Top Frequently Asked Questions for IRS Procedures

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There are several ways to tell us your address has changed:

Methods to Change Your Address
Method Action
Oral notification

Tell us in person or by telephone. We'll need you to verify your identity and the address we have on file for you. Please have ready your:

  • full name
  • new address
  • old address
  • date of birth
  • social security number, ITIN or EIN

We may request additional information to verify your identity.

IRS form Use Form 8822, Change of Address or Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party - Business
Tax return Use your new address when you file
Written statement

Send us a signed written statement with your:

  • full name
  • old address
  • new address
  • social security number, ITIN, or EIN


Mail your signed statement to the address where you filed your last return.

If you filed a joint return and are still residing with the same spouse, both you and your spouse should provide your names, social security numbers, new address and signatures on the form or statement.

If you filed a joint return and you now have separate addresses, each of you should notify us of your new, separate addresses.

Authorized representatives filing a form or written statement to change an address for a taxpayer must attach a copy of their power of attorney or Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. Unauthorized third parties can't change a taxpayer's address.

Changes of address through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) may update your address of record on file with us based on what they retain in their National Change of Address (NCOA) database. However, even when you notify the USPS, not all post offices forward government checks, so you should still notify us.

For changes of address relating to an employment tax return, we issue confirmation notices (Notices 148A and 148B) for the change to both the new and former address.

It can generally take four to six weeks after receipt for a change of address request to fully process.

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Yes, but an actual copy of your Form W-2 is only available if you submitted it with a paper tax return:

Transcript

  • You can get a wage and income transcript, containing the Federal tax information your employer reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA), by visiting our Get Transcript page. Refer to Transcript Types and Ways to Order Them and About the New Tax Transcript: FAQs for more information.
  • You can also use Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. Check the box for Form W-2, specify which tax year(s) you need, and mail or fax the completed form. Allow 10 business days from the IRS received date to receive the transcript.

    Note: Wage and income transcripts are available for up to 10 years but current tax year information may not be complete until July. This transcript doesn't include any state or local tax information reported by your employer to SSA on Form W-2.

Copy

  • If you e-filed your tax return or you didn't attach your Form W-2 to your paper return, then use one of the transcript options above. Otherwise, you'll need to contact your employer or SSA for a copy.

  • The quickest way to obtain a copy of your current year Form W-2 is through your employer. Your employer first submits Form W-2 to SSA; after SSA processes it, they transmit the federal tax information to the IRS.
  • If you can't get your Form W-2 from your employer and you previously attached it to your paper tax return, you can order a copy of the entire return from the IRS for a fee. Complete and mail Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return along with the required fee. Allow 75 calendar days for us to process your request.

See Topic 159 for additional information.

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Contact an IRS customer service representative to correct any agency errors by calling 800-829-1040. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, unless otherwise noted (see telephone assistance for more information). Unfortunately, this may result in you receiving a paper check.

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If you lost your refund check, you should initiate a refund trace:

  • Call us at 800-829-1954 (toll-free) and either use the automated system or speak with an agent.

  • However, if you filed a married filing jointly return, you can’t initiate a trace using the automated systems. Download and complete the Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund PDF or the IRS can send you a Form 3911 to get the replacement process started.

Your claim for a missing refund is processed one of two ways:

  • If the check wasn't cashed, you'll receive a replacement check once the original check is canceled.
  • If the refund check was cashed, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) will provide you with a claim package that includes a copy of the cashed check. Follow the instructions for completing the claim package. BFS will review your claim and the signature on the canceled check before determining whether they can issue you a replacement check. The BFS review can take up to six weeks to complete.

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If by the end of February, your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement has not been corrected by your employer after you attempted to have your employer or payer issue a corrected form, you can request that an IRS representative initiate a Form W-2 complaint. Call the IRS toll free at 800-829-1040 or make an appointment to visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). 

Depending on the time of year, the IRS may have federal wage information in the form of a wage transcript. See Topic 159 for more information on how to get a transcript of W-2 information.

When you call the IRS or visit a TAC office, please have the following information available:

  • Your employer's or payer's name and complete address including ZIP code, employer identification number if known (see your prior year's Form W-2 if you worked for the same employer), phone number, and
  • Your name, address including ZIP code, social security number, phone number, and dates of employment.

If you file your return and attach Form 4852, you’ll need to estimate the wages you earned, taxes withheld, and the period you worked for that employer. You should base the estimate on year-to-date information from your final pay stub, if possible. When filing a Form 4852 instead of a Form W-2, there may be delays processing your refund while we verify the information you gave us.

To help protect your social security benefits, keep a copy of Form 4852 until you begin receiving social security benefits, just in case there's a question about your work record and/or earnings in a particular year. After September 30 following the date shown on Form 4852 line 4, use a my Social Security online account or contact your local SSA office to verify wages reported by your employer.

If you receive a corrected Form W-2 after you filed your return with Form 4852, and the information differs from the information reported on your return, you must amend your return by filing Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

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The IRS assumes no responsibility for tax preparer or taxpayer error. Please verify your account and routing numbers with your financial institution and double check the accuracy of the numbers you enter on your return prior to signing and submitting it. You should not request a deposit of your refund into an account that's not in your own name.

The IRS handles account or routing number errors the same for both split refunds and regular direct deposits.

Scenario:

  • You omit a digit in the account or routing number of an account and the number doesn't pass the IRS's validation check. In this case, the IRS will send you a paper check for the entire refund instead of a direct deposit.
  • You incorrectly enter an account or routing number and the number passes the validation check, but your designated financial institution rejects and returns the deposit to the IRS. The IRS will issue a paper check for the amount of that deposit once it is received.
  • You incorrectly enter an account or routing number that belongs to someone else and your designated financial institution accepts the deposit. You must work directly with the respective financial institution to recover your funds. See the last solution bullet below.
  • You requested a Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) or Refund Anticipation Check (RAC) through your preparer or preparation software. Usually this occurs when you authorize the fee for preparation to be taken from your refund. Even if you didn't request a direct deposit, these types of refunds are directly deposited into the preparer’s financial institution, so you should contact that institution for resolution. See the last solution bullet below.

Solution:

  • If the return hasn't already posted to our system, you can ask us to stop the direct deposit. You may call us toll-free at 800-829-1040, M - F, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Generally, if the financial institution recovers the funds and returns them to the IRS, the IRS will send a paper refund check to your last known address on file with the IRS.
  • If you have contacted the financial institution and two weeks have passed with no results, you will need to file Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund PDF to initiate a trace. This allows the IRS to contact the bank on your behalf to attempt recovery of your refund. Banks are allowed up to 90 days from the date of the initial trace input to respond to our request for information.
  • If funds aren't available or the bank refuses to return the funds, the IRS cannot compel the bank to do so. The case may then become a civil matter between you and the financial institution and/or the owner of the account into which the funds were deposited.

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You can check the status of your Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return using the Where's My Amended Return? online tool or by calling the toll-free telephone number 866-464-2050 three weeks after you file your amended return. Both tools are available in English and Spanish and track the status of amended returns for the current year and up to three prior years.

When using either tool, you must enter your taxpayer identification number, such as your social security number, along with your date of birth, and ZIP code to prove your identity. Once authenticated, you can view the status of your amended return across three processing stages -- Received, Adjusted, and Completed.

The online tool includes an illustrated graphic that visually communicates where your amended return resides within the processing stages. As a reminder, amended returns take up to 16 weeks to process. It can take up to three weeks from the date you mailed it to show up in our system. There’s no need to call the IRS during that three-week period unless the tool specifically tells you to do so. 

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Yes, you can file Form 8379 electronically with your tax return.

Generally:

  • If you file Form 8379 with a joint return electronically, the time needed to process it is about 11 weeks.
  • If you file Form 8379 with a joint return on paper, the time needed is about 14 weeks.
  • If you file Form 8379 by itself after a joint return has already been processed, the time needed is about 8 weeks.

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No, one of the conditions of your installment agreement is that the IRS will automatically apply any refund (or overpayment) due to you against taxes you owe. Because your refund isn't applied toward your regular monthly payment, continue making your installment agreement payments as scheduled.

If your refund exceeds your total balance due on all outstanding tax liabilities including accruals, you'll receive a refund of the excess unless you owe certain other past-due amounts, such as  state income tax, child support, a student loan, or other federal nontax obligations which are offset against any refund. For more information on these non-IRS refund offsets, you can call the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) at 800-304-3107 (toll-free).

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Frequently Asked Question Subcategories for IRS Procedures