WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers today about several online tools available to help them get the tax information they need as the IRS has limited operations due to the coronavirus.
More taxpayers are using IRS.gov than ever before; as of May 8, the agency’s website had been visited a record 1 billion times, up 141% compared to the same time last year.
The tools on IRS.gov are easy-to-use and available 24 hours a day. Millions of taxpayers use them to help file and pay taxes, find information about their accounts and get answers to tax questions.
Take advantage of Free File products
The IRS Free File program, available only through IRS.gov, offers 70% of all taxpayers the choice of 10 brand-name tax preparation software packages to use at no cost. The software does all the work of finding deductions, credits and exemptions for which the taxpayer qualifies. It‘s free for those who earned $69,000 or less in 2019. Some of the Free File packages also offer free state tax return preparation.
Any taxpayer, regardless of income, who is comfortable preparing their own taxes can use Free File Fillable Forms. Taxpayers also use this electronic version of paper IRS tax forms to file tax returns online.
The IRS automatically extended the federal income tax filing due date from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Individual taxpayers who need more time to file their income tax returns beyond the July 15 deadline can use IRS Free File to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension. This gives the taxpayer until Oct. 15 to file their tax return. To get the extension, the taxpayer must estimate their tax liability and pay any amount due.
Choose from a variety of payment options
Taxpayers should visit the "Pay" tab on IRS.gov to see their payment options. Most tax software products give taxpayers various payment options, including the option to withdraw the funds from a bank account. These include:
- IRS Direct Pay offers taxpayers a free, fast, secure and easy way to make an electronic payment from their bank account to the U.S. Treasury.
- Use an approved payment processor to pay by credit, debit card or digital wallet options for a fee. Make monthly or quarterly tax payments using IRS Direct Pay or through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.
- Pay by cash at a participating retail store.
Last month, the IRS also announced that taxpayers generally have until July 15, 2020, to pay federal income taxes originally due on April 15. No late-filing penalty, late-payment penalty or interest will be due. This includes estimated tax payments normally due April 15 and June 15, which are now extended to July 15, 2020.
View tax account information online
To see their tax account, taxpayers can use the View Your Account tool. They’ll find information such as a payoff amount, the balance for each tax year owed, up to 24 months of their payment history and key information from their current tax year return as originally filed.
Taxpayers can use the Get Transcript tool to view, print or download their tax transcripts after the IRS has processed the return. Taxpayers will notice a delay in the processing of their Forms 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, because of closed IRS offices due to COVID-19. Tax return transcripts show most line items from an original tax return, along with any forms and schedules, but not any changes made after the taxpayer filed it. The tool is free and available on IRS.gov. Ordering a tax transcript will not speed up a taxpayer's refund or provide an updated refund date.
Taxpayers can easily find 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. Within 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an e-filed return, taxpayers can start checking on the status of their refund. Taxpayers should be aware that the IRS isn’t currently processing paper tax returns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Get answers to tax questions and Economic Impact Payments
Taxpayers may find answers to many of their questions using the Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA), a tax law resource that works using a series of questions and provides responses. IRS.gov has answers for Frequently Asked Questions. The IRS website has tax information in:
For questions concerning Economic Impact Payments, visit the Economic Impact Payments section of IRS.gov. Taxpayers will find two tools there to help them get their payments: “Get My Payment” and “Nonfilers: Enter Payment Info Here.” Both tools are available in English and in Spanish.
Taxpayers should use “Get My Payment” to check payment status, confirm payment type and enter bank account information for direct deposit if the IRS doesn’t have that information and hasn’t sent payment yet. Those who don’t normally file taxes must use “Nonfilers: Enter Payment Info Here” to provide simple information, so they can get their payment.
People who receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement benefits and VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefits don’t use the “Nonfilers: Enter Payment Info Here” tool to receive their Economic Impact Payment. The IRS already has this information and those who receive these benefits will automatically receive $1,200. But, for those who receive benefits in these groups and have a qualifying child, they may be eligible for an additional $500 per child. However, their payment will be $1,200 and, by law, the IRS would pay the additional $500 per eligible child amount in association with a return filing for tax year 2020.
Watch out for scams related to Economic Impact Payments
The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams related to the Economic Impact Payments. To use the new app or get information, taxpayers should visit IRS.gov. People should watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to the payments. Be careful and cautious: The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website or share personal or financial information. Remember, go directly and solely to IRS.gov for official information.
The IRS is regularly updating Economic Impact Payments and Get My Payment application frequently asked questions pages on IRS.gov. Check IRS.gov/coronavirus often for the latest additions that answer many common questions.