Even if you know you’ve paid your taxes on time, an unexpected letter from the Internal Revenue Service can be a stomach-churning sight when opening mail.

In mid-June, one such form notifying taxpayers that they have unpaid taxes, the CP14 Notice, went out to millions of Americans. The notice also informs the taxpayer of the potential late payment penalties and interest if the amount isn’t paid.

While some genuinely owe money to the government, tax preparers in California are warning that other residents are receiving the automated notice despite dutifully paying their taxes each year.

“We’ve heard from numerous tax professionals that their clients are receiving erroneous CP14 notices for nonpayment of balance due for 2021 tax returns even though the payments were debited from their clients’ bank accounts,” Spidell, a California-based company specializing in tax law analysis, said in a news release.

Spidell said the IRS told them there was a “systemwide issue” but it wasn’t immediately clear how many people actually received the erroneous letters.

Employees of Sacramento-based California Tax Boutique and an H&R Block in Los Angeles also confirmed to Nexstar Wednesday that customers had received CP-14 notices in error, but declined to comment further.

Nexstar reached out to the IRS for comment but did not hear back as of publishing time. The collection agency told The Sacramento Bee earlier this week it was aware of a “small set of taxpayers” mistakenly receiving CP14 notices after fully paying their taxes, but added that it didn’t think there was a widespread problem.

I received a CP14 letter from the IRS, now what?

If you do happen to receive a CP14 Notice in the mail, the first thing you should do is to make sure you don’t ignore or accidentally throw away the letter, Mark Steber, chief tax information officer at Jackson Hewitt, told Nexstar’s WCMH.

“The IRS is good for one thing and one thing the most – they are good at collecting the money that is due them,” Steber said. “The penalties, the interest, the overall balance, in some cases, will grow larger than the tax liability as well, with some of the limitations at what you can do to respond.”

If you do owe money to the government, you should make sure that the amount on the CP14 is correct, Stever added, as oversights can be made by both the taxpayer and the IRS.

To dispute the notice, you must contact the IRS within 21 days of receiving the CP14 using the number listed in the letter. If the balance was already paid in full within 21 days of receiving the letter, you can disregard the notice.

Another option for anyone unable to pay the entire amount is to set up a payment plan or apply for a temporary delay of collection.