How Helpful is the IRS Phone Number?

Do you need to call the IRS?  One thing I can suggest is that if you have internet connection that’s secure and private you may want to find answers from the IRS website first.  It’s going to be much faster and more convenient as well.  Calling the IRS phone number might mean you’ll be on hold for long periods of time.  Also, there are some things for which calling the IRS will not produce any more results than will consulting the IRS website.  You will feel pretty frustrated when, after waiting 20 minutes on hold with the IRS they aren’t able to tell you anything you didn’t already know from browsing their website!  Here’s a quick rundown of when it’s worth it to call the IRS phone number and when it’s not.

When It’s Worth it to Call the IRS Phone Number

If you are preparing your own taxes and you just can’t understand something on let’s say the 1040 Instructions, then yes this is when it’s a good idea to call the IRS phone number.  I’ve actually had pretty good luck with getting helpful answers from IRS employees answering the phone.  Make sure you are ready when they pick up, with a clear question.  Think it through and plan how you’re going to phrase your question and you should have good results.  The IRS phone number for getting help with preparing your taxes is:

IRS tax help (for individuals) phone number:    (800) 829-1040

This free tax help is available Monday through Friday from 7am to 7pm.  Pretty good service if you ask me.  There’s a separate IRS phone number for help if you’re doing business taxes (the 1120 for corporations, for example).

IRS phone number (for businesses): (800) 829-4933

When It’s Not Worth the Wait to Call the IRS Phone Number

If you just want to see where your IRS refund is, then don’t call the IRS phone number.  The IRS has put time and money into developing its online IRS Refund Tracker.  This will tell you exactly where your refund will be that day.  Yes it might say processing for day after day but you won’t get any further information from the IRS when you call them.  In fact, you won’t get a person.  You’ll get an automated service that will just do what you did on the tracker.  And if you call the help line or any other IRS phone number where you get a live person on the other end, all the person answering the phone will be doing will be to log into the same database you did when you used the IRS Refund Tracker.

There is an IRS Refund Hotline.  It’s mainly for people who don’t have internet or who can’t use it for some reason.  Here’s the number:

IRS Refund Hotline: (800) 829-1954

That number will connect you to a machine and you’ll log in and get automated information on the whereabouts of your IRS refund.  It’s available 24/7.