971 Notice Issued – Meaning & What to Do?


If a 971 notice appeared on your tax transcript, you already know there’s something to be done. Before going on to do anything, it makes a lot of sense to consider learning what the notice means, and why you got it in the first place.

From the nature of the code, you could get a 971 notice for a variety of reasons. While we’ll go in-depth on these reasons later in the article, some of them include bankruptcy, an amended tax return, and a couple of others, as you’ll see later in the article.

In addition to showing you what a 971 notice means, you’ll also learn what to do when you get it on your IRS tax transcript. Before worrying about the nature of the notice, you may want to dive into the article immediately.


What’s a 971 Notice?


The 971 notice on your IRS tax transcript is not specific enough to mean anything, and you probably shouldn’t worry about it for that reason. If you got it, you still have some work to do to find out what it means in your specific case.

Officially, IRS code 971 refers to miscellaneous transactions. When you get the code, it’s just trying to tell you that additional information is required to make some changes and it may require action from your end. You should also get some additional notes explaining the code in detail and explaining what you need to do exactly.

From what I just explained above, you should be convinced that there’s a lot to a 971 notice than you envisaged. In the following section, you’ll learn some of the common specifics of the notice and what you may be required to do in those scenarios.

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Why Did You Get a 971 Notice?


The 971 notice is not very specific, and as I’ve explained earlier, could mean a whole lot of things. For a starter, everything might be somewhat hard to process, but you don’t have to process them all either. Simply jump to your specific case, read the details, and see what you have to do.


While your tax transcript should have some more details about the notice, here are some possible reasons why you got a 971 notice.


  • Duplicate tax return

If a duplicate tax return has been processed in your name, you may receive the code on your next report to notify you of the issue. Fortunately, the process for fixing this is pretty simple; just get in touch and you should receive help.


  • A duplicate notice was sent to the spouse

If your spouse received a duplicate copy of your tax returns, your tax transcripts may include the 971 notice to notify you. This isn’t necessarily a problem as long as you received the notification.


Code 971 vs. Publication 971


When you type in code 971 online, you may run into an IRS page about publication 971. Are both of them the same; does any information from the page apply to you since your case is mildly different (being a 971 notice, and not necessarily a publication 971)?

Going by the information you’ve seen so far, you can tell there are discernible differences between a 971 notice and a publication 971. Publication 971 only explains when a spouse may get relief on their taxes or penalties on a joint tax return.

There are three scenarios listed on the page that makes it possible for a spouse to get relief on their taxes. An innocent spouse gets relief; there’s also a separation of liability relief, and there’s an equitable relief. There isn’t a lot more information on the page at the time of writing this article.

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What Does the IRS Code 971 Mean on a Transcript?


In some cases, you’ll see a code 971 on your IRS transcript when trying to process a return. The return hasn’t been successful yet, and the appearance of the code means something weird has happened. However, what does code 971 mean on an IRS transcript?

The IRS code 971 is an indication that your return has been put on review for another 60 days. This code doesn’t indicate the need for you to take any action and you don’t need to submit any documents for the IRS to process your return successfully.

If you’re worried you won’t be getting your tax refund, don’t be, as there’s nothing about code 971 to suggest that. You may receive another code that suggests that the IRS will have issues processing the refund, but code 971 is certainly not it.

If you have any confusion or inquiries about anything that shows up on your tax transcript, you may want to discuss it with a tax expert. By showing them what you were talking about, they should be able to tell what’s wrong and what you must do to fix it.


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When you receive a 971 notice, the general meaning is a miscellaneous transaction, but the specifics can be a lot more complicated. It could be a sign of a duplicate tax return sent to your spouse, a collection due, a bankruptcy notification, an amended tax return, or any of the other scenarios. In any case, you should get more information about the notification.

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The code 971 on your tax transcripts could also mean that your return will be under review for 60 days. When that happens, don’t fret; simply wait until the review is complete unless you’re required to take action.

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