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.
The quick approach (seems to be working this year)
- Call IRS number 1-800-829-0582
- DO NOT selection Option #1 for English
- Wait until the automated voice finishes talking. Then enter extension 652
- 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.
- Call the Treasury and ask if they have release your funds to your bank – Treasury number (800) 304-3107
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 1–800-830-5084 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.
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.