The Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers that phone calls to the agency's support center usually start to dramatically increase following the President's Day holiday, which is this weekend. There are other options for taxpayers who have questions, of course, starting with using a tax professional such as a CPA or Enrolled Agent.
For taxpayers who decide to go it alone, the IRS offers several tools and resources on its website, IRS.gov, where taxpayers can check the status of their refund, request a copy of their tax transcript or get an answer to their tax questions around the clock.
“The entire week of the Presidents Day holiday marks a peak time in the number of calls to the IRS, and we encourage taxpayers to visit IRS.gov as the best place to get quick help,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
Due to limited resources, the IRS has changed the services provided at the toll-free telephone number and IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers. To save time and find answers faster, taxpayers should make IRS.gov their first stop. A good place to start is 1040 Central for a quick overview. The IRS Services Guide also provides a list of resources.
Here are some of the most common reasons people call us over Presidents Day holiday week and the faster and easier ways to get answers:
Want to know where your refund is?
More than 90 percent of refunds are issued in less than 21 days. IRS representatives will not provide individual refund information before then. Taxpayers can easily find information about their refund by using the Where’s My Refund? tool. It’s available on IRS.gov and on the Smartphone app, IRS2Go. Where’s My Refund? provides taxpayers with the most up-to-date information available. Taxpayers must have information from their current, pending tax return to access their refund information. Refund information is updated just once a day, generally overnight, so there’s no need to check more than once a day.
Didn’t get a W-2?
Employers are required to send to their employees a Form W-2, Statement of Earnings, by January 31. Employees should allow enough time for their form to be mailed to their address of record. If form W-2 is not received by mid-February, employees should first contact their employer to ensure they have the correct address on file.
After exhausting all options with the employer, employees may contact the IRS and we will send a letter to the employer. However, we would urge you to call after Presidents Day week to avoid long wait times on the telephone.
Need a copy of your tax return or transcript?
Taxpayers can easily order a return or transcript on the IRS.gov website, on our IRS2Go Smartphone app or by mailing us a completed Form 4506-T. More information on these options is available at IRS.gov.
Ordering a tax return or tax transcript does not mean a taxpayer will get their refund faster. The two are not connected in any way. IRS transcripts are often used to validate income and tax filing status for mortgage, student and small business loan applications and to help with tax preparation.
Need answers to tax law questions?
Questions about what filing status means, whether to file a tax return or who can be claimed as a dependent? Simply do a keyword search on IRS.gov; use Publication 17, the annual, searchable income tax guide; or the IRS Tax Map, which allows search by topic or keyword for single-point access to tax law information by subject. Taxpayers can even call TeleTax at 1-800-829-4477 for recorded information on a variety of general and business tax topics.
Can’t pay a tax bill?
For taxpayers whose concern isn’t a refund, but rather, a tax bill they can’t pay, the Online Payment Agreement tool can help them determine in a matter of minutes whether they qualify for an installment agreement with the IRS. And those whose tax obligation is even more serious, the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier can help them determine if they qualify for an offer in compromise, an agreement with the IRS that settles their tax liability for less than the full amount owed.
Need help with preparing your taxes?
Free tax return help is available nationwide from volunteers and on IRS.gov with Free File. Local community partners operate roughly 13,000 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites nationwide. Find a location nearby by searching “Free Tax Help” on IRS.gov.
IRS Free File is offered by 14 tax software companies that make their brand-name products available for free to the 70 percent of taxpayers who earned $58,000 or less last year. Free File Fillable Forms is available for households whose earnings are more than $58,000 and are comfortable preparing their taxes.