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Avoid the rush: Today marks busiest phone day of the year; check IRS.gov for answers to tax questions

IR-2019-18, February 19, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service alerted taxpayers that today, the day after Presidents Day, marks the busiest period for calls to its toll-free help line. The IRS reminded taxpayers that most answers to their tax questions can be quickly found on IRS.gov.

Taxpayers who call the IRS the day after Presidents Day can expect longer than usual wait times. Those who need to call can avoid the rush by waiting a day or two or by using online options to get their tax questions answered quickly.

A good first stop is the IRS Services Guide, which provides an overview of the many IRS.gov tools available to taxpayers and tax professionals. For fast answers to general tax questions, taxpayers can search the Interactive Tax Assistant, Tax Topics, Frequently Asked Questions, Tax Trails and IRS Tax Map.

Publication 5307, Tax Reform: Basics for Individuals and Families, and Publication 5318, Tax Reform: What’s New for Your Business, are good resources for taxpayers seeking more information on tax reform.

Those who have already filed can use the "Where’s My Refund?" tool to track their tax refund. Alternatively, they can call 800-829-1954 for automated refund information.

“Where’s My Refund?” is the best way to check the status of a refund. The application displays progress through three stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved, and (3) Refund Sent. Taxpayers get personalized information based on the processing of their tax return. The tool provides an actual refund date after the IRS has approved a refund.

The IRS reminds taxpayers about a common misconception: that requesting a tax transcript will help a taxpayer determine the status of their refund. The information included on a transcript does not necessarily reflect the amount or timing of a refund. Taxpayers who need a transcript for tax preparation or to validate income for lenders can use Get Transcript for either immediate online service or delivery by mail.

Taxpayers visiting IRS.gov will also find answers to tax questions about filing requirements and credits and deductions that may be available to them and can download forms and instructions usually available on IRS.gov six to eight weeks before the paper versions are available. Taxpayers who owe additional tax can learn about payment options or what steps they can take online to create a payment agreement if they can’t pay what they owe all at once.

Employees who did not receive a Form W-2 from their employer should first contact their employer. Taxpayers must still file on time and may have to use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, and estimate wages and withholding by using their pay statements and other records.

The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019, for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2019, to file their returns.

Taxpayers must either file or request a six-month extension by April 15. Extensions can be requested using Free File, by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or by paying all or part of  the estimated income tax due. Taxpayers should indicate that the payment is for an extension by using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) or a credit or debit card. Taxpayers don’t have to file a separate extension form and they will receive a confirmation number for their records.