When you’re waiting for your refund there’s nothing more annoying than not being able to get a phone number for a real person. Sometimes the online “where’s my refund” portal just doesn’t cut it or doesn’t answer your question and you really need to talk to a live person to get your question answered.
As you can imagine, the IRS would much rather you use their online portal as it’s cheaper and doesn’t require them to pay as many people to be on the phone. However, there are limitations to the portal and when you need a helping hand we’ve got your back. Below, are the various phone numbers you can use to get a person on the line. We’ll include some tips for both state and federal and options depending on what your question is.
Based on our research we have determined that the IRS receives over 95 million telephone calls on its toll-free phone lines each year. IRS automated phone systems do not allow their inbound phone line calls to grow larger than 110 callers at a time before receiving a message to call back at another time due to high call demand. So there is a very good chance you won’t get through if you call on their busy days.
The fastest way to speak with a real person on the phone at the IRS
We have compiled a list of the steps you need to take to reach a real person on the phone at the IRS.
Before you call, make sure you have all of the information that you need.
- Social Security cards and birth dates for those who were on the return you are calling about.
- An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if you don’t have a Social Security number (SSN)
- Filing status – Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate
- Your prior-year tax return. We may need to verify your identity before answering certain questions
- A copy of the tax return you’re calling about
- Any letters or notices the IRS may have sent you
The IRS telephone number is 1-800-829-1040, and they are available from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday thru Friday. The best time to call is early in the morning.
The first question the automated system will ask you is to choose your language.
- Choose Option 1: for “English”
Once you’ve set your language, do NOT choose Option 1 (regarding refund info).
- Press option 2: for “Personal Income Tax” instead.
- Press option 1: for “Forms, Tax History, or Payment”.
- Press option 3: for “All Other Questions”.
- Press option 2: for “All Other Questions”.
When the system asks you to enter your SSN or EIN to access your account information, do NOT enter anything.
After it asks twice, you will be prompted with another menu.
Finally, Press option 2: for “P
When to Call the IRS with the Shortest Wait Times
There isn’t really a consistent time of the day or week where you are guaranteed a short wait time when calling the IRS. However, there are a few instances that have traditionally proven to be significantly shorter than others. While this is by no means a guarantee, there are certain times and days that won’t be as popular with fellow taxpayers. In these instances highlighted below, your wait time may be shorter than average. Wait times could average 15-30+ minutes during tax season(Jan.-Apr.). Wait time is higher at the beginning of the week, during Presidents Day weekend, and close to the filing deadline.
- Calls between 8 and 9 AM Eastern Time had the shortest wait for an East Coast caller
- Calls after 9 AM jump significantly with calls over 50 minutes and as much as 80 minutes from around 1 PM to 5 PM.
- Once the Collections office closes at 8 PM (for East Coast callers), we see a drop in hold times. The IRS is effectively closed for 47% of all Americans who live in the Eastern time zone.
- California callers should call after 5 PM Pacific time to dramatically reduce their hold time.
You should focus on calling at the best time based on your location and time zone. Here’s a map to illustrate the point:
The IRS Automated Phone Number
IRS Refund Hotline:
If you just want to check the status of your refund but don’t care to talk to a real person you can use the phone number below, which will take you to the “IRS Refund Hotline”. This hotline is bilingual in either English or Spanish. Keep in mind that you will be asked to provide three different pieces of information: your Social Security number, the filing status, and also the exact amount of your expected refund in whole dollars. You can get that from your IRS return form.
IRS TeleTax System:
Another option is to call the IRS TeleTax System phone number. This will give you the same basic information and will require the same information on your social security number, status, and refund amount. You will be limited on both instances in the information you can access and these systems are well laid out but do not allow you to ask advanced questions or get specific detailed information and breakdown on your refund.
The IRS Phone Number For Live Assistance
IRS Refund Phone Number For Individuals:
The IRS makes it clear that their online portal or their automated service is preferable but sometimes a real person can answer your question better and quicker. For this, the IRS has several toll free numbers depending on whom you represent, physical disabilities, filing category, etc. Make sure you have your tax return ideally in front of you when calling so that you can provide any information they may need and can quickly answer their question if they want to double check something. The same as the automated service, you’ll be asked to provide your social security number, the filing status, and also the whole dollar amount of refund. You can ask questions on your tax return or a notice you received or even setting up a payment plan.
If you’re filing as an individual and not a business you can use the phone number below to find out your refund status. You can only call during their hours of operation, which are Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm in your local time. If you’re in Alaska or Hawaii then you will have to follow Pacific Time.
IRS Refund Phone Number For Businesses:
If you’re calling about a business tax refund you can call the IRS business number. This number has the same hours of operation as the service for individuals.
IRS Refund Phone Number For Miscellaneous Entities:
Next, if you are calling about an exempt organization that you represent, or for government entities, or retirement plan administrators there is a different phone number to call. For this service, the hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm in your local time.
IRS Refund Phone Number For People with Hearing Impairments:
Next up, there are options for you if you have any sort of hearing impairment and need special types of service. You can call from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm local time. This option is available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. If you do not have the TTY equipment to talk to the IRS then you can go through a federal or state relay service.
IRS Fax Number:
If you’re living or find yourself needing to call the IRS internationally then you can use the phone number below. This is applicable if you have a question for an individual return or a business return. You can call the international IRS call center from Monday through Friday from 6:00 am until 11:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. If you need to send the IRS mail from outside of the United States you can do so at the following address.
Individual Tax IRS Address:
Internal Revenue Service
Philadelphia, PA 19255-0725
Business Tax IRS Address:
Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0038
IRS Refund Phone Number For International Callers: (not toll-free)
Keep in mind the number above is not toll-free so you may want to call using Skype or some other type of VOIP so you don’t wind up getting a huge phone bill. Wait times for calling the IRS are typically pretty high.
IRS TeleTax System Phone Number Codes
IRS TeleTax System:
Now, let’s go over some of the popular codes to get you where you want to be in the IRS automated calling system. Instead of waiting for all of the options and walking through the entire menu you can use the codes below to get straight to the department you want to go to. Keep in mind this number only gives you an automated response and even though you cannot talk to a real person using this option, it is available 24/7.
IRS Refund Face-To-Face Help
If you want any face-to-face help you can head down to the table below and click on the state where you live and file. From there, the IRS will give you information on how to find your local IRS office. At these offices, you can get help filling out your tax return. Also, you can find out information on where your refund is in the system.
At the in-person IRS offices, you can get clarification on any letter or notice you get and they will help you understand what it means. You can get multilingual assistance if you are concerned there is a language barrier. On top of that, you can make payments at your local office if you owe the IRS money.
Lastly, you can get your taxpayer identification number, alien clearance, or tax return transcripts if you need any of those. Often times you may not have access to those via the phone or online and that’s a perfect instance where you can go into one of their offices. Most cities do have tax offices and if there isn’t then hopefully there is one within an hour drive.
Hopefully, this has helped you get clarity on who you can talk to when you’re wondering where’s my refund and haven’t heard anything from the IRS in a long time. If need be, you can call them and talk to either the automated service or talk to a real person. From there they should be able to provide clarity on where you stand with your refund and what the status is.