I've spent the last few days online, downloading documents we need to file our tax return, which I'll eventually do electronically.
I am not alone. More of us handle most of our lives' issues online. In addition to taxes, we shop, bank, watch entertainment programs, and communicate with friends and family digitally.
Now the Internal Revenue Service has expanded our electronic tax interaction options to help speed resolution of tax inquiries that arise after filing season.
The IRS today announced that if we get certain tax notices seeking more information, we or the tax professionals helping us in the matter can upload the requested data and submit it online through IRS.gov.
No more snail mailing, with its associated delays.
9 specific notices go first: Nine notices are part of this latest step to make the IRS more digitally accessible.
For the most part, they are queries typically sent to individual taxpayers who claim various benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low- and moderate-income workers, the Child Tax Credit for families with dependents, the Premium Tax Credit (PTC) created as part of the Affordable Care Act, and members of the military who serve in combat zones.
The specific notices are —
- CP04, related to combat zone status;
- CP05A, information request related to a refund;
- CP06, related to the PTC available for health coverage obtained through the Health Insurance Marketplace;
- CP06A, related to requested PTC documentation;
- CP08, related to the Child Tax Credit;
- CP09, related to eligibility to claim the EITC;
- CP75, related to documentation needed to claim the EITC;
- CP75a, related to EITC dependents and filing status; and
- CP75d, related to income and withholding associated with the EITC and other credits.
Each of these notices, which essentially are correspondence tax audits, will now include an IRS web link and access code if you choose to upload the documents needed to resolve the matters.
This potentially can help more than 500,000 taxpayers each year who receive these notices, according to the IRS.
How the uploading works: The good news is that you don't have to have an IRS Online Account (although the agency still encourages the creation of one for other IRS interactions) to electronically respond if you get one of the nine affected notices.
You simply can respond online directly to the IRS by following the notices' instruction to "Send us your documents using the Documentation Upload Tool within 30 days from the date of this notice."
The link to the tool, as well as a unique access code, also is shown on the notice. Open the link in any browser and input the 10-digit alphanumeric code, your first and last names, and appropriate Social Security, Individual Taxpayer Identification, or Employee Identification number.
Then upload scans, photos, or digital copies of documents in JPEG, PNG or PDF formats. The upload limit is a maximum of 15 MB per file. You may upload up to 40 JPEGs, PNGs, or PDFs, with the latter limited to 120 pages each.
Once the material is uploaded, you will receive confirmation that the IRS got the documents.
Your electronically transmitted documents are available to the IRS employee assigned to your case and remain available indefinitely until the employee retrieves them. Once that happens, the documents will be archived for 180 days, and then deleted from the system.
Years of work on secured system: The secured uploading capability began in 2021, when IRS information technology specialists created a prototype for the Document Upload Tool.
Since then, the IRS says it has been testing the secure upload feature on a limited number of exam-related notices. Thirty-eight percent of the responses to these notices have used the agency's secure electronic communications rather than traditional U.S. Postal Service mail.
"This capability is another step forward by the IRS to help taxpayers and improve service. This provides immediate benefits to taxpayers, who have nearly instant confirmation that documents were received by the IRS," said IRS Acting Commissioner Doug O'Donnell.
In addition to ensuring tax compliance and improving the customer, and tax professional, experience, expanded digital response options also benefit the IRS, added O'Donnell. It reduces the agency's paper correspondence burden (and backlog), decreases processing time, and speeds case resolution.
More digital responses on the way: In the coming months and years, thanks in part to added IRS funding included in last year's Inflation Reduction Act, the tax agency plans to expand the document upload capability to dozens of other notices.
The IRS says it already has identified 53 other notices that could be appropriate for this type of secure digital communications. The IRS will be assessing the viability of including these notices, as well as continuing to look for additional suitable notices to provide this online feature.
In addition, the IRS will offer digital correspondence on a variety of other taxpayer interactions. During live interactions such as phone calls with taxpayers, IRS employees will be able to grant upload access by providing the link and unique access code.
You also might find these items of interest:
- 4 ways to authorize a tax representative
- Don't ignore that IRS letter and nine other tax notice tips
- Online portal for businesses to file 1099s with IRS now open