How to Talk to a Live Person at the IRS

SAVING & SPENDING - TAXES
If you need tax help, these solutions can help you get in touch with a live person at the IRS.
Updated April 3, 2023
Fact checked
Woman talking on phone

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Taxes can be complicated. If you need help with yours, have concerns about your tax refund, or want to set up a payment plan, you may need to talk with someone at the IRS who can answer your questions. 

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find a phone number that enables you to quickly reach live support. You could find yourself trapped in an automated system with long wait times, or the phone lines may be busy and you might not reach an agent at all.

The good news is that there are techniques you can use to maximize the chances of getting the help you need. Here are some options when you need more help than the IRS website can provide.

In this article

Information you might need when you call the IRS

Because it can take time and energy to reach an IRS agent, you'll want to make certain you have all the information you need to ask your questions and get answers.

The IRS will also want to verify your identity when you call, so you'll need to be ready to answer the IRS representative's questions to prove who you are.

Before you call, make sure you have:

  • Your Social Security number (SSN)
  • The birth dates of any individuals who were included on your past tax return
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) (if applicable)
  • Your tax filing status
  • A copy of the business income or personal income tax return you have questions about
  • Any IRS correspondence you received, such as letters or notices

If you are calling about an older return, you might not necessarily have a paper copy anymore. If you filed online with the help of a tax program, the best tax software often stores past returns, so see whether you can sign in to your account to obtain a copy of the return you need.

How to talk to a live person at the IRS: 6 options

1. Try the toll-free IRS hotline

The IRS has several toll-free phone numbers depending on the type of tax return you file. The table below shows the numbers that apply to different types of tax filers.

Type of tax filer IRS phone number Operating hours
Individuals 800-829-1040 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time
Businesses 800-829-4933 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time
Non-profits 877-829-5500 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time
Estate and gift taxes 866-699-4083 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET
Excise taxes 866-699-4096 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET
Hearing-impaired callers TTY/TTD 800-829-4059 N/A

In past tax filing seasons, the IRS indicates that wait times to speak with a live person average 13 minutes. It also notes that wait times are higher on Monday and Tuesday, during Presidents Day weekend, and around the April tax filing deadline. 

2. Call a local IRS office

Throughout the country, there are local IRS offices with individuals who can help you with various tax issues. You can find yours by using the IRS Office Locator Tool. In order to get help at a local office, you'll need to:

  • Call ahead to schedule an appointment
  • Bring a government-issued photo ID as well as your SSN and other documents necessary to address your issue
  • Wear a mask and practice social distancing

3. Talk to your local Taxpayer Advocate Service

Taxpayer Advocate Services are considered "your voice at the IRS." These services are set up to help taxpayers understand and exercise their rights.

Taxpayer advocates help people address problems they can't resolve directly with the IRS. They might work with you on issues related to refunds; IRS notices you receive; errors in your tax returns; tax credits and deductions; and a host of other issues.

You can visit an in-person TAS office if you have one near you. Each local office reports to the National Taxpayer Advocate Service. 

You can also submit an online form to request help or make a phone call to 877-777-4778 if you haven't yet opened a case.

4. Call about an amended return

If you've made a mistake or omission with your taxes, you might need to file an amended return. When you do that, the IRS has an online tool you can use to find out the status of your amended return. It may take as long as three weeks for data to show up online after you file, though.

Although it might be tempting to call IRS customer service about an amended return, the IRS also indicates that agents can't provide any more information about amended returns than the online tool can.

The agency urges taxpayers to "Call our toll-free number only when the tool asks you to contact us." If you must call, you can use the same toll-free number in the table above.

5. Schedule with a local taxpayer assistance center

Throughout the country, there are Taxpayer Assistance Center locations that you can visit if you need an in-person review of your documents and other tax assistance.

This IRS website provides a link to find taxpayer assistance centers by state.

6. Contact about your refund

If your question relates to your tax refund, use the online "Where's My Refund?" tool. The information is updated every night, and you'll need your Social Security or taxpayer ID number, filing status, and exact refund amount to use the tool. 

You can check 24 hours after you e-file the most recent year's tax return and three or four days for previous year tax returns. 

According to the IRS, you should only call about your individual tax refund status if the tool directs you to. 

A note on IRS scams

Although you can call the IRS, the IRS will not call you to ask for any personal information or your bank account details. In fact, if you are contacted by someone purporting to be the Internal Revenue Service, there's a good chance the person on the line is a criminal trying to obtain your personal information for identity theft or other nefarious purposes.

If you're being asked for any personal details by phone, text message, email, or social media channels, you are almost assuredly being scammed because the IRS won't ask for this information. It also won't call to demand payment, threaten to have you arrested for non-payment, or threaten to revoke your driver's license or immigration status.

FAQ

How do you speak to a real person at the IRS?

You can talk with someone at the IRS by calling the agency's toll-free number. There are different numbers for different tax filers. Individuals should call 800-829-1040 and business tax filers should call 800-829-4933. Support is available at these numbers between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time. However, the IRS has warned that phone support is limited and you can typically expect long wait times.

Can you email the IRS with income tax return questions?

The IRS will not answer questions about taxes via email, and the agency warns taxpayers against sending personal information via email unless they visit IRS.gov and use the agency's secure online services.

Can you email the IRS with questions about your stimulus check?

The IRS doesn't answer personal questions via email. If you need help with your stimulus check, you can call 800-919-9835.

Bottom line

Understanding how to file taxes can be one of the most complicated parts of learning how to manage your money. But if you need help with your federal taxes from the IRS, it's available — just be prepared to wait on the phone for a bit. Try these six techniques to get in touch with the IRS and get your tax questions answered.

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Author Details

Christy Rakoczy Christy Rakoczy has a Juris Doctorate from UCLA Law School with a focus in Business Law, and a Certificate in Business Marketing with an English Degree from The University of Rochester. As a full-time personal finance writer, she writes about all things money-related but her special areas of focus are credit cards, personal loans, student loans, mortgages, smart debt payoff strategies, and retirement and Social Security. Her work has been featured by USA Today, MSN Money, CNN Money and more, and you can learn more at her LinkedIn profile.

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