How Do I Reach a Real Person at the IRS?

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I know that it can be hard to reach a real person at the IRS or even the state Department of Revenue. Both from personal experience, but also because I have spent years being a government auditor. 

During audit meetings, I would get the rundown on how hard it is for my client to reach a real person that can provide them any sort of answers to their questions. 

So before you do sit down to make a call to the IRS or your state's Department of Revenue, there are a few things that you need to do. 

Remember You are Still Talking to a Real Person

First, take a moment to breathe. When you do get a real person on the line, remember they are a real person just like me and you. They also have to follow the same laws and regulations that we do. They have a soul and want to be able to help you with your situation. 

I know it's normal to try to take your frustration out on them, but realize that this person you are talking to is going to try to help you and when you allow your anger and frustration to come out in the call, it makes it harder for the IRS agent or state employee to help you through your situation in a calm and efficient manner. 

I've personally been on the receiving end of these frustrated and angry calls and every time, I am unable to help the clients simply because they want to take their frustration and anger out on me instead of allowing me to help them. 

If you really want to receive help for your situation, then you need to stay calm and remain cognizant that you are talking to another human being who wants to help you. 

Have the Necessary Documents Ready

Next, you want to make sure you have all of your necessary documents available in front of you for this call. 

Those documents can include:

  • Social security numbers and birth dates for anyone you are inquiring about or an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identitifcation Number) if you don't have a Social Security number. 
  • Business license numbers, EINs, sales tax license numbers, as well as official business name, address, and phone number
  • The filing status on your personal return if that is what you are calling about - single, married filing joint, married filing separate, head of household
  • Any letters or notices that you have received from the IRS, the state Department of Revenue, or even your accountant
  • A copy of the return that you are calling about
  • A copy of the prior year's return (your identity will be confirmed and this document is needed to help confirm your identity)
  • Any other documentation that you need to discuss your questions and concerns with the agent you will talk to

If you are calling on behalf of someone else, you will also need the following, as well as all of the above:

  • verbal or written authorization from the third party to discuss their situation
  • A valid Form 8821
  • Your own tax preparer identification number or personal tax identification number

When you are on the phone with an IRS agent or a state employee, it will save time, effort and frustration if you have everything in front of you. 

You are also going to want to have some pen and paper to take notes as well. 

Make sure you write down the name of the person you talked to, their title, employee identification number (if they have one), and the date and time of your call. 

Make the Call - Personal Income Tax - Getting on the Line with a Real Person at the IRS

The phone number for the IRS is 1.800.829.1040. The IRS is available for phone calls 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time Monday through Friday. 

The best time to call is going to be in the morning. Monday and Tuesday are usually the busiest days. 

There may be wait times and there may not be wait times. It also depends on the time of year that you are making your phone call. If you call in March or April, be prepared for a very long wait time. 

The waiting can add to your frustration and anger, but remember to breathe through this process. Find something productive to do while you wait. 

When you do call the IRS, after you select your language, do not select option number 1, which is inquiring about your refund status. You want to select Option 2, Personal Income Tax. 

Then press 1 for form, tax history or payment. 

Next press 3 for all other questions. 

Press 2 for all other questions.


The system is now going to ask you to enter your social security number or EIN to access your account information. If you enter it, you will begin an automated process. Do NOT enter your number. 

The system will prompt you to enter your SSN or EIN twice before it will take you to another menu. On this new menu, press 2 for personal or individual tax questions and you should be transferred to an agent. 

Now that you have a real person on the line at the IRS, make sure to continue to breathe and stay calm, it will not help your situation if you get angry and upset with the IRS agent. 

Finally take your taxes from frustration, chaos and confusion to calm and organized.

Learn everything you need to know to  master your business finances and taxes explained in plain English. 

Make the Call - Businesses

The phone number for the IRS for business questions is 1.800.829.4933. The IRS is available for phone calls 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time Monday through Friday. 

Make the Call - Non-profits

The phone number for the IRS is 1.800.829.5500. The IRS is available for phone calls 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time Monday through Friday. 

IRS Website

In order to answer as many questions as possible for you and cut down on wait times, the IRS phone system is very automated and will require you to answer a lot of prompts. 

There is also a lot of information on the website that may answer your questions as well. Before sitting down to make this phone call, make sure you can't find the answers to your questions on the website already. 

Contact your Local IRS Office

The IRS also has local offices around the country that you can contact as well. If you have a lot of difficulty trying to contact the IRS and get a real person on the line from the methods above, then you could try your local office as well. 

Phone Call Prompts

While you are on the phone waiting for a person to answer the phone, you are going to get prompts to use for more of your answers. This is where you remain patient and calm, you will be able to get a real person on the line and get your questions answered. 

Phishing Attempts

You also need to remember that the IRS or government will not call you or email you. They send everything through snail mail to your home. 

When you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be at the IRS or any branch of the federal government or state government, this is a phone call that is trying to get your information for identity theft. Hang up the phone immediately. 

Contacting Your State Government

When you go to your state's Department of Revenue site, there is a contact page with a phone number to call. 

Most of the time, this number is going to go a call center. And the employees at the call center are trained to be able to answer your questions related to your taxes. 

Again, you want to make sure you have all of the pertinent information in front of you that you need answers to. 

Have a pen and paper and make sure you write down the name of the person you talked to, their title, the date and time you talked to them and your answers to your questions. 

Summary of Getting a Hold of a Real Person at the IRS or State Government

It is very possible to reach a real person at both the IRS and the state government. These people can answer your questions for you that you have regarding your tax situation. 

You also want to make sure that you have everything in front of you that you need answers to and that can help you talk to a real person easier. 

Lastly, take notes on what is said on the phone call. 

Also, remember to remain calm and cognizant of the fact that you are talking to a real person at the IRS or your state government. This person has feelings and a soul just like you and me. And they genuinely want to help you with answers to your questions. 

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About the Author Clarissa

Clarissa Wilson is a financial strategist and online educator who holds two master’s degrees in Forensic Accounting. Also creative and spiritual, she is an intuitive empath and introvert. Clarissa is the host of The Prosper + Profit Podcast, where money conversations occur on a daily basis -- as she believes that money shouldn’t be a taboo subject. After growing up on a dairy farmand learning to work hard for money, Clarissa awakened to a path that allowed wealth to flow easily to her. Clarissa currently lives in Pennsylvania with her two cats.

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