Many clients have expressed frustration in trying to call the IRS and not getting through to a live person.  Like most Federal agencies, the IRS has seen their budget get cut in recent years.  In response, the IRS decided to cut their customer service due to these budget cuts.

This past tax filing season over 8 million phone calls from taxpayers to the IRS went unanswered and for the millions of other taxpayers whose phone calls were answered, only 40% actually got through to a live person with the average wait time in excess of 30 minutes.

When too many call at once, the IRS system simply hangs up on the callers at the beginning of their call rather than have them wait on hold for an hour or more.  The agency refers to these hang ups as “courtesy disconnects”.  This past filing season there were roughly 8.8 million of these disconnects compared to roughly 544,000 a year ago. It is interesting they should call them that as I would not consider this to be courteous.

So what’s the best thing to do?  

If you do need to call the IRS, call them right when you wake up in the morning.  The people that are in time zones that are west of us will still be sleeping and you will have a much better chance of getting an actual live person on the phone.  If your attempts at getting someone on the phone are still unsuccessful, another option (depending on the nature of your inquiry) is to log into the IRS website for the “Self-Service” section where you can do things such as:

  • Check your refund status
  • Check status of your amended return
  • Check your withholding
  • Make a payment
  • Get a transcript of your return
  • Change your address

Remember, for some issues you should call your Paresky Flitt advisor instead of the IRS directly.  We’re always happy to help.

Written by Kate Aultz, CPA

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