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Online Tools to Assist Taxpayers at the IRS and PA Department of Revenue

Online Tools to Assist Taxpayers at the IRS and PA Department of Revenue
Online access to tax account balances, tax payments and more

Need to check the status of your federal or PA tax account? Want to make an estimated tax payment online? Recently both the IRS at www.irs.gov and the PA Department of Revenue at www.revenue.pa.gov have taken important steps to make their websites more accessible and user friendly.

These recently improved online tools are available for both individuals and businesses.  Although there is some initial set up required, thankfully the process is fairly user friendly. Several of us here at Herbein + Company, Inc. have set up accounts and, shockingly, we were able to set up our online account easily within approximately 5 minutes.

OK – how to do individual taxpayers sign up?

IRS - The Federal site (www.irs.gov) requires users to authenticate their identities by registering with Secure Access.  This requires the user to have the following:

  • a valid e-mail address
  • social security number
  • the filing status and address of the last tax return that was filed
  • a cell phone that receives text messages
  • a personal account number from a credit card, home mortgage, or various other loans (generally only the last 8 digits of a credit card are required)

As part of the security process to authenticate taxpayers, the IRS will send verification, activation or security codes via email and text. Remember that the IRS will not initiate contact via text or email asking for login information or personal data.

Once a taxpayer is registered, the site will display the Tax Amount that is due as of the current date.  This new feature includes amounts due, penalties and interest listed for all prior tax years.  Users can also take advantage of the online payment options to make a payment using their bank account or paying by card.

Some limitations do exist, for example, the site is not available to access between certain hours including Monday through Friday 12:30 AM to 6 AM, and a taxpayer’s balance due will not update more than once during a 24 hour period.  The IRS anticipates more options becoming available for taxpayers in the near future.  However, the tools that are available will be helpful for taxpayers to verify the information that the IRS has.

Pennsylvania:   Similar to the IRS site, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (PA DOR) site (www.revenue.pa.gov) requires first time users to verify some information before gaining access to the site.  The requirements are not as extensive as the Federal but seem sufficient to provide ample security. Taxpayers can find prior years return on the site and can also view balances due, file a petition, make a payment and many other options made available to them.

Tax Registration Office for PA Businesses
In addition to the online services for individuals, Governor Wolf recently announced the launch of a new Tax Registration Office to improve customer service and help create a government that works. The Tax Registration Office hopes to reduce redundancy in that businesses will no longer need to contact multiple agencies to meet their registration needs.   Businesses are able to update their address, bank account information, ID, legal or trade name, filing status and filing frequency all from the this new office.  This office will now handle the business registrations for the following taxes, licenses and certificates:

  • Corporate tax
  • Employer withholding tax
  • Promoter licenses
  • Public transportation assistance tax licenses
  • Sales tax exempts status
  • Sales, use, hotel occupancy tax licenses
  • Small games of chance licenses/certificates
  • Transient vendor certificates
  • Use tax
  • Vehicle rental tax
  • Wholesaler certificates

To help with keeping the transition as smooth as possible, the phone numbers to reach the correct department within Pennsylvania will not change.  Taxpayers with questions regarding corporate taxes should still contact 717-705-6225 and select option 8.  For information regarding business trust fund taxes, the number to call is 717-783-3653.

Article written by Benjamin Rusnak and Barry Groebel. For additional information contact Barry at bdgroebel@herbein.com.