How to Speak to Someone at the IRS
October 15, 2021

How to Speak to Someone at the IRS

Personal Taxes

Getting ahold of someone at the IRS over the phone is notoriously difficult, but it can be done if you select the correct options — and are willing to wait a bit.

Step-by-step instructions on which menu options to select are below, but keep in mind that if the IRS phone lines are particularly understaffed that day, you may be facing a long wait time to reach someone at the IRS, even if you correctly follow the steps below.

Although the IRS phone lines are open between 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM in your local time (with Alaska and Hawaii following Pacific Time), the IRS says that the best time to call is before 10:00 AM.

In my experience, the earlier you call, the better.

Also, Mondays (followed by Tuesdays) tend to be the busiest days for IRS phone lines, so call later in the week if possible.

How to Speak to Someone at the IRS (Step-by-Step)

Here’s exactly how to speak to someone at the IRS over the phone:

1. Call 1-800-829-1040 between the hours of 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM local time.

2. Press “1” for English or “2” for Spanish.

3. Press “2” for “answers about your personal income taxes.”

4. Press “1” for “questions about a form you have already submitted or a payment or to order a tax transcript.”

5. Press “3” for “all other questions about your tax history or payment.”

6. Press “2” for “all other questions about your tax history or payment.”

7. Do not input your Social Security Number when the recording tells you to.

8. Press “2” for “personal- or individual-tax related question.”

9. Press “4” for “all other inquiries.”

10. Wait to be connected to someone at the IRS.

What Is the IRS Phone Wait Time?

According to the IRS, the IRS phone wait time varies based on what month it is.  See the table below for average wait times by time of year.

IRS Call Wait Times
Time of Year
Average Wait Time
Busiest Days
Filing Season
(January - April)
15 MinutesMondays
Presidents Day Weekend
Around April 15
Post-Filing Season
(May - December)
27 MinutesMondays

Information You Need When Calling the IRS

When you call the IRS, make sure you have this information handy:

  • Your Social Security number and birth date
  • Your filing status
  • Your previous year’s tax return
  • Any correspondences (letters, notices, etc.) from the IRS pertaining to your question

If you are calling for somebody else, you will need their information as well as a valid Form 8821 or Form 2848.

If you are calling for a deceased taxpayer, you will need their death certificate and either a court approval letter or IRS Form 56 to speak to the IRS on behalf of the decedent.

What the IRS Will Not Discuss With You Over the Phone

According to the IRS, IRS telephone operators cannot assist with every question.  Here is a partial list of topics that you will not be able to get help with from an IRS operator over the phone:

  • 1031 Exchanges
  • 529 Plans for Primary School Education
  • 754 Election
  • Basis Calculation
  • Change in Accounting Method
  • Corporate Consolidations, Mergers, or Reorganizations
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Day Trading
  • Depreciation
  • Entity Classification Election
  • Excess Business Losses
  • Health Savings Accounts
  • Net Operating Losses
  • Opportunity Zones
  • Qualified Business Income Deduction
  • Sale of Business
  • Stock Options
  • Trusts


Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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2 months ago

This no longer works unfortunately.

Ralph Wiggum
Ralph Wiggum
20 days ago

The IRS has seemingly shut this avenue for getting a live person on the phone down. as soon as you finish running this ridiculous gauntlet that is their automated system, it greets you with a message that says, “we are sorry due to high call volumes we cannot take your call”. I’ve tried several times doesn’t matter the time of day including 7am which is the time they have posted for opening. i hate the irs

Last edited 20 days ago by Ralph Wiggum
17 days ago

As of April 2022, this works perfectly. This worked perfectly today (28 April 2022) — after about two hours of trying different combinations this morning, I finally came across this post and decided to try it. I got through on my first attempt using these directions. If you decide to try it, DO pay attention to the prompts and don’t forget to think about what you’re hearing; the actual text they say has changed in minor ways, but the selections remain the same. It seems like the big trick here is (as the instructions say) DO NOT enter your social or EIN at the prompt; if you enter your taxpayer ID info, the system will automagically shunt you off to one of their self-service / self-help silos. If you end up down a different path in the prompts, ignoring other prompts will eventually get them to hang up on you (it will not get you to a human). Once I connected, wait time was a bit over 30 minutes but the IRS now has an automatic call-back system; I tried that too and found it worked perfectly; my phone rang exactly when they said it would and then I held for only maybe 5 minutes before there was a real, live (and very helpful) actual human person on the line.