This Tool Will Tell You What You Owe the IRS Before They Start Looking for It.

If you owe money to the IRS, they definitely don’t want you to forget about it. That’s why the agency has kindly provided an online tool to help you track your outstanding balance and stay up-to-date on payments, eliminating the need to rely on a stack of old mail to track details.

How does the IRS payment instrument work

Individual taxpayers can view a wealth of information using the IRS’s free tool: the amount paid (updated daily), your balance for each tax year, your five-year payment history, and information from your most recent tax return. If you are self-employed, you can also see your previous estimated tax payments.

The tool also shows any penalties and interest accrued in excess of the amount you owe. (So ​​if you haven’t filed your 2020 tax return yet, you’ll want to grit your teeth and watch now.)

If this is your first time using the tool, you need to register here and provide contact details, including your name, date of birth, social security number (SSN) or individual tax identification number (ITIN), tax return status (shared with the head of household) and current address – the process will take no more than 15 minutes. For security reasons, the tool uses two-step verification using text messages to verify your identity, so you’ll need a phone as well (there’s also a regular mail option). You will then be prompted to set a username and password that you will use to log into your account.

Once you are signed in, the tool becomes your one-stop shop where you can upload your tax returns or make a payment to the IRS. Please note that the tool is not available 24/7: you can only use the Account Balance feature from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm ET Monday through Saturday and 10:00 am to midnight ET on Sunday.

If you have previously created an account on the IRS website but haven’t logged in for a while, you may need to re-certify your information by re-entering your address, social security number, and financial due diligence information.

This post was originally published in 2016 and was updated on July 1, 2021 to add new information and reflect the current Lifehacker style guidelines.


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