The actual getting through part (IRS filter)
November 20, 2023 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Talking to a real person at the IRS--I don't even know where to start.

Previously I wrote this

The first call (I have been calling since 10 o'clock) I was disconnected into the second or third sentence, (after waiting an hour to have someone call me back), The second call, I had someone tell me my Social wasn't bringing anything up (!) (after waiting another hour for someone to call me back), and being referred to another number where a recording said there should be an "N" after my Social Security number. Or leave pertinent information and they would return my call within three days.

This was all today. It's like a punchline to a bad joke.

I just want to reach a real person, which contributors have asserted I can do in the referenced link. I mean I know it's a government bureaucracy, but there must be a way.
posted by Rumi'sLeftSock to Work & Money (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you happen to live sufficiently close to one, local IRS offices take appointments, and I have found them surprisingly fast and helpful.
posted by saeculorum at 12:07 PM on November 20 [6 favorites]

What numbers are you calling?
posted by punchtothehead at 12:14 PM on November 20

Best answer: If you're in any large facebook groups where the people live fairly close to you, ask people if they have ever found luck with a secret direct line to the IRS. My accountant had a secret backchannel phone number to directly speak with someone at my country's version of the IRS. Like, the phone rang on someone's desk and she just... picked up and said hello. I had a months-long issue that she solved within days! He had the number bc a previous client's file had stalled and he had needed to talk to a supervisor to fix it, so he got her direct line.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 12:15 PM on November 20

You can call 1-800-829-1040 to get answers to your federal tax questions 24 hours a day. Tax forms and instructions for current and prior years are available by calling 1-800-829-3676. You can also order free publications on a wide variety of tax topics.
posted by ananci at 12:19 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I second the suggestion to go to a local IRS office. Earlier this year when we had an issue we made an appointment at the local office after concluding there was no chance of ever getting through to talk to someone on the phone. They were friendly and the office didn't seem busy at all. They were willing to see us even though we arrived late for our appointment and they were willing to see some other people who showed up without having an appointment at all.
posted by Redstart at 12:30 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Hope you never need this.

Before calling the IRS, take a deep breath with me.

Please remember that there are some wonderful people working at the IRS. They have families and souls, just like the rest of us. They pay taxes and have to follow the same laws that we do.

With that being said, here are the steps you need to take to reach a real person on the phone at the IRS.

When to call
The IRS is available from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday thru Friday. The best time to call is early in the morning.

Make sure you’re prepared
Before you call, make sure you have all of the information that you need.

Social Security cards and birth dates for those who were on the return you are calling about.
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if you don’t have a Social Security number (SSN)
Filing status – Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate
Your prior-year tax return. We may need to verify your identity before answering certain questions
A copy of the tax return you’re calling about
Any letters or notices the IRS sent you
How do you speak to a live person at the IRS?
The IRS telephone number is 1-800-829-1040.
The first question the automated system will ask you is to choose your language.
Once you’ve set your language, do NOT choose Option 1 (regarding refund info). Choose option 2 for “Personal Income Tax” instead.
Next, press 1 for “form, tax history, or payment”.
Next, press 3 “for all other questions.”
Next, press 2 “for all other questions.”
When the system asks you to enter your SSN or EIN to access your account information, do NOT enter anything.
After it asks twice, you will be prompted with another menu.
Press 2 for personal or individual tax questions.
Finally, press 3 for all other inquiries. The system should then transfer you to an agent.
posted by Rumi'sLeftSock at 12:30 PM on November 20 [21 favorites]

Best answer: Oh and the third guy really was the charm--solved all my problems (well, all my tax problems) in about 15 minutes with no attitude.

punxh to the head: 1-800-829-1040 1-800-829-1040 1-800-829-1040 1-800-829-1040 1-800-829-1040 (over and over)
posted by Rumi'sLeftSock at 12:32 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]

Just go to a local IRS office if you are able to. Make an appointment. They have helped me several times in a very timely manner.
posted by Czjewel at 12:53 PM on November 20

I recently had a period of having to call the IRS on maybe a weekly basis for a couple months, and I quickly realized that you just have to go through it. In the hold queue for 45min-1hr, getting hung up on (rarely, actually), but once you do get someone it's easy as pie and they will know how to help you as long as you aren't asking for value judgements.
posted by rhizome at 1:19 PM on November 20

nth-ing the local IRS office suggestion. They're probably scheduling out into January, but this is the one and only way I was able to get someone competent to help solve a very large IRS problem, after a lot of futile phone calls.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:28 PM on November 20

By the way, the IRS desperately wants to hire more phone support, and they have the funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, but they are almost certainly slow-walking things right now to see if they are going to be thrown under the bus in February, like they were in May with the debt ceiling “deal.”
posted by rockindata at 1:46 PM on November 20 [6 favorites]

For reasons, I used to have to spend a lot of time on the phone with the IRS. I would call them right when I got to work and would use the hold time to triage my inbox.
posted by notjustthefish at 1:57 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]

...solved all my problems (well, all my tax problems) in about 15 minutes with no attitude.

I am so glad!
posted by Jane the Brown at 1:59 PM on November 20

The 800 829 1040 number I'm afraid is the busiest during this time of year Oct through December and again in the tax filing season Feb through june. I recommend calling your local Volunterr Individual Tax Advocate (questions regarding business or Estate tax should not be routed here). 877-777-4778 is the number for midwest it may change due to your proximity to a processing center but I could be wrong. You can also inquire about refunds at Make certain you have the name of the person you speak to in case of dropped calls so you can pick up where you left off instead of starting all over. It may also be helpful to schedule an in person meeting at your local VITA office.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 1:51 AM on November 21

« Older Inspiration and practical advice for building...   |   Lactose free dessert recipes? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments