If you've ever tried to get in touch with the IRS during tax season, you know it can be a nightmare. There just never seems to be enough customer service agents to take your call.
According to the IRS, the average wait time during tax season (January-April) is 17 minutes and 27 minutes in post-filing season (May-December). But manpower constraints during the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to much longer wait times than normal. And the averages above don't take into account disconnects, which IRS hold time studies have found to be all too common.
While you may want to avoid the task altogether, that may not be possible. If you really need to get in touch with the IRS regarding a problem, what can you do? Here's how to contact the IRS the fastest and the best IRS phone numbers to call.
How To Contact The IRS Online
Before you spend your lunch break listening to IRS hold music, find out if the problem you're facing can be solved online. You may surprised how many issues can be handled through the IRS.gov website within minutes. These include:
- Filing a tax return
- Getting tax transcripts or previously filed tax returns from the last three years
- Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Setting up a payment plan for money you owe the IRS
- Making payments on money you owe the IRS
- Checking the status of your tax refund
If your problem falls into any of these categories, you should save yourself some time and resolve them on IRS.gov.
How To Contact Your Local IRS office
If your problem is not resolved through the IRS website, your next best bet is to get in touch with the local IRS office. Your chances are much higher that you'll get to speak with a live person if you do this.
To contact the IRS office in your local area, you will need to:
- Visit the IRS local office locator.
- Enter your five-digit zip code.
- Select the nearest IRS local office to you based on distance.
These IRS offices have local numbers and you will be able to speak to a live person more easily than if you called the main IRS customer service line.
If you need a high level of assistance, you can schedule an in-person appointment with the office to talk with somebody. (If you are doing this during the Covid-19 pandemic, make sure to wear a mask and observe social distancing rules).
In order for taxpayers to receive assistance at these offices, you'll need to bring along a government-issued ID such as a driver’s license or a passport. You will also need to have your Social Security number handy.
How To Contact The National IRS Office
If your local IRS office is unable to help you with your problem, speaking with the main IRS customer service team is the (unfortunate) next step.
Individual taxpayers can reach the IRS by phone on Mondays through Fridays from 7 AM to 7 PM local time. The phone number to dial is 1-800-829-1040.
According to a study conducted by enQ - they actually placed 10,000 calls to the IRS over the span of 12 months - the best time to call the IRS is before 9 am on the East Coast of the US and after 5 pm if you live on the West Coast.
According to this same study around one-third of the calls made to the IRS were dropped. And in those cases, when the calls were cut, the caller lost their place in line. Thus, if you do go this route, make sure you’re in a place with a secure phone connection or use a landline!
IRS Phone Numbers To Know
As we write this article, the United States is still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its social distancing requirements. And because of this, the IRS website says that access to customer service is currently extremely limited.
But if you absolutely must contact the IRS over the phone (and are willing to wait longer than usual to speak with someone), here are the IRS phone numbers to call.
- Economic Impact Payments: 800-819-9835
- Individuals: 800-829-1040 (7 AM to 7 PM local time)
- Businesses: 800-829-4933 (7 AM to 7 PM local time)
- Non-profit taxes: 877-829-5500 (8 AM to 5 PM local time)
- Estate and gift taxes (Form 706/709): 866-699-4083 (8 AM to 3:30 PM EST)
- Excise taxes: 866-699-4096 (8 AM to 6 PM EST)
- Callers who are hearing impaired: TTY/TDD 800-829-4059
For international taxpayers, the IRS has special resources to help you navigate paying your taxes or reaching the IRS from an international location.
You can find answers to many of the most common tax questions right here at The College Investor. Visit our Tax Center to see if you can get the information you need while skipping the grueling IRS hold times.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.
Editor: Clint Proctor