How to Find Out What You Owe the IRS

Whether it is expected or comes as a surprise, sometimes you simply end up with a tax debt. When this happens, the prospect of figuring out exactly what you owe the IRS can be intimidating. But as we have said elsewhere, it is always best to go to the IRS with your issue, rather than wait for a notice. Fortunately, there are many ways to get the exact numeric value of your debt. Tax relief professionals can take care of the entire process for you, requiring only that you provide the necessary information. But if you are more comfortable handling such things yourself, you still have options.

One option, and the one that takes the longest, is requesting your transcript from the IRS. This is done with Form 4506-T. While this option does work, it comes with the caveats of any process that relies on the postal system. First, it requires that your correct address be on file. Maybe this comes as a given, but the last thing you want is for any extra time to go to locating a misaddressed transcript. Particularly in this case, as the other limitation of this method is that penalties and interest will continue to accrue as your request is processed.

Another option is to call the IRS directly. The IRS is notorious for its wait times, but once you get through, the representative on the other end of the line will be able to tell you your exact amount of debt. If you call bright and early in the morning, you may get through sooner.

Finally, the potentially fastest option and the one with the most perks is registering with the IRS online portal. Registration is free, and gives you immediate access to your balance. You can also pay your taxes online through your account. You will be required to submit an appropriately comprehensive amount of information in order to register your account so that the IRS can verify your identity, a process which includes a soft credit inquiry.

There’s an option for everyone, but if you find that you do not feel comfortable with any of the options described above, going to a professional tax relief service may be your best course of action. The hands-free approach may be just what you need.