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

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This article was last updated on March 12

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

[Contacting an IRS representative for your Economic Stimulus Check Payment] Other than refunds, many Americans are desperately trying to call the IRS to discuss missing stimulus check payments (e.g. they didn’t get the dependent stimulus payment) or to get answers on why their current stimulus check was lower than expected. For the last few months it has been impossible to speak to someone at the IRS about this as the agency had most of its staff focused on paying out existing stimulus checks, on COVID leave or processing tax refunds. But that has now changed as the IRS recently announced 3500 live agents would progressively be added to answer common inquiries and questions around the Stimulus Check/Economic Impact Payment (EIP). You can see more in this article, including the primary number to call.

For tax refunds and IRS contacts, keep reading.

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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)

  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 – 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. 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 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.

166 thoughts on “How Can I Actually Speak to a Real Person or Agent at the IRS – Phone Numbers That Work For Checking Your Refund or Stimulus Check Status

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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!

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