How to Reach a Live Person at the IRS
The IRS is a vast organization, and sometimes it can feel like you're never going to be able to speak to a live person. But it is possible! Follow these steps, and you'll be talking to a live person in no time.
4 Options for Reaching the IRS
There's more than one way to reach the IRS. Below, we dive into each method, starting from the easiest to the most involved.
Visit the IRS Website
The first option for contacting the IRS is to visit the website at IRS.gov. The IRS website has a lot of information on it, and you may be able to find an answer to your question without having to talk to anyone.
Try using the Interactive Tax Assistant Search tool to find information about tax forms, filing status, tax deductions and credits, and other questions you might have.
You can also create an online account at IRS.gov, which gives you access to various tools and resources. After logging in, you view account information and take care of several tasks, such as:
- View your total taxes owed
- Make tax payments or get a record of past tax payments
- Apply for a payment plan
- Change your communication preferences
- Access prior tax records
Call the IRS
The next option for contacting the IRS is to call them. The IRS has a customer service line that you can call for assistance. The numbers for the customer service lines are 1-800-829-1040 for personal tax issues and 1-800-829-4933 for business tax returns.
The IRS answers calls at these numbers from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays. The best time to call is typically early in the morning, as wait times to reach a live person tend to go up as the day continues.
When you call one of the above numbers, you will be connected with a customer service representative who can help you with your question or concern.
Before you call, make sure you have all the information you need, including your Social Security number (SSN) or employer identification number (EIN) and a copy of the tax return or notice you're calling about. It's a good idea also to have a copy of last year's return handy because the representative might ask questions about that return to verify your identity.
The automated system will first ask you to choose your language. Then you'll be asked to select a number corresponding to the issue you're calling about. Choose the option "for all other questions."
Next, you'll be prompted to enter your SSN or EIN to access your account information, but don't enter anything. After asking twice, the system will prompt you with another menu. Once again, choose the number corresponding with "all other inquiries," and the system should transfer you to an agent.
Keep in mind that the IRS is still working through a backlog of paper returns filed during pandemic shutdowns, so you may have to wait a while to speak to a real person.
Visit a Local IRS Office
The third option for getting in touch with the IRS is to visit them in person. If you live near an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center, you can go there and speak to someone in person. You can find a location near you via the Taxpayer Assistance Center Office Locator.
Once you find a nearby location, call ahead to schedule an appointment, as most offices don't take walk-ins.
When you call to make an appointment, have the following information available:
- Your social security number
- The type of return you will be filing
- Your adjusted gross income from your most recently filed tax return
- A description of the tax issue or form number you need help with
Visiting a Taxpayer Assistance Center is usually only necessary if you have a complex tax issue.
Contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve tax problems. It offers free help to individuals, businesses, and organizations with large-scale issues they haven't been able to resolve by working directly with the IRS.
Some issues the Taxpayer Advocate can help with include:
- Issues paying a tax bill
- Errors on an IRS notice
- Problems filing a tax return
- Missing or withheld tax refunds
- Denied tax credits
- Failures of IRS systems or procedures
There are two ways to get help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service. First, you can fill out Form 911 to describe your issue. Then fax or mail the form to the TAS office in your state.
You can also visit a TAS office in person. Use the "Find a Local TAS Office" tool on the Taxpayer Advocate Service website. You should call ahead to make an appointment to ensure someone will be available to meet with you before you arrive.
Unfortunately, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is also dealing with a high volume of assistance requests due to IRS processing delays, so it might take a while to get a response. According to the TAS website, it may take up to four weeks for an advocate to return your call or reply to your request. But once an advocate gets involved, they can usually cut through the red tape to get to the bottom of an issue.
The IRS can seem like a daunting bureaucracy, but it doesn't have to be. Follow these steps to reach a live customer service representative who can help answer your questions. They're there to help—although you might need to be persistent.
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