Taxes can be a confusing and sometimes stressful thing to deal with, and most people want it done with minimal fuss and as quick as possible.
However, anyone who has tried to speak to someone at the IRS knows that ‘quick’ is certainly not the word they would use to describe their experience. Wait times can be notoriously long and be getting to speak to an actual human seems almost impossible.
So, what can you do about? When is the best time to call? Here we will give you some guidelines for when to call and when to avoid picking up the phone and dialing the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).
We will also give you some tips on avoiding calling at all, and suggest a few other ways you can get the tax answers you need. Faster.
Times to call the IRS
Obviously, when it is tax time there is going to be the busiest and longest wait times. People do report waiting a couple of hours!
- Monday is probably the best day of the week
- Friday is the day to avoid – you will generally find the longest wait times then.
- Early morning – when the office first opens is also much better than later in the day.
You want to make sure you are completely ready so that once you get to speak to someone they can help you efficiently and you get what you need. Have your questions written down, so you don’t forget anything, and be prepared to take notes of the answers provided. Stay calm and polite no matter what or how long you have waited – we promise you are far more likely to get a helpful response.
Call the Right Number
One other point to remember is to make sure you are calling the correct number, so you don’t wait, only to then need to be transferred to another department. There are numerous different hotlines for questions regarding different issues, and a dedicated line for people with hearing impairments, or if you are calling from overseas. The complete list of specialized numbers is here.
Now let’s take a look at avoiding that all together. Here’s some advice on handling your tax matters and contact with the IRS:
Where’s My Refund?
You don’t need to call the IRS to get this information. Instead, you can use the Refund Status Checker to find out the status of your refund. Click on the button “Check My Refund Status” on the right in the image.
You will need to provide your social security number, filing status, and the exact amount of the refund.
General Tax Questions
Don’t call the IRS for general tax questions. Go to the
There is also an online Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) which provides answers to many tax law questions. You can find out such things as: if you’re eligible to claim certain credits; and if you can deduct expenses on your tax return; or if you are required to file a tax return.IRS website and type your question into the search box.
What else can I do at IRS.gov?
You can get quite a lot of information from the IRS website and complete a number of tasks, including:
- File your tax return
- Set up a payment plan to pay your tax in monthly installments. You can also see if you are eligible for a payment plan & get immediate notification if yours has been accepted.
- Get a transcript of your account, at View Your Account Information
When you have a letter from the IRS
It can be scary to get a letter from the IRS, but it probably isn’t going to be something you need to immediately call them about. Getting a letter does not necessarily mean you have done anything wrong.
Read carefully through the letter to understand why they have contacted you. Yes, it can be long, but you may be able to see a very easy solution. If they are requesting a piece of documentation, then sending it in writing is probably better. Write a letter or fax them the information – written is usually better than verbal.
Find a local Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC)
If you really need to see someone face-to-face, then you can go to a Taxpayer Assistance Center. Most of the time you can solve issues online or by phone. instead
To find the most convenient location for you use the Office Locator. Enter your zip code and a radius to search and you will be provided a list of locations. You will need to contact the office and make an appointment to see someone. You cannot just walk into an office without an appointment.
Contact a Tax Professional
Okay, so this isn’t the cheapest option, but for some issues, it is what you will need to do.
If you have a complex issue and don’t know how to deal with it, it is unlikely a single phone call to the IRS will be enough to sort it out. Having a tax professional handle it will let you avoid dealing with the IRS directly and your tax advisor will be able to answer most questions for you.
Many of the letters from the IRS that tax professionals get handed from terrified clients can be handled very quickly and easily. If it is further documentation they need, then a tax professional can help you with preparing what you need to submit. And, you most likely still won’t need to call the IRS at all.
Tax Scams and Phishing
First of all – the IRS will never email you unless you are expecting it. So, if you did not request them to email you about something, it is likely not from the IRS. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
Again, you don’t need to call the IRS if you are concerned about a scam.
You can go to Report Phishing and Online Scams on the IRS website for information on phishing scams. They answer the most common questions about scams there and tell you what to do. There is an email address where you can forward suspicious emails.
The IRS also publishes an annual list called the IRS Dirty Dozen List of Tax Scams