IRS Phone Lines Are Busy This Weekend. Do This Before Calling

Filing your tax return can be complicated, but if you call the IRS, you can expect long wait times.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Expertise Personal Finance: Social Security and taxes
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A recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, Nina started at CNET writing breaking news stories before shifting to covering Security Security and other government benefit programs. In her spare time, she's in her kitchen, trying a new baking recipe.
Katie Teague
Nina Raemont
3 min read

The IRS can answer tax questions by phone, but you'll need to be patient.

Angela Lang/CNET

Getting your taxes filed early and out of the way is a great idea -- especially with a looming government shutdown. But if you have questions about your tax return, we recommend waiting until Presidents Day weekend is over. The IRS says this period is peak time for IRS phone lines. That means you can expect longer wait times before reaching a representative.

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Raphael Tulino, an IRS representative, underlined the importance of finding answers through online resources: "It's IRS.gov, IRS.gov and IRS.gov first before you call." 

The IRS has roughly 600 local offices around the country as well as staffing a toll-free hotline. You may be able to answer some of your tax questions with online resources, too: The IRS has a tool called the Interactive Tax Assistant that walks you through various inquiries to help you determine whether your income is taxable, whom you can claim as a dependent and what your filing status is. 

If you want to track the status of your tax refund, you can do so by visiting the IRS's Get Refund Status tool. Lastly, be sure to create your own online IRS account -- you can also use that account to get info about your prior year's tax return.

If you've exhausted all the online options and still haven't solved your problem, we'll tell you how to contact the IRS by phone or make an appointment in person at a local office. For more tax info, here are all the tax credits and deductions you can get for your home in 2024

Call this IRS phone number to ask about tax refunds and more

Before you make a call to the IRS, note that the call volumes are high and you may have to wait a long time to speak with a representative. 

To get started, call 800-829-1040 to reach the tax agency about an issue you're having with your taxes. Make sure you have the following information on hand to verify your identification.

  • Your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
  • Your birthdate
  • Filing status: single, head of household, married filing joint or married filing separate

Got a specific tax question? There's a hotline for that 

Streamline your call to the IRS by calling one of the many IRS phone numbers that address a specific question or topic. 

IRS numbers to call

Scheduling an appointment with the IRS 844-545-5640
Locating free tax clinic near you 800-906-9887
Taxpayer Advocate Service 877-777-4778
Interpretation services for Spanish speakers 800-829-1040
Interpretation services for other languages 833-553-9895
Deaf or hard of hearing assistance 800-829-4059
IRS Disaster Hotline 866-562-5227
Requesting IRS to mail paper tax forms 800-829-3676
Ordering a tax transcript 800-908-9946
Checking status of a tax refund 800-829-1954
Self-employed taxpayer assistance 800-829-4933
Reporting phishing or tax scams 800-366-4484
Estate and gift tax law questions 800-829-1040
Victims of identity theft assistance 800-908-4490
Checking status of amended tax return 866-464-2050

Complex tax topics the IRS won't discuss on the phone

There are a few topics the IRS does not discuss on the phone. The list of complex tax topics includes: 

  • Business, sale and depreciation 
  • Capital gains and losses 
  • Commuting
  • Corporations, exempt organizations and partnerships 
  • Education 
  • Health care 
  • International 
  • Rentals and residential
  • Trusts 
  • Specific forms 

It might be in your best interest to make an in-person appointment with a representative instead of searching online for your answer to one of these topics. 

How to set up an in-person appointment with an IRS representative

The IRS has many offices across the US, and if there's one near you, you can make an appointment to speak with someone in person. Here's how to schedule a meeting.

1. Head to the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Tool page and enter your ZIP code. Tap Search.

2. Choose the location nearest to you and select Make Appointment.

3. Call the appointment phone number for the office you want to visit.

4. When you go to your local branch, make sure to bring a government-issued photo ID and your ITIN or Social Security number.