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IRS.gov Banner IRS Tax Tips January 19, 2021

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Issue Number: Tax Tip 2021-03

Taxpayers can visit IRS.gov from the safety of their home for answers to tax questions

As people get ready to file their 2020 tax return, the IRS reminds taxpayers they can find answers to their tax questions from the safety of their home using IRS online tools and resources. These IRS.gov tools are easy to use and available 24 hours a day.

  • IRS Free File. Almost everyone can file their tax return electronically for free. The software does all the work of finding deductions, credits and exemptions. It's free for those who earned $72,000 or less in 2020. Some of the Free File packages also offer free state tax return preparation. Taxpayers who are comfortable filling out tax forms electronically can use Free File Fillable Forms, regardless of income, to file their tax returns either by mail or online.
  • Choosing a preparer. The IRS has several options for finding a tax preparer. One resource is Choosing a Tax Professional, which offers a wealth of information for selecting a tax professional. The Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help taxpayers find preparers in their area who currently hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS or who have an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion.
  • Interactive tax assistant. This tool has recently been updated with answers to even more tax questions. It can also help a taxpayer determine if a type of income is taxable. Many people experienced changes to income and other life events in 2020. This tool can help them find tax credits and deductions.

Taxpayers may qualify for the child tax credit and child and dependent care credit. Those who are not eligible for the child tax credit might be able to claim the credit for other dependents. Individuals paying higher education costs for themselves, a spouse or a dependent, may be eligible to save some money with education tax credits or deductions. Additionally, low- to moderate-income taxpayers may qualify for the earned income tax credit.

  • Where’s My Refund? Taxpayers who have filed a return and are waiting for their refund can use Where's My Refund? to check the status of a refund payment. This tool is available at IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app. Updates are available within 24 hours after the IRS receives an e-filed return or four weeks after the agency receives a mailed paper return.

Taxpayers should file electronically and choose direct deposit for the most accurate and fastest way to get their refund. People who don't have a bank account can visit the FDIC website for information and help opening an account online.

  • View federal tax account information onlineIndividuals can visit IRS.gov to set up their account. If they already have a username and password, they can log in to view their federal tax account balance, payment history and key information from their most recent tax return as originally filed. Before accessing their account for the first time, taxpayers must authenticate their identity through the secure access process.
  • Pay a tax bill. The IRS offers several ways for taxpayers to pay their taxes including online, by phone or through the IRS2Go app. Direct Pay is free and a safe way to pay taxes or estimated tax directly from a checking or savings account. Direct Pay has five simple steps to pay in a single online session and is also available with the IRS2Go mobile app.

More information
Publication 5348, Get Ready to File 
Publication 5349, Year-Round Tax Planning is for Everyone 


Share this tip on social media -- #IRSTaxTip: Taxpayers can visit IRS.gov from the safety of their home for answers to tax questions. https://go.usa.gov/xAVTq


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