IRS Posts Tax Tips as Busy Income Tax Filing Season Ramps Up

The three-day holiday weekend of Presidents Day has historically been the point where many individuals get serious about completing their federal income tax returns.  That also means the wait times to get help from the IRS by speaking with a live person on the phone will become increasingly longer as April 15 approaches.

However, the IRS wants taxpayers to know that they have made various tools available on IRS.gov to help answer taxpayer questions.

“The entire week of the Presidents Day holiday marks a peak time in the number of calls to the IRS,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.  “We encourage taxpayers to visit IRS.gov as the best place to get quick help.”

Because of changes in staffing within the IRS, the IRS may not have as many agents available to answers taxpayer questions as in previous years.  Therefore, the IRS is directing taxpayers to visit IRS.gov before calling the IRS if they have question about their income tax returns.

Following are some of the most common questions that the IRS answers.

What is the status of my tax refund?

For tax returns where the taxpayer is due a refund, 90 percent of the time the IRS is able to issue a refund within three weeks of receiving the tax return.  Therefore, IRS agents will not provide additional details about the status of a tax refund over the phone within the first three weeks after receiving a tax return.

However, taxpayers can visit Where’s My Refund? to get a current status for their tax refund.  The IRS updates this site each morning with the current status of outstanding refunds.  Taxpayers will need their Social Security Number, filing status, and exact amount of their refund in order to obtain a current status from the web site.

What do I do if I have not received my W-2 from my employer?

Employers are required to provide a Form W-2 to each employer no later than January 31.  As this is the date by when the employer must mail the form, the taxpayer should receive the form no later than mid-February.

If a taxpayer does not have his Form W-2 by mid-February, the taxpayer should start by contacting the employer to confirm the employer sent the form to the correct address.  If the taxpayer is unable to obtain the Form W-2 from his employer, the taxpayer can contact the IRS to obtain assistance in obtaining the Form W-2 from the employer.

How can I obtain a copy of my tax return?

A taxpayer may obtain a copy of his tax return by visiting IRS.gov or sending the IRS Form 4506-T to request a copy.

Note that requesting a copy of your tax return does not have any effect on the time it will take to review your tax return and issue a refund in the event you are due one.

What should I do if I receive a notice from the IRS?

The IRS has taken strides in recent years to make letters sent to taxpayers clearer in explaining why the letter was sent to the taxpayer and what the taxpayer must do in response to the letter.  In addition, the IRS has posted additional information about Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter on their web site.

How can I get help completing my tax return?

While the IRS provides general information about the completion of tax returns on IRS.gov, the IRS cannot provide specific guidance on how to best complete a tax return and minimize the amount of tax liability for each individual taxpayer.

Therefore, if you have questions about completing your tax return, you should speak with a tax attorney about your individual tax situation.  Only a tax attorney has the formal training and experience to know the tax law in your area and the attorney-client privilege afforded to clients of an attorney.

Therefore, take a few minutes to call the phone number located at the top of this web site and get help with your tax questions today.

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by Mark Johnston

Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.