your return has been flagged.

If you log onto Where’s My Refund and get error code 9001, this means the refund status could not be returned.

It’s NOT an audit flag, it’s an error code generated when a taxpayer attempts to access a return or refund results using the wrong Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

What It Means

Most of the time, code 9001 is generated when you file a return with multiple Social Security numbers attached to it.

Typically, this happens when married couples file their returns, but not always.

It can also include children.

Think about it.

If your dependents are listed on your return, their Social Security numbers are listed.

Adult dependents might be checking the status of the refund.

You see, when you file a return with multiple Social Security numbers, you have to specify the primary Social Security number attached to the return.

Your spouse and dependents are also listed, but they’re secondary.

What’s a Taxpayer Identification Number?

This code can also be generated if you enter the wrong Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

Your TIN is an identification number used by the IRS to identify you, issued either by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the IRS itself.

In fact, most people have more than one potential TIN, as your TINs can include your:

  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending US Adoptions (ATIN)
  • Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number (PTIN)

Your TIN must be furnished on your tax returns to ensure that the IRS can match your return to the right person.

There are millions of men named John Smith in the United States, but there’s only one John Smith with your SSN.

What the IRS Says

Code 9001 is closely tied to the Where’s My Refund tool because of TINs required to use the tool, which is often where the error comes into play.

In order to access the tool, you need three pieces of information:

  1. Your SSN or TIN
  2. Your filing status
  3. The amount of your expected refund, listed in whole dollars and perfectly matching your tax forms

If you enter the wrong SSN or TIN, you’ll get an error message.

Remember, the IRS stores records attached to you based on these numbers, which is why returns with multiple TINs have to specify a primary TIN.

Even if your TIN or SSN is listed on someone else’s return, that return won’t be listed under your name and TIN, since you’re not the primary person on that return.

So if you try to access the return using the wrong TIN or a secondary TIN, you’ll get the 9001 error code.

Identity Theft Concerns

Some people who get this code have concerns about identity theft.

Yes, this code can be a flag for that.

There have been cases where individuals enter the wrong SSN or TIN too many times and their return is put on hold until their identity can be verified.

However, again, this is not an audit code.

Think of it as an incorrect password error.

It’s just pinging you to let you know that you haven’t entered the primary SSN or TIN associated with the return you’re trying to access.

Don’t give yourself a panic attack, and don’t get your return put on hold for an avoidable error.

Before you go to Where’s My Refund, open up a copy of your returns to double-check the primary SSN or TIN on the form to make sure you enter the right one.

What to Do If You Get a Reject

If you get a reject code, including 9001, the first step is simple: stay calm.

Most of the time, these error codes are simple fixes.

If you panic, you’re more likely to make an additional mistake that will make the situation worse.

Stay calm.

Read what the error code actually means.

The IRS explains what the code means when it provides the code, which means they’ll also tell you how to fix it.

What Do You Do with 9001?

So, what do you do if you get code 9001?

You have two options, as explained in the Where’s My Refund error message.

The easy option is to find the primary TIN.

Fortunately, if you have access to a copy of the return you’re trying to access, you can check the return for that number and try again.

The other option is simple: don’t do anything.

You don’t need to call the IRS.

In fact, most of the time, you shouldn’t.

The IRS is swamped with calls.

You could spend hours on the phone, and if you’re calling them about error code 9001, you could waste hours on the phone for nothing.

Look up the primary TIN and enter it.

If you’re 100% certain that you’re entering the primary TIN or SSN and you’re still getting code 9001, then you should call the IRS or visit your local office.

In cases like this, code 9001 may be a red flag for identity theft.

How Tax Relief Can Help You

The good news about IRS reference number 9001 is that the problem is an easy fix.

However, if this isn’t the only error attached to your return, it’s time to call in professional assistance to sort it out.

We offer expert tax relief services to people just like you who can’t make heads or tails of their tax returns.

If you have questions, make sure to check out our FAQs page or get in touch today to find out how we can help you take control of your debt to the IRS.

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