Tax Time Guide: Make IRS.gov the first stop for tax help

Issue Number:​ ​ ​ ​ IR-2022-35

Inside This Issue


Tax Time Guide: Make IRS.gov the first stop for tax help

WASHINGTON — With phone volumes continuing at historic levels, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers IRS.gov, should be the first stop for taxpayers seeking information and help with their federal taxes.

Available around the clock, IRS.gov has a variety of online tools, applications, and resources available to help people prepare and file their taxes or help with refund tracking. Research tools like the Interactive Tax Assistant and answers for Frequently Asked Questions provide in-depth answers on many tax subjects.

Prepare and file taxes online for free
Taxpayers can use IRS Free File to prepare and electronically file their returns. They can also set up direct deposit for their refunds, which is the fastest way to get their money.

IRS Free File software products are part of a 20-year partnership with leading tax software providers who make their online tax preparation products available for free with the IRS. Free File is available to any person or family who earned $73,000 or less in 2021. This represents about 70% of taxpayers.

IRS Free File is free when eligible taxpayers go through IRS.gov/freefile. In addition, Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of paper IRS tax forms, are available to all taxpayers earning any income amount. They’re most useful for those who are comfortable preparing and filing their own taxes online.

MilTax is also available for members of the military and qualifying veterans. This Department of Defense program generally offers free online tax preparation and e-filing software for federal returns and up to three state returns. Users can also set up direct deposit for their refunds.

Find answers with the Interactive Tax Assistant
The Interactive Tax Assistant answers general tax law questions, including helping to determine if a type of income is taxable or if someone is eligible to claim certain credits and deductions. With changes to income and other life events for many in 2021, tax credits and deductions can mean more money in a taxpayer’s pocket.

Get an Identity Protection PIN
An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a six-digit number that prevents criminals from filing a fraudulent tax return using another taxpayer’s Social Security number. The IP PIN is known only to the taxpayer and the IRS, and helps the IRS verify the taxpayer’s identity when they file their electronic or paper tax return.

Locate local free tax preparation
The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free basic tax return preparation, electronic filing, and direct deposit of refunds to qualified taxpayers. The program is free for:

  • People who generally make $58,000 or less
  • Those with disabilities
  • Taxpayers with English as a second language

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program also offers free tax help for taxpayers, particularly those age 60 and older. The VITA/TCE Site Locator can help eligible taxpayers find the nearest community-based VITA/TCE site staffed by IRS-trained and certified volunteers.

Find a local tax professional
IRS.gov offers a searchable directory that helps taxpayers find qualified local tax professionals in their area. The list can be sorted by credentials and qualifications. IRS tips for choosing a tax preparer and how to avoid unethical “ghost” return preparers are important starting points before hiring a tax professional.

Online Account can help
Taxpayers can securely access their individual Online Account to view important information they can use to file an accurate return. This includes:

  • Advance Child Tax Credit and Economic Impact Payment amounts: Total amounts of advance Child Tax Credit payments and Economic Impact Payments needed to complete an accurate return are found on the Tax Records page.
  • Adjusted gross income: Taxpayers can find their AGI from their most recently filed tax return. This helps if they use a different tax software or tax preparer this year.
  • Estimated tax payment amounts: The total of any estimated tax payments made during the year or refunds applied as a credit can be found on the Account Balance page, and a record of each payment appears under Payment Activity.
  • Communication preference: Individuals can update their communication preferences. They can request personalized email notifications for new digital notices and go paperless for certain notices from the IRS.
  • Tax transcripts: Taxpayers can view, print or download a tax transcript after the IRS has processed the return, which can show return and/or account data. They can also find changes or transactions made after they filed their original return.

Make a tax payment
Taxpayers can make a payment from their bank account through their Online Account or with IRS Direct Pay. In Online Account, they can view up to 5 years of their payment history and any pending or scheduled payments. Taxpayers can see their different payment options on IRS.gov which include: Electronic Funds Withdrawal (during e-filing), credit or debit cardcheck or money orderor cash at a participating retail store.

Set up a payment plan
Taxpayers can meet their tax obligation in monthly installments by setting up a payment plan on IRS.gov/paymentplan in a matter of minutes. Setup fees may apply for some types of plans. An offer in compromise is a way for a taxpayer to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount. A pre-qualifier tool is available online. If the IRS determines a taxpayer is unable to pay, it may temporarily delay collection until the taxpayer’s financial condition improves.

Track refunds with ‘Where’s My Refund?’
Taxpayers can receive the most up-to-date information about their tax refund using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov and on the official IRS mobile app, IRS2Go.

The IRS2Go app offers great mobile features
Users can check the status of an income tax refund within 24 hours after the IRS accepts their electronically filed return, or about four weeks after mailing a paper return.

The IRS2Go app also provides easy access to mobile-friendly payment options like IRS Direct Pay, offering a free, secure way to pay directly from a bank account. It can locate free tax help, connect to IRS social media accounts and can generate login security codes for certain IRS online services, allowing the retrieval of codes through IRS2Go instead of using text messages.

IRS Outreach Connection
The Outreach Connection page provides information for groups inside and outside the tax community. Subscribers to Outreach Connection can keep clients, employees, customers, constituents, partners and even families connected to tax-related useful information and materials for tax topics and issues that affect them.

This release is part of the Tax Time Guide, a series of news releases designed to help taxpayers get the information they need to file an accurate tax return. Additional help is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, on IRS.gov.

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