If you find yourself needing to contact the IRS, you can call by yourself or you can have a practitioner act on your behalf. You may also communicate with the IRS by mail, typically in response to a notice that you received in the mail.
The IRS phone number for businesses is 800-829-4933. The phone line is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Expect lengthy hold times, possible disconnects, a long, automated phone tree, and operators who will try to divert you to the IRS website. Because this is an experience that you don't want to go through or repeat unnecessarily, follow these guidelines so that your experience is as efficient and painless as possible.
When to call the IRS
In the most literal sense, the IRS has the highest call volume in the beginning of the week, after 10 a.m., and closer to filing deadlines. It is typically best to call later in the week and earlier in the day for shortest possible wait times.
Be aware that for many simple issues, calling the IRS is unnecessary as they will only direct you to the IRS website with its online resources. For more complicated issues, calling is also often unhelpful unless you hire a professional to speak to the IRS on your behalf.
The IRS will not deal with the following issues by phone:
- Information easily found on the IRS website
- Tax advice, complaints, or questions about tax law
- Refund status (submitted less than 21 days ago)
- Requests for forms or transcripts
Do call the IRS for the following issues:
- If you owe money and would like to discuss a payment plan
- If you are being audited
- If you received a notice in the mail and have questions about it
- To request a payoff amount
- To request additional time for an IRS deadline
- To check the status or ask questions about an IRS action taken against you
- To check the status of a payment made
- You've already used the “Where's My Refund?" tool and it indicated that you should call
What to have ready when you call the IRS
When you call the IRS, aside from the name and EIN number of the business, you should have in front of you any notice you received from the IRS. It is also advisable that you have available your most recent filed return and proof of payments made towards any outstanding amount due. The better prepared you are, the more efficient your call will be and the less chance that you will have to do this again.
Be prepared with a list of questions you may have and take note of the information you receive. You can also request the IRS agent's name and badge number for your reference.
Why choose a practitioner?
If your issue is complicated or you simply don't want to spend the time, outsource the task of calling the IRS to a tax pro. Tax pros know how to navigate the system and can access a dedicated phone line. Follow one of these simple steps to authorize a tax pro to interact with the IRS on your behalf.
Practitioners have a dedicated line with the IRS called the Practitioner Priority Service Line. Individuals who call the IRS have longer hold times, complicated automated phone trees to navigate, and they speak to general operators with limited capabilities. Practitioners, on the other hand, tend to face shorter wait times and have better access towards department-specific specialists who can help.
In addition to obtaining quicker and more comprehensive service from the IRS, practitioners understand IRS jargon, know what questions to ask, and understand how to interpret the information received in a way that a layperson may not.
When coupled with the fact that as a business owner your time is likely better used elsewhere, it is often worthwhile to have a practitioner act on your behalf. This enables each of you to do what you do best with optimal results.