It is almost time! 8 days from now the IRS will open their E-file system for 2021 tax returns. In all of the chaos of the past two years, I thought it would be helpful to share some insights, small as they may be, into the world of tax filing during a pandemic and beyond. Today continues my 10 Day Countdown, check back each day for more tips and tricks.
Day 3: Tools of the Trade
I am the daughter of a builder and a poured wall guy, granddaughter of a carpenter, and not allowed to touch power tools. Trust me, it is in everyone’s best interest. It is not uncommon to find tools strewn across a workbench, piled in buckets in the garage, and an extra hammer “just in case” in most rooms of our families’ homes. When using a new tool, it takes a bit of time to learn how to hit the nail instead of your thumb.
The same is true for tools the IRS offers on their website. Due to the sensitive nature of the information held within the IRS database, the process of registering for the first time may be a little frustrating.
The IRS has partnered with id.me to verify your identity and create a login. For detailed instructions of this process and the information required, check out the id.me help page.
Once you have verified your identity and created a login, you will have access to both the Child Tax Credit Update Portal & your online account. If your “safe place” to put your tax documents has slipped your mind, these two tools can help you avoid the frustration of knowing you put it “somewhere.”
Tool #1 – Child Tax Credit Update Portal
Those of you who made changes to your information for the Advanced Child Tax Credit are familiar with this portal and the constant updates and changes that have been made throughout the last half of 2021. Although the advanced payments are no longer going out, the IRS has updated the portal once again to give you access to the amounts you received during 2021. For more detailed information regarding the portal, check out the info page on irs.gov.
A word of warning – Some letters are being mailed out to taxpayers that only show their half of the credit. For example, a family received $1,500 for one child; the letters could be sent to each spouse listing $750 as the amount they received. The portal will show you the total amount received. I would highly recommend not only keeping the IRS letters but verifying the total through the portal as well.
What if the total amount listed in the portal was not received?
You have 2 options:
Option 1 – use the amount the IRS provided to ensure a timely processed return
Option 2 – prove your case through bank records and documentation of the discrepancy; this will land your return in the “process by hand” pile and it could be 2-3 months before it is even looked at.
Office note: If a taxpayer chooses to option #2, those returns will not be processed as quickly as others through our office and could incur additional processing and follow up fees.
Tool #2 – View Your Account on IRS.gov
Here is a quick summary of what is available when you view your account. Please note: spouses have separate accounts.
By having access to your tax transcripts, you will see the estimated payments made throughout the year, your EIP, and the amount received in ACTC. You can retrieve transcripts at any time for income verifications or even view a change to your return.
The newest feature is to electronically authorize a representative with the IRS to handle a tax matter for you. For example, you received a notice regarding a change to your tax return, but you would like an Attorney, CPA, or Enrolled Agent to handle the matter for you. This cuts down the authorization time from months to minutes.
I highly encourage you to take the time to use these tools. Knowing what the IRS has on file can take the frustration out of processing.
Check back tomorrow for an overview of IPINs – Identity Protect Identification Numbers.