Communicating with the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, can be a daunting task — and one that most people would prefer to avoid if possible. But sometimes doing so simply isn’t avoidable: perhaps your tax return or refund never arrived, there’s an issue with a child tax credit or other credits, or you need to work out a payment plan.
The IRS continues to modernize its systems and methods, and you’ll find more and more options for solving your problems online. These days you can check your refund status, complete your entire tax filing, request forms, and so much more, all online and without talking to an IRS agent. But there are still plenty of scenarios where online tools won’t cut it. You need a live person to solve your problem.
Below, we’ll show you the primary way to contact IRS customer service by phone, along with a range of other options that might save you time.
The Main Way to Contact IRS Customer Service
The most common and most popular way to contact IRS customer service and reach a real human (eventually) is to call the main phone number: (800) 829-1040. That’s the primary IRS phone number listed on the IRS website, and it will get you to a live human eventually.
If that number sounds familiar, there’s a reason. Look at the last four digits again. Ending the number in 1040, the digits associated with the most common individual tax filing form, is a clever touch — and it might just help you remember the number in a pinch.
The primary phone number is connected to the IRS customer service center, which operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “local time,” in the words of the IRS itself. Since local time looks different from coast to coast, it’s safe to assume that this number will operate from 7 a.m. Eastern (4 a.m. Pacific) to 10 p.m. Eastern (7 p.m. Pacific). Residents of Alaska and Hawaii are advised to follow Pacific time.
Other Ways to Contact a Real Person at the IRS
While the main line is a highly flexible way to contact the IRS, it may not be the fastest or most direct way to get your answer. On top of that, there’s a whole range of complex topics and categories that the IRS telephone assistors can’t address via phone. This list includes many topics related to capital gains and losses (including bitcoin and other cryptocurrency), depreciation, questions arising from the sale of a business, and more.
If you need an alternate way to contact a real person at the IRS, try these methods.
Other IRS Phone Numbers
The IRS maintains a range of other phone numbers for departments and services that deal with specific issues. Try one of these numbers if any of them makes sense for your situation.
- Businesses: (800) 829-4933
- Non-profit tax issues: (877) 829-5500
- Estate and gift taxes: (866) 699-4083
- Excise taxes: (866) 699-4096
- Hearing impaired: TTY/TDD (800) 829-4059
- Interpretation services (350+ languages, other than English and Spanish): (833) 553-9895
Spanish-speaking individual customers should call the main line at (800) 829-1040 and select español from the menu rather than use the interpretation services number above.
In addition to these general department-style numbers, NerdWallet points out a range of much more specific numbers:
- Problems with a stimulus check: (800) 919-9835
- Self-employed taxpayers: (800) 829-4933
- Identity theft victims (including theft of tax returns): (800) 908-4490
- Order a tax transcript: (800) 908-9946
- Innocent spouse tax relief: (866) 681-4271
- International taxpayer advocate: (787) 522-8601 [English]; (787) 522-8600 [Spanish]
Between all these alternate numbers, you’ll find answers to an extremely wide range of tax filing questions.
Visit Your Local IRS Office
If your question or problem isn’t something you’re able to solve over the phone, visiting a local IRS office is an option. Sometimes sitting down face to face with a real person is the best approach, even if it isn’t the fastest.
The IRS maintains several hundred local offices, sometimes called Taxpayer Assistance Centers, located in small and midsized cities as well as large metropolitan areas. You can locate an office near you with the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center Office Locator.
If you’re dealing with an issue that assistors aren’t able to solve over the phone or you just can’t seem to get a clear answer, then an in-person visit may be the best option for you. Make sure to schedule an appointment, though, as walk-ins generally aren’t accepted. You can do so through the locator link above or by calling (844) 545-5640.
Reach the IRS by Mail
While the IRS itself discourages doing so, it’s still possible to send in your tax forms by mail, including tax payments. This is usually the slowest method of interacting with the IRS — by a long shot. Minimum wait times for a reply by mail from the IRS is around 30 days, and you’ll often have to wait considerably longer than that. As of publishing time, the IRS even warns of additional delays due to staffing shortages.
We won’t provide the address here because the IRS could change them at any time, and they vary from state to state and whether you’re including a payment or not. To find the right mailing address for your correspondence, visit this resource from the IRS.
Try Calling the Taxpayer Advocate Service
If you’re struggling to get the information you need or you feel like you’re up against a wall with the IRS, the Taxpayer Advocate Service should be your next call. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is a different part of the IRS—a distinct independent organization within it, in fact.
Taxpayer Advocate Service centers operate independently from nearby local IRS offices and don’t even report to them — they report to the National Taxpayer Advocate Service instead.
If you need a voice at the IRS and you don’t find one through the other methods, the Taxpayer Advocate Serviceexists to be “your voice at the IRS.”
You should call the Taxpayer Advocate Service if you’re dealing with one of these situations, among others:
- Financial hardship, especially related to your tax bill
- The threat of adverse action
- You can’t get through to the appropriate party at the IRS (or aren’t getting a reply by a promised date)
Every state has at least one local Taxpayer Advocate office. Larger states (by population or geography) have more. You can find the contact information for your state’s local Taxpayer Advocate using the Taxpayer Advocate Service locator page.
We hope this article answered every question you may have about how to contact the IRS, including how to reach out to the Taxpayer Advocate Service if needed. Do you have additional tax-related questions we didn’t cover here? We’re always ready to help! Reach out today if we can assist you further.