IRS: Best way to get tax questions answered is at website

Internal Revenue Service officials are reminding taxpayers that the Presidents Day holiday period typically marks one of the busiest weeks of the tax filing season for IRS phone lines.

There are other alternatives to help taxpayers find answers to commonly asked tax questions.

The IRS has several online tools at, where taxpayers can get an answer to their tax questions, check the status of their refund, or request a copy of their tax transcript around the clock.

“The entire week of the Presidents Day holiday marks a peak time in the number of calls to the IRS, and we encourage taxpayers to visit as the best place to get quick help,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The “1040 Central” and “IRS Services Guide” are two good places to start for guidance at

Answers to frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most common reasons people call us over Presidents Day holiday week, with the best ways to get answers:

Want to know where your refund is?

More than 90% of refunds are issued in less than 21 days. IRS representatives will not provide individual refund information before then.

Taxpayers can easily find information about their refund by using the “Where’s My Refund” tool. It’s available on and on the smartphone app, IRS2Go.

“Where’s My Refund?” provides taxpayers with the most up-to-date information available. Taxpayers must have information from their current, pending tax return to access their refund information.

Refund information is updated just once a day, generally overnight, so there’s no need to check more than once a day.

Didn’t get a W-2?

Employers are required to send to their employees a Form W-2 (Statement of Earnings) by Jan. 31. Employees should allow enough time for their form to be mailed to their address of record.

If form W-2 is not received by mid-February, employees should first contact their employer to ensure they have the correct address on file.

After exhausting all options with the employer, employees may contact the IRS and the federal agency will send a letter to the employer. However, people are urged to call the IRS on this issue after Presidents Day week to avoid long wait times on the telephone.

Need a copy of your tax return or transcript?

Taxpayers can easily order a return or transcript on the website, on the IRS2Go smartphone app, or by mailing a completed Form 4506-T to the IRS. More information on these options is available at

Ordering a tax return or tax transcript does not mean a taxpayer will get their refund faster. The two are not connected in any way.

IRS transcripts are often used to validate income and tax filing status for mortgage, student and small business loan applications and to help with tax preparation.

Need answers to tax law questions?

Questions about what filing status means, whether to file a tax return or who can be claimed as a dependent? Simply do a keyword search on or call TeleTax at 800-829-4477 for recorded information on a variety of general and business tax topics.

Can’t pay a tax bill?

For taxpayers whose concern isn’t a refund, but rather, a tax bill they can’t pay, the Online Payment Agreement tool can help them determine in a matter of minutes whether they qualify for an installment agreement with the IRS.

And those whose tax obligation is even more serious, the “Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier” can help them determine if they qualify for “an offer in compromise,” an agreement with the IRS that settles their tax liability for less than the full amount owed.

Need help with preparing your taxes?

Free tax return help is available nationwide from volunteers and on with Free File.

Local community partners operate roughly 13,000 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites nationwide. Find a location nearby by searching “Free Tax Help” on

IRS Free File is offered by 14 tax software companies that make their brand-name products available for free to the 70% of taxpayers who earned $58,000 or less last year.

Free File Fillable Forms is available for households whose earnings are more than $58,000 and are comfortable preparing their taxes.