How to Check Your IRS Tax Balance and Pay Back Taxes

Anna Kuehl
Anna Kuehl
January 29, 2019

  • You can check your IRS tax balance online, over the phone, or by mail.
  • You’ll need to call or log in for the most up-to-date balance information.
  • You can pay the amount due immediately or request a payment plan.

 

Whether you suspect that you owe the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a payment or you aren’t sure how to pay past-due tax bills, it’s important to address your IRS tax balance before it gets out of hand. Find out how to check what you owe and learn how to pay your IRS tax balance.

How to Check Your IRS Tax Balance

If you misplaced your tax bill and can’t remember what you owe or if you want to access an updated payoff amount, you can easily check in with the IRS. Choose one of the three options below to find out the size of your tax balance.

How to Check Your IRS Tax Balance and Pay Back Taxes

Use the Online Tool

For quick, easy access to your tax balance without having to talk with an agent, check your IRS balance online. If you’re logging in to this online tool for the first time, make sure you have enough time to set up your account. You’ll have to register through the agency’s Secure Access portal, which verifies your identity and gives you extra security online. You’ll need the following to confirm your identity:

  • Your Social Security Number and date of birth.
  • Your filing status and address recorded on your most recent tax return.
  • A cell phone that has an account in your name.
  • Your account number from any credit card, car loan, or mortgage.

Keep in mind that the service is available throughout the week but is offline for maintenance on Saturday and Sunday nights. The online tool updates once a day, typically at night. Once you’ve logged in, you can check:

  • Your current IRS tax balance, including the current day’s payoff amount.
  • Your outstanding amount due for every tax year with a balance.
  • Up to two years of tax payment history.

Call the IRS

Accessing your online account is by far the easiest way to check your IRS tax balance. If you can’t verify your identity online or if you don’t have regular access to a computer, however, you can call the IRS instead.

Call the right IRS phone number for individual or business tax balances, and make sure you can verify your identity. Before picking up the phone, make sure you have access to the following information and items:

  • Your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • Your birth date and filing status.
  • Your most recent tax return.
  • Any IRS notices you’ve received.

Review Mailed IRS Notices

In some cases, checking your tax balance is as easy as reviewing the most recent notice you received via mail from the IRS. Keep in mind, however, that mailed notices may not be complete or up to date. A notice that’s over a few months old may not include accrued interest or accumulated penalties. Since many notices only cover a single tax year, reviewing your most recent IRS letter may not give you a complete picture of your back taxes. Consider calling or checking online for updated information.

How to Pay Your Back Taxes

After confirming your IRS tax balance, you’ll need to pay the outstanding amount. Whether you’re ready to pay today or you need some extra time, choose from the following options to pay your back taxes.

Transfer Funds From a Bank Account

If you have enough funds available in your bank account, using Direct Pay is the easiest, fastest, and most secure way to submit payment. Keep in mind that Direct Pay does have some limitations, however. You can only make two payments within a 24-hour period, and each one has to be less than $10 million. If you need to settle a larger tax balance, contact the IRS about making a wire payment instead.

Pay With a Credit or Debit Card

You can also use a debit card to pay from your checking account or use a credit card to settle your bill. This is an option even if you don’t have the funds available today. Since the IRS doesn’t accept credit or debit payments directly, you’ll need to use one of the agency’s approved third-party services.

While each service charges a flat fee for debit cards, they all charge a percentage for credit cards. Be sure to confirm the fee in advance so you know exactly how much you’ll need to pay. Since the IRS also limits the frequency of credit and debit card payments, confirm that you are eligible for this service before initiating a payment.

Use a Voucher to Pay a Lockbox

If you’d rather pay your balance by check or money order, you’ll need to submit the payment along with a voucher. Since the payment voucher includes information that links your payment with your account, be sure to include both when mailing in your check or money order. In the event that you don’t have a voucher, you can get one from your nearest IRS office or call and ask the agency to mail one to you.

Request a Payment Plan

Neglecting to pay your tax balance can lead to wage garnishment, liens, and other consequences. If you can’t cover the balance, you may be able to space out payments over time to avoid additional penalties.

To set up a payment plan, log in to your online IRS account or call the agency’s payments department. You’ll need to propose a timeframe and payment frequency and then await approval from the IRS. Keep in mind that long-term installment agreements require setup fees, and you’ll likely continue to accrue interest and penalties until you’ve paid your IRS tax balance in full.

Whether you owe a little or a lot, learning that you have an IRS tax balance can have a substantial impact on your bank account. Since putting off your payments can lead to much more serious issues and bigger penalties, get the resources you need to tackle tax matters now. Get a free tax debt relief consultation with Solvable, and start getting your finances back on track.

 

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