Commonly-Asked Questions About the IRS

an IRS office sign

How do I contact the IRS? What is their phone number?

You can get in touch with an IRS representative over the phone from Monday to Friday (7 am- 7 pm local time). Now, depending on your case, you can call any of the following numbers:

  • 800-829-1040 For IRS errors & individuals (main IRS number available 24 hours a day)
  • 800-829-4933 For businesses
  • 866-699-4096 For excise taxes
  • 866-699-4083 For estate and gift taxes
  • 877-829-5500 For non-profit taxes
  • 800-829-4059 For hearing impaired
  • 844-545-5640 For a face-to-face meeting

 

Is there another phone number that I can call?

Following are other telephone numbers/e-help Desk numbers available to specific groups of individuals or businesses:

  • 1-866-255-0654 Partnerships, Corporate taxpayers & Software vendors and developers and  with queries about e-filing
  • 1-800-829-4933 Taxpayers with tax law or account queries
  • 1-800-829-8374 Tax practitioners with law or account questions

 

How do I speak to someone at the IRS? When is the best time to call?

The best time to call the IRS is either when they open at 7 am or near closing time.

Note that you will be asked an automated question when you phone the IRS to select your language. As soon as you set your language, choose option 2 (Personal income Tax) and press 1 (form, tax, history, or payment) > 3 (all other questions) > 2 (other questions). Finally, let the system ask for your EIN or SSN number twice. Do NOT enter it, so you are forwarded to another menu. There, press 2 (personal or individual tax questions) and then 4 (other inquiries). You will then be able to speak with an IRS agent.

 

I mailed in my tax return, but I still haven’t heard from them. When will I get a response?

Usually, it takes about 6 weeks to get a Federal refund from the day you filed by mail. However, the coronavirus situation has created shortages in their personnel, so all bets are off. This means that there is limited processing of paper returns at the IRS.

The IRS has announced that it has suspended or significantly limited some of its services, such as processing paper tax returns. If it has been at least a month (4 weeks) since you mailed your tax return, you might find it using the Where is My Refund tool. If you use it, though, ensure you enter the amount in Form 1040 (the Federal refund sum on Line 21a, NOT the total refund sum).

Generally speaking, an e-file is a much faster way to have your tax return processed. You can e-file the three most recent years. Any older ones must be paper-filed. Again, before the Coronavirus situation, it would take between 4-6 months to hear back from them. Now, it is nearly double that time (around 8-10 months).

 

Does the IRS call you?

Rarely ever does the IRS call someone. Technically, they can but it is rarely the case. Most taxpayers never hear from the IRS over the phone unless they owe large sums of back taxes (normally over $100,000) or are subject to a field audit. Usually, the IRS sends notices (letters) due to a lack of personnel.

They also refrain from contacting taxpayers via the phone to fight the many IRS impersonators. To identify one, remember that the IRS will FIRST send you a notice and arrange a call or visit with you and THEN call you (if they call you at all). So if somebody calls claiming to be an IRS agent demanding payment and threatening criminal and legal consequences, rest assured that they are fraudsters trying to get your money that should be reported.

Note that the IRS will also NOT send any text messages or emails.

 

Does the IRS use private debt collectors?

Yes. The IRS has subcontracted debt collection with a few private collection agencies, such as Pioneer, ConServe, Performant and CBE, that work with taxpayers with tax debt and help them settle their debt. You can visit this IRS page for more details about the Private Debt Collection program.

 

Will the IRS come to my house or job?

Unless you have a very serious tax problem, the IRS won’t visit you. So, generally speaking, the IRS has the right to visit you, but they rarely ever do. Note, though, that when they do, they will let you know beforehand (it’s the standard operating process). So, it won’t be a surprise for you. This means that if you have NOT received a letter or call from the IRS scheduling a visit and an IRS agent or revenue officer shows up, they are IRS impersonators.

The only ones that may come announced are IRS special agents who conduct criminal investigations for tax evasion and other serious tax-related offenses. You will know if this is the case, though (if you are in major tax problems). In this case, it is best to contact a tax professional to help you with the IRS.

 

How can I get my IRS tax transcripts?

You will have to set up an e-services account. Then, you can ask to have your tax transcripts online or by mail to the address on file (one per year) here. It usually takes around 60 days to receive them. The new tax transcript format is even more advanced as it is designed to protect your personal data more efficiently. It partially covers your personal ID details while keeping your financial data fully visible for income verification, tax representation, and tax preparation.

Note that the IRS will NEVER ask for your personal information via email, phone, or text messages. It will also NOT require that you log in to update your profile or get a transcript over the same means. So, if somebody calls or messages or emails you requesting any of the above, make sure you report them.

 

How can I track my stimulus payment?

You will need to create an IRS online account. Alternatively, you can refer to IRS Notices 1444-B and 1444 emailed to you after your first and second stimulus check. Then, you can access the updated Get My Payment tool that will ask you to provide some details, such as your ITIN (Individual Tax ID), SSN (Social Security Number), street address, date of birth, and postal code or ZIP code.

Please note that we at Innovative Tax Relief do not have and cannot obtain any information about your stimulus payment or tax refund.

 

Does the IRS have a Spanish department?

You can visit the Spanish IRS site that allows Spanish-speaking taxpayers to access information, tools, publications, forms, online payment agreements, and many more, including the Where’s My Refund tool. You may also call 800-829-1040 for assistance in Spanish.

 

Can I go to a local IRS office and speak with someone?

At this time, the IRS only accepts scheduled appointments with taxpayers that need in-person assistance from an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. Note that you may not get a same-day appointment rather than one several days later. Also, not all local offices are open to the public due to the Coronavirus situation.

Generally speaking, though, our experience has shown that it is unwise to go to a local office if you have a tax debt. This is because the IRS agents there can collect information about you that could be used against you, such as income information, bank information, and where you work. So, unless you have the money to pay your tax debt (if you have one), try to refrain from walking into an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

 

Where is the local IRS office located?

You can find a local IRS office here. If you want to visit it, you will need to make an appointment by calling the specific office’s appointment number.

 

How do I change my address that’s on file with the IRS?

You may notify the IRS about your address change when you file your tax return. You simply enter the new address on it before you file it. When the IRS processes your return, they will update your records. Just make sure the tax return preparer is also aware of this change. You could visit the IRS platform and update your address from there.

Another way is to notify the post office that services your previous address AND notify the IRS directly as some post offices don’t forward government checks. To do that, access Form 8822 (for individuals) or Form 8822-B (for businesses) and send them to the address you will find on these forms. For addresses related to an employment tax return, you need to fill out Notices 148B or 148A.

You may even write to the IRS to let them know that your address has changed. The overall processing of the claim can take between 4-6 weeks.

 

Can I change my direct deposit information with the IRS?

The Get My Payment tool enables taxpayers to update their bank account information. However, you can do so only if the IRS has sent you a payment and it was returned to the IRS. This is the only time you can enter an account and routing number for your bank account, an alternative financial product, or debit/prepaid cards with an account and routing number tied to it. In any other case, please contact the IRS.

Note that the tool mentioned above does not allow changes in direct deposit details at this moment until further notice.

 

How do I update my bank information with the IRS?

If you have already filed your tax return, you will need to contact the IRS directly to update your bank information. The IRS notes that if your bank account has changed, they will mail your payment (the one that the bank returned to the IRS) by check at the address you have on file. This gives no alternative to change your bank details at this given moment.

 

Ozzie Gomez is a Senior Tax Settlement Agent and the owner of Innovative Tax Relief which holds business licenses in Tax Resolution, Tax Audit Representation and Tax Preparation.  With almost 10 years of experience in the tax resolution industry, he has personally helped more than 4,000 individuals and businesses resolve their tax issues.

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