That makes the Internal Revenue Service very happy, as it works to get the majority of taxpayers dealing with tax matters online. Ultimately, the IRS is looking to fully implement its Future State with its mostly electronic tax transactions.
To that increasingly electronic end, the IRS this week announced expansions to its online taxpayer account tool. This e-option debuted last December and lets taxpayers have online access to their IRS accounts.
Expanded account options: Initially, the Taxpayer Online Account online tool let those who registered for access to see basic information, such as their due tax balance and more on the various ways to pay that amount.
Now if you register at IRS.gov for online account access, you will be able to view:
- Your payoff amount, updated for the current calendar day,
- The balance for each tax year in which you owe, and
- Up to 18 months of your payment history
Plus, via your online account you now can:
- Make a tax payment through one of the available electronic payment options (instead of just read about them), and
- Get various types of Form 1040-series transcripts that are available via the IRS’ Get Transcript tool without having to log in again.
Give the IRS feedback: In addition, you’ll be able to tell the IRS what you think about the online account option and provide it with details of your experience using it and how it could be improved.
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve taxpayers’ interactions with the IRS and adding these new features to the taxpayer’s online account is an important step in that direction,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement announcing the taxpayer account tool expansion.
“The IRS is committed to serving taxpayers in multiple ways and now taxpayers who want to interact digitally with us in a secure environment have access to even more helpful features,” noted the commissioner.
Secure enrollment system: Interested in check out the tool? You can sign up now for an account as long as you have the required identity verification info.
The taxpayer account online option requires that you authenticate your identity through the agency’s Secure Access process. This is a two-step authentication process, which means returning you must first establish a username and password and then have a security code sent to you from the IRS, either as a phone text or by snail mail, to sign in.
Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s all in the name of preventing tax identity theft.
Signing up to see your IRS account: To register for the first time to see your IRS account online, you’ll need some personal and financial information.
You’ll be asked during the registration process for your —
- Social Security Number,
- Date of birth,
- Filing status and mailing address from latest tax return,
- Access to an email account,
- Personal account number from a credit card, mortgage, home equity loan, home equity line of credit or car loan and
- A mobile phone with your name on the account.
If you don’t have a mobile phone with texting capability — it happens; in my case, for example, my cell phone technically is in the hubby’s name as he’s the one who set up our family plan — the IRS will send you a verification code via U.S. Postal Service mail.
You can go ahead and complete the rest of the registration process and then sign on when you get your snail mailed code in five to seven days.
Expanded options, limited times: If you’re a night owl and get the urge to check your tax situation at, say, 3 a.m., you’ll be frustrated by the current availability of online access to your federal IRS account.
While the beauty of the internet is that, for the most part, it is available 24/7/365, access to the IRS Taxpayer Online Account is restricted. You can only check your account during:
- Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Easter Time (ET),
- Saturday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and
- Sunday, 6 p.m. to midnight ET.
Other account info transferable: And if you’ve already registered and received access to the IRS’ Get Transcript Online or Get an IP PIN as an identity theft protection measure, you don’t have to set up a separate online taxpayer account.
The IRS says you may use the same username and password for either of those accounts to access your overall Taxpayer Account.
Beware tax account con artists: Note that the IRS won’t initiate any Taxpayer Online Account access communications. You must start the process and ask the IRS to contact you with the code needed to get into the system.
So if you get an email, text message or phone call purporting to be part of the online taxpayer account and you didn’t go to IRS.gov to set up such access, it’s a scam. Hang up or ignore the email or text message.
You also might find these items of interest:
- The IRS’ electronic future
- Digital IRS is costing those who can least afford it
- National Taxpayer Advocate wants Congress involved in IRS Future State planning