IRS’ Online Facilities for Tax Filing, Checking Status

In an effort to reduce the tax filing burden, the IRS made many of its facilities available online. Online IRS facilities make it easier for taxpayers to prepare and file their tax returns, check the status of their return and refund, and check the status of their amended return.

The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), introduced in 1996 by the U.S. Department of Treasury, is a free electronic federal tax payment system where taxpayers can file their taxes via the internet or phone. To use this facility, taxpayers must have 128-bit encryption in their browser for security purposes. An enrolled user receives a unique taxpayer identification number (EIN), an EETP personal identification number, and an internet password for security.

Free File

Taxpayers whose annual income is $57,000 or less can receive assistance with tax preparation and electronic filing with the Free File portal. The facility is only available on the IRS website. Taxpayers complete an electronic version of the IRS' paper forms and use free tax software to prepare their taxes and submit them to the IRS.

The IRS forms available on Free File can be used by any taxpayer regardless of their income level. However, only federal tax returns are covered under Free File, not state tax returns.


E-file is an IRS facility for electronic tax return filing. With its help, taxpayers can safely file their income tax returns to the IRS online. Taxpayers may use tax preparation software or a tax preparer to prepare their taxes and then e-file.

There are many other advantages of e-filing tax returns apart from the convenience and security it affords. The return reaches the IRS instantly, and taxpayers can check the status of their tax return online 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges the receipt of the return.

Where's My Refund?

"Where's My Refund" is a tool that provides taxpayers with information about the status of their refund. Usually, taxpayers may expect their tax refund to reach them in less than 21 calendar days, but they may know the approximate status of their refund through "Where's My Refund?" The tool tracks the time the IRS received the return, the time processing the return, and the time of the issuance of the tax refund from the IRS.

Taxpayers who paper file their tax return can check the status of their refund after three to four weeks of mailing their tax return. E-file offers the advantage of faster processing, as tax returns reach the IRS instantly.

Where's My Amended Return?

The status of an amended return can be known by using "Where's My Amended Return?" tool after up to 12 weeks from the date the IRS receives the amended return. Taxpayers may expect it to take three weeks for the amended return to show on the IRS system. The IRS accepts Form 1040X Amended Tax Return for the current year and up to three previous years.

Taxpayers may use these IRS facilities to conveniently prepare, file and check the status of their tax return. Not only is it secure, but it is the fastest and most convenient method available.

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