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Use Online Tools to Avoid Waiting on IRS Services

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 30 minutes. Lengthy lines are a common sight at various Taxpayer Assistance Centers across the country. With a reduced budget and the additional burden of handling Obamacare, the IRS has been stretched thin. However, taxpayers may be more comfortable using the online tools provided by the IRS.

Online Tax 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. KIOW shares the online tools that taxpayers can use to get help:

“Get a tax transcript. You may need a tax transcript for a variety of reasons including if you apply for a loan or student financial aid, information needed for state or local tax filing purposes, or even for medical, housing or utility social services. Visit and use the Get Transcript tool.

“Try IRS Direct Pay. If you owe taxes, pay with IRS Direct Pay. It’s a safe, easy and free way to pay from your checking or savings account. Go to to pay your federal tax bill.

“Apply for an IRS payment plan. If you can’t pay all your taxes at once, apply for an IRS Online Payment Agreement. A direct debit payment plan is a great way to pay. It has a lower set-up fee, you won’t miss a payment and you won’t get an IRS reminder to send a check each month.

“Check on your refund. The Where’s My Refund? tool is a fast and easy way to check on your tax refund. Use the IRS2Go mobile app to access the tool, or click on the ‘Refunds’ tab on

“Use IRS Free File. If you need to file your tax return, you can e-file for free by using IRS Free File. If you earned $60,000 or less you can prepare and e-file your taxes using free brand name tax software. If you made more, you can use Free File Fillable Forms. This option is the electronic version of IRS paper forms. You can also use Free File to file for an extension.

“Get answers to tax questions. The Interactive Tax Assistant covers many common tax topics. Type in your question or search terms and it can lead you step-by-step to the answer. The IRS Tax Map gives you a list of tax law subjects to select. It integrates tax topics, forms, instructions and publications into one research tool.

“Get health care tax information. has information about the Affordable Care Act at You can visit this site for details on how the health care law affects your taxes. For example, the pages provide information about:

  • Reporting health insurance coverage.
  • Claiming an exemption from the coverage requirement.
  • Making an individual shared responsibility payment.
  • Claiming the premium tax credit.
  • Reconciling advance payments of the premium tax credit.

“You can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool for help on how some of these laws apply to your situation.

“Check out a charity. You must donate to a qualified charity if you want to deduct the donation on your tax return. Use the IRS Select Check tool to see if a charity is qualified.

“Get forms and publications. View, download and print federal tax forms and publications anytime.

“Calculate your tax withholding. If you get a larger refund or owe more taxes than you expect when you file your tax return, 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. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool to help you fill out a new form.”