How Do You Contact the IRS?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Sep 16, 2020 12:31:31 AM ET
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Dealing with the IRS usually isn’t regarded as a pleasant experience. Odds are that if you need to contact them about something, someone, somewhere has made a mistake, and even under the best circumstances, taxes can be confusing and frustrating.

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That said, contacting the IRS doesn't have to be a challenge. While the IRS will never start a conversation with you over the phone or online, you yourself can easily get in touch with them via phone, online or in person. Use these methods to get your tax questions answered.

General Questions

The easiest way to answer any questions you may have about the IRS, at least if they’re general in nature, is to check the IRS website. From learning how to do your taxes for free to ways you can protect yourself from identity theft, the website provides a lot of helpful information, with the answers to many frequently asked questions prepared in advance. You can also pay your taxes, set up an installment plan, learn more about tax credits and more. Use the search feature on the website to quickly find the information you need.

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If you're having trouble with the website or would prefer to talk to a person about your tax needs, you can call the IRS toll free at 1-800-829-1040 (for individuals) or 1-800-829-4933 (for businesses). Be sure to have your personal information, tax information and any IRS notices handy to prove your identity over the phone. Note that the IRS usually has significant wait times — up to 30 minutes — especially during filing season, so make extra room in your schedule and avoid peak hours when possible.

Check Your Refund Status

You can contact the IRS to check on your federal tax refund status. Usually, you don't even need to speak with an IRS representative to get this information. All you have to do is head online to the "Where's My Refund?" tool on the IRS website. Have your Social Security number, filing status and refund amount in whole dollars handy, enter the information into the website and you should get a general idea of where your refund is in the process of getting it to you.

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Alternatively, you can call the refund hotline at 1-800-829-1954 to check your status by phone. If you have a smartphone, the IRS2GO app can also be used to track your refund status.

Report Suspected Fraudulent Activity

Tax scams, identity theft and other kinds of fraud happen every year. When they do, it's important to report them. The IRS website has a comprehensive list of ways to identify all kinds of fraud with the relevant resources to help you do so.

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For instance, phishing attempts — when a person tries to create a fake email or website to get you to give them sensitive information — should be forward with the email heading ideally left intact to phishing@irs.gov. For fraud involving a tax preparer, you’ll want to fill out Form 14157 (hosted on the IRS website), fraud by a tax-exempt organization calls for Form 13909. If the resource you need isn’t available, contacting the IRS directly by phone or in person (more on that in a bit) can help you determine how to access it.

Face-to-Face Assistance

If you're tired of playing phone tag or can't find the information you're looking for online, then it might be beneficial to speak to an IRS representative in person. You can set up a meeting to speak face-to-face at a local office near you. Just check the taxpayer assistance center locator tool on the IRS website by entering in your zip code. You can call the office directly or dial the IRS general telephone number to have a phone representative schedule an appointment for you.

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