Start on the Web

No matter what you need from the IRS, it's pretty much always best to start by creating an online account with them.

You can do a lot with the IRS via the web:

  • view your balance
  • make payments
  • set up a payment plan
  • download copies of notices from the IRS
  • request transcripts

Note: These accounts are only viewable at certain times:

  • Monday 6 a.m. to Saturday 9 p.m. ET
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. to midnight ET (Occasionally down additional hours for maintenance)

Setting Up an Online IRS Account

Note: If you set up an IRS account a couple years ago, you may need to create an account by summer 2022.

Be aware, it can take a minute to get these accounts set up and requires that you have some important documents on hand. Here's the process:

  1. Visit
  2. Click "Log in to your Online Account"
  3. Under "Create a new account" click " Create an account"
  4. On the "Create an account" enter your email address and a password of your choosing
  5. Follow the instructions to verify your email address
  6. Choose and set-up a multi-factor authentication method
  7. Save your backup code somewhere secure
  8. Choose an identification method (photos of your ID, passport, etc) and complete the photo/video identification process
    1. If you run into trouble here, you may be asked to verify your identity on a video call. Be prepared for this to take awhile, wait times can last up to an hour. You can also opt to complete the process later.
    2. Issues can arise if the name on your government-issued IDs doesn't match the one you use.
  9. Once you've completed your account, set up and log-in to the IRS account for the first time you'll be asked to authorize the IRS to access your information. You'll need to do that to access your account.
  10. From there you should be able to log-in and access your account.

If you run into issues creating an account, you can view their support documentation here, or submit a support request here.

Finding Info & Making Payments Online

How Much You Owe

Once you've logged into your IRS account:

  • The account home has an area called "Account Status" and the total amount owed should be listed there.
  • You can click "View Balance Details" to see the breakdown by tax year.

Make Payments to the IRS

Once you've logged into your IRS account:

  • Click the "Make a Payment" button
  • You'll be asked a few questions to complete your payment
    • Make sure to indicate whether this is for a balance due (already filed return), an estimated payment for the current year, an amended return, or in response to a letter
    • In each case, make sure to indicate which tax year your payment is for (it can cause issues if you get the wrong year here, so be sure to check you've got it right)

View/Download Transcripts

Once you've logged into your IRS account:

  • The account home has an area called "Records"
  • Click "View Tax Records" in that area
  • On the new page that loads, click the "Get Transcript" button
  • A new window will open
    • When it asks for a reason you need a transcript
    • Leave the "Customer File Number" blank
  • Now you should be able to see a few different kinds of transcripts that are available for download
    • Return Transcript (a record of your tax filings for each year)
    • Account Transcripts (a record of filings, payments, and any payments or actions take for each tax year)
    • Wage and Income Transcripts (a record of any forms that the IRS received that relate to your tax ID number)
    • You may have the option to click the "Show All" button to see additional tax years

View/Download Digital Copies of Letters

Once you've logged into your IRS account:

  • The account home has an area called "Records"
  • Click the "View Notices and Letters" link to see which letters are available online

Check the Status of Stimulus Checks/Child Tax Credit Payments

Once you've logged into your IRS account:

  • The account home has an area called "Records"
  • Click "View Tax Records" in that area
  • On this page you'll see
    • Info about your tax filing for the most recent tax year
    • Confirmation of the amount the IRS sent you for each of the pandemic stimulus checks
    • Info on Advanced Child Tax Credit Payments

Getting in Touch with a Person at the IRS

Sometimes you have no choice but to speak with someone at the IRS. Here's our best advice on how to reach a human. (Note that sometimes people have to try multiple times and stay on hold for up to an hour each time: This is a process and a last resort.)

Hours: Monday - Friday, from 7am to 7pm local time - we recommend that folks call early, i.e. between 7-8am

  1. Dial 800-829-1040
  2. Press 1 for "English"
  3. Press 2 for "Individual Tax Return Status"
  4. You will be prompted to dial additional numbers - DON'T DIAL ANYTHING ELSE. After repeating your options several times, the system will automatically put into the system where you will be placed on hold for a live person. The hold time can vary.

If You Need to Follow up on a Lost Refund Check

For lost refund checks, there is a different number and set of procedures. Find that information here.