Information You May Need After You File
Here is a collection of questions, answers, and(hopefully) useful information for situations that may arise after you have filed your tax return. If it's not here, give me a call (510) 583-8035 and I'll figure it out...
1) Checking Refund Status - the page for doing that is here.
2) The IRS or FTB say they never got my return - It can take the IRS or FTB up to four weeks to process tax returns received in the mail. So make sure it's been that long. The only way I know to deal with this situation is to send them another copy. Once it's been more than four weeks let me know and we'll get it done.
3) Paying Your Taxes
The IRS is remarkably patient with folks that have filed but cannot pay their taxes, provided it is not an every-year occurrence. If you cannot pay, simply mail in the return with a partial payment. This tells the IRS two things - (1) you want to pay them and (2) you don't have the money. They will mail you an installment agreement (Form 9465). Indicate how much you can pay monthly and send it back. They will charge you $120 (one-time) for the agreement and interest of about 6% (as of Dec 2018). Taking an advance on your credit card is probably around 25% so that's not a terrible deal.
It will take the IRS about 6-8 weeks to send you the form 9465. In those eight weeks if you can manage to scrape together what you owe them, send it in and they won't charge you for the installment agreement (9465) you no longer need to file. So this strategy will buy you a little time as well.
You can now set up a payment plan with the IRS entirely online - click here to do so.
If you complete and installment agreement and then default, they may then garnish your wages or bank accounts. I recommend being conservative in what you put on the Form 9465 - if you can afford $200 per month specify $150 per month. As long as you are on track to pay the debt within 5 years they will accept it either way. Also you can always pay more than the minimum and pay off the debt quicker (and save on interest charges). You can mail them a check every month or specify a direct debit from a bank account.
The IRS has set up their own service to accept payments for taxes, but only from checking or savings accounts (they will not accept credit cards). It is called IRS Direct Pay. The link to the new service is here and they do not charge any fees. If you need to use a credit card, go here to officialpayments.com. Keep in mind this site will charge a fee of around 2% for this service. With credit card interest rates around 20% and the IRS charging "only" around 6% on overdue taxes at this time, do the math first and make sure this is your best option.
4) Getting Copies of Your Tax Return(s)
Easily Done. Just send me an e-mail with your name, last 4 of your SSN (to confirm identity), and which tax years you need. I will e-mail you a PDF copy of your tax return right away.
5) I got a letter from the IRS or FTB
First thing to do - send me a copy of the letter. Fax, E-Mail, or Drop Off. There is no point in calling me because I can't tell you a thing until I see the correspondence. The usual reason for this (90% of the time) is the IRS or FTB received information what was NOT included on the return we filed (part-time job you forgot about, stock sales we did not report, etc). The usual solution is to amend the tax return to include the omitted information.
6) The FTB is auditing my tax return (Head of Household Audit)
No, they are not auditing you. That is how they title this letter to make you nervous and (they hope) fill out the form incorrectly. Then they can deny your HOH status and assess you additional tax. BTW almost EVERYONE who files HOH gets this notice (including me). Solution One - enter the same information on this form as is on your tax return. Make sure it matches exactly. Here is a sample of what the 2-page properly completed response should look like (mine). Always state the relationship on the form and always state that they lived with you at least 185 days (half the year). Solution Two - Send me the form and $10. I will complete it, file the original, send you a copy, and keep a copy on file in my office.