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Blog Series on The IRS Website: Resources, Tips, and Tricks

By: Alesha Henley

The IRS Homepage

Written by Catherine Kruse

On June 1st, Senior Accountant Jake Shockley and Client Service Manager Catherine Kruse presented on the IRS homepage and why it might be time to embrace the options that the IRS offers. While many taxpayers feel very strongly against being on their radar, the new technology that “The Service” offers is definitely an advantage in the long run. Don’t miss their next webinars on August 3rd and September 7th on submitting a power of attorney through the IRS site and making an estimated tax payment!

The IRS has spent a significant amount of time making their interface and homepage options as user-friendly as possible, and as a result, you do not need to look far to find the answers you are looking for. As soon as you go to https://www.irs.gov/, you will be directed to the most common options that taxpayers seek, as well as a convenient place to sign into your individual account. While you are not required to create an account for every option, stay tuned to HKA’s posts later this week to read why this is probably a good idea in the long run.

Current Options on the IRS’s Main Site:

Get Your Refund Status: This option allows you to look up your 2019, 2020, and 2021 refund status. In previous years, the IRS only allowed the most recent tax year. Now, you can track multiple years after providing your social security number, the refund anticipated, and a few more details from your return. You do not need an IRS account to access this information if you have a copy of your tax return handy. 

Once accessed, the status will tell you whether your tax return has been received by the IRS, whether it has been processed, whether a check has been mailed, and an anticipated arrival date of the check or deposit. It might not always have the latter information available, if your return has not been processed yet. 

Check Your Amended Return Status: This is a relatively new option from the IRS, which allows you to also check on the processing time of an amended tax return. 

Get Your Tax Record: You do need an IRS account in order to access your tax record, but this is a very handy option if you are buying a home or submitting college paperwork! The IRS offers four different transcript options which will allow you to see what records they have on file for you. This can be a good resource if your tax return is not finished yet to offer additional proof of income. It can also be helpful if you don’t have immediate access to a document on your tax return because it allows you to see what the IRS has on file for you. 

Apply for an EIN: This is the easiest possible link to apply for an Employer Identification Number if you are starting a new business. This is a free process that will take a matter of minutes once you have determined your entity. Beware of other websites that tell you to pay a fee for your EIN– this is a free process that you should start from the IRS site.

Get Answers to Your Tax Questions: This is an FAQ site that is frequently added to and contains a database of the most searched questions. It is also important to mention that if you have a question that needs answering, HKA is happy to help! Feel free to give us a call.

Find Forms & Instructions: This is a section with many popular forms that you can print off an  mail in. Blank estimate vouchers, payroll documentation such as W-2s and 941s, and other forms are located here.

Sign in to Your Account: This is the fastest way to sign into your IRS account. Read Catherine’s blog post tomorrow on how easy it is to sign up!

File Your Taxes for Free: If you have a dependent or family member with an easy return, this is a great resource to decide where to file for them. This is a link to all of the free tax providers and  websites that you can visit to file. Different free sites have different requirements, and you can’t file directly using the IRS as a preparer. However, this portion of the site offers multiple options in a compare mode that makes it easy to see which is the best option for your need. There is also an assessment that you can take which will recommend the best site.

Make a Payment: I will write more about this option in tomorrow’s blog post, but this section of the site allows you to make a tax payment online. You can pay your 1040 balance due, an amended return balance due, a quarterly estimate, and more using this option. Though you do not need to have an account with the IRS in order to pay, HKA definitely recommends that you sign up for one as it will allow you to track your payments through their site.

Tools & Applications: At the bottom of the page, the IRS offers even more shortcuts for options, including but not limited to:

  • Tax Withholding Estimator 
  • Pay Directly from Your Bank Account
  • Identity Protection Pin (IP PIN)
  • IRS2Go Mobile App

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