According to the IRS calling them won’t expedite your tax refund payment delays. This is apparently because the information available to IRS call center representatives is the same as that available on their WMR (Where’s My Refund) tool.
But l beg to differ. There is always value in talking to real person, especially when it comes to getting help specific to you tax situation and its been more than 21 days since you got an update on your refund status.
For one thing the IRS call center(s) are like many other large call centers with different levels of operators and access.
So if “Level 1” agents only have the same information as what’s available on the WMR tool, then surely level 2 or above agents would have more.
Otherwise what’s the point of a call center if everything is available online. I have worked in and consulted with many call centers and there are always multiple levels of agent/representative hierarchy with increasing levels of access to information and approval authority. I imagine IRS call centers are no different.
Secondly a live agent can help you diagnose your real tax return of refund delay issue because they deal with these kinds of items every day and its likely that someone else has called about a similar issue that an agent was able to resolve.
IRS representatives deal with payment and refund delay questions all the time (and share information with each other) so surely they can help direct you to or reassure you around items you don’t even realize that are causing delays.
For example, your refund may be on track but due to mandated delays could be delayed because it contains a claim for the EITC credit.
Finally online tools, especially ones used by the IRS built on antiquated systems, can be notoriously unreliable and suffer from performance issues. This means that updates could take several days and hard to get assurance that your tax return is under review and refund on the way.
A real life agent can at least tell you where things stand and if there are potential issues (even if system processing related) that are causing delays with your tax refund.
One caveat to the above is to be careful that you only call the IRS at their official numbers per their website or a contact number they provided you via formal IRS notice or letter. Be wary of scammers calling you promising to expedite or get your refund for you.
Why Is It Taking the IRS so Long to Process My Return
- You mailed a paper return or responded to an IRS inquiry about your still processing 2020 return.
- Needs a correction to the Recovery Rebate Credit (stimulus check payments) amount
- Is incomplete or has missing data for you or your dependents
- Is affected by identity theft or fraud
- 2019 income verification for returns claiming the EITC and ACTC.
- Includes a Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, which could take up to 14 weeks to process
- Needs further IRS special handling of manual reviews (code 571)
Getting a Live IRS Agent
Using the general IRS call center line (ending in 1040) in the standard fashion seems to be slower than usual this year with people reporting wait times of up to 3 hours to get a live agent, let alone one that can help you.