Written by: Josh Katz, CPA
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the United States government agency responsible for administering and enforcing the country’s tax laws. If you have a tax-related question or concern and want to contact the IRS, here are various ways to reach them and get the help you need.
One of the most common ways to contact the IRS is by phone. Depending on your question or issue, the agency has several toll-free numbers. The most frequently used phone numbers are:
- Individual Tax-Related Assistance: 1-800-829-1040
- Business and Specialty Tax Line: 1-800-829-4933
- International Callers or Overseas Taxpayers: 267-941-1000
When calling the IRS, be prepared to wait on hold for some time, especially during the tax season when call volume is high. You may also need to provide personal information to verify your identity before the IRS representative can assist you.
By Mail: If you prefer to communicate with the IRS by mail, you can send a letter to the agency’s address. Be sure to include your name, address, and Social Security Number, as well as a detailed explanation of your question or concern. You should also have supporting documents, such as copies of tax returns or other relevant paperwork.
In Person: Finally, you can visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center to get help with your tax questions or issues. The IRS has offices in all 50 states, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. You can use the agency’s online locator tool to find the office nearest to you and schedule an appointment.
Online: Another way to contact the IRS is through the agency’s website (www.irs.gov). The IRS has an extensive online resource center with a wealth of information about tax laws, filing requirements, and more. You can also use the website to:
- Check the status of your tax refund
- Make a payment or set up a payment plan
- Get tax forms and instructions
- Request a transcript of your tax return
- Find free tax preparation help
Things to prepare when contacting the IRS
It’s important to note that wait times may be longer when contacting the IRS, so it’s a good idea to have all the necessary information and documents ready before reaching out.
Here are some of the documents or information you may need to prepare:
- Social Security number (SSN) or taxpayer identification number (TIN): When speaking with the IRS, you’ll need your SSN or TIN to verify your identity.
- Filing Status: Be sure to know if you are filing as single, married filing separately, married filing jointly or head of household.
- Prior-year tax returns: If you have questions about a previous tax return or need to amend a return, you’ll want to have a copy of that return available.
- Any correspondence you have received from the IRS: If you’ve received letters or notices from the IRS, you should have those available when you call.
- Bank statements: If you’re calling about a payment or refund issue, you may need to provide information from your bank statements.
- Business records: If you own a business, you may need to provide business records, such as profit and loss statements or balance sheets.
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How to speak to a live agent at the IRS?
Tax filers often have questions or issues that require speaking to a live agent at the IRS. Unfortunately, getting through to a live agent can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience, but there are steps you can take to make the process easier.
Here is a step-by-step process on how to reach a live agent at the IRS:
- Dial the IRS toll-free customer service hotline at 1-800-829-1040.
- Listen to the automated voice prompt and press “1” for English or any other number for other languages.
- Listen to the next prompt and press “2” for “personal income tax”
- Listen to the next prompt and press “1” for “form, tax history, or payment.”
- Listen to the next prompt and press “3” for “all other questions.”
- Listen to the next prompt and press “2” to speak to a live representative. If this option is not provided, you may need to listen to additional prompts or wait for the next available representative.
- When prompted to enter your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number, do not enter anything. Wait for the automated system to ask again or transfer you to a live representative.
- After a short wait, you should be connected to a live agent who can assist you with your tax-related questions or issues.
Note that the wait times to speak to a live agent can vary and can be long, especially during the tax season. It’s a good idea to call early morning or later in the evening when call volumes may be lower.
When you do reach a live agent, it’s essential to be polite and professional. Remember that the agent is there to help you; being rude or impatient will make the process more difficult. State your issue clearly and calmly and provide any information the agent requests. During your call, take notes of the agent’s name, employee number, and any other important information they provide, as this can be helpful if you need to follow up on the issue later.
Contacting the IRS to verify receipt of submitted returns
If you mailed your tax return, the IRS does not typically send a confirmation that they received it. They will usually notify you by mail if there is an error with the tax return or if they need more information.
If you have submitted your tax return electronically, you should receive an email confirmation for the acceptance or rejection of your submission. If you did not receive any confirmation from the IRS, there could be an error in the submission, or the confirmation email was not delivered to your email inbox or spam folder.
Before calling the IRS, you can check the status of your tax return by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website or the “IRS2Go” mobile app.
- If the “Where’s My Refund?” tool shows that your tax return has been accepted, then the IRS has received and is processing your tax return.
- If the “Where’s My Refund?” tool shows that your return has not been received or rejected, your submission may have had an issue. In this case, you should call the IRS toll-free customer service hotline at 1-800-829-1040 to inquire about the status of your return and resolve any issues
Overall, it’s a good idea to check the status of your tax return before calling the IRS to save time and ensure that your inquiry is valid.
If you need help filing your US taxes, feel free to contact Universal Tax Professionals.