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IRS Offers Options to Avoid The Rush

March 5th, 2014

It is interesting that the days between late February and early March are one of the busiest times for the IRS in terms of helping people with their tax issues. It is the sweet spot, right around the time most people are either expecting their returns or beginning to think there is some sort of problem. The good news is that the IRS provides many secure and reliable ways for taxpayers to self-help with their tax problems. Their website at IRS.gov is packed with useful information and support features that don’t require long hold times on the phone.

The Infamous Missing W-2:

Few single pieces of mail are more valuable during tax time than your W-2. This is a form given by an employer to all employees stating their earnings and withholdings. It contains some of the most valuable information in determining income tax liability. It is important to remember that it is not the IRS’s responsibility to manage W-2s. The employer is expected to do this, and they are ultimately the only ones who can. The first step should always be to contact the employer and let them know. They are legally required to have all forms mailed by the end of January. Most employers should be able to send an additional form if the first one was lost in the mail. If the employer doesn’t respond, or the form still doesn’t arrive, then the IRS can be contact to notify the employer of their legal responsibility, however, the IRS cannot generate a W-2 for the employer.

Tax Returns:

One of the most common calls to the IRS office has to do with the status of tax returns. This is also a question that can be more easily answered without calling. The IRS website maintains a free self-help service called “Where’s My Refund?” that provides taxpayers with all of the information a representative could provide. It is updated each day.

If you require an additional copy of your tax return or tax transcript, the IRS office can provide these in a variety of ways. The two easiest are to go to the IRS website, use the IRS2GO smartphone app or mail in a form 4506-T. None of these options involve long phone wait times.

Tax Payment:

Let’s face it, nobody likes to pay taxes, but they are a necessity. Some people, however, are hit with a large or unexpected tax burden and cannot afford to pay on time. The IRS would vastly prefer taxpayers to pay their taxes rather than avoid them, and they are willing to work with individuals that step up and make a sincere effort to pay what they can afford. Taxpayers can use the Online Payment Agreement Tool to explore their payment options. There is also a compromise pre-qualifier tool that helps you explore options for settling large tax burdens without owing the full amount. Finalizing this requires contacting the IRS, but a great deal of time can be saved by using these tools before picking up the phone. At the end of the day it is always better to file and then work out an agreement with the IRS than to try and dodge your tax obligations. A tax professional, such as those found at Tucson CPA firm Flowers Rieger, can help those struggling with tax burdens or preparation.

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