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IRS NewswireFebruary 14, 2024

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Issue Number:    IR-2024-40

Inside This Issue


Presidents Day period marks peak time for IRS phone lines; first try IRS online tools and resources for help

WASHINGTON — With the 2024 filing season in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service encourages taxpayers to visit IRS.gov and use online tools to get answers quickly and avoid phone delays during the anticipated peak demand for IRS phone lines around the Presidents Day holiday.

New this year, people can easily find step-by-step help to file their personal federal income tax return. The IRS also has a variety of information available on IRS.gov to help taxpayers, including a special “free help” page.

“We’ve worked hard to provide better taxpayer service for people this filing season with more options to reach the IRS in convenient ways,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “We want taxpayers to have access to the help they need around the clock. IRS.gov’s expanded tools and information make that easier for taxpayers, especially during this peak period for IRS phone lines around Presidents Day.”

Presidents Day holiday marks busy time for calls to the IRS

Presidents Day weekend, when many people prepare their taxes, historically marks a peak period for IRS phone lines. During the two-week February period following Presidents Day, the IRS recommends turning first to the self-help tools available online on IRS.gov to avoid delays.

Do you know 98% of taxpayers file their federal income tax returns electronically?

The IRS encourages people to file their tax returns electronically and choose direct deposit for faster refunds. Filing electronically reduces tax return errors as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information.

The IRS offers free online and in-person tax preparation options for qualifying taxpayers through the IRS Free File program and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

Taxpayers with income of $79,000 or less last year can use IRS Free File Guided Tax Software now through Oct 15. IRS Free File Fillable forms, a part of this program, is available at no cost to any income level and provides electronic forms that people fill out and e-file themselves, also at no cost.

Through a network of community partnerships, the VITA and TCE programs offer free tax return preparation to eligible people in the community by IRS certified volunteers.

The Direct File pilot gives eligible taxpayers a new choice to file their 2023 federal tax returns online, for free, directly with the IRS. It will be rolled out in phases and is expected to be widely available in mid-March. Find more about Direct File pilot eligibility, scope and the 12 participating states on Direct File.

MilTax, a Department of Defense program, generally offers free return preparation and electronic filing software for federal income tax returns and up to three state income tax returns for all military members, and some veterans, with no income limit.

Do you know you can get access to your personal tax account information by creating or signing into your IRS Online Account?

Individuals with Social Security numbers or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) can securely access their IRS Online Account and get the latest information about their federal tax account.

With an IRS online account they can:

  • Get virtual assistance for balance due and payment-related questions.
  • View balance, payment history and create a payment plan.
  • Make a payment and schedule or cancel future payments.
  • Manage their communication preferences.
  • Access their tax records, including their Adjusted Gross Income, from their most recently filed tax return.
  • View, approve and sign authorizations from their tax professional.
  • Validate and save bank accounts.

Do you know you can use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov to check the status of your refund?

The “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov has the most up-to-date information available about a taxpayer’s refund status. Recent improvements to the “Where’s My Refund?” tool allow taxpayers to see more detailed refund status messages in plain language, reducing the need for taxpayers to call the IRS.

Most EITC or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) related funds should be available in bank accounts or on debit cards by February 27 if taxpayers chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return. Taxpayers can check Where’s My Refund? for their personalized refund date. Where’s My Refund? will be updated with projected deposit dates for most early EITC/ACTS refund filers by February 17.

Do you know you can use the Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov to answer tax law questions specific to your individual circumstances?

The Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) tool provides answers to several tax law questions specific to individual circumstances. Based on input, ITA determines if a person should file a tax return, their filing status, if someone is an eligible dependent, if a type of income is taxable, if a filer is eligible to claim a credit or if an expense is deductible.

Do you know you can find out what tax paperwork and records you need to file an accurate and complete return on IRS.gov?

Taxpayers should have all their important and necessary documents before preparing their return. This will help file a complete and accurate tax return. Errors and omissions slow down tax processing, including refund times.

If a taxpayer receives Form 1099-K, they should visit What to do with Form 1099-K to help them determine if that money should be reported as income on their federal tax return.

Do you know the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps low-to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps low- to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break. The IRS estimates that about one in five EITC eligible taxpayers don’t claim this valuable credit. If a taxpayer qualifies, they can use the credit to reduce the taxes they owe – and maybe increase their refund.

The Earned Income Tax Credit Assistant on IRS.gov can help individuals determine:

  • If they are eligible to claim the EITC.
  • If they have any qualifying children or relatives.
  • The estimated amount of their credit
  • The filing status they should use.

Do you know an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a proactive way to protect you against tax-related identity theft?

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses stolen personal information, including Social Security numbers, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. If a person suspects they are a victim of identity theft, they should continue to pay their taxes and file their tax return, even if they must file a paper return. Visit Identity Theft Central to find out more.

An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a six-digit number known only to the taxpayer and the IRS that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using their Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. It helps the IRS verify a person’s identity when they file their electronic or paper tax return. The fastest way to receive an IP PIN is by using the Get an IP PIN online tool. If someone wishes to get an IP PIN and they don’t already have an account on IRS.gov, they must register to validate their identity.

Do you know you can visit IRS.gov to find a reputable tax professional?

The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can prepare their tax return and provide helpful information and advice. People can use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications to find a preparer who is skilled in tax preparation and accurately files income tax returns.

Most tax return preparers provide outstanding and professional tax service. However, choosing the wrong tax return preparer hurts taxpayers financially every year. Be sure to check tips for choosing a tax preparer and how to avoid unethical “ghost” return preparers.

Tax professionals are required to list their preparer tax identification number (PTIN) and sign the return. Although the tax return preparer always signs the return, the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of every item reported on their return.

Do you know the Tax Withholding Estimator can help you determine the right amount of tax to have withheld from your paycheck?

Taxpayers should check their tax withholding every year, especially if they experience a major life change. The Tax Withholding Estimator tool allows taxpayers to estimate the federal income tax they want their employer to withhold from their paycheck. By using the Tax Withholding Estimator, taxpayers can adjust their tax withheld up front, so they can protect against having too little tax withheld and prevent an unexpected tax bill or penalty at tax time next year. Taxpayers should submit a new Form W-4 to their employer to make any adjustments.

Do you know IRS.gov is the quickest and easiest option to get help?

Taxpayers can visit IRS.gov 24 hours a day to get answers to tax questions. People can find more tips and resources by visiting the Let Us Help You page on IRS.gov.

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