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

60 comments

With so many people experiencing high levels of frustration around getting information on their tax refund delays 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. Just note, even the IRS and tax payer groups don’t promise all calls can be answered.


A recent National Taxpayer Advocate group report stated that the IRS is already struggling to meet the service needs of U.S. taxpayers, particularly with regard to telephone service. In most years, the IRS receives more than 100 million telephone calls…. and was projecting it would only be able to answer about six out of 10 calls from taxpayers routed to speak with a telephone assistor during the filing season and about four out of 10 taxpayer calls during the full fiscal year.

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.

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

suzanne matthews September 6

I utilized health care tax credits during a time when my husband passed away. Im being penalized for taking money out of my IRA to save the house, plus it raised my income so that I have to pay the tax credits, penalties, and interest when the money wasn’t income it was a basic need. Im trying to get back on my feet after 5 years of stuggle and you want to penalize me because I didn’t report the income while planning a funeral?! Im begging for some mercy here! We can’t afford housing and medical care when its all for profit! Single Payer Healthcare for All. Please HELP ME! thanks for your consideration.

Reply

Billie Jo Alexander August 21

I filed returns Feb 20th 2018, they needed to verify identity that was completed April 30th. It is now Aug 21st, I have nothing and the wheres my refund still says Still processing.

Anyone have anything similar happen maybe advise what they might be doing. When i call the agent told me they had until Aug 14th to update and now its 7 days after that date and still nothing

Reply

Amanda June 3

I filed my taxes may 11-12 and still haven’t received them I’m highly upset what can I do

Reply

Bob May 23

Trying to call today, May 23, 2018, to reach a rep. Zero success. I call 800-829-8374. I get a message saying there’s high call volume. Then the voice says the office is closed. Then when the hours are announced (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), I can’t understand how they can be closed when it’s past 8:30 in the morning (Eastern Standard Time). I look up other numbers and try call them. Same thing. Can’t reach a live person. I call the number of my local office. They say they don’t do live phone assistance; you have to schedule an appointment. They have a number for that. I call it. You can’t schedule an appointment through that line because their office is “closed” even though–like the IRS line–they state their office hours and they should be open. I know I’ll have to wind up driving over to their local office, only to be told (I’m sure) that I can only make an appointment through their phone line. In short: the IRS obviously seems to be giving a huge middle finger to everyone. A few years ago under a different administration, I called and reached a person in about ten minutes. Obviously, my tax dollars are not at work for me.

Reply

AUDREY May 1

Thanks for this helpful information. I was able to reach an agent and finally get answers to what was happening with my refund.

Reply

helene lawson April 23

I dialed 1800 829-0582 ext-652 and got a live person immediately
I call at 4:30 pm eastern time.

Reply

Tom May 9

Thanks Helene. I called today at 430 pm and finally got to speak to someone. Hold time was about 10 minutes but well worth it to actually get the assistance I needed.

Reply

Dave July 19

Helene,
You are a saint! Thank you for the information. I was able to connect with the IRS. Before your help, the automated line said that their office was closed and experiencing high call volume and only the automated system was available. You took the time to let others know how to get in touch with the highly elusive IRS. I am currently out of the country so your assistance was spot on.

All the best,
Dave–

Reply

Mike April 23

I just wanted to thank all of the agents I spoke to who gave me the complete opposite of what was the truth costing me my Medicaid, food stamps, homestead disability and a heck of a lot more when I called a few months ago. I wanted to file for an extension and was told I dont have to which was a complete lie. Now when I call, I keep getting transferred to extensions that no longer work or am able to speak to any live agent. Thank you so much for ruining my life IRS I wish I were dead thanks to you. Hopefully I will be soon. Thanks for nothing!

Reply

jamad March 26

Been on hold for 1 hour and 35 minutes after trying the advocate line..transferred to the intake unit….after giving info to the advocate line…..

Reply

Carla Briggs March 8

It really doesn’t make a difference in trying all these tactics to get an actual agent on the phone when they just hang up on you and then they pretend that they can’t hear you and then hang up on you again. I have been nothing but professional and patient in dealing with this situation considering the irs owes me over $36,000 for wrongfully taken refunds due to an untrained agent at H&R Block. No one wants to talk to me about this…

Reply

Stephanie March 2

As of March of 2018 option 4 of the Comprehensive Approach is working. I was on hold roughly a little less than ten minutes before the phone was picked up by a live person who was able to answer my questions and offer all the help I needed. Thank you guys so much for this wonderful resource!

Reply

richard dean hickman March 19

I want to talk to a live person

Reply

Lidia Aragon October 17

I submitted a fraud report for 2013 and 2015 twice. Its already end of 2016 and I have not received a reply from IRS Fraud Division. I went to my local IRS office to set and appt but was told by the security guard to call the 800 #. So far I waited 35 minutes…just to make an appt.

Reply

KD September 22

From above – this worked for me 9/22/17:

“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”

Reply

Emz August 8

Oh my god my Refund never receive yet I filled Feb 1 till now nothing and i did twice verified my identity!!!
When it’s almost September till now where’s my refund

Reply

Susan Dodson July 7

I have contacted the IRS the following way and spoke to a live person within 30-60 seconds who will hear your question and transfer you to the proper department numerous times . Once transferred you will be given a hold time (usually 15-30 minutes) which has never been more than 10 minutes. Heres what you do: dial 1-800-829-1040 press #1 for english #2 personal return then press 0 a few times 6-7 should be enough..you will first hear the standard recording “your call cannot be completed as …but then you will hear “please stay on the line for the next available operator”. Sit tight. Someone will be there in 30-60 seconds.
I might add if u do get answers that you feel are not correct..call again. I called last week and received answers that I didnt agree with. The agent told me that his research told him his answers were correct..(i was on the phone with him 45 minutes total.) Today I called and spoke to a diffetent agent. He put me on hold once and told me the return had been processed and a check was being mailed July 14th. First call I was told it was coded as an ammended return and it wouldn’t be processed until late August. It wasn’t an ammended return anyway but the first agent insisted it was and told me “The IRS doesn’t make mistakes like that”. Go figure. Happy inquires to all.

Reply

Gabriel Avila June 27

If I own The IRS $1,300 back pay ,and I have a job at this time..I have a 41k plan my old job $28,000 can you garish that

Reply

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.

Reply

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).

Reply

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

Reply

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)

Reply

Juanita Cardona June 12

4-7 minute wait time 6/12/2017

Reply

Kaitlyn Ontiveros December 8

I am doing this approach as we speak and have beenn on hold for 42 min. :/ guess it depends on what time you call. ugh. I really need to talk to a live person. 12/8/2017

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

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!

Reply

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.

Reply

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”.

Reply

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

Reply

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.

Reply

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!

Reply

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!

Reply

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

Reply

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?

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

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

Reply

JoAnn Thomas February 16

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

Reply

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

Reply

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?

Reply

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.

Reply

Joe February 2

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

Reply

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!

Reply

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…….

Reply

Andy (Author) January 20

your welcome

Reply

Justin October 4

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

Reply

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.

Reply

Andy (Author) January 20

Thanks for the update. Article updated.

Reply

Ashley Gandy March 6

It makes u put the #ss

Reply

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?

Reply

Hannah October 25

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

Reply

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 !!

Reply

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

Reply

helene lawson April 23

that you for you information. what do I do if I gave the wrong bank number

Reply

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.

Reply

Ashley April 13

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

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: