Handling Processing Errors

Claim Errors

Returns may reject when IRS receives a tax return claiming a child already claimed on a previously filed return (a duplicate claim). The first tax return claiming the qualifying child or children is allowed, if it passes normal screening criteria, because a duplicate condition does not yet exist. When another return is filed using the same qualifying child, the return undergoes automated screening. We use IRS historical information and information from external sources to decide whether to allow the child or children.

If an electronic return rejects, first verify the child meets all the eligibility requirements. See Do I Qualify for EITC and Whom can I Claim as a Dependent. Then, you may either:

  • File a paper return and claim the qualifying child, if you determine your client is eligible to claim the dependent and/or EITC, or
  • File an electronic return excluding the claim for the child.


Note:  IRS may allow a duplicate claim if our records indicate your client is entitled to claim the qualifying child.

Social Security Number Mismatch 

Each taxpayer, spouse, and any qualifying children must have a  Social Security number that is valid for employment to claim the EITC.

If your client, your client's spouse or any child listed on the Schedule EIC has a missing SSN or the name and SSN does not match the records from the Social Security Administration, IRS may reject an electronic return or send a math error notice.

If the electronic return rejects or your client receives a math error notice, you should verify the questioned SSNs.

  • If the SSN submitted on the original return was incorrect, submit a new return or respond to the math error notice with the correct SSN. 
  • If the SSN is correct, contact the Social Security Administration to correct any SSN and name mismatch. After SSA corrects the records, either send in a new return or respond to the math error notice.


IRS may also adjust the following credits and expenses when there is a missing or invalid SSN:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Additional Child Tax Credit
  • Credit for Child & Dependent Care Expense

Math Error After Prior Year Disallowance of EITC

If IRS denied your client's EITC in a prior year audit, your client must show eligibility for EITC the next time they claim it on their return. They must attach Form 8862PDF, Information to Claim Certain Credits after Disallowance. Also, we may ask for more information before allowing the EITC. The Form 8862 is also available in SpanishPDF

If a taxpayer does not attach Form 8862 to the return the next time they claim EITC, IRS will send them a math error notice disallowing EITC. If your client receives this  math error notice, you may either:

  • Respond to the math error notice by sending in Form 8862, Information to Claim Certain Credits after Disallowance or;
  • Do nothing if you and your client review EITC eligibility requirements and your client is not eligible.

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