Calling the IRS? Good Luck! (Because You Will Really, Really Need It)

I need to speak with the IRS regarding four clients. Unfortunately, I need to speak with three different departments within the IRS for these clients. I’ve been attempting to reach the IRS for over a week first thing in the morning (7am PST), late in the day (2-3pm PST), and in the middle of the day (sometime between 10am and 12n PST). In almost all cases I’ve heard this message:

We’re sorry, but due to extremely high call volumes in the topic you’ve chosen we cannot take your call at this time. Please try your call again later.

I did manage to get a human this afternoon. Exactly 3 minutes into my call he vanished, I heard a click, and the call ended. He did not call me back.

For two of my clients, I may be forced to write letters even though the issues are (theoretically) easily resolvable by a phone call. Instead, they’ll likely go in the 5+ million pieces of mail sitting in a trailer and the clients will have to wait (probably a year) for a response, and might have to send another letter.

And I’m calling numbers that are designed for tax professionals with theoretically less hold time. It’s basically impossible to get through on the regular numbers. I tried calling the international IRS contact number and received a busy signal; that’s the first time that’s ever happened to me. For individuals needing tax assistance regarding information from the IRS, the lyrics from Man of La Mancha’s “Impossible Dream” come to mind: “To dream the impossible dream….”

I realize the IRS (along with all of us) are dealing with Covid-related issues. However, this performance is simply unacceptable. I have clients who may be subject to levies who have filed appeals (thus, they are not supposed to be subject to levies) and I cannot speak to anyone at the IRS to have collection activities stopped on their accounts. The IRS can verify this easily during a phone call. But I can’t reach a human.

I am extremely frustrated by this. And there’s no end in sight to this horrible customer service. There’s plenty for the IRS’s new “Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer,” Ken Corbin, to deal with.


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