A big book of taxes.

Need to Call the IRS Phone Number? A Guide for Business Owners

Are you making endless phone calls to the IRS help line, only to consistently find yourself on the receiving end of annoying busy signals, recordings, and hold music?

Trying to reach a live IRS agent can be an exercise in futility. The process is notoriously frustrating, with long wait times and automated menus that never seem to lead anywhere. Even when you finally do reach a live person, the agent may be unable to help with your specific issue. It’s no wonder you hang up the phone feeling frustrated and angry.

In this article, we’ll share a few strategies and additional contact numbers to help you navigate the IRS’s vast communications network. These can save you valuable time and headaches when you need to speak to someone about your income tax without waiting on eternal phone holds.

Reasons to call IRS customer service

First, you should carefully consider whether taking the time to call is necessary.

If you have a complex tax situation, for example, you should speak directly with an IRS agent for clarification. Other reasons to speak directly with an agent include:

  • You received a notice from the IRS, instructing you to call the given number.

  • You expect to miss a payment deadline and need to request more time.

  • You need the status of an IRS action that was taken against you.

  • You want to confirm that the IRS received your last tax payment.

  • You’re a victim of identity theft, which is negatively affecting your tax status.

  • You need to dispute a penalty or make payment arrangements.

  • You are being audited.

  • Your tax return has been rejected.

  • You’ve lost or never received a W-2 or 1099-R form, or received incorrect ones.

Paperwork you’ll need before you speak to an agent

Before calling the IRS, be sure to have the following documentation handy to respond to the agent’s questions.

  • Your individual taxpayer identification number or your social security number.

  • Social security numbers and birthdates of others listed in the tax return in question. If applicable, you’ll also need your business’s tax identification number.

  • Last year’s income tax return, since it may be used to verify your identity.

  • The copy of the tax return you need to discuss with the agent.

  • Any correspondence you received from the IRS such as payment penalty notifications, late notices, etc.

  • It also helps to have your questions on paper to refer to during your call.

Factors to keep in mind before you pick up the phone

Before taking up your valuable time to contact the IRS, you should consider the following:

There may be an easier way to get your information

Have you checked IRS.gov to research your problem first? The IRS website may appear overwhelming at first, but it’s a wealth of information that may answer your questions. If you aren’t comfortable researching the site, you can delegate this task to someone else or even recruit a tax professional for the job.

You can also outsource the phone call to a third party such a friend, family member, or business associate if you filed Form 8821 Tax Information Authorization. Additionally, Form 2848 Power of Attorney and Declaration of a Representative gives more rights to a third party by granting them power of attorney to discuss your taxes with the IRS.

Confirm that the IRS can help you over the phone

After a time-consuming wait for an agent, the last thing you want to hear is that they can’t help you with your situation.

Keep in mind that IRS agents won’t assist you with tax law questions, transcript requests, forms, refund status if it’s less than 21 days since you filed, or complaints about your high taxes.

Make the call as early as possible

Your chances of reaching an agent without a long wait are higher if you call as early in the morning as possible. Phone lines open at 7 a.m. local time, so grab some coffee and take advantage of the lower wait times.

Take notes and more notes

Ask for the IRS agent’s name and badge number in case you need to reference what they said at a later date. Get as many details as possible and take notes during the call.

Use the IRS website for government stimulus information

If you need information regarding government stimulus funds, there is no need to call the IRS. The IRS’s Get My Payment website is an informative resource for this purpose. You can also find out your eligibility information for stimulus funds.

Contacting an agent at the IRS

A little known fact is that there are many other IRS phone numbers that will connect you with someone who can assist with your specific tax concerns. For example, there are separate numbers each for help with amended tax returns, excise tax questions, and government and tax-exempt entities.

The following IRS phone numbers can help you get answers to your small business tax questions and filing information.

General inquiries

1-800-829-1040 Press 3 for business tax form questions, then the choice for which form you need help with or any other questions.

Self-employed taxpayers

1-800-829-4933

E-file tech support

Domestic employers

1-866-455-7438

International employers

1-304-263-8700

Corporations, nonprofits, and government entities

Corporate taxpayers, partnerships, and nonprofits

1-866-255-0654

Nonprofits with tax law or filing questions

1-877-829-5500

Government and tax-exempt entities

1-877-829-5500

Excise tax questions

1-866-699-4096

Fraud and disaster assistance

Victims of disaster

1-866-562-5227

Identity and refund theft

1-800-908-4490

Scans, phishing, confirm IRS agent legitimacy

1-800-366-4484

Whistleblower hotline

1-800-829-0433

Special tax status

Overseas taxpayer

1-267-941-1000

Liens, bankruptcy, tax debt

Verify, payoff, or resolve a tax lien

1-800-913-6050

Check if bankruptcy has changed your tax debt

1-800-973-0424

Check which debts will offset a refund

1-800-304-3107

Tax refund and balance questions

Balance inquiries

1-800-829-0922, 1-800-829-7650, or 1-800-829-3903

Tax refund status

1-800-829-1954

Tax refund on hold

1-866-897-3315

Tax return issues

Status of an amended return

1-866-464-2050

Report incorrect income on substitute form

1-866-4271

Documents, transcripts, forms

Lost ITIN documents

1-800-908-99982

Order a tax transcript

1-800-908-9946

Request paper tax forms

1-800-829-3676

Make an electronic tax payment via the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System

English 1-800-555-4477

Spanish 1-800-244-4829

Additional services

Accessibility for hearing impaired

1-800-829-4059 (TTY/TDD)

Find a free tax clinic near you

1-800-906-9887 or 1-888-227-7669

Schedule an appointment with a local IRS office

1-844-545-5640

Taxpayer advocate service

English 1-877-4778

International taxpayer advocate service

English 1-787-522-8601

Spanish 1-787-522-8600

Don’t have time to wait on hold? Have the IRS call you

The IRS also has a callback system that can connect you with an agent. The IRS callback system is a way for taxpayers to get help with their tax returns without having to wait on hold.

Simply call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and follow the prompts to reach the callback option. Leave a message with your contact number and the best time to reach you. This system is especially helpful during tax season, when call volume is at its peak. It’s also useful for taxpayers who live in rural areas or who have limited access to telephone lines. The callback system is a free service, and it’s available to anyone who needs help with their tax return.

Alternatives to calling the IRS

What if, despite your best efforts, you still find it difficult to get through to a live agent? No worries—there are other options available for getting the help you need with your taxes.

Contact a Local Taxpayer Assistance Center

The IRS Local Taxpayer Assistance Center (LTAC) provides tax help to taxpayers who reside in the local area. You can seek assistance from the LTAC by visiting their office, calling them on the phone, or submitting an inquiry online.

The LTAC can provide you with general tax information, help you resolve tax problems, and answer any questions you have about your tax return. They can also provide assistance with IRS audits and collections. If you need help with a specific tax issue, the LTAC may be able to refer you to a specialist who can help you resolve the issue. You can find contact information for your local LTAC on the IRS website.

Call the Taxpayer Advocate Service

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is a government organization that helps taxpayers with many tax questions and problems. They can assist you with everything from understanding your taxes to resolving disputes with the IRS.

TAS is an independent organization within the IRS, meaning they work separately from the agency to advocate for taxpayers. This makes them a valuable resource for anyone who needs help dealing with the IRS. You can find more information on TAS on their website.

Use the Where’s My Refund App

If you are just wondering about the status of your refund, you can find this information from the Where’s My Refund app. Download information for your mobile device can be found on the IRS2Go Mobile App website.

Positive changes are on the horizon

The good news is that the IRS is doing everything in their power to reduce your wait times.

New voice bots

The IRS recently deployed voice bots to provide taxpayers with general information. If you don’t mind responding to a bot, your phone holds can be drastically reduced or even eliminated.

When you request to speak to an agent, you are automatically placed in a queue with this option. However, since the chatbot is providing unauthenticated services, they can’t provide specialized help with your protected account information. The bots are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to advise how to make one-time payments, provide answers to frequently asked questions, and give collection notice clarification.

Later in 2022, additional voice bots will help with the identity authentication process so that taxpayers can establish payment plans, request transcripts, and obtain information about their accounts including payoff details. The IRS is planning to roll out more voice bots with the ability to assist with more complex tax issues.

Additional programs and tools in development

The IRS also recently established the Taxpayer Experience Office to continue its expansion of additional programs and digital tools to improve the customer experience. The office is recruiting additional staff and increasing the number of automated call distribution lines to accommodate backlogged calls into the agency.

How Bench can help

Bench’s expert bookkeeping and tax service is designed specifically for small business owners. Our team of experienced financial professionals handle all the tedious and time-consuming aspects of bookkeeping and tax filings, so you can focus on growing your business. With Bench, our experts deliver tax-ready financials that are accurate and up-to-date, and we can even file your business taxes for you.

Contacting the IRS doesn’t have to take hours

The IRS is getting its fair share of criticism regarding long phone hold times. However, they are taking steps to improve wait times by hiring more representatives and implementing voice chatbots and other technologies to respond to commonly asked questions. There is also the option that allows callers to choose between waiting on hold or receiving a call back.

If you still find yourself up against a brick wall when attempting to reach a live IRS agent, you can get help in person at a local taxpayer assistance center or taxpayer advocate service.

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This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

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