One of the biggest points of confusion about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act concerns was when the changes would take effect. That’s one of the myriad questions that have both taxpayers and accountants placing more calls than ever to the Internal Revenue Service. So you want to get a hold of a live person at the IRS. Well, how do you do that and how much time do you have to wait?
If you don’t have time to wait, well, you might not need to. You can check the status of your tax refund by visiting the secure page on the IRS website. The agency says that it issues nine out of 10 taxpayers’ refunds within 21 days of filing and the earlier you file, the sooner you get that refund.
Average Wait Times for a Live Person at the IRS
Still want to try to get a hold of a live person at the IRS? Well, the average wait time to get a hold of a live person at the IRS supposedly lasts only 15 minutes, but some extensions may have much longer wait times. Wait times are also longer on Monday and Tuesday, during Presidents Day weekend and the month of April.
Although the IRS website states that wait times are nearly double this amount of time during the off season from May to December, what that actually means is that the agency has dedicated fewer customer service agents to handle calls at those times.
That said, the IRS staffs its hotlines with customer service representatives from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm local time. Once you key in your identification number, you are queued accordingly, except that callers from Alaska and Hawaii are asked to follow Pacific Standard Time, and agents serving Puerto Rico only serve from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm in that time zone.
IRS Phone Numbers
Before you pick up the phone and start dialing the IRS, know in advance that the phone system will try to steer you toward an automated voice response unit if you choose the menu option for refund information. Instead, select option 2 for personal income tax — when you’re calling the consumer line, that is.
Speaking of which, people complain of getting busy signals when calling the IRS, and the official word on that outcome is to check whether you’re dialing the most current phone number for the agency. Numerous websites list outdated numbers, so instead of phoning one of those, try calling one of the numbers listed below.
- Hearing Impaired
- Tax Exempt organizations, retirement plan administrators, and local government
877-829-5500 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time)
- Estate and gift tax questions:
866-699-4083 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)
- Excise taxes
866-699-4096 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)
Is It Even Possible Talk to a Live Person at the IRS?
Meanwhile, you might be able to book an in-person appointment at a local office of the IRS. This is the kind of thing you might do if you want to set up a payment plan to take care of back taxes.
Some locations have walk-up windows but during tax filing season, the wait time can be daunting. One aggressive tactic: Get to the office location two hours before opening time and you can be one of the first in line to see someone in person.
Find an office near you by using the Taxpayer Assistance Locator tool on the IRS website, and then call 844-545-5640 to schedule an appointment.
If you’re feeling frustrated over how difficult it can be to get a hold of a live person at the IRS, maybe what you actually need is a type of middleman: Hire an accountant if you haven’t already, and hopefully you’ll be able to get through to him or her in a timely fashion.
Readers, have you tried to contact the IRS about your taxes in the past — and if so, how did it go? What questions are confusing you this tax filing season?
- What Happens If You Don’t File Taxes
- Why Is My Tax Refund Smaller This Year?
- Post Office Hours on Tax Day 2019