How Much Do You Owe the IRS? Five Ways to Check Your Balance
Finding out how much you owe the IRS is an important step in the tax resolution process. You should determine your outstanding balance for all tax years before requesting an IRS installment agreement, submitting an Offer in Compromise, or using another tax relief strategy.
If you receive a notice from the IRS, it may not contain current information about how much you owe. These notices may only refer to one tax period and won’t give you your total balance if you owe back taxes for multiple tax years. The amount you owe may also change every month because penalties and interest accrue monthly.
There are several ways to check your IRS balance, including:
- Using the IRS online tool to check your balance.
- Visiting a local IRS office.
- Calling the IRS.
- Requesting your balance by mail.
- Working with a tax professional who can check your balance for you.
IRS Online Tool for Checking Your Balance
You can check your balance online if you sign up for an IRS online services account. You can use this account to see the following information:
- How much you owe updated to the current day.
- Your outstanding balance for all tax periods.
- Your payment history for the past two years.
You can also use your IRS online services account to pay your taxes online or get your transcripts. Only individuals can use the IRS online account—businesses are not eligible.
To sign up, you must register using IRS secure access. The process takes about 15 minutes, and you’ll need to provide the following information to verify your identity:
- Email address
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
- Tax filing status and mailing address
- One financial account number that is under your name, such as a credit card, student loan, mortgage loan, home equity loan or line of credit, or an auto loan
The information you provide must exactly match the information from your most recently filed tax return. You won’t be able to call the IRS to discuss identity verification issues if you have trouble creating your account.
You can only view your account from Monday 6 a.m. to Saturday 9 p.m. ET and Sunday 10 a.m. to midnight ET.
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Visit Local IRS Office to Get Your Tax Balance
You’ll need to visit the IRS website to find the IRS office closest to you. These offices are referred to as Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs).
You’ll need to call ahead to schedule an appointment at your local TAC. Each TAC has its own hours and a specific list of services provided at that location. If you need additional services, such as submitting payment or requesting an installment agreement, check to see if your local TAC offers these services.
Some TACs provide Facilitated Self Assistance computer kiosks which can be used to access the IRS website. An IRS employee will be available if you need help with this process.
Call the IRS to Determine How Much You Owe
You can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine how much you owe. IRS telephone assistance is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time. Businesses can call 1-800-829-4933 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time to check their balance.
You’ll need to verify your identity when you call the IRS. Be prepared to provide the following information to the IRS representative:
- SSN or ITIN
- Date of birth
- Filing status
- Information from your prior-year tax return
- Information from the tax return or periods you’re calling about
- Any notices the IRS has sent you
If you are working with a tax professional, they can also call the IRS on your behalf if you’ve completed a valid Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. They can also submit IRS form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, to obtain tax information on your behalf.
Mailing the IRS: How to Check Your Balance Owed by Mail
Keep every IRS notice you receive related to your tax debt. If you owe taxes for multiple years, you may receive different notices with amounts for each year. You also may not have received notices for the most recent tax periods yet.
You can request your tax transcripts by mail to determine how much you owe. However, each account transcript will only show how much you owe for one specific tax year, and the penalty and interest amounts may not be up-to-date.
Request Account Transcripts from the IRS
You can request your account transcripts online or have them delivered to you by mail. Account transcripts only cover a single tax year, but you can request multiple years of transcripts.
Keep in mind that your account transcripts won’t reflect the most up-to-date information about how much you owe. Recent payments, tax assessments, or interest and penalties accrued may not show on your tax transcripts.
You can request your transcripts online by registering and providing the following information:
- Date of birth
- Mailing address from your most recently filed tax return
- Access to your email account
- Your personal account number from a credit card, mortgage loan, home equity loan or line of credit, or auto loan
- A mobile phone with your name listed on the account
You can access your account transcript for the most recent tax year and up to 10 prior tax years online. If you are unable to verify your identity, you won’t be able to request your transcripts online.
You can also request your transcripts be delivered by mail, by mailing or faxing Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, or by calling the automated phone transcript service at 1-800-908-9946. If you request transcripts by mail or phone, you can only receive account transcripts from the current year and the previous three tax years.
A tax professional can also request transcripts on your behalf and help you understand what the information on the transcripts means.
Submit Form 4506-T, Request for Tax Return Transcript
You can submit Form 4506-T by mail or fax by following the instructions on page 2 of the form. This form can be used to request all types of tax transcripts, but you’ll want to request your account transcripts to determine how much you owe.
If you are a business or individual who filed a form other than 1040, you need to submit Form 4506-T to request your transcripts, and you won’t be able to request your transcripts online or using other methods.
Using a Tax Professional to Help Find Out How Much You Owe the IRS
A tax professional can help you find out how much you owe once you have completed the IRS power of attorney form. You can receive assistance from any of the following tax professionals:
Once you’ve determined how much you owe, you may be unable to pay the full amount all at once. A tax professional can help you identify the best tax repayment or settlement option for your situation.
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FAQ-Related Topics & Help
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