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IRS adds more features to taxpayer online accounts

Article Found on AccountingToday.com | Written by Michael Kohn

The Internal Revenue Service has supplemented its online tax account tool with some new self-service features for taxpayers and their preparers.

The IRS debuted the tool last December, offering taxpayers the ability to look up basic information such as the balance due on their taxes and different IRS payment options.

The IRS said Tuesday it has added several new features since the initial launch, including the ability to view up to 18 months of tax payment history, view payoff amounts and the tax balance due for each tax year, and get online transcripts of Form 1040-series tax returns through the IRS’s Get Transcript tool. Taxpayers can also give the IRS their feedback on their experience with their online account and make suggestions for improvements.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve taxpayers’ interactions with the IRS and adding these new features to the taxpayer’s online account is an important step in that direction,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. “The IRS is committed to serving taxpayers in multiple ways and now taxpayers who want to interact digitally with us in a secure environment have access to even more helpful features.”

The IRS has suffered a number of high-profile data breaches in the past, including with its Get Transcript app and its Identity Protection Personal Identification Number service, so it now has a multifactor authentication process in place to safeguard security better.

Before they can use the online account tool, taxpayers first need to authenticate their identities through a two-step authentication process. Then, when they want to use the tool again, they need to have their credentials handy, including a username and password, along with a security code that the IRS will send in a text message to their mobile phones.

Taxpayers who have already registered with the IRS using its Secure Access service for Get Transcript Online or Get an IP PIN can use their same username and password for the online account. To register for the first time, taxpayers need to have their personal and financial information available, including a Social Security number, financial information such as a credit card number or loan numbers, an email address and a text-enabled mobile phone in the user’s name. The IRS recommended taxpayers review information about the Secure Access process before they begin the registration process.

As part of the authentication procedure, the IRS will send verification, activation or security codes through email and text messages. The IRS is cautioning taxpayers it won’t initiate contact with them via text or email asking for log-in information or personal data. The IRS said its texts and email messages will only contain one-time codes.

Along with the online account, the IRS is still providing other self-service tools and resources on its IRS.gov website for individuals, businesses and tax pros.


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