IRS Official Smartphone App – “IRS2Go” Mobile App
|“IRS2Go” is the official smartphone app of the IRS
Check your refund status, find free tax preparation assistance, sign up for helpful tax tips, and follow the IRS on Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube: all in the latest version of IRS2Go.
IRS2Go is available in both English and Spanish.
Check the status of your federal income tax refund using IRS2Go. If you filed your return electronically, you can check your refund status within 24 hours after we receive your return. If you file a paper tax return, you will need to wait about four weeks to check your refund status.
Free Tax Preparation Assistance:
The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify. Use the app to help you find a VITA or TCE site right near your home.
Follow us on Twitter and Tumblr, watch helpful videos on YouTube, subscribe to receive IRS Tax Tips, and more.
Download “IRS2Go” and connect with the IRS whenever you want, wherever you are.
IRS Warning – Watch out for New Phishing Scam
The Internal Revenue Service recently warned return preparers and other tax professionals to be on guard against bogus emails making the rounds seeking updated personal or professional information that in reality are phishing schemes.
“I urge taxpayers to be wary of clicking on strange emails and websites,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “They may be scams to steal your personal information.”
Specifically, the bogus email asks tax professionals to update their IRS e-services portal information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs). The links that are provided in the bogus email to access IRS e-services appear to be a phishing scheme designed to capture your username and password. This email was not generated by the IRS e-services program. Disregard this email and do not click on the links provided.
Phishing is a scam typically carried out with the help of unsolicited email or a fake website that poses as a legitimate site to lure in potential victims and prompt them to provide valuable personal and financial information. Armed with this information, a criminal can commit identity theft or financial theft.
If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, report it by sending it to “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
It is important to keep in mind the IRS generally does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
IRS TAX PROBLEMS – How to Get a Copy of Your Prior Year Tax Information
There are many reasons you may need a copy of your tax return information from a prior year. If you don’t have your copy, the IRS can help. It’s easy to get a free transcript from the IRS. Here are several ways for you to get what you need:
- Tax Return Transcript. A return transcript shows most line items from your tax return just as you filed it. It also includes forms and schedules you filed. However, it does not reflect changes made to the return after you filed it. In most cases, your tax return transcript will have all the information a lender or other agency needs.
- Tax Account Transcript. This transcript shows any adjustments made by you or the IRS after you filed your return. It shows basic data, like marital status, type of return, adjusted gross income and taxable income.
- How to Get a Transcript. You can request transcripts online, by phone or by mail. Both types of transcripts are free of charge. They are available for the most current tax year after the IRS has processed the return. You can also get them for the past Three (3) tax years.
Order online. Use the “Get Transcript” tool available on IRS.gov. You can use this tool to confirm your identity and to immediately view and print copies of your transcript in a single session for free. The tool is available for Five (5) types of tax records: (1) tax account transcript, (2) tax return transcript, (3) record of account, (4) wage and income and (5) verification of non-filing.
Order by phone. Call 800-908-9946. A recorded message will guide you through the process.
Order by mail. The easy way to order your transcript by mail is to use the “Get Transcript by Mail” online option on IRS.gov. On the other hand, you can complete and mail Form 4506T-EZ to get your tax return transcript. Use Form 4506-T to request your tax account transcript by mail.
- How to Get a Tax Return Copy. Actual copies of your tax returns are generally available for the current tax year and as far back as Six (6) years. The fee per copy is $50. Complete and mail Form 4506 to request a copy of your tax return. Mail your request to the IRS office listed on the form for your area.
Delivery times for online and phone orders typically take 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request. You should allow 30 days to receive a transcript ordered by mail and 75 days for copies of your tax return.
TAX SCAM WARNING – IRS Lists 2015 “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams
The Internal Revenue Service wrapped up the 2015 “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams recently with a warning to taxpayers about aggressive telephone scams continuing coast-to-coast during the early weeks of this year’s filing season.
The aggressive, threatening phone calls from scam artists continue to be seen on a daily basis in states across the nation. The IRS urged taxpayers not give out money or personal financial information as a result of these phone calls or from emails claiming to be from the IRS.
The 2015 “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams:
- Phone Scams: Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remains an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.
- Phishing: Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will not send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS that takes you by surprise. Taxpayers should be wary of clicking on strange emails and websites. They may be scams to steal your personal information.
- Identity Theft: Taxpayers need to watch out for identity theft especially around tax time. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue the criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number. The IRS is making progress on this front but taxpayers still need to be extremely careful and do everything they can to avoid becoming a victim.
- Return Preparer Fraud: Taxpayers need to be on the lookout for unscrupulous return preparers. The vast majority of tax professionals provide honest high-quality service. But there are some dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers. Return preparers are a vital part of the U.S. tax system. About 60 percent of taxpayers use tax professionals to prepare their returns.
- Offshore Tax Avoidance: The recent string of successful enforcement actions against offshore tax cheats and the financial organizations that help them shows that it’s a bad bet to hide money and income offshore. Taxpayers are best served by coming in voluntarily and getting their taxes and filing requirements in order. The IRS offers the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) to help people get their taxes in order.
- Inflated Refund Claims: Taxpayers need to be on the lookout for anyone promising inflated refunds. Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a blank return, promise a big refund before looking at their records, or charge fees based on a percentage of the refund. Scam artists use flyers, advertisements, phony store fronts and word of mouth via community groups and churches in seeking victims.)
- Fake Charities: Taxpayers should be on guard against groups masquerading as charitable organizations to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors. Contributors should take a few extra minutes to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate and currently eligible charities. IRS.gov has the tools taxpayers need to check out the status of charitable organizations. Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations.
- Hiding Income with Fake Documents: Hiding taxable income by filing false Form 1099s or other fake documents is a scam that taxpayers should always avoid and guard against. The mere suggestion of falsifying documents to reduce tax bills or inflate tax refunds is a huge red flag when using a paid tax return preparer. Taxpayers are legally responsible for what is on their returns regardless of who prepares the returns.
- Abusive Tax Shelters: Taxpayers should avoid using abusive tax structures to avoid paying taxes. The IRS is committed to stopping complex tax avoidance schemes and the people who create and sell them. The vast majority of taxpayers pay their fair share, and everyone should be on the lookout for people peddling tax shelters that sound too good to be true. When in doubt, taxpayers should seek an independent opinion regarding complex products they are offered.
- Falsifying Income to Claim Credits: Taxpayers should avoid inventing income to erroneously claim tax credits. Taxpayers are sometimes talked into doing this by scam artists. Taxpayers are best served by filing the most-accurate return possible because they are legally responsible for what is on their return.)
- Excessive Claims for Fuel Tax Credits: Taxpayers need to avoid improper claims for fuel tax credits. The fuel tax credit is generally limited to off-highway business use, including use in farming. Consequently, the credit is not available to most taxpayers. But yet, the IRS routinely finds unscrupulous preparers who have enticed sizable groups of taxpayers to erroneously claim the credit to inflate their refunds.
- Frivolous Tax Arguments: Taxpayers should avoid using frivolous tax arguments to avoid paying their taxes. Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims to avoid paying the taxes they owe. These arguments are wrong and have been thrown out of court. While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in court, no one has the right to disobey the law or disregard their responsibility to pay taxes. The penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5,000.
Taxpayer Bill of Rights #10 – The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System
- If you cannot pay your tax debt in full and you meet certain conditions, you can enter into an Installment Payment Agreement plan with the IRS where you pay a set amount over time, generally on a monthly basis.
- You can submit an Offer In Compromise (OIC) asking the IRS to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount if you believe (1) you do not owe all or part of the tax debt, (2) if you are unable to pay all of the tax debt within the time permitted by law to collect, or (3) if paying it in full would cause you economic hardship or would be unjust.
- The IRS has published a list of National and Local Guidelines covering the basic costs of living for use in considering a settlement Offer reducing your tax debt. IRS employees cannot use these Guidelines and will use your actual expenses if the guidelines would result in your not having enough money to pay your basic living expenses.
- The IRS cannot Levy (seize) all of your wages to collect your unpaid tax. A portion will be exempt from Levy to allow you to pay basic living expenses.
- You can receive help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).
Taxpayer Bill of Rights #9 – The Right to Representation
- You may select a person, such as an attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent to represent you in an interview with the IRS. The IRS cannot require that you attend with your representative.
- If your current income is below a certain level, you may ask a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic to represent you (for free or a minimal fee) in your tax dispute before the IRS or federal court.
Taxpayer Bill of Rights #8 – The Right to Confidentiality
- In general, the IRS may not disclose your tax information to third parties unless you give the IRS permission, e.g., you request that we disclose information in connection with a mortgage or student loan application.
- In general, the IRS cannot contact third parties, e.g., your employer, neighbors, or bank, to obtain information about adjusting or collecting your tax liability unless it provides you with reasonable notice in advance.
- If tax return preparers knowingly or recklessly disclose or use your tax information for any reason other than for tax preparation, they may be subject to criminal fines and prison.
Taxpayer Bill of Rights #7 – The Right to Privacy
- There are limits on the amount of wages that can be Levied (seized) in order to collect tax that you owe. A portion of wages equivalent to the standard deduction combined with any deductions for personal exemptions is protected from Levy.
- The IRS cannot seize certain personal items, such as necessary schoolbooks, clothing, undelivered mail, and certain amounts of furniture and household items. Additionally, the IRS cannot seize your personal residence without first getting court approval.
- The IRS should not seek intrusive and extraneous information about your lifestyle during an audit if there is no reasonable indication that you have unreported income.
- During a Collection Due Process (CDP) Hearing, an independent Appeals Officer must consider whether the IRS’s proposed collection action balances the overall need for efficient collection of taxes with your legitimate concern that the IRS’s collection actions are no more intrusive than necessary.