The IRS announced on Thursday that it has launched an online tool that allows individuals to check their tax account balances online, including tax due, penalties, and interest, after they complete an online registration process called Secure Access. To register for Secure Access the first time, taxpayers must have an email address, a text-enabled cellphone in the taxpayer’s name, and specific account information for the taxpayer, such as credit card accounts and loan account numbers.
Each time a taxpayer returns to use the service, he or she will be required to enter a code received from the IRS by email or text. The IRS, mindful of the many scams that try to obtain taxpayers’ information, noted that it will not send emails or texts asking for personal information or login credentials—it will only send codes for one-time use.
Taxpayers who previously registered with the IRS for Get Transcript Online or through the online Get an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) service can use the same usernames and passwords.
The IRS says that this is the first in a number of online capabilities and that others will be added as they are developed and tested, as part of the IRS’s Future State initiative. Although the IRS Future State initiative has been criticized by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson for requiring individual taxpayers to use more online services, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen recently told the AICPA National Tax Conference that moving more taxpayers online will enable the Service to devote more resources to taxpayers who do not feel comfortable using, or do not have access to, online accounts.
—Sally P. Schreiber (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a JofA senior editor.