IRS Tax News

Avoid the Rush: Use IRS.gov Online Tools to Answer Questions

IR-2018-23, Feb. 12, 2018

WASHINGTON — With a surge of tax returns expected during the upcoming Presidents Day weekend, the Internal Revenue Service offers taxpayers several tips and time-saving resources to get them the help they need quickly and easily.

The redesigned IRS.gov now makes it easier to use the agency’s web site, whether on a computer or a mobile device. A good first stop is the IRS Services Guide,‎ which provides an overview of the many online tools available on IRS.gov. IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, contains information about preparing tax returns and answers to many common tax questions.

Get answers anytime on IRS.gov by using the Interactive Tax Assistant, Tax Topics, Frequently Asked Questions, Tax Trails and the IRS Tax Map. Also, with the revamped “search” tool on IRS.gov, anyone can research a wide variety of tax issues, and there’s even a Tax Pro page dedicated to the unique needs of tax professionals.

IRS.gov is a particularly good resource for taxpayers in days following the Presidents Day holiday. With a surge in tax returns coming in, this is typically a peak period on IRS help lines. To avoid lengthy waits on the phone during this period, the IRS encourages taxpayers to first try the resources on IRS.gov.

Many tax questions can also be answered by tax software products. Taxpayers whose income is $66,000 or less can use IRS Free File to access a number of free tax-preparation software products. Alternatively, eligible taxpayers needing free in-person tax-preparation assistance may opt for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Taxpayers can also use IRS.gov to help choose a qualified tax professional.

IRS.gov also has information about several available payment options. This includes information about how to create an online payment agreement for those who owe additional tax but are unable to pay right away.

Although the IRS always urges taxpayers to retain a copy of their prior-year tax returns, IRS.gov still offers options if they failed to do so. Having a copy makes it easier to prepare a 2017 tax return, and taxpayers who changed tax software products this year may need their adjusted gross income from the prior-year return to help validate their electronic signature.

Those who need a copy of their return for a prior year can get one either online or by mail at Get Transcript.  To access tax records online, taxpayers must register through the IRS’ two-factor authentication process called Secure Access. This identity-proofing process is designed to rigorously protect sensitive information. Please note some taxpayers may be unable to complete this process successfully. As an alternative, these taxpayers can use the mail feature and expect delivery in five to 10 business days, so the IRS encourages taxpayers to plan ahead.

Smart phone and tablet users can download the IRS2Go app available at Apple, Google or Amazon stores. Use the IRS2Go app to check refund status, make a payment, find free tax preparation assistance, sign up for helpful tax tips and more. IRS2Go is available in both English and Spanish.