The IRS has made significant progress recently to help taxpayers access their tax account online. For every taxpayer, the ability to access your account online can help reduce preparation errors on your tax return, and speed up the processing of your return, and ultimately the receipt of your refund (if you’re due one).

The IRS sends out millions of notices each year, and many don’t give you enough information to determine if the notice is correct. A common issue causing notices and processing delays is the filing of fraudulent returns. While you have no liability if someone else files a fraudulent return using your identity, accessing your account to see that a return has been filed without your knowledge can help you to resolve the issue more quickly.We have seen many instances of delays in processing of 2020 returns due to incorrect reporting of the Economic Impact Payments (stimulus checks), and 2021 returns will be affected by not only the third stimulus check, but also the Advance Child Tax credit payments. If you access your IRS account before filing, you can verify that no return has already been filed, and also verify the payments received that may impact your return.

Here are the steps you need to take to set up your online account:

  1. Select “View Your Account” on the homepage
  2. Select the “Create or View Your Account” button.
  3. Click “Create Account”
  4. Pass “Secure Access” authentication. This is a rigorous process to verify that the taxpayers are who they say they are. They must be able to authenticate their identity to continue.
  5. Create a profile.

Identity authentication is where many taxpayers get stuck. See for more information. If you can successfully navigate the initial identity verification process, you should have access to your account in a few minutes. If you’re struggling with identity verification, please be patient and follow the instructions closely. It can be frustrating but ultimately you should be able to gain access.

Once you gain access, you will use the same login process to access other IRS services, such as getting a transcript of your account or getting an Identity Protection PIN. All these services are password protected and require multi-factor authentication for extra security.

There are many other cases where access to your IRS account is beneficial. Many taxpayers see the assistance of tax professionals to help resolve tax issues, and you must grant the tax professional Power of Attorney to represent you and discuss your issues with the IRS. While we have submitted Powers of Attorney for many years via fax, there is now a process to grant almost instant access if both the tax professional and taxpayer have online accounts. This can be a significant time saver.

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At Faw & Associates, we are always available to answer any of your tax or financial planning questions. You can get more information on this or many other topics by calling our office at (336) 838-3080. You can also email me at any time with your question or concern.