The Internal Revenue Service has a bill of rights that applies to all taxpayers in their dealings with the agency. Included in the bill of rights is the "right to quality service," which includes "receiving prompt, courteous, and professional assistance" and having "a way to file complaints about inadequate service."
Getting through to the IRS may be more difficult during busy times of the year, but taxpayers must file their taxes and make payments on time and may have questions or need clarifications that can't wait. Here are some ways to reach IRS customer service.
Use IRS resources
The best way to proceed is to use the resources on the IRS website. The help section of the IRS website includes detailed instructions about how to contact the IRS and what to do to resolve a number of individual and business tax issues.
The website has many online tools and resources that answer common tax questions and are organized by topic, including payments and penalties, IRS notices and letters, how to file or correct a return, how to check refund status, and scams and fraud.
If you get a notice or letter from the IRS, it will explain the reason for the communication and provide instructions on how to address the issue. If you agree with the information provided, you may not need to contact the IRS. Otherwise, you may need to call the agency.
The IRS provides free, live assistance by phone. The numbers for IRS customer service representatives are 1-800-829-1040 for individuals and 1-800-829-4933 for businesses. There are prompts to get you to the agent that can best handle your questions. Agents are generally available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time. You should have all the information related to your tax question available when you call, including current and previous year tax returns and any IRS notices.
To get help with your taxes in person, you must make an appointment at a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). You can search for a local TAC office by zip code online.
Each TAC's address, phone number, map, services available, and office hours are provided, and you can call to make an appointment. TAC offices do not take walk-ins, and availability may be limited.
Practitioner priority service
If your accountant or an enrolled agent filed your taxes, you should speak with them before contacting the IRS directly. Practitioners can use the IRS' Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) support line staffed by IRS customer service representatives to handle questions from practitioners. This service is available to tax practitioners that prepare tax returns or provide tax advice, including CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents, and registered tax return preparers. The practitioner must have client authorization to contact the IRS in the form of a valid power of attorney or other third-party authorization, such as IRS Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative or Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization.
The PPS webpage includes categories of questions and what prompts callers should follow to resolve them. However, even for tax professionals, there may be long wait times and delays during busy times of the year.
The IRS has a Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). TAS is an independent organization within the IRS to help taxpayers resolve problems they can't resolve with the IRS on their own, assist taxpayers experiencing financial hardship, and help taxpayers understand their rights.
There is an online qualifier tool that helps taxpayers determine if TAS can assist them. Each state has at least one local taxpayer advocate, and their addresses and phone numbers can be found online. Taxpayers can also get answers to common questions on the TAS website or contact the TAS at 1-877-777-4778.
Whatever means you choose to contact IRS customer service, be patient and be prepared for delays. Give yourself plenty of time for time-sensitive issues.
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