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Categorized | Tax Time

How to get tax help from the IRS

When tax season is in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service receives millions of calls and thousands of taxpayer visits daily. For faster service, avoid peak times like Monday and Friday mornings when wait times are usually longest. Better yet, get the help you need online 24/7 without delay at IRS.gov.

The IRS website has a wealth of information, including hundreds of publications and guides on almost any tax-related topic. The instructions for a particular form can often provide the answers you need. The Interactive Tax Assistant can also help. It’s a tax law resource that asks a series of questions and provides you with responses to common tax law questions.

Many taxpayers call the IRS’s main help line when they could easily help themselves at www.irs.gov or get services more directly from automated or specialized phone lines.

• Check on your refund Use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at www.irs.gov or the automated system at 1-800-829-1954. IRS Phone representatives don’t have any additional information beyond what these tools provide.

• Get forms and publications If all you need is forms or publications, download and print them at www.irs.gov or call 1-800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to have them mailed, for free, to your home.

• Get previous years’ tax info You can order a transcript of your account at www.irs.gov.

• Payment plans If you can’t pay the tax you owe, you can apply for an installment agreement using the Online Payment Agreement application, or you can print the Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request from www.irs.gov, then complete and mail it.

• Business taxpayers Taxpayers with small business-related questions should call 1-800-829-4933.

• Understanding a notice If you received a notice, call the number on your notice, not the main help line, to reach the IRS staff trained to help with that issue.

• Specialized reasons If you’re calling for a very specific reason, there may be a direct phone number you should call instead of the main IRS help line. Visit the “Contact IRS” link at www.irs.gov to get more information on contacting the IRS about reporting identity theft or fraud, reaching the Taxpayer Advocate Service, voluntarily disclosing offshore accounts, information on the Health Coverage Tax Credit, or if you’re calling from outside the United States.

Some taxpayers prefer face-to-face tax help. The IRS sponsors Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly sites in local communities. To find the closest site, search “VITA” on www.irs.gov or call 1-800-906-9887. Call 1-888-227-7669 to find TCE sites through AARP, an IRS partner. The IRS also has Taxpayer Assistance Centers located throughout the country. To find IRS offices, use the locator tool found through “Contact Your Local IRS Office” on www.irs.gov. Be sure to check office hours and services offered before visiting your local IRS office.

There may be some circumstances when you need to call the IRS main taxpayer assistance line, which is 1-800-829-1040. Here are a couple of tips on when to call:

• Call if you have questions about your tax account such as a high dollar balance due or the balance due on your installment agreement.

• Call the IRS if you can’t figure out how or if certain tax laws apply to your situation. IRS representatives can discus your individual circumstances and help you understand your tax obligations or benefits.

 

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