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Use Online IRS Tools to Avoid Waiting on Services

April 14, 2015  |   Last modified on June 16, 2021

Many of the IRS services are not taxpayer-friendly this tax season. The IRS had warned that the wait time for an agent over the phone could be as long as 45 minutes. Lengthy lines are also a common sight at various Taxpayer Assistance Centers across the country. With a reduced budget and the additional burden of dealing with the many COVID tax changes, the IRS has been stretched thin. Taxpayers, however, may be more comfortable using the online IRS tools to get the answers they need.

Online IRS Tools

Using the various functions on the IRS website, taxpayers can find out when their refund will reach them, get a tax transcript, file their tax return for free, request a payment plan, get their tax questions answered, and more. Here are just a few of the online IRS tools currently available to taxpayers.

Get a Tax Transcript.

The IRS has increased its security measures and now offers a transcript online that will partially mask your personally identifiable information. You can view, print, or download your transcript by simply using the “Get Transcript Online” tool. Be sure you have your Social Security number (SSN) on hand, as well as your filing status and address used on the latest return. You will also need a mobile phone to link to the account, as well as a personal account number from a credit card, mortgage, or another loan.

IRS Direct Pay

You can use the IRS Direct Pay service to pay your taxes, estimated taxes, or other associated fees directly from your checking or savings account. There is no cost to use this service. It is available Monday to Saturday from Midnight to 11:45 PM (ET) daily. You can also access the service on Sunday from 7 AM to 11:45 PM (ET). To look up or make a payment, go to

Apply for an IRS Payment Plan

If you can’t pay all your taxes at once, you can apply for an IRS payment plan online. Be sure to read through the qualifications to determine if you are eligible. You should also gather all necessary information before moving forward. Depending on which plan you choose, setup fees will vary ($0 to $149).

Check The Status of Your Refund 

The “Where’s My Refund?” tool is a fast and easy way to check the status of your IRS refund. Be sure you have your SSN or ITIN handy, as well as your filing status and the exact amount of your anticipated refund.  This service is available within 24 hours of e-filing. 

File For Free

IRS Free File lets you prepare and file your federal income taxes online for free with one of the IRS partner sites if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $72,000 or less.

Get Answers to Tax Questions

The Interactive Tax Assistant covers many common tax topics. Simply type in your question or search term to find the answers to your tax questions.

Get Pre-Qualified for an Offer in Compromise

Wondering if you are eligible to settle your tax debt for less? Use the IRS Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool to verify your eligibility and prepare a preliminary proposal.

Check Out a Charity

Thinking of donating to a charity in order to take a tax deduction? Be sure the organization is recognized as one of the eligible charities allowed by the IRS. To see if your organization meets the required standards, use the Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool before you donate.

Download Forms and Publications

Did you know that you can view, download, and print federal tax forms and publications anytime online? To find the forms you need, visit

Perform a Paycheck Checkup!

If your last tax refund was substantial or you owe more taxes than expected, you may need to change your tax withholding. You can complete and give your employer a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Simply use the IRS Withholding Estimator tool to help you fill out a new form.