The IRS has put together a “Tax Time Guide” to help taxpayers navigate the various tools and resources they have available to them to answer tax questions.
Below are a few of the most common tax time queries and the tools to find answers:
Checking on a tax refund?
Taxpayers can easily find information about their refund by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. It’s available on IRS.gov and on the official IRS mobile app, IRS2Go. Refund information is normally available within 24 hours after the IRS receives a taxpayer’s e-filed return or four weeks after the IRS receives a mailed-in paper return. The system is updated daily, so there’s no need to check more often.
Need help preparing a tax return?
Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA/TCE) programs, eligible taxpayers can get help filing their return for free at one of several thousand community-based tax help sites. Sites are staffed by IRS trained and certified volunteers. Low- and moderate-income taxpayers and those age 60 and above can find the nearest site on IRS.gov’s VITA/TCE Site Locator.
Want a free do-it-yourself tax option?
The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, offers 12 brand-name tax preparation software packages for free to the 70% of taxpayers who earned $64,000 or less in 2016. By answering questions in an interview format, the software does the work of finding deductions, credits and exemptions for which the taxpayer qualifies. For those earning more than $64,000 who are comfortable preparing their own taxes, IRS.gov offers Free File Fillable Forms. These are the electronic versions of paper IRS tax forms.
Need a tax return transcript?
For those who need a copy of their tax return, the IRS has an online tool to help. Transcripts are free and available for the most current tax year after the IRS has processed the return. Get Transcript provides online access to transcripts. Taxpayers can view, print or download their transcripts.
Need to make a payment?
IRS Direct Pay offers taxpayers the fastest and easiest way to pay what they owe. Available through the Pay Your Tax Bill icon on IRS.gov, this free online system allows individuals to securely pay their tax bills or make quarterly estimated tax payments directly from checking or savings accounts without fees or pre-registration. See IRS.gov/Payments for information on this and other payment options.
Can’t pay a tax bill?
For taxpayers concerned about a tax bill they can’t pay, the Online Payment Agreement tool can help determine if they qualify for a payment plan with the IRS. The Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier can help determine if a taxpayer qualifies for an offer in compromise. An Offer in Compromise is an agreement with the IRS that settles a person’s tax liability for less than the full amount owed.
Questions about an amended return?
The “Where’s My Amended Return?” tool provides the status of an amended tax return, Form 1040X. Taxpayers can check on the current year 1040X and up to three prior years. Allow up to three weeks after filing to check on the initial status, and up to 16 weeks for processing.
What about tax withholding?
The IRS Withholding Calculator helps employees make sure the amount of income tax taken out of their pay is neither too high nor too low. This tool can be particularly useful to taxpayers who, after filling out their tax returns, find that the refund or balance due was not what they expected.