How to Set Up an IRS Online Account
Waiting on the phone seems like a painful idea. Communicating with the IRS through the mail can take months. The fastest and easiest way to get certain information from the IRS is to set up an IRS online account.
But how do you get started? What information do you need to set up an online account with the IRS? This guide provides step-by-step details on how to set up an online account and verify your identity with the IRS.
How to Set Up an IRS Online Account
Head to the IRS website. Then, select "view your account" and hit the "log in to your online account" option. Then, select "create account" and verify your identity. Once you've created an account, you can make a profile.
The basic instructions on how to create an IRS online account are simple. Most people find that the trickiest part is verifying their identity.
How to Verify Your Identity for an Online IRS Account
The IRS uses ID.me to verify your identity for the online account. To verify your identity with ID.me, you need to upload a copy of your driver's license, state ID, or passport. Then, you need to take a video selfie with your smartphone or a webcam. Alternatively, you can verify your identity by having a live video call with an ID.me identity verification specialist.
As of 2022, everyone has to use this ID verification method. If you set up an IRS account with the old ID verification methods, you will have to switch to ID.me credentials by the summer of 2022.
What Do You Need to Verify Your Online IRS Account
To verify your identity for an IRS online account, you need the following:
- Email address
- Social Security Number
- Driver's license, state ID, or passport
- Smartphone or webcam
The physical ID shows the government what you look like. Taking a video selfie ensures that it's really you setting up the account and not an identity thief.
Step-by-Step Process for Setting Up an Online IRS Account
To set up an IRS online account, you should work through the following steps:
- Go to the IRS online account page.
- Select "create an account" with ID.me.
- Enter your email address.
- Go to your email, open the email from ID.me, and select "confirm your email" or copy and paste the link from the email.
- Set up multi-factor authentication. Generally, this requires you to enter your phone number and select text or call. Then, ID.me will call/text you with a number to enter. If you don't want to use your phone, you can complete this step through push notification, code generator, NFC-enabled security key, or FICO security key.
- Verify your identity with a video selfie or by video chatting with a live agent.
- Put in your Social Security Number.
- Review all the information to make sure that it's correct and complete the process.
Video chat can be a helpful option if you're not sure how to capture the video selfie or if you just want extra help setting up your IRS online account. However, this option takes longer. Uploading your own photo takes five to 10 minutes. Working with an agent requires a five to 10-minute video chat plus about a 30-minute wait time. You also need two forms of ID if you use video chat.
What You Can Check With an IRS Online Account
Once you set up your online account, you can do the following:
- Make a tax payment online.
- Request a payment plan or check the details of a current payment plan.
- Check how much you owe -- the IRS updates balances daily.
- Look at your balance over the years.
- Review your payment history and look at scheduled or pending payments.
- Find details from the last tax return you filed.
- Request a tax transcript to access your tax records.
Why Should You Set up an Online Account With the IRS
Your online account can provide you with all kinds of useful information that can help you file tax returns and make tax payments. Here are some of the most common reasons that people set up an online IRS account:
- To find their adjusted gross income (AGI) — When you file a tax return with e-filing software, you often have to identify yourself by putting in last year's AGI. If you don't have a copy of last year's return, you can set up an online account to get your AGI.
- To look at their estimated tax payments — Can't remember if you made an estimated payment? Wondering how much you should pay? You can also check this on your online account.
- To check other details — In recent years, many people set up online accounts so they could check the amounts of their stimulus payments or advance child tax credits. Getting the correct numbers from the IRS ensured that these taxpayers entered the right numbers on their tax returns.
- To see how much you owe the IRS — Owing money to the IRS is always stressful, but it's worse if you don't know how much you owe. The online account updates your balance daily.
- To look at their payment histories — With estimated payments, payment plans, and random payments, it can be hard to track how much you've paid and how much you owe, but that information is in the online account.
- To get copies of IRS notices — Are you sure that the IRS notices are reaching you? Have you lost an IRS notice? You can get copies of IRS notices in the message section of the online account.
- To order tax records — If you don't have W2s or 1099s and you need to file an old return, you can use your online account to order that information. Use the Get Transcript section of the app to get started.
- To sign digital authorization forms — Your tax pro can start a power of attorney form and send it to your IRS online account. Then, you can digitally sign the document.
What If You Can't Set Up an Online IRS Account
If you can't set up an IRS online account, you may be able to get the information you need in another way. You can call the IRS. There are all kinds of IRS phone numbers for different divisions and purposes. Or use these instructions for handling these popular online services offline.
How to Get a Transcript Without an IRS Online Account
If you can't access your IRS online account, you can request a transcript over the phone by calling 800-908-9946. Note that transcripts block out personal information like Social Security Numbers but they show all the financial numbers. If you want a photocopy of your return, you can request it by filing Form 4506 (Request for Copy of Tax Return).
How to Set up a Payment Plan Without an Online Account
You can use Form 9465 (Installment Agreement Request) to request a payment plan through the mail. Alternatively, you may want to work with a tax pro. They can help you set up a payment plan that works with your budget.
How to Request an ID PIN Without an Online IRS Account
If you were the victim of tax identity theft and you can't request a PIN online, you can request one through the mail. File Form 15227 (Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number. As of 2022, you can only use this form if your adjusted gross income was below $73,000 for an individual or $146,000 for a married couple filing jointly.
If you can't apply for a PIN online and you don't qualify to use that form, you can request a PIN in person. Make an appointment with a local Taxpayer Assistance Center. You will need a government-issued photo ID plus another ID document. After you verify your identity in person, the IRS will mail you the PIN in three weeks.
What Is ID.me?
ID.me is a third-party company that handles ID verification for the IRS and several other government entities. The company also provides identity verification services to other businesses across multiple industries.
The company has to meet strict security standards to work with the federal government. It is the only company that offers both photo and video chat authentication. That improves security, while also making the service accessible and fair to as many people as possible.
Get Help Dealing With the IRS
Even something as simple as setting up an IRS online account can be annoying and time-consuming. Luckily, you don't have to deal with the IRS on your own. A tax professional can help you request transcripts, check how much you owe, request payment plans, and more. Use TaxCure to find a local tax pro to help with your IRS and state tax problems today.