5 Easy Ways to Contact the IRS for Tax Help

Nobody Likes Doing Taxes, but the IRS Really Is There for You

IRS Building in Washington
••• Pgiam / Getty Images

If you have questions on your tax return or refund status or need help from the IRS, the agency makes itself quite accessible, and the staff members there are happy to help you with any questions or problems that might arise.  

Here are the easiest ways to contact the IRS:

1. Connect With the IRS Online

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re connected to the internet. Thanks to the availability of the internet today, one of the best ways to get the information you need is directly from the IRS website. You can download virtually any form or publication from the website.

Aside from the instant 24-hour access to forms, you'll find a tremendous amount of information right at your fingertips, including frequently asked questions, tax law changes and even planning calculators.

2. Contact the IRS by Phone

If you need to get in touch with the IRS but don’t have a computer handy, the next best option is the telephone. It has set up a few toll-free numbers to assist you:

  • 1-800-829-3676 – If you need to order forms, publications or instructions
  • 1-800-829-1040 -- If you have tax questions regarding your personal income taxes
  • 1-877-777-4778 – The Taxpayer Advocate, for tax questions that you’re unable to resolve
  • 1-800-829-4477 – This is a collection of pre-recorded messages that cover a wide variety of tax topics

Note that wait times on the second number, which will connect you with a live human who can answer questions, can be significant, especially in the "tax season" months of February, March, and April. If this problem occurs, you might need to seek the answer to your question online or try again during early morning hours.

3. Correspond With the IRS by Mail

If you don’t mind waiting awhile for your response, you can always send traditional correspondence via the mail.

The most effective way to get in touch with someone by mail is to contact the director for your local IRS district or your local taxpayer assistance center. You should allow 30 days for a response, although in recent years many responses have taken 45 days or longer.

4. Visit Your Local IRS Office

The IRS maintains a network of local offices, known as taxpayer assistance centers, where you can go to ask questions and get service. You can visit the IRS website to search for a nearby taxpayer assistance center office.

Some centers operate by appointment, while others offer walk-in service. Use the IRS website listing to determine the hours and policies of your preferred center. Also, multilingual service is available in every office.

5. Get IRS Forms and Instructions by Fax

Finally, you can get most IRS forms or instructions sent to you directly via fax. Use your fax machine to call the IRS TaxFax service at 703-368-9694. Make sure your fax machine allows you to hear the audio prompts. After following the instructions, the forms you requested will be faxed to you.