If you have been trying to call to speak with someone at the IRS, you are not alone. With something like 70 million taxpayers seeking answers by phone, they just don’t have ample staff to get to everyone in a timely manner. But you should know there are some smart options to get through. Here I’ll try to offer some clever options to find what you need or ultimately speak with a real person at the IRS. Although there are some alternative phone numbers that not everyone knows about, you still need to take on the persistent attitude of “embracing the process”. Hold times can be lengthy. So put your phone on speaker, turn up the volume and go brew some tea.

What is the purpose of your call to someone at the IRS?

To ease your frustration with their call greetings asking you to press one for this, or press 2 for that, let’s first consider what you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to call to speak with someone at the IRS because you have a questions or are wondering why your refund has not yet arrived, that may be best suited for their customer service number 800-829-1040. If we are at the height of tax season, there will be wait times. The IRS has call center reps in Utah, Tennessee, and New York. The best time to dial is 8 am.

According to some discussion forums online, here is a technique showing some promise to speak with a real person at the IRS:
Dial 800-829-1040
Press 1 (for English)
Press 2
then 1
then 3
then 2… then enter the primary taxpayer’s social security number (listed 1st on your return) …it will confirm the correct entry…
After that…do not push any more buttons

And wait .. like I said “embrace the process”.

For related concerns or questions, there are other numbers below suited for specific needs:

Federal Payment Levy Program Dept. 800-829-7650.
Taxpayer Advocate 877-777-4778 Can usually answer general questions.
Self-employed w/ Tax Law Questions 800-829-4933
Refund Offset Line 800-304-3107

Tax Relief Helpline

If you are trying to speak with someone at the IRS because you owe money, there is a helpline for that. You may reach a tax expert to consider all tax relief programs available to you. That number is 888-452-7841. They will discuss what you owe and arrange pay plans or reductions if you qualify. This is a separate tax relief agency, not a division of the IRS. In other words, don’t call this number if you do not owe money. They won’t have any information about your refund check, or about transcripts and returns.

Finally, if you still cannot seem to speak with someone at the IRS, there is an alternate number, not always mentioned in their documents, website or recordings. Hopefully you will find some success with it. That alternate number is 800-829-0582 x 652.
If you’d like to speak with someone at the IRS in your local area to ask your question or get clarification about something, click here for a directory listing of locations. Most of these locations were closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. They are planning to reopen in most areas with limited staff on the way back to normal. Contact your own local IRS office to learn about times and hours of service.