Figuring out how much you owe the IRS is an important first step in getting a handle on any back taxes you may potentially owe. But even a simple question can be complicated when it comes to the IRS. Figuring out quickly if you owe the IRS is crucial to avoid financial challenges like wage garnishment, liens and bank account levies. This guide explains all the ways you can figure out if – and how much – you owe in taxes to the IRS.

Signs you may owe the IRS

  • You receive an IRS collection notice letter
  • Your wages are garnished
  • You receive a property lien
  • You don’t receive your tax refund

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Figure out how exactly much you owe the IRS with 2 minutes of effort

If you’re a DIY enthusiast that’s determined to handle your federal tax bill on your own, we give you step-by-step instructions below. Just be ready for some hoops that you’ll need to jump through. But if you’re looking for the fastest, easiest way to see how much you owe the IRS with built-in solutions, click the Get Started button below.

Find out exactly how much you owe the IRS with a free assessment that will recommend solutions based on your needs and budget.

Get StartedCall To Action Link

How works

  1. Complete the form to authorize the IRS to allow them to collect your information.
  2. Click the link your confirmation email to complete a quick 60-second financial survey. will then get in contact with the IRS to a summary of your unpaid taxes. Then their team will review the information to provide recommendations on what you should do based on your situation. They’ll also flag everything you need to pay attention to, including:

  • Unfiled returns
  • Any outstanding tax liability
  • Tax liens
  • Pending audits

You will receive your confidential, comprehensive assessment by mail within 7-10 business days. The report will include recommendations for getting out of tax debt from a licensed tax practitioner. Potential solutions include Installment Agreements, which set up a payment plan and an Offer in Compromise, which settles tax debt for less than you owe.

Why do I need makes it easy to see exactly how much you owe the IRS, in total. Even if you’ve received an IRS collection notice, you may not know exactly how much you owe. Collection notices generally only apply to a single filing year. You may owe multiple years of taxes and could be facing penalty interest up to 25% of what you owe.

In addition, the free tax analysis that you receive will come with built-in solutions based on your financial situation. If you contact the IRS directly, they’ll be happy to tell you what you owe, but not what to do about it.

How do I know if I owe the IRS – DIY instructions

If you don’t need a free assessment of solutions to eliminate your tax debt, then simply contact the IRS directly. You can check how much you owe the IRS online or over the phone. You will need to provide your date of birth and Social Security number. If you’re using the online account portal, you’ll need some extra information as well.

Finding out if you owe the IRS through

One of the IRS’ leading online tools allows you to create and view your tax account through the IRS tax account portal.

However, you here are some things you need to know before you try to log on:

  1. You can only access this portal at certain times:
    1. Money 6:00 AM – Saturday 9:00 PM (EST)
    2. Sunday 10:00 AM – midnight
    3. The IRS notes that the site may be down for additional hours on Sunday for routine maintenance
  2. You need more information besides your Social Security number:
    1. Your current filing status (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household or qualifying widower)
    2. The mailing address of your last tax return
    3. An email address and mobile phone with your name on the account
    4. An account number for a mortgage, credit card or other active loan that’s in your name

If you’re missing any of that information, then you won’t be able to use the online portal. This includes having a cell phone plan in someone else’s name.

Once you get into the account portal, it will show you:

  • Your payoff amount as of that calendar date
  • The taxes due (balance) from each year of taxes that you owe
  • Any payment history you have, going back 24 months (2 years)
  • Information about the previous year’s tax filing as originally filed

You can review this information, request a transcript or select an electronic payment option to pay your taxes. However, the IRS won’t go into any details about the various options you have for repayment. And they certainly won’t recommend options for reducing how much you owe, such as tax debt settlement and penalty abatement.

Call the IRS to find out how much you owe

If you don’t have all the required information to use the online portal, the IRS offers a toll-free hotline. For individual taxpayers, the number is 1-800-829-1040. You can any day from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM local time.

What to do once you find out if you owe the IRS

Act quickly! Tax penalties and penalty interest stack up quickly on back taxes. A few thousand-dollar problem can quickly rack up penalties to become tens of thousands of dollars. The longer you wait, the deeper the hole you’ll need to dig out of. The IRS can apply penalties up to 45% of your balance every month. And those penalties accrue regardless of your ability to pay them.

If you contacted the IRS directly, you will need to find a licensed tax attorney to review your options for tax debt relief. If you used the free tax assessment from, then it will list the full range of options directly on your report. The licensed tax practitioner will provide recommendations based on financial limitations you explained in your survey. That way, you can get a head start on solving your challenges with tax debt as soon as you see exactly how big those challenges are.

Get a free tax assessment to see exactly how much you owe and what you can do about it.

Get My Free ReportCall To Action Link

Article last modified on May 24, 2023. Published by, LLC

Reviewed By

Jacob Dayan

Expert contributor, Community Tax CEO & Co-Founder