How do I know how much I owe the IRS?

If you don’t want to be in debt to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), congratulations! You are probably not the only one on the list. And it is that, in the ideal scenario, all taxpayers want to be up to date with their taxes and declarations, and this means no refunds, returns, or of course, outstanding taxes to pay. Here we will explain how to know how much you owe the IRS in a simple way.

If you think you need to pay something more to the IRS but you’re not sure how much it is, or you just want to check if you do not have registered debts, do not worry! There are several ways to do it and, in some of them, you won’t even have to leave the house!

Remember that if you paid less than you owed, that small portion of your taxes could add up, sooner or later you receive a notice from the Treasury charging you for the debt.

How can I find out my debt with the IRS?

Imagine this scenario: you just finished your tax return, you paid everything you thought you needed to pay, and at the last minute you realize that you still owe an amount of money to the IRS for federal taxes.

Although it is not a pleasant scene, it is common. That is why many people decide toconstantly review your debit balance with the IRS. In this way, they make sure they are up to date and avoid any setbacks in the future.

Now you will ask yourself: How to see my debt with the IRS? Although there is no magic formula, there are several methods that you can choose to find out if you are at zero or, on the contrary, if you owe something to the State.

1. View your IRS debt online

In 2016, the IRS put an online tool that is perfect for taxpayers. Through it, citizens can calculate their taxes from their computer or mobile phone, see updated information on their account, examine the payment history of the last 18 months and even check if they have outstanding balances.

Once you log in to your account, you will be able to view the principal amount due and any penalties or interest that may have been applied to you. The system is updated every 24 hours, so interest and penalties may take up to a day to be reflected. The same goes for payments. So if you’ve already paid your fine, principal, or interest and it’s still not showing up online, don’t worry! Try again the next day.

What do I need to see my debt with the IRS

To use the IRS online platform you will need to have certain information at hand, such as your partner insurancehim, you date of birth, civil status (single, married, etc.) and the mailing address inserted in the last tax return. You will also need to enter a valid email address and mobile phone number associated with your account. This information is used by the system to verify your identity.

Remember: if you have a mortgage, the platform may ask for your account number. The same will happen if you have ordered a loan recently putting your home as collateral, if you have a car loan or a credit card; As long as it’s in your name.

Although it can be tedious to write all this information, it is the IRS’s way of safeguarding your data, verifying your identity and thus preventing unauthorized third parties from accessing your information and personal data. The IRS takes your protection very seriously, so much so that it will request a credit score report to make sure the information you provided is valid. Please note that requesting this report will not affect your credit rating and is only for the purpose of verifying your identity.

If you need more details about your tax or financial life, you can use the online tool to view or print a copy of the file. You can also ask the IRS to mail it to you, but keep in mind that it can take five to ten days for the mailing to arrive.

Now, it is important that you know that the system is not available 24 hours a day. However, you can enter at the following times:

  • Monday through Friday: 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • Saturdays: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET
  • Sundays: 6 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. ET

2. Telephoning the IRS

If you do not have a mobile phone, you have not requested a car loan and you do not have any other information requested by the online system to verify your identity, you can find out your balance by calling the IRS directly.

  • The individual taxpayers they can call 1-800-829-1040, Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm local time.
  • The business taxpayers they can call 1-800-829-4933, Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm local time.

Remember: telephone service may take longer than you would like. In fact, the average waiting time is about 30 minutes. To avoid spending so much time behind the phone, try to call as early as possible!

3. Checking your mail

If you have a copy of the last notice sent by the IRS, you can easily check your balance. Please note that the amount shown will not include any interest or penalties that may have been applied to you after the notification was sent.

The other disadvantage of this modality is that many times the IRS only submit a summary of taxes due in the last 12 months. So you’ll need to call or check the online tool to be sure of the total amount you owe the IRS.

4. Sending an application by postal mail

Although this option takes a little longer than the previous ones, it is on the table. To know your debt with the IRS, you can contact the entity directly and request a transcript of your debts by mail.

This alternative is valid if:

  • You are an individual taxpayer who declares through the Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. Don’t forget to send a copy of the declaration. In this case, the statement you receive will only include one tax year and may not reflect tax interest, fees or penalties.
  • You’re a business taxpayer. To get the transcript, you will need to send the IRS the latest Form 4506-T and one request for a transcript of your statement of taxes.

What if I owe the IRS and don’t pay?

If you didn’t file your annual tax return by the due date (or the last day allowed in exceptional cases), you will receive one or several cumulative fines. The amounts vary according to the time that has passed since the deadline. Also, if time passes, they could seize your assets or your salary. To avoid going into debt with the IRS, you could ask for a tax extension.

In the most serious cases of tax evasion, the law provides for a sentence of up to 5 years in prison. Although to tell the truth, the IRS only wants you to pay your debt and these cases are exceptional.

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