January 29, 2023

IRS Customer Service: How to Get the Help You Need

If you’ve filed your taxes and have questions about your return or perhaps have a question because you’re a first-time taxpayer, you might need to speak with someone at the IRS.

While this might seem like a tedious process, reaching an IRS customer service representative can be painless if you know the right number to dial. Keep reading to best prepare yourself for this phone call — after all, your time is important.  

IRS Customer Service Numbers

While the main number that individuals will likely use to contact IRS customer service is 800-829-1040, there are several other, more specific phone numbers available that might fit your situation a little bit better. Below is a list of phone numbers for the different departments of the IRS:

  • Identity and refund theft: 800-908-4490
  • Check status of a tax refund: 800-829-1954
  • Stimulus check questions: 800-919-9835
  • Estate and gift tax questions: 866-699-4083
  • Check status of an amended tax return: 866-464-2050
  • Request IRS to mail you paper tax forms: 800-829-3676
  • Order a tax transcript: 800-908-9946
  • Verify, pay off or resolve a tax lien: 800-913-6050
  • Whistleblower hotline: 800-829-0433
  • Schedule an appointment with a local IRS office: 844-545-5640
  • Disaster victims: 866-562-5227
  • Overseas taxpayers: 267-941-1000
  • Report phishing and other scams: 800-366-4484
  • Check status of a tax refund being held: 866-897-3315
  • Excise tax questions: 866-699-4096
  • Questions about Earned Income Credit: 800-829-0922
  • Balance due questions: 800-829-3903
  • Help with business tax return: 800-829-0115
  • Business and Specialty Tax Line and EIN Assignment: 800-829-4933
  • Make a payment: 800-555-4477
  • Innocent spouse relief: 855-851-2009

While the above list can seem lengthy, it’s important to note the correct phone number for your reason for calling. This not only saves you time in the long run but will also help the IRS customer service team best assist you. 

How to Contact the IRS

Once you’ve determined that you want or need to contact the IRS, there are a few steps you can take to make this process as smooth as possible. It’s important to keep in mind that between tax returns, stimulus payments, tax levies and other tax questions, there are many Americans who need to get hold of the IRS, likely at the same time you are. Below are a few steps you can take to efficiently contact an IRS customer service representative. 

1. Check Online First 

Using the IRS website is often the first best resource for any questions and concerns you might have. This is mostly due to the volume of callers; if you can find your solution without having to wait on hold, this might be the best option for you. In addition, there are certain topics that IRS customer service representatives will not address on the phone, including: 

  • Checking your refund status if it’s been fewer than 21 days since you’ve filed
  • Complaints about taxes or tax-related issues
  • General questions about tax law
  • The request to have tax forms be mailed to you (unless you call 800-829-3676)

To quickly check your refund status, you can use the IRS’s Where’s My Refund tool to help avoid an unnecessary phone call. This will show your most recent tax return with a status of either Refund Received, Refund Approved or Refund Sent. 

To access this information, you’ll need to have your Social Security number, filing status and the expected refund amount. While this tool is helpful to understand your status, it does not explain the reasons for a delayed refund, how quickly your refund will be processed or any steps that are needed from you to address a delay. Therefore, it might still be necessary to call the IRS after checking this tool to get additional information. 

2. Get Prepared 

Being prepared before you call the IRS is the best way to ensure you’re receiving the help you need once you have a representative on the line. Remember that just because you’ve reached a live person, they don’t necessarily know the ins and outs of your specific situation. Be sure to have the following information handy before you call the IRS:

  • Copy of the most recent tax return
  • Previous year’s tax return
  • Any notices or letters from the IRS that you’ve received
  • Social Security numbers and dates of birth for those listed on the tax return
  • Filing status information

Having this information on hand will ensure a smoother conversation with the representative and will help them to help you with your questions. 

3. Find the Correct Phone Number

It’s important to select the correct number from the list above for your circumstance. Again, the best phone number to reach an IRS customer service representative is 800-829-1040, but using one of the more specific phone numbers listed above might help reduce your hold time and get you to a resolution more quickly.  

4. Be Ready…to Wait

Although your tax questions are important and are valued as such, keep in mind the sheer volume of callers that also have questions or concerns about tax-related items. While it would be nice to call and immediately have a representative answer your call, it’s more realistic to expect long wait times, especially during the peak of tax season.

To help minimize your wait time, consider calling first thing in the morning or right before the IRS customer service line closes for the day. The IRS customer service hours are from Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, so calling as soon as they open in your area might be beneficial. 

Why Would You Call IRS Customer Service?

Check Refund Status 

One of the most common reasons to call IRS customer service is to check your refund status. Again, if it’s been fewer than 21 days since you’ve filed, the representatives unfortunately will not be able to provide you with any additional information. 

However, if it’s been more than 21 days since you’ve filed and you still have questions about your refund status, you can contact IRS customer service for updates. It might be helpful to first use the Where’s My Refund tool on the IRS website to obtain any information before calling 800-829-1954. To avoid tax refund delays, keep all tax documents together for easy access when filing, consider e-filing versus filing on a paper form and file early.  

Balance Due Questions

In some cases, individuals might end up owing the IRS as opposed to receiving a refund. If you have a question about your remaining balance due to the IRS or would like to make a payment, you can check your IRS Online Account. If after checking online you still have questions about money owed to the IRS or questions about your payment installment agreement, you can contact 800-829-3903. 

Business Tax Returns

If you own a business, it might be common for you to have questions about your business tax returns, especially if you’re just starting out. While it might not be best to contact the IRS for full directions on how to file your business taxes, you can contact the IRS for specific questions regarding your business tax returns at 800-829-4933.  

Other Ways to Get Tax Help

If calling the IRS isn’t working in your favor for one reason or another, there are other avenues you can take to still get tax help. Depending on your situation, one or more of the following might be best for you to explore:

Speak With A Tax Professional  

If you have tax questions throughout the year, it might be helpful to seek advice from a TurboTax expert before calling the IRS, as this might save you time and money in the long run. When filing your taxes with a tax professional, feel free to raise questions about your potential refund or any outstanding credits that you might be owed. They may be able to fully answer your questions or provide you with helpful information and education to avoid a phone call to the IRS.

Consult Your Local IRS Office 

Did you know that the IRS has local Taxpayer Assistance Centers in each state? These TACs are available for individuals to come in and physically meet with a tax representative to go over any questions they may have. If this is something that interests you, you will still need to call the IRS at 844-545-5640 to make an appointment, as walk-ins are not accepted. 

Contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service 

In addition to Taxpayer Assistance Centers, the IRS also offers the Taxpayer Advocate Service to those in need of severe help. This independent organization within the IRS can help step in when the previously listed steps aren’t helpful enough. Similar to the Taxpayer Assistance Center, there is at least one Taxpayer Advocate Service office in each state. Again, it’s best to call first to see if you qualify for this kind of help and schedule an appointment.

Protect Yourself

the-irs-will-not

IRS phone scams are a real threat. This can seem especially scary if you owe money to the IRS or have a more complex problem that requires additional paperwork. It’s necessary to note that the IRS will rarely call you; their communication will mostly come to you via USPS mail. There are a few special circumstances where an IRS representative will visit your home or office, including:

  • If you have an overdue tax bill
  • If you have a delinquent tax return
  • If you have a delinquent employment tax payment
  • Auditing a business

Remember, the IRS will not: 

  • Demand payment over the phone
  • Ask you to make an IRS payment with a prepaid card, gift card or wire transfer
  • Initiate contact with you via text, email or social media 
  • Call the police to arrest you
  • Revoke your driver’s license or business license

If you have one of the above scenarios happen, do not provide any confidential information (such as a Social Security number), as this is most likely a scam. Contact the IRS at 800-366-4484 to report a scam and verify if the IRS does in fact need something from you. 

Hopefully, you’ll never need to contact IRS customer service for assistance with a tax issue. Remember that with TurboTax Live, our tax experts can answer any questions you may have year-round, even after tax season is over. However, if you do find yourself having to connect with the IRS, they have several specific phone numbers in addition to their standard customer service phone number of 800-829-1040 to help you get the assistance you need. 

TurboTaxBlogTeam
TurboTaxBlogTeam

One response to “IRS Customer Service: How to Get the Help You Need”

Source link

Leave a Reply