Creating an IRS Account Can Save You Time During Tax Season

It makes sense to create an IRS account, either before or after you file your taxes this year.

Peter Butler Senior Editor
Peter is a writer and editor for the CNET How-To team. He has been covering technology, software, finance, sports and video games since working for @Home Network and Excite in the 1990s. Peter managed reviews and listings for Download.com during the 2000s, and is passionate about software and no-nonsense advice for creators, consumers and investors.
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Peter Butler
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a laptop computer with an IRS Form 1040 on its screen, sitting next to a calculator, pencil holder and small plant on a blue desk

With an IRS account, you can keep all your tax info handy while filing online.

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If you haven't filed your taxes yet, the clock is running out. But before you grab your W-2 form and start filing with your favorite tax software, take a few minutes to create an online account at the IRS website.

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Registering online with the IRS takes a little time, but it's well worth it. Once you've accessed the IRS system, you can get the info you need to file electronically this year -- like your adjusted gross income, or AGI, from last year's taxes -- as well as full transcripts from previous tax years.

Learn more about the benefits of creating an IRS account online and how the registration process works. For additional tax info, here's everything you need to know about 2024's tax season

Why should I create an online account with the IRS?

The biggest reason to create an IRS account is to quickly look up your personal tax data. Once registered, you can access a wide array of your tax information, including:

  • Your adjusted gross income.
  • Details of your latest tax return.
  • Payment history for the past five years.
  • Amount of taxes currently owed.
  • Digital versions of some IRS notices.
  • Tax professional authorizations.

Along with viewing your personal tax information, with an IRS online account, you can make payments online, go paperless for certain IRS notices and approve authorization requests from your tax professional.

You can get instant copies of tax records like transcripts of past tax returns and wage and income statements. With an online account, you can also request an Identity Protection PIN to add an extra layer of security to your tax records.

Tax experts advise creating an IRS online account just in case you run into a tax issue or problem in the future. It's better to have an account already created than be forced to register online during the stress of a tax difficulty already in progress.

What info do I need to create an online IRS account?

Creating an IRS account online takes about 15 to 30 minutes, if everything goes smoothly. Before you start the process, you'll need to collect a few documents and information. Here's what you will need:

  • A valid email address.
  • Your mailing address.
  • A US passport, passport card or state driver's license.
  • Your Social Security number or tax identification number.
  • A mobile phone registered to you.

How do I register with IRS.gov?

The IRS offers a number of routes to access a new registration. The easiest way is to visit the Your Account Online page of the IRS website. To start the signup process, click the blue "Sign in to your online account" button.

Once the waiting page redirects, you'll be taken to a page asking you to log in to an existing ID.me account or IRS account, or to sign up for a new ID.me account. ID.me is a third-party identification service that is now required for all IRS accounts.

The ID.me registration should take about five minutes and requires photos or scans of your ID document. Click the ID.me Create an account button outlined in green to proceed.

Here are the basic steps: 

1. On the ID.me page where you create your account, enter your email address and pick a password. 

2. Next, confirm your email address. 

3. Now enable multifactor authentication with your phone. 

4. Choose ID verification: Self-Service with "video selfie" or Video Chat with ID.me agent.

5. Upload pictures of your ID. 

6. Take and upload a "video selfie," or wait for a video chat interview.

7. Enter your Social Security number. 

8. Finally, authorize IRS access to ID.me verification.

Once you have authorized the IRS to access your ID.me information, your online IRS account should be up and running, and you should be able to access all the information and functionality provided by the IRS.

How does ID.me verify identity for the IRS?

ID.me is a third-party identity verification company that works with the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs and 31 state governments, primarily for unemployment benefits. The company uses a technology partner called Paravision to manage the facial recognition aspect of their identity verification process.


Along with checking identity for the IRS, ID.me also verifies military members and students for discounts.


The IRS started using ID.me for identity verification as a pilot program in 2017 and has expanded it since then to encompass all new accounts. Legacy IRS users who created online accounts before the implementation of ID.me will now need to register with ID.me to use IRS services online.

In early 2022, ID.me and the IRS received criticism for the mandatory video selfie -- a required registration step that involves facial recognition technology. Politicians and advocacy groups argued strongly against the practice, saying a private business should not be collecting biometric data on millions of Americans. 

The agency followed up in February 2022 with the news that taxpayers registering for IRS accounts would have the option of a "video chat interview" instead of the automated facial recognition step. The decision to use the video selfie or the video chat interview now comes early in the IRS account sign-up process.

Can I make an online IRS account for my business?

In October 2023, the IRS launched the first phase of its business accounts via its online portal. Initially, business accounts were available to sole proprietors who file taxes with employer identification numbers and partners or shareholders who have schedule K-1 from the years of 2019-2022. In December, the agency expanded business accounts to include "individual partners of partnerships and individual shareholders of S corporation businesses."

Business accounts with the IRS provide many of the same services as personal accounts, such as view tax history, make payments and authorize tax preparers. However, all of the specifics of your business tax account depend on which type of business you are running, and what your role in that business is. 

Business owners can also make payments or schedule estimated payments online using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.