How to Use the IRS.gov Website

Services offered on the IRS website

What is IRS.gov?

IRS.gov is the official website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is the United States’ tax collection agency. The website is used by businesses and individuals to (1) file a tax return, (2) pay a balance owing, (3) check the status of a refund, (4) learn about credits and deductions, and (4) access forms and instructions, among other things.

how to use the irs.gov website

Guide to Using the IRS.gov Website

This guide will examine eight of the most common actions users seek to access through the IRS.gov website. Please explore each of these in more detail, and always consult a professional advisor before making any financial or tax-related decisions.

1. Check refund status

This is certainly one of the most popular features of the website, as people generally like to receive refunds on their taxes! According to IRS.gov, approximately nine out of 10 refunds are issued within 21 days, and the status of a refund is updated on the website once per day.

If you want to receive your refund faster, you may wish to sign up for e-file and direct deposit, which allows you to receive your refund directly into your bank account.

2. View your account

This is another popular feature of IRS.gov. Individual taxpayers can use this tool to view their payoff amount, tax year balance, payment history (up to 18 months), and access personal information about their current tax year filing.

3. Access tools for tax professionals

The section called “e-Services” is a collection of online web-based applications that enable professional advisors to complete transactions for their clients with the IRS. The types of professionals that may benefit from the service include tax advisors, mortgage professionals, and reporting agents. Note: These services are available only for approved business partners of the Internal Revenue Service.

4. Check the status of an amended return

This service on the site is useful for checking the status of Form 1040X, an Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Remember, it can take up to three weeks for an amended return to show up in the online system. In order to access this information, you will need your social security number, zip code, and date of birth.

5. Get your tax record/transcript

In this portal of IRS.gov, you can get Form 1040-series transcripts, as well as your prior year’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI).

6. Make a tax payment

The two main functions in this section of the site are paying taxes owed and checking your balance and payment history. If you want to pay your taxes, you can send a deposit from your bank account for free, as well as pay with an approved payment processor, but a fee will be charged for using the latter option. If you wish to view your balance and payment history, you can easily do so online.

7. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

All businesses are required to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) – sometimes also referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number – and you can apply for it in this section of the website. The IRS offers the EIN application as a free service, which enables you to get your EIN immediately.

8. Access the IRS Foreign Financial Institutions (FFI) list

The list of Foreign Financial Institutions (FFI) is a database that contains all names of the financial institutions that are registered with FATCA and who have a global intermediary identification number (GIIN). The tool allows you to both search and download information about such institutions.

Other Resources on IRS.gov

The eight resources above are likely the most frequently used by most people. However, there are several other tools worth mentioning as well.  These include Form 1040, tax returns for single and joint filers with no dependents (1040-EZ), the employee withdrawing allowance certificate (W-4), and a tax withholding calculator.

In addition to the above tools, there is significant reading that may be of interest to many users, such as the IRS Strategic Plan, tax reform acts, civil rights, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the Freedom of Information Act, the No Fear Act, and other interesting policy matters.

Tax Advice Notice

This guide was prepared for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in any way for tax or filing advice. Always consult a professional tax advisor before making any financial decisions.

Additional resources

Thank you for reading this guide on using the IRS.gov website. To keep learning and developing your knowledge of tax-related matters, we highly recommend the additional CFI resources below:

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