How Can I Actually Speak to a Real Person or Live Agent at the IRS – Phone Numbers That Work For Checking Your Tax Refund Status

With so many people experiencing high levels of frustration around getting information on their tax refund payment delays, I thought I would take some of the feedback and tips across thousands of comments from recent articles 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 that 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. You can also see this YouTube video for tips on calling the IRS.

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The quick approach (seems to be working this year)

  1. Call IRS number 1-800-829-0582
  2. DO NOT selection Option #1 for English
  3. Wait until the automated voice finishes talking. Then enter extension 652
  4. You may have to wait a while due to high call volumes (and redial a few times), but you will get a live agent.

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 funds 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. If it has been 21 days, and have a hardship get a tax advocate to set up an appt with you. They can resolve most issues within 1-2 weeks. 1-877-777-4778. They can also pull up your return and tell you the DDD.
  5. 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.

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 (Tax Filer!) – 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 last year’s 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 and when you can get help from them.

The Amended Return

Generally you will have to wait several 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 Contact

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

Select option 1 to hear an automated message of the amount, date and creditor agency or agencies to whom you owe the debt.

To get more details on your debt and talk to a real person you need to contact the actual agency (e.g Child Services) to whom you owe the debt. That agency maintains your records and makes all decisions regarding your debt, repayment plan, refunds and removal from the Treasury Offset Program (TOP).

Note: You may be shuffled through several calls/agencies to get answers. Lines are jammed and you must stay patient. Also ensure you watch for the “offset notice” which will have a lot of the details on why your refund was lowered.

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. The IRS Data book report shows that they experienced a 40% rise in live telephone calls over the last few years.

Even if the rise is more moderate than in the past the trend of long wait times to talk to a real IRS agent will likely persist.

After all there are nearly 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.

When can I call the IRS?

The IRS has stated that you should only call them proactively after 3 weeks or 21 days if you filed electronically. If you filed via paper return, then wait 6 weeks as the IRS needs to get your return loaded into their systems so you can be assigned a processing cycle code.

For refunds where an injured spouse (Form 8379) claim was included, then you will need to wait 11 to 14 weeks before calling the IRS to get a meaningful update.

If the IRS needs to talk to you in advance of these standard time frames they will send you an offiical notice or letter with contact information and and an agent to call.

Do not respond or call random numbers and provide your private information, as there are a lot of scam artists out there trying to steal your people’s financial identities.

When is the best time to call the IRS?

During tax season it is always going to take longer to get through to a live agent. But anecdotally and what I have seen and read online, calling early in the morning (before) 9am and on Tuesday and Thursdays

The IRS is also well aware of the challenges of getting a live agent to deal with tax refund issues and post pandemic they have resumed support at in-person IRS centers from a first come, first served approach.

To schedule an appointment at a IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC) taxpayers can call 844.545.5640 or use the TAC tool to find a location near you. Hopefully this means you can get helpful in-person support without having to wait for hours in a long line.

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194 thoughts on “How Can I Actually Speak to a Real Person or Live Agent at the IRS – Phone Numbers That Work For Checking Your Tax Refund Status”

  1. My CPA efiled my taxes on 01/25/22, here we are 04/18/22 and the wheres my refund status bar doesn’t even show it was received. Another words it looks like I am non-existent to them. What do I do? Why would it take so long for them to show it was received?

    Reply
    • Your CPA should have confirmation that the return was filed and received by the IRS. Check this first to ensure it was filed and get the filing or tracking number. Then call the IRS to get status. 3 months without an update seems way to long.

      Reply
  2. I tried Diane’s method several times and kept getting where they said high call volume and that my topic chosen could not be taken at this time and to call back. Also when I put in Social Security several different times it told me my number was not correct. So I tried that alternative one above her comment where it says press 1 and then 2 and then I just held and did not press anything else. It seemed to go through. I was on hold for 30 minutes. THen a man comes on that had very slurred speech sounding just like someone who had been drinking and I did not understand him until he said how may I direct your call. I started speaking and the automated voice about high call volume came back on and hung up on me. That was so frustrating after all that time waiting.

    Reply
  3. None worked for me. Kept getting “We are unable to handle your call, call back later” and then it hung up. Called 5 times times morning.

    Reply
    • Yes – they (IRS) seem to really be bogged down this year processing current and past year returns. Just hang in there and keep trying.

      Reply
  4. How & where can I find out where my refund has been redirected to?? J&r block has been no help & again this year only 19¢ has deposited into my checking account???

    Reply
    • I had to prove my identity to the irs we 6 months later
      Dec 16th 2021 I got threw proved my self well here its March stillnothing

      Reply
  5. Okay, SO, I filed some time back around May. I received an email assuring me that my return had been accepted, which also included both stimulus checks I had never received along with the third that required you file your taxes in order to be eligible for it, and that email told me I should be getting my green dot debit card (issued for tax returns) within 10 days. I had no problems getting the debit card in the mail, still have it, but all these several months later I still have yet to see a single dime from my supposed return. I’m at a complete loss, it’s so unbelievably frustrating trying to do anything about fixing this because the IRS basically refuses to speak to anybody. Can any of you please help me with some insight on what happened, or even some decent advice that might actually get me somewhere? I can’t stress enough on how badly I need this cash, it would change my life… Thanks guys, and good luck to all those others dealing with the IRS’ outrageous games.

    Reply
  6. Diane’s method works best. It took 34 minutes before I was connected to a person, then they transferred me to someone and it took another 20 minutes.
    However, when I called the number on my letter, it was a total of three hours! After being on hold for two hours, something happened in the system that kicked me back into choosing options. After I pushed buttons for 10 minutes, I was put back on hold for what was going to be at least 60 minutes. Never got a live person on this line.

    Reply
  7. I just used Diane’s method and I got a real, live person after about 10 minutes of waiting. The TAS # was useless. I have been called the IRS since August and kept getting the “We’re sorry, but due to extremely high call volumes….” spiel that everyone else seems to be getting. What can we do about the situation with the IRS? This is unacceptable!

    Reply
  8. Don’t waste your time. They don’t answer the phone and extension 652 is only to find out about amended returns

    Reply
  9. Just wanted to chip in that Diane’s method does work! Before I found her method, I had no success getting in touch with a live person at the IRS. The first three times I called, I immediately got the whole “We cannot take your call due to extremely high call volumes.” The fourth try, I was finally put on hold and a representative got with me within ten to fifteen minutes. The whole call lasted about 50 minutes. Now, the agent was unable to tell me the exact reason why my refund was being reviewed but she gave me an idea. I’m still stuck waiting another 120 days to know more. However, it is peace of mind to actually speak to someone about why it’s taking so long.

    Reply
  10. Well, thank God for Diane, her method is the only one that worked. I had to do it a few times and wait on hold for an hour, but in the end I did get a representative that hopefully resolved my problem.

    Reply
  11. I used Diane’s method and was immediately on the phone with a woman who transferred me to the correct department. I’m currently on hold..so fingers crossed.

    Reply
  12. The IRS Advocacy line worked for me – 877.777.4778, option 1, option 1. I had to hold for 20 min and then someone answered. I told them I had e-filed my return in February but it still appears as received/in process. I told her I was requesting and advocate as we were in a hardship (unemployment). She confirmed I was asking for an advocate and then asked me for names on the return, DOB, address, etc. She was able to see the reason my return was “stuck” and give me instructions on what to do next. I called at 11:30am EST on June 1, 2021. Good luck everyone – this was the only line that worked for me after trying several only to be eventually met with a recording and hung up on.

    Reply
    • It is. But you should always google numbers you see online to check. So good call out. Right now that number is showing unavailable by the IRS – because they are so overwhelmed.

      Reply
  13. Took me 10 months last year due to their stupid inadequate program. Now going through the same stupid glich filled program again. I have never seen anything so inadequate as this IRS computer program.

    Reply
  14. The tax advocate line 1-877-777-4778 worked for me. I used options 1-2-2-2-4-1 and was transferred to an agent. However you can expect to be on a hold for awhile. Also, be sure to call right at 7:00 am otherwise you may have to wait longer.

    Reply
    • This actually got me to a real person, but all she did was shunt me to a recording that, like all the others, end up telling me that the extreme call volume means that my call cannot be completed. It’s the same with every frigging IRS number.

      Reply
  15. None of the work. It’s Wednesday morning and every single one of these lines just gives a recording saying “due to high call volume we can’t answer your call. Please call back at another date” and hangs up. Even the hardship advocate line, which is insane. My taxes were accepted on the first day they could be submitted and still haven’t received me refund. The website just says “still processing, we’ll provide a refund date when available”. I made so little money last year due to Covid, I need this refund badly. I have checked my return multiple times and see no issues with it. It was a straight “enter what you made, enter what you paid” and H&R Block program did the math correctly and added the EIC themselves. I know people who got the EIC that have received their refund already as well as people who did not use the EIC so it’s not that holding it up. I need to be able to speak to someone there to get this straightened out because they are really screwing with me right now.

    Reply
    • Keep trying “Diane’s method” – it took me about 8 tries I think before I got a hold of someone. Sometimes right off the bat it would say they aren’t taking calls, and sometimes it would kick me off right after I input the SSN, and one time I got to the hold line and was dropped after 30 minutes. I just kept calling back relentlessly. Finally after another 30 minute hold I got through to someone. That said, they were pretty useless and told me to call back in 6 weeks (it’s already been a 7 week wait for me). What a great institution and use of 2 hours of my time!

      Reply
    • I am in the exact same situation, having claimed EIC filed electronically with H & R Block program I filed with a 1040 & 1099 (self employed gig worker) H & R Block program used 1040 Schedules 1, 2, 3, C, & SE….. I am an Independant Delivery Driver with Bite Squad that started job after February 15 2020 (Not eligible for PPP loan). I have tried to open an online account on the IRS website to view my account information and see what’s holding up the processing of my taxes and could not. It will not verify my identity with a debit card (major credit cards only), I chose years ago not to have any credit cards. It cant verify my ID using my Metro PCS/T-Mobile phone number either. I was able to order a mailed personal tax account transcript that uses USPS (US Postal Service), it will take 5+ days to go through the mail. I’ve tried every number for getting a live person to talk to at the IRS with no luck at all. I’ve tried every # and method listed by Google search and YouTube posts…….IRS SUCKS!
      God Bless you bro…………..

      Reply
    • Oh and I filed my taxes February 22nd. 2021 and the IRS accepted it. I’ve been waiting for 63 days with no info on where’s my refund (WMR) at irs.gov website, it has only showed “Still Processing” nothing else. Its Monday 26th. 2021 and nothings changed and I can’t reach any persons at the IRS of advocacy group help line. I am just waiting now for my transcript to arrive by mail in 5 or days….Frustrated and pissed off……….at least I got to vent a bit here. See ya.

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      • I filed in early March. I received a message that there was an error. I corrected the error, it was accepted. Now it’s August and I’m still waiting. I need my money.
        I’m lost as to what to do.

        Reply
        • You got a math or clerical error message? I got one of those and I was trying to figure out if im supposed to fix it myself because everyone is telling me they fix it but they didnt fix anything! just said theres an error and deducted my entire EIC! They said my EIC had a math error. Did you do an amended return to fix it? I have no clue what to do.

        • No – let them adjust if a mathematical error and they will send you a notice. You can appeal their adjustment and then if you win that and if you are instructed, file an amended return. Sometimes they will just send you the check if your appeal is successfully. If you file an amended return while they process your return, it could just complicate things more.

          This is something I found from WSJ on when to file an amended return:

          “The IRS says it “may correct mathematical or clerical errors on a return and may accept returns without certain required forms or schedules.” In such cases, “there is no need to amend your return.” However, the IRS says, “do file an amended return if there is a change in your filing status, income, deductions or credits.”

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