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The 6 Most Common IRS Tax Filing Questions

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Getting help from the IRS

Due to limited resources, the IRS has changed the services they can provide through their toll-free number. Instead, they are guiding taxpayers to use the Internet to find the answers to most of their tax inquiries. In particular, from Presidents' Day and the weeks thereafter, phone lines are typically so jammed that most people can't get through. Save yourself some trouble and take a look at the answers we have provided for the 6 most common tax filing questions.

Where is my refund?

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. Taxpayers must have information from their current, pending tax return to access their refund information.

What do I do if I didn't get a W-2?

If you have not received your W-2 form by mid-February, you should first contact your employer to ensure they have the correct address on file. After exhausting all options with the employer, you may contact the IRS and they will send a letter to your employer.

Where can I get a copy of my tax return or transcript?

You can easily order a return or transcript on the IRS.gov website, on the IRS2Go smartphone app, or by mailing in a completed Form 4506-T. More information on these options is available at IRS.gov. Ordering a tax return does not mean a taxpayer will get his or her refund faster. The two are not connected in any way.

Where can I get free answers to tax law questions?

Have 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 you can try the IRS Tax Map, which allows search by topic or keyword for single-point access to tax law information by subject. if you don't find the answers you are looking for, you can even call TeleTax at 1-800-829-4477 for recorded information on a variety of tax topics.

What if I can't pay my tax bill?

The Online Payment Agreement tool can help you determine in a matter of minutes whether you qualify for an installment agreement with the IRS. If your tax obligation is even more serious, the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier can help you determine if you qualify for an "offer in compromise," an agreement with the IRS that settles your tax liability for less than the full amount owed.

Where can I get help preparing my 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.

Executive summary

The Presidents' Day holiday period typically marks one of the busiest weeks of the tax filing season for its phone lines - so much so that the IRS has decided to streamline the services it offers over the phone to guide people towards the web to find their answers. There are several easy-to-use, online tools on IRS.gov, where you can check the status of your refund, request a copy of your tax transcript, or get an answer to your tax questions around the clock. To save time and find answers fast, make IRS.gov your first stop.

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Cindy McSwain

Senior Vice President
Outsourcing Services

Cindy McSwain leads AGH’s outsourcing services group. Her team provides payroll, accounting, funds disbursement, controller, and other financial outsourcing services to numerous clients throughout the U.S. Prior to directing the outsourcing group, Cindy served AGH’s audit clients for 10 years, working with a wide range of middle-market, closely held and family-owned clients.

Her current clients cross many industry sectors, including manufacturing, distribution, restaurants, retailers, medical, and not-for-profit. She has participated in numerous SEC filings and public registrations and has experience in mergers and acquisitions. Cindy is a certified public accountant and a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

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