How to Speak to Someone at the IRSPersonal 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.
Can’t pay your taxes? Watch this YouTube video.
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.
(January - April)
Presidents Day Weekend
Around April 15
(May - December)
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
- Day Trading
- Entity Classification Election
- Excess Business Losses
- Health Savings Accounts
- Net Operating Losses
- Opportunity Zones
- Qualified Business Income Deduction
- Sale of Business
- Stock Options
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.
This no longer works unfortunately.
This doesn’t work I filled my taxes in February 23,2022 and still waiting I call the IRS and I stay on the phone for hours and then the phone hangs up or it’s saying we are sorry but we have a high call volume talking about getting frustrated. I lost everything I owed in hurricane Ida and no help from anyone.
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
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.
As of today 5/25 this does NOT work anymore. Doesn’t matter your entry always hangs up. I’m in the middle of the 11th week of waiting after id verification and nothing from IRS and can’t get thru on phone. Neither tax transcripts or where’s my refund site updates my information.
going on 16 weeks myself as of 7/18. where’s my refund just tells me I’ve entered the wrong information. so frustrating
I sent my taxes in on March 5 it was an amended tax return. Here it is October 24th and I still have not heard anything about my refund and cannot get ahold of anyone at the IRS. Does anyone really work for the Government at the IRS anymore? I dont think so. I will not file taxes again in 2023.
By the way if you click on Spanish instead of English someone will answer the phone but then will transfer you to the BS.
question: my son received a form 5071C from the IRS asking him to verify his identity. They provide a website and phone number. I worked with him to use the website as it is faster and more efficient (according to the letter) but was unable to do so as he is not yet 18. I tried calling the number but they say “unable to assist at this time – call back later” with NO option to speak to a person. Why do they need proof of identity? Why is there NO option to prove said identity? He would like the money they took from his paycheck last summer to use for college coming up in the fall.
I did this today 6/15/22. It worked perfectly. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this. I had been calling and could not even get through to a line I could be placed on hold. I did using your step by step instructions and was able to leave my number. I received a call back in about 30 minutes. Hopefully my issue is taken care of!
How did you leave a message? It just disconnected me!
It does not work and it never asks if you would like a call back. That would be great if they did call back. Has been since February or March I have been waiting for my refund.
It is easy for those bastards to take your money, but when it is your turn to get something back, they literally make it a living HELL!!
I have tried this numerous times and it always tells me it cannot answer my call and hangs up on me. I’ve tried different times of day and different days of the week. Still waiting on my refund from taxes filed in February. No letter, no nothing.
Waiting 6 months for my refund no one ever answers the phone nor do they respond to letters I sent in 6 weeks ago , biggest F#*@ING joke going , figures operated by our great government. I tried to call 20 plus times came to the conclusion I am not going to get in touch with anyone. really pissed off.
Its been almost 6 .on the still haven’t got my money
I was on hold for 2 hours got a lady she put me on hold got disconnected. Called back waited 4 hours on hold nobody answered
if the IRS was a private corp they would be out. I have now attempted to speak with them for over a week but no results.. I will continue to attempt to speak to the using this method , but I may have to make a physical appointment, loose a day of work
They changed the last menu you list so that 4 is no longer an option. Selection “3” includes “all other questions”. It says you are being transferred, but then immediately goes to a recording stating “due to extremely high call volume we are unable to take your call. Please try again later or in the next business day.” WTF DO WE PAY FOR THIS AGENCY!!
Same here no one works at the IRS anymore it is all automated just my opinion
11 weeks wait phttt try 44 weeks of processing on a 2145 dollar return
The basic concept still works, but the menu options have changed so you have to use different numbers. Here’s what I did: 1213223. At some point they ask for your SSN, but do NOT input it. Using this strategy, I was able to get through to a super helpful human being. Hope it works for others!
I filed my 2021 taxes in September electronically, and the Where’s My refund tool indicates received since September, 5 months now. Still no changes. I called the IRS earlier this month and was told to check back in a few weeks. Still the same. What is going on.
We have dealt with the IRS to many years and we have always receive more than fair results with problems we created by not taking care of tax responsibilities rightfully due. We have no complaints. . .
March 2023: the menu in Step 9 has changed. There is no option #4 anymore. You just have to Press #3 now for “all other inquirie”. I got a human with NO WAIT TIME AT ALL! this morning Monday March 6, 2023 at 8:03am EST 🙂
i just tried this and selected 3 for the last prompt. after 10 minutes of a recorded message i got through to someone. THANK YOU!!