Most taxpayers will know if they owe the IRS when they submit their tax returns. If you don’t pay when you file, however, the IRS will send out notices alerting you to your unpaid balance. If you’ve moved and haven’t updated your address, you may not receive any of these notices. Additionally, the amount you owe will grow over time due to penalty and interest fees. If you cannot remember your balance or it’s been some time since your last notice, don’t worry. There are several resources available to help you determine how much you owe the IRS.
How to Find Your Unpaid Tax Balance
There are several ways you can determine how much you owe the IRS in back taxes, penalties, and interest fees. One way is to contact a tax professional for assistance. If you’d rather do the research on your own, however, try one of these methods.
View Your Tax Account Online
The IRS provides secure access to an online portal where you can view information about your taxes including, but not limited to:
- The total amount you owe (updated every 24 hours)
- Balance details by tax year
- Your payment history
- Digital copies of select IRS notices you’ve received
Once you register for a free account, you can also make payments online, apply for a payment plan, download your tax transcript, and approve or reject authorization requests from tax professionals.
The only downside to the free online portal is that it’s not available 24/7. You can only access it during the following hours of operation:
- Monday 6 AM to Saturday 9 PM (ET)
- Sunday 10 AM to midnight (ET)
Request a Transcript
If you do not want to create an online account, you can still receive a free copy of your transcript by mail. Simply use the Get Transcript tool on IRS.gov. You’ll need to provide your SSN or ITIN, as well as your date of birth, and mailing address from your latest tax return. If your address has changed since submitting your tax return, be sure to update it with the IRS since they will send it to the address they have on file. It typically takes 5 to 10 days for it to arrive. Due to the pandemic, however, there may be some delay.
You can also request your transcript by mail through Form 4506-T. Fill out all sections and either mail or fax the form to the appropriate location listed. Please note that it may take three to four weeks for your transcript to arrive using this method.
Keep in mind that your transcript will not include all current penalties and interest fees, as these will continue to accrue while you wait for the transcript to arrive.
Call The IRS
If you’re not particularly fond of online tools or don’t want to send your Social Security information through the mail, you can also call the IRS to find out how much you owe them. Please be advised that due to the coronavirus pandemic, wait times are extremely long. Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be the busiest days.
The IRS call center is open from 7AM until 7PM local time. Individuals should call 800-829-1040 for assistance. If you need information about your business taxes, please call 800-829-4933. You may also call 800-829-4059, if you are hearing impaired.
Visit a Local IRS Office
Another option for learning your tax balance is to visit a local IRS office. You can find the nearest location using this handy search tool – IRS Office Locator. You will likely need to schedule an appointment, which can be done online or by calling the office.
Once you determine that you do in fact owe back taxes, it’s important to follow these steps to make sure you do not get into trouble with the IRS:
- Review all notices and letters immediately.
- Respond by the required deadline date to avoid potential collection actions.
- Retain all copies of your IRS correspondence.
- Remit payment promptly.
If you are unable to pay the balance due in full, send as much as you can to keep penalty and interest fees to a minimum. You will, however, need to have a plan for paying the remainder of your balance. To see if you qualify for an IRS payment plan or other tax relief programs, schedule a free consultation with Tax Defense Network by calling 855-476-6920 today!