How Can I Actually Speak to a Real Person or Agent at the IRS – Phone Numbers That Work

40 comments

With so many people experiencing high levels of frustration around getting information on their tax refund delays (especially due to the PATH act issues earlier this year), I thought I would take some of the feedback and tips across thousands of comments from my recently updated IRS schedule article and post some ideas on how to contact the IRS and get an actual agent on the line. The IRS has hundreds of contact numbers based on the state you live in or type of query you have and no one method is a sure-fire way to get access to a real agent who can help you. But worth trying a few of the approaches below.


Please leave a comment to help others if you find a method that works for you, or a new one not listed here. I will keep updating this list through tax season. Also remember to wait 21 days after you have filed or if you get further direction from the IRS via the WMR tool or an official letter.

The Comprehensive approach

For those of you who have yet to talk with IRS, here are a few other options you can give a try.

1. Call the Treasury and ask if they have release your fund to your bank – Treasury number (800) 304-3107
2. Call the offset line, if you owed monies; this will be the first indication that you been processed if it says its be paid. It will also, include a DDD date as well.(800) 304-3107
3. If you are unable to get your transcript call and ask if they can pull it up and let you know if they see the code 846 or fax it to you. 800-908-9946.
4. Keep trying to get a live rep 1 (800) 829-0582 click #1 then the ext 652 or 18008291040, 1 for English then 2241
5. If it has been 21 days, and have a hardship get a tax advocate to set up an appt with you. They can resolve ALL issues within 1-2 weeks. 1-877-777-4778. They can also pull up your return and tell you the DDD.
6. Also, when you get IRS on the line tell them you need them to do a 911 Request Form on your behalf for an advocate to contact you. Tell them you do have a hardship…they can do that.

Called [18008291040] several times, this is how you get an agent as of March 2017

Press 1-for English
Then 2, Then 2 again, then 4, then 2 AND YOU WILL GET TO AN AGENT!

These may or may not work, but worth a try. If all fails, then give it till in the morning and try again. IRS systems generally update every 24 hours (overnight).

 The “other questions” approach

Call the IRS: 1-800-829-1040 hours 7 AM – 7 PM local time Monday-Friday
When calling the IRS do NOT choose the first option re: “Refund”, or it will send you to an automated phone line.
So after first choosing your language, then do NOT choose Option 1 (refund info). Choose option 2 for “personal income tax” instead.
Then press 1 for “form, tax history, or payment”.
Then press 4 “for all other questions.”
Then press 2 “for all other questions.” It should then transfer you to an agent.

You will wait on hold for about 18 minutes or longer, they will ask your social, date of birth, address and name, then place you on hold to research it.


Alternative – > Call 1-800-829-1040 option 1 then option 2 and after that don’t choose anything just wait a minute or two and it’ll transfer you to someone. Just be prepared to be on hold for a while

From Diane – How to talk live to a representative:
Dial 800-829-1040 ~ Press 1 (English) ~ Press 2 ~ then 1 ~ then 3 ~ then 2… then enter the PRIMARY (whose listed 1st on your return) Social Security number…it will confirm the correct entry… After that…DO NOT PUSH ANY MORE OPTION BUTTONS…you will be connected to an agent shortly. I called this a.m. at 10:40 Central time…it said this was a high call volume time…I was connected literally in less than 60 seconds after I confirmed the social security number. Ms. Pettis answered and was a peach to help me. She found the problem within 3 minutes. I hung up..located the information they needed to have corrected (I miss spelled the last name on one of my dependents..silly huh)…I had to call back…I repeated the exact same procedure and again I talked to another delightful agent within 60 seconds of SSN verification…..She stayed ON THE PHONE with me while she FIXED the error….
Thank You for this website information….I’m truly grateful…Good Luck to all.

Talk to someone and Identifying your identity

1-800-305-5084 to verify identity but if you want to talk to someone call 1-800-829-0582 ext 652 for the IRS. Good luck! Takes about 10 minutes to get someone. Looks like I had to verify my identity for no real reason. I was transferred to number 1800-830-5084 and was put on hold for 30 minutes. All they did was ask questions from my credit report and 2014/2015 taxes. I was cleared but they said it would take up a “max” of 9 weeks to see my return (but likely to get it sooner). I asked how I could check my statues and was told to check wmr but to give it a few days.

or as described by Judy…. If you want some peace of mind you can call this # 1-800-830-5084. Tell them you are seeing that some people are having to verify their identities and ask if this is something that you have to do as well, they will tell you if whether or not you have to. And before you hang up ask them if they can kindly check your status and you will have your answer. My situation was the same as in being accepted and WMR and TT showed no change, I was extremely concerned that I would have to verify then wait the nine weeks but lucky for me, they said I didn’t have to and all is ok, it’s just taking them longer to get them out this year and basically its taking the full 21 days for most returns. Good luck, I hope you get the answers you’re looking for.

The Tax Advocate

Here’s the number to the tax advocate 1-877-777-4778 and here’s the number I call and always get someone on the line. 1-800-829-0582 Ext 652. See more details in this article for contacting a Tax advocate

The Amended Return

Generally you will have to wait 8 to 12 weeks more for the IRS to process amended returns since they prioritize regular returns. Also note that the standard”Where’s my refund” service from the IRS does not track amended tax return status’. You need to instead use the IRS tool, Where’s My Amended Return. You can also access the tool via phone by calling 1-866-464-2050.  Only call the IRS to follow-up on delayed amended return refunds after 12 weeks. The number to call is 1-800-829-1040. But some people say that this number will also work for regular returns.

Treasury Offset

If you have questions regarding the offset of your federal tax refund or offset of another U.S. government-issued payment, you can call the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) Call Center to obtain agency contact information during business hours. Toll Free: 800-304-3107

Other options

I just got off the phone with the IRS, I called 1-800-829-3676 in an attempt to find out if I possibly had to verify my ID, this is what they told me, If your refund was accepted than everything is okay, it’s just taking longer on account of a delay due to verification, have patience, you will get it. I was also told you can’t go by what TurboTax is saying and unfortunately they are issues with both the WMR tool and their 800 hotline (see end of article), so you can’t go by that either, sadly its a waiting at this point. I was also told very clearly that if for any reason you are still at received but believe you should have gotten it by now than most likely there is a problem with them being able to identify you due to a breach that took place in early January and your data was compromised, which means you will have to verify your ID for them to release your funds. You can do this by calling 1-800-830-5084. So basically if you have been accepted everything is fine, you just have to wait but if you’re still at received after some time then that means they’re having a problem identifying you and if that’s the case, unfortunately you will have to wait 6-8 weeks for your refund. I know how frustrating this is for all of you, as I am still waiting as well. This is the first time I was able to get some clear info on what is actually happening, while I feel better knowing that mine has been accepted, I feel horrible for all of those still stuck at received on account of what that means. If you have been accepted, you are all good, they’re just asking that we have patience, it will come.  I hope this helps clear it up for some of you, good luck!

Why is it so hard to talk to someone live at the IRS?

The answer is simply they have too much on and not enough people to do the work. As their latest 2016 IRS Data book report shows they experienced a 40% rise in live telephone calls between 2015 and 2016. For 2017 even if the rise is more moderate, the trend of long wait times to talk to a real IRS agent will likely persist. After all there are early 70 million tax payers trying to get telephone assistance. The WMR site still however remains the most common channel for folks to get updates on their tax return and refunds.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Reznikov May 3

We have to do something about this organisation. The lose us when the money is due to us and they know all about us when we have to pay. Disorganized, ineffective. Cancer on the society. I have no single good word about them. Just by seeing how this organization operate, understand we have to get rid of anything Federal.
Although New York State is not better.

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Patrick April 24

Diane’s helpful information did get me in the IRS call queue, but after waiting for 30 minutes, the agent had to transfer me to a different office for another 30-60 minute wait. Very frustrated! It’s almost impossible to get anything resolved with the IRS, even the most simple clerical error (which this is).

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Maureen April 15

My taxes are locked for 2015 and I filed 2016 and can’t be done electronically because my social security number is locked cannot get an answer from anyone st irs

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Nestor April 12

I was able to get a Live Rep. 800-829-0582 ext. 652 right away. Thank you, I have been trying for days to communicate with someone but no luck until I tried this. (4/12/2017)

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Juanita Cardona June 12

4-7 minute wait time 6/12/2017

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Jim H April 5

The Comprehensive Approach, first recommended number and extention worked for me….took 15-20 minutes wait but I was very happy with that.

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CHRISTINE J. Barron April 3

Thank you, I was able to get a Live Rep. 800-829-0582 ext. 652 right away. So much better to talk to “Live Representative than IRS automation.

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Sandra March 23

Dianes advised worked! I finally got an agent on the phone and she was very cordial and helpful. Thanks for this website because I had a hard time getting a live agent on the phone. I was very frustrated. Thank you!

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Kemarie March 7

I mailed mines in on the 2nd and it was received by the 6th. Wmr didn’t show it being received until they started processing it on the 17th and has been showing processing ever since. I decided to call today and they told me it was under review but they’re done and suppose to be releasing my funds today, a hard check for some reason, and it could take up to 4 weeks to receive it.

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Dizz March 6

Call (800)829-1040
Press 1-for English
Then 2, Then 2 again, then 4, then 2 and within seconds you will speak to an operator

I can confirm that this method DOES work on speaking to a human being. I got an operator, but exaggerated and elaborated a lot about my situation and was forwarded to a personal account representative. I did sit on hold for several minutes, but the human voices were refreshing to hear. I think the key is to explain your situation with enough detail that the operator realizes it will require a special rep to handle it. My specific situation required an even more specialized department, as well as a rather lengthy explanation of details, but all in all, I was only on the phone for 41 minutes. May seem like a long time, but at least half of that was xferring my call to diff departments and “updating my account”.

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James Jones March 13

I did these steps also to get my transcript for the previous year followed it step by step and got through almost immediately

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Pat Erickson April 24

I tried the press 1 for English
Then 2 then 2 then 4 I got a recoding telling me they were no longer answering calls on this topic.

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Farrah K. March 3

Oh how I hate the IRS and automated systems, but this forum is the best cause I was able to reach a real person after 7 attempts on my own.
I used the “FROM DIANE” version (the other one didn’t work) and it was awesome. Love you Diane!

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CB March 3

Called several times, this is how you get an agent as of March 2017

Press 1-for English
Then 2, Then 2 again, then 4, then 2 AND YOU WILL GET TO AN AGENT!

Then you will be on hold – Hope this helps!

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Tatiana March 1

Hi, I cannot tell you how many times I called and the automated system hung up or told me to call back ! Thank you so much Diane

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Ryan February 24

I called after my 21 days and was told they sent an ID verification letter “weeks ago”. Stated I never received it. Was basically told oh well you need it.

Can I call to verify without the letter?

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Andy (Author) March 3
Mike o February 24

I filed my return on jan 17 accepted same day. WMR still says receive and being processed. Called one of those numbers was inform it is being held up they would not say why. Called a tax advocate was told there is a mistake how much money was reported from my w-2. After doing some research I found 2 mistakes on my behalf. My question is will the IRS fix these on their own or should I file a amendment. I have not received any thing from IRS.

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Andy (Author) February 24

You should file an amendment. Could take 1 to 2 yrs for IRS to catch/fix mistake – and if you owe taxes due to error then you will get assessed fines and penalties.

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Melanie Williams February 20

Thanks I thought they were closed today being that it’s president day. So far I’ve been on hold for 19 minutes but it will be well worth the wait if I can speak with a live representative

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JoAnn Thomas February 16

Tax preparer did NOT PUT THE correct address on my return before sending, HOW do I fix this?

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Andy (Author) February 19

See Topic 157 at IRS site, which basically says: If your address has changed, you need to notify the IRS to ensure you receive any IRS refunds or correspondence.

By Form
To change your address with the IRS, you may complete a Form 8822 (PDF), Change of Address, (For Individual, Gift, Estate, or Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Returns), and/or a Form 8822-B (PDF), Change of Address or Responsible Party — Business, and send them to the address shown on the forms. For information on changing the “responsible party,” see Form 8822-B. You may download or print the fillable Forms 8822 and 8822-B or order them by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

In Writing
You may also write to inform us of your address change. If you write, we need your:

full name
old and new addresses
social security number, individual taxpayer identification number, or employer identification number, and
signature

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britney March 10

In the middle of filing I moved, never received my letter that the IRS says they need the 1095. Agent says to fax a letter to the rejects department, telling them.why i don’t have the original letter and then wait another 6-9 weeks to receive a letter at the new address. She changed my address over the phone. Is this normal or should i contact tax advocate because of experiencing hard ship?

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I have never met a purple cow February 14

As of 2/14/2017 @10:07am
The combination of buttons I pressed to reach a live operator that asked me how can she direct my call is as followed.
1,2,2,4,2

Please note that the numerical sequence I am providing you includes the 1 for English.
If you need Spanish then you are s.o.l.. haha jk.

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Joe February 2

Bless this website. Absurd that the IRS tires to make it impossible to speak to a representative.

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Emily January 25

Thank you so much! I had been trying to get a real person for FOUR hours prior to finding this GEM!
I had a very unique problem that the automated system does not cover and trying to get a real person was seeming impossible!

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jay January 18

thank you so much!!! that was really helpful…….Actually IRS needed some details to confirm my account and release my refund!!! Thank God i called otherwise I would have never known…….

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Andy (Author) January 20

your welcome

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Justin October 4

None of these methods are current. Option two is lost tax return not what everyone else is saying it is.

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Chris January 20

Diane’s first option worked for me but the pattern is now 1, 2, 1, 3, 2. The 4 has been replaced with a 3 since her steps were shared in the article. There was no more than a minute or two wait for me.

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Andy (Author) January 20

Thanks for the update. Article updated.

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Ashley Gandy March 6

It makes u put the #ss

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NERIDA RIVERA RODRIGUEZ August 26

I REALLY NEED HELP I RECIEVED A CALL FROM A PERSON SAYING I AM BEING SUE BY IRS AND NEEDS SOME INFORMATION FROM MY HUSBAND IS THERE A NUMBER THAT I CAN SPEAK IN PERSON WITH?

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Hannah October 25

Hi Nerida, you are probably not being sued by the IRS. This sounds like a scam.

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Bob February 17

The IRS will never call you . This is a scam . The IRS will not call or send a email . They will only send you a letter !!! Contact them now 18008291954 urgent !!

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Mitzie Danos March 8

The irs never calls anyone demanding money this is scam do not give info i am a tax preparer and know the laws

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Charlotte July 27

Diane, thanks so much for the step by step instructions to talk to the IRS representatives. I was on hold for a while, but I got through and was able to get answers to my questions.

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Ashley April 13

I called 18008290582. I am still on hold. It has been 42 minutes.

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Andy (Author) February 23

But be prepared for a long wait. The agency is chronically understaffed, and call volumes are extremely high this time of year.

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Moe Badderman February 15

# “The agency is chronically understaffed”
That is their chronic excuse for inexcuseable wait times.
The problem seems to be that they are chronically under-concerned.

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