What’s worse than getting an Internal Revenue Service notice? Getting a wrong IRS notice.

That just happened to potentially more than a quarter million taxpayers.

The IRS last week acknowledged that it sent approximately 260,000 taxpayers notices that they had failed to file return for the 2019 tax year. Some, perhaps many, of those mailings, officially known as CP59 notices, likely are incorrect.

The reason is the same one we’ve all seen or used ourselves for the last 13 months: COVID-19.

Pandemic processing delays: “Due to pandemic related shutdowns, the IRS has not completed processing all 2019 returns at this time,” according to the agency’s statement issued on Feb. 18.

“Therefore, the CP59 notices should not have been sent because some portion of the recipients may actually have filed a return that is still being processed,” the IRS statement added.

The IRS’ errant notice mailing earns 260,000 this week’s By the Numbers [dis]honor.

No action needed: If you did file your 2019 return, but got a CP59 anyway, the IRS says you can ignore the letter. You don’t need to take any action.

In fact, the IRS would really appreciate it if you don’t call about the notice. It’s already got its hands, and phone lines, full with the start of the 2021 tax filing season.

The IRS says it “continues to process 2019 tax returns as quickly as possible,” so your already submitted Form 1040 should be processed. Eventually.

And, of course, the IRS regrets any confusion caused by its erroneous CP59 mailing.

But, if you really haven’t yet filed a 2019 tax return, then the agency encourages you to do so promptly.