How to Find Out If I Have Outstanding Tax Debt

If you’re concerned that you might have outstanding debts with the Internal Revenue Service, there are a couple of options to verify your account status. The fastest way to get comprehensive information about any balances is to call the IRS directly. However, if you don’t want to speak with an IRS agent, you can also order free account transcripts. These transcripts list any principal balances, penalties, interest and payments you’ve made for any tax period within the last 10 years.

Call the IRS

Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. This is a call center division where you can check on a variety of topics regarding your account, including verification of any tax debts you might have.

Tell the IRS agent you want to review your account for any liabilities.

Answer verification questions. To verify your identity, the IRS agent will ask you to confirm your filing status, Social Security number, birth date, the tax form number you use to file your returns, and your address. After you answer these questions, the agent can discuss your account with you.

Get information about your balances. If you’re concerned about a specific year, tell the agent the year for which you want information. You can also ask the agent to look at all years for any outstanding debt. Agents can access information for the past 10 tax years. If you have any outstanding debts, the agent will tell you the tax year and amount owed for any balances.

Order Account Transcripts

Choose a method to order free transcripts. If you only need debt information for the current and previous three years, the IRS online order system is the quickest method. If you want information for the past 10 years, you’ll need to mail Form 4506-T to request your transcripts.

Navigate to the website. If you’re ordering transcripts online, type “Order Transcript” in the search field and choose the “Order a Transcript” link in the search results. If you’re ordering the forms by mail, type “4506-T” in the search field and click the “4506-T” form link in the search results.

Complete your order information. If you’re ordering online, provide your personal information on the first screen. On the second screen, choose “Account Transcript” and the tax years you want account information for from the drop-down menus. If you’re completing Form 4506-T, provide your personal information on lines 1 through 5. Check the box on line 6b to order account transcripts and provide the years you want information for on line 9. You must list years individually. Each form lets you list up to four tax years. If you need transcripts for more than four years, you must complete additional 4506-T forms. Mail or fax your forms to the address or fax number shown in the form’s instructions.

Review your transcripts for debt information. If you have outstanding tax debt, your balance is shown near the top of the transcripts. Each transcript lists only balances associated with the tax year, so you’ll need to review all transcripts to see if you have any debt. Transcripts ordered online usually arrive by mail within five to10 business days. Transcripts ordered on Form 4506-T usually arrive within 30 days.


  • Be sure to use your current address when ordering transcripts. The IRS uses the address you provide to mail your information.

About the Author

With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.