If you’ve ever tried to contact the IRS during tax season, you know it can be a nightmare. There never seems to be enough customer service representatives to take your call.
According to the IRS, the average wait time during tax season (January-April) is 17 minutes and 27 minutes in the post-filing season (May-December). But staffing restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to much longer than usual wait times. And the above averages don’t take into account disconnections, which are all too common, according to IRS surveys of length of time.
While you may want to avoid the task altogether, you may not be able to. If you really need to contact the IRS regarding an issue, what can you do? Here’s how to call the fastest and best IRS phone numbers.
How to Contact the IRS Online
Before you spend your lunch break listening to IRS hold music, find out if the problem you are facing can be solved online. You might be surprised at how many issues can be handled in minutes through the IRS.gov website. Among which:
If your problem falls into one of these categories, save yourself some time and solve them on IRS.gov.
Contact your local IRS office?
If your issue cannot be resolved through the IRS website, please contact your local IRS office. Your chances are much higher that you can talk to a live person if you do this.
To contact the IRS office in your area, you must:
Visit the local IRS office locator. Enter your five-digit zip code. Select the nearest local IRS office based on distance.
These IRS offices have local numbers, and it’s easier to speak to a live person than calling the IRS customer service mainline.
If you need a lot of help, you can make a personal appointment with the office to talk to someone. (If you’re doing this during the Covid-19 pandemic, make sure to wear a mask and observe social distancing rules).
To ensure that taxpayers are assisted at these offices, you must bring a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. You should also have your social security number to hand.
Contact the National IRS Office?
If your local IRS office can’t help you with your problem, speaking with the main IRS customer service team is the (unfortunately) next step.
Individual taxpayers can reach the IRS by phone Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time. The phone number to call is 1-800-829-1040.
According to a survey conducted by enQ — they’ve actually made 10,000 calls to the IRS in a 12-month span — the best time to call the IRS is before 9 a.m. on the US East Coast and after 5 p.m. if you’re on the west coast.
According to the same study, about a third of calls to the IRS were dropped. And in those cases, when the calls were cut off, the caller lost his place in the queue. So if you’re going 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 social distancing requirements. And that’s why the IRS website says that customer service access is extremely limited at the moment.
But if you absolutely must contact the IRS by phone (and are willing to wait longer than usual to speak to someone), here are the IRS phone numbers to call.
Economic Impact Payments: 800-819-9835 Individuals: 800-829-1040 (7:00 am to 7:00 pm local time) Businesses: 800-829-4933 (7:00 am to 7:00 pm local time) Nonprofit Taxes: 877-829-5500 (8am to 5pm local time) Real Estate and Gift Tax (Form 706/709): 866-699-4083 (8am to 3:30pm EST) Excise: 866-699-4096 (8am to 3:30pm EST) 6:00pm EST) )Hearing Impaired Callers: TTY/TDD 800-829-4059
For international taxpayers, the IRS has special resources to help you pay your taxes or reach the IRS from an international location.
You’ll find answers to many of the most common tax questions here at The College Investor. Visit our tax center to see if you can get the information you need while skipping the grueling IRS wait times.
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