The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a U.S. federal agency responsible for collecting taxes and enforcing tax laws.
What’s the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?
The IRS began in 1862 under the Department of the Treasury by President Abraham Lincoln. George S. Boutwell was the first commissioner.
The IRS is an essential part of the U.S. government. Its common functions are collecting revenue, enforcing laws, and issuing refunds.
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The IRS also does audits, security, issues federal identification numbers, and oversees tax-exempt organizations and qualified retirement plans.
As a taxpayer, you can also receive help and education from the IRS.
It’s also important to understand that the IRS doesn’t pass laws, as Congress does. The IRS enforces and oversees them.
Regardless of your employment status, you must follow the tax laws.
The IRS offers identity protection
A beneficial service that the IRS offers is identity protection. Tax fraud and identity theft can occur.
The best way to prevent theft of your social security number is to get an Identity Protection PIN.
The voluntary program provides a six-digit code that’s only between you and the IRS. For security, you’ll also get a new PIN every year.
To get one, you must create an account and go through a rigorous identity verification process online.
Audits are a significant function of the IRS. The purpose is to check individual or organization financials to ensure accurate reporting.
The following are several reasons for IRS audit selection.
- Random selection.
- Your tax returns are different from the norm for similar returns.
- You come up when there are issues or transactions with others that are being audited.
The IRS conducts audits by mail or an in-person interview.
If selected, you’ll receive a notice in the mail. It includes the specific documents that the IRS would like to review.
It’s common for the IRS to check three to six years of tax returns. If they find large errors, they may add more years to the audit.
An audit can end in one of the following three ways:
- No changes are needed.
- An agreement with IRS proposed changes.
- An appeal or conference with an IRS manager if you disagree with the proposed changes.
You can’t avoid an IRS audit altogether. But, you can reduce your chances by accurate data entry, filing status, and being truthful.
How to contact the IRS
If you have questions, concerns, or need clarification, contact the IRS. You can speak to an IRS representative over the phone or in person.
The helplines are open Monday through Friday. The following are the phone numbers based on different situations:
- Individuals: 800-829-1040. Open 7 AM to 7 PM local time.
- Businesses: 800-829-4933. Open 7 AM to 7 PM local time.
- Non-profit taxes: 877-829-5500. Open 8 AM to 5 PM local time.
- Estate and gift taxes: 866-699-4083. Open 8 AM to 3:30 PM EST.
- Excise taxes: 866-699-4096. Open 8 AM to 6 PM EST.
Average wait times can range from 15 to 30 minutes. Monday and Tuesday are the busiest days. Keep that in mind when you’re planning to call the IRS.
To visit your local Taxpayer Assistance Center, find the office and schedule an appointment.
The IRS headquarters is located at 1111 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20224.
The IRS has many responsibilities and is a significant part of the U.S. government.
It carries out tax laws, collects taxes, issues refunds, offers education and help.
The IRS is beneficial because it enforces tax laws to ensure everyone pays their dues.
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About David Em
David Em is the founder of More Money More Choices, a personal finance website that helps you make sound financial decisions and build your dream life. Before More Money More Choices, David worked in leadership positions in the finance industry.