Phone Numbers for Contacting the IRS & How to Reach a Live Person

IRS Phone Number

The IRS's main phone number is 800-829-1040. However, there are many other numbers for specific questions and concerns. This guide explains how to contact the IRS, what you need when you call the IRS, and how to reach a real person at the IRS. 

Table of Contents: Contacting the IRS

Reasons to Call the IRS

You can call the IRS for the following reasons:

  • To ask questions about your tax refund.
  • To get the balance due on your account.
  • To check if the IRS has received a payment you've sent for an individual tax return.
  • To ask questions about an existing payment arrangement. 
  • To find the location of an IRS office.
  • To learn about free tax prep services for qualified people. 
  • To report that your W2 or 1099-R was lost, incorrect, or not received.
  • To ask questions about federal taxes.
  • To ask questions about tax returns or other tax-related issues. 

This list covers a broad range of concerns. If you don't see your particular issue, you may need to call one of the specific numbers listed below instead of the IRS's general number. For some of the reasons above, the IRS has tools that are designated to answer those questions. It may often be faster to use the IRS tools rather than calling to get your answer (status of a refund, balance due, finding an office location, checking payment status). See the available tools below to answer some common questions without having to call the IRS. 

How to Avoid Calling the IRS: Tools to Help

Don't want to sit on hold? Trying to avoid calling the IRS? Luckily, there are all kinds of tools that can provide you with the info you need, so you don't have to call the IRS.

Or you can contact a tax professional. They can call the IRS on your behalf and help you navigate the complex tax rules.


What You Need When You Call the IRS

After you finally get through the long hold and reach a real person at the IRS, the last thing you want is to have to hang up and call back. That's why it's essential to be prepared before you call the IRS. Here's what you need when you call the IRS:

  • A copy of your last year's tax return. The IRS uses info from the return to verify your identity. 
  • Social Security numbers and birthdates of everyone on the tax return you're calling about. This information will be on the tax return, but some tax prep software blacks out these numbers on the printed copy of the return.
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers for anyone on the return who doesn't have a Social Security Number. 
  • Filing status from your last tax return.
  • Any notices or letters you've received from the IRS. 

To make the call easier, you may want to write down the questions you want to ask. Then, you won't forget anything once you get a live IRS agent on the phone.

What You Need When Calling the IRS About a Deceased Person

If you're calling the IRS about a deceased person, you need court approval or the IRS form for estate executors. Before calling, grab the person's death certificate and the court approval letter or IRS Form 56 (Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship).

IRS Hours: Best Times to Call the IRS

You can call the IRS Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm local time. Generally, your phone number determines local time rather than your location. If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, you can call between 7 am and 7 pm Pacific Time. Puerto Rico residents can call from 8 am to 8 pm local time. 

The hours vary for certain tax issues. Here are the phone numbers and times if you have questions about individual, business, non-profit, estate, gift, or excise taxes.

  • Individual Taxpayers (800) 829-1040
    7 am to 7 pm local time
  • Business Taxpayers (800) 829-4933
    7 am to 7 pm local time
  • Non-profit taxes (877) 829-5500
    8 am to 5 pm local time
  • Estate and gift taxes (Forms 706/709) (866) 699-4083 
    8 am to 3:30 pm Eastern time
  • Excise taxes (866) 699-4096
    8 am to 6 pm Eastern time

The best time to call the IRS is generally early in the morning and late in the week. Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be the busiest days, so you may want to avoid calling on these days. Presidents Day weekend and around the filing deadline are also busy times. 

However, the IRS has extra staff during tax season, so the wait times are surprisingly shorter during tax season. According to the IRS, the average wait time to reach an agent is 13 minutes during tax season. Outside of tax season (from May to December), wait times average 19 minutes. The exact wait time varies based on why you're calling. Due to the recent staffing shortages and backlog at the IRS, the wait times can be significantly longer.

IRS Phone Numbers for Specific Tax Issues

In many cases, you shouldn't call the main number. You'll get faster and better service if you call one of the IRS's specific phone numbers. Here is a list of the IRS's phone numbers and links to resources with more information about each of these topics.

Tax Assistance for deaf or hard of hearing


Tax Assistance for Individuals With Disabilities

Make an appointment with a local IRS office


How to find a local IRS office

Find a tax clinic near you

800-906-9887, 888-227-7669

Low-income taxpayer clinics

Order a tax transcript


How to obtain a tax return transcript

Make a payment with the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)


Guide to payroll taxes and what to expect if you can't pay

Check the status of your tax refund


The IRS's where's my refund tool

Check the status of a tax refund being held


Federal offset program — why the IRS keeps some tax refunds

Check the status of an amended tax return


Guide to filing and amending IRS tax returns

Report incorrect income on a substitute for return (SFR)


Substitute for return and other consequences of not filing a tax return

Find your balance due

800-829-0922; 800-829-7650; 800-829-3903

How much do I owe the IRS?

Contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service


IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service

Help for self-employed taxpayers


Tax tips for the self-employed

Questions about estate and gift taxes


What happens when someone dies and owes taxes?

Disaster victims with tax concerns


Tax relief in disaster situations

Taxpayers who live overseas


Taxes for US Citizens abroad

New PINS for identity theft victims


IRS identity theft

Questions about excise taxes


Excise taxes

Help with business taxes


Business tax problems, filing, and considerations

Check IRS agent badge number, report tax scams


Recent tax scams

Questions about tax liens


Guide to IRS tax liens

Questions about bankruptcy and tax debts


Bankruptcy and IRS taxes

Innocent spouse relief questions


Guide to innocent spouse relief

Check on tax refund offsets


IRS refund offset program

Help applying for an EIN


Employer ID numbers

EIN application for international businesses


Employer ID numbers

Lost your ITIN documents


Individual taxpayer identification number

Check status of adoption tax ID number


Adoption tax credits

Report tax fraud/whistle blower hotline


How to become a tax whistleblower

Request IRS tax forms


Tax relief forms

Tax questions for corporations, partnerships, and non-profits


Guide to business taxes

Non-profits, governments, and tax-exempt organizations


How to contact the IRS for tax-exempt entities

E-filing tech support for domestic employers


E-file employment tax forms

E-filing tech support for international employers


E-file employment tax forms


IRS Phone Numbers for Tax Pros

The IRS also has specific phone numbers for tax professionals. If you're a tax pro who needs to contact the IRS, use these numbers.

  • Account or tax law questions: 800-829-8374
  • E-filing questions: 866-255-0654
  • Tax practitioner priority service: 866-860-4259
  • Overseas tax professionals: 512-416-7750; 267-941-1000

If you're calling the IRS for someone else, you need verbal or written permission to discuss their account. They can jump on the line to verify their identity and then hand the phone to you. Otherwise, you need Form 8821(Tax Information Authorization) or Form 2848 (Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative). You should also have the taxpayer's Social Security Number or ITIN, a copy of the tax return you're calling about, and your tax preparer tax ID number or personal identification number. 

How to Speak to a Live Person at the IRS

To reach the IRS, just pick up the phone and call 1-800-829-1040. Then, prepare to wait on hold for a long time. Make sure you're ready when the agent answers — if you're not, you will have to hang up and start the process over again. 

The IRS's phone trees are impossibly long, and although most menus let you push "9" to hear your options again, it typically only repeats once before disconnecting you. 

To reach a live person at the IRS about your individual taxes, select these options: 1, 2, 1, 3, 2, ignore two requests for your Social Security Number, 2, 4. 

If you want to talk with a live person about your business taxes, select these options: 1, 2, 1, 3, 2, ignore two requests for your Social Security Number, 1, 4.

Here's exactly what happens when you call. These instructions are correct as of September 2022, but the IRS phone tree is subject to change.

  • Select 1 for English
  • Select 2 for personal income tax returns
  • Select 1 for tax forms, tax history, or payments
  • Select 3 for all other questions
  • Select 2 for all other questions. 
  • Then, the system will ask for your Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number. It will ask twice. Just wait; don't enter anything. 
  • Then, press 2 for individual taxes or 1 for business taxes. 
  • Finally, press 4 for all other inquiries. 

At this point, you will be put on hold until a live agent answers the phone. This is the fastest way to reach a real person at the IRS. 

Other Ways to Reach the IRS

There are other ways to reach the IRS. You don't have to call the IRS. Instead, you might want to try some of these options.

Find a Local IRS Office

If you can't reach a live person at the IRS, you may want to make an appointment at a local Taxpayer Assistance Center Office. Use the IRS local office locator to find a location in your area. 

Put your zip code in the search box and the radius you're willing to travel. Then, a list of local Taxpayer Assistance Centers will appear. Each listing will show the address of the IRS office, its hours, and a list of local services. You can't just show up. You need to schedule an appointment. Regardless of where you live, you can call 844-545-5640 to make an in-person appointment with IRS taxpayer assistance. 

Call the Taxpayer Advocate Service

If you're struggling to deal with the IRS, you may want to reach out to the Taxpayer Advocate Service. This is an independent section of the IRS with local offices in every state. 

Unfortunately, many states only have one or two offices, so you will have to drive if you live in an unpopulated area. You can search for a local Taxpayer Advocate Office on the IRS's website. Simply select your state from the pull-down menu. Then, you will see a list of the offices in your state with their local phone number and links to directions. 

You can also call the Taxpayer Advocate Service toll-free at 877-777-4778. Or fill out Form 911 (Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance). You can mail the form, but for the fastest results, you should fax it to your local office.

Check Your IRS Online Account

You can create an online IRS account. This allows you to order tax transcripts, look at old tax forms, check your payment history, and more. Go to the IRS's website to set up your online account. You may need your ID, a copy of your last tax return, and other details to verify your identity.

How to Contact Your State Agency

Every state has a different agency that collects personal and business taxes at the state level. To find out how to reach your state agency, you can check out our guide to state taxes. Simply scroll down the page and click on your state for more details.

What You Need to Know About IRS Phone Scams 

Generally, the IRS does not call taxpayers — there are exceptions to this rule, but typically, by the time the IRS calls, you should have received several letters or notices from the IRS. 

Unfortunately, scam artists frequently call people, say they're from the IRS, and then demand payment. To protect yourself, you must know the signs of an IRS phone scam. If any of the following occur, the person on the phone is probably a scammer:

  • Demanding immediate payment of your tax debt.
  • Requiring payment over the phone, especially in the form of a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. 
  • Threatening to call the police or immigration officials. 

Does the IRS Make Calls or Visits?

In some cases, the IRS may call you, but as of 2023, revenue officers do not make unannounced visits to taxpayers' homes and/or businesses. This was a common practice for decades, but it was stopped in 2023 for safety concerns. 

How Do You Tell If an IRS Agent Is Real?

Here are signs the IRS agent is real. If an IRS agent doesn't meet these criteria, they are not legit. 

  • They only request payments to the US Treasury — not to any other entity.
  • They don't demand money. 
  • They tried to reach you by mail first.
  • They have an HSPD-12 card.
  • They can provide you with a toll-free number to verify their identity. 

IRS employees will always try to contact you by mail before calling. However, if the mail doesn't reach you for some reason, they may call. They may also send a 725-B letter requesting that you schedule a meeting. In extremely rare cases involving summons or subpoenas (a couple hundred a year), IRS officers may make unannounced visits. To verify their identity, ask to see their HSPD-12 cards. You can also call 800-366-4484 to verify the agent's badge number. 

Do Collection Agencies Call About IRS Tax Debt?

Yes, the IRS outsources some of its debt collection to private debt collection companies. Here are signs that the collection agent on the phone is legitimate:

  • They identify themselves. 
  • They only request payments to the US Treasury.
  • They don't ask for prepaid debit or gift cards.
  • They don't threaten enforcement actions such as jail time or calling immigration.

The IRS will always send a notice to you before assigning your account to a collection agency. Typically this is notice CP40. The collection agency will also send you a placement notice. 

When to Have a Tax Professional Contact the IRS on Your Behalf

You don't have to deal with the IRS on your own. A tax professional can help you contact the IRS. Here are some signs you should reach out for help from a tax professional:

  • You can't get the resolution you want when you talk with an IRS agent.
  • You don't understand the tax issue.
  • You disagree with the balance due on your account.
  • You want to appeal a tax assessment or a collection enforcement action.
  • You want to apply for an offer-in-compromise or innocent spouse relief.
  • You want to remove penalties from your account.
  • The IRS has filed a substitute for return for you.
  • You feel overwhelmed. 
  • You want help from someone who understands how to deal with the IRS.

Using TaxCure, you can search for local tax professionals in your area. Then, you can narrow down your search to find a tax pro who has experience with your specific concern. Want help calling the IRS? Then, contact a tax pro today by starting a search for your tax problem.

Find & Evaluate Licensed Tax Professionals to Solve Your Tax Issues

Select Tax Agency/Agencies

Find & Evaluate Licensed Tax Professionals to Solve Your Tax Issues

Select Tax Agency/Agencies