Reach a HUMAN when calling the IRS Cheat-sheet

I wish I would have thought to post prior to the 2020 7/15 deadline, but I found this to be extremely helpful and surprisingly was only on hold for a couple of minutes.

Pay close attention to #7. If you enter your social security# it will kick you back to automated and/or extend hold time.

  1. The IRS telephone number is 1-800-829-1040 , and they are available from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday thru Friday. The best time to call is early in the morning.
  2. The first question the automated system will ask you is to choose your language.
  3. Once you’ve set your language, do NOT choose Option 1 (regarding refund info). Choose option 2 for “Personal Income Tax” instead.
  4. Next, press 1 for “form, tax history, or payment”.
  5. Next, press 3 “for all other questions.”
  6. Next, press 2 “for all other questions.”
  7. When the system asks you to enter your SSN or EIN to access your account information, do NOT enter anything.
  8. After it asks twice, you will be prompted with another menu.
  9. Press 2 for personal or individual tax questions.
  10. Finally, press 4 for all other inquiries. The system should then transfer you to an agent.

The same principle can be used with many customer service lines. Keep pressing the key for “other” and often you will be connected to a human as the system doesn’t have any other option to send you too. Also, never enter account/reference number using the keypad (as above), as that will allow the system to divert you into a pre designed route.

Anything you can do to interrupt the flow, will usually take you to a human.

In a previous life I was tasked with designing the flow chart for a firms new telephone system, and the brief (when reading between the lines) was to make it as difficult as possible to speak to a human directly. The irony here was that it was the same folks who finally answered the call, irrespective of the options chosen. I suggested that the convoluted button pressing was a waste of time, but I think they just wanted to appear a larger organisation than they actually were.

Within four weeks they binned the extremely impressive :grin: customer flow system and just had a simple queue. Fortunately, by then I’d already been paid.



Indeed. I usually have luck with confusing phone systems, but spent about 45 minutes trying to get an actual person at the IRS, to no avail. I have been able to muddle through in the past, but I think they are making things especially difficult because of the mess covid has created.

This cheat sheet saved my sanity - at least temporarily! :joy: :mask: