Can You Email the IRS?

How To Contact the Agency for Tax Help

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It might seem inconceivable these days that an entity doesn't stand by with a convenient email address available for contact, but, no, you can’t email the IRS. At least, you can't do so regarding most problems and issues. The agency does maintain a single email address for such a purpose.

But this shouldn’t prevent you from reaching out to the IRS for help when you need it. You have quite a few other options, depending on your problem and why you need assistance.

Key Takeaways

  • Take it as a red flag if you receive an email from the IRS. You’re being scammed, because the agency never sends emails, and it doesn’t respond to them, either.
  • The IRS has only one email address, and that’s solely for use in reporting scams.
  • The IRS does maintain a website, and you can find a lot of general tax information there.
  • Be prepared for long wait times if you call the IRS.
  • You can visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center if you need in-person help.

Why the IRS Avoids Email

The IRS has taken a decisive stand against phishing and fraud scams. It regularly issues warnings that it will never contact a taxpayer via email, so you’re most likely the target of a scam if you receive one purporting to be from the IRS. The agency only initiates contact with taxpayers through good old U.S. Postal Service snail mail, by telephone, or a personal visit, under some rare circumstances. And you probably won't receive a call or visit if you haven't received a mailed, paper warning first.

The phishing issue involves fake emails sent by scammers who claim to be the IRS. They seek personal information, either to issue you a refund that you never knew you had coming or to tell you that you owe taxes you weren’t aware of. The IRS does provide an email address for reporting this kind of activity: But this is the email address’s only purpose. You won’t receive any other type of assistance by reaching out there.


The IRS warns that it doesn't acknowledge receipt of emails sent to, and it won’t respond to them.

Other Ways To Contact the IRS

So what is a taxpayer to do? The IRS is open to virtually every other means of communication, with the exception of text messages and social media. Your options depend on how hard you want to work to reach out to the agency, and the nature of your issue.

Connect With the IRS Online

The IRS isn’t totally tech-averse. You can address numerous issues online at You can check on the status of your refund there or set up a payment plan if you owe money. You can make a payment or get a transcript of a previously filed tax return. You can e-file your return there, or find out where you should mail a paper return. You can even check your IRS account to confirm payments you’ve made, as well as any penalties or interest that may have added on to a balance you owe. You can access copies of tax forms you need, as well as IRS publications.

However, the website option doesn’t provide human contact and interaction. You can get answers to many tax questions, but only if your question happens to be one that the IRS has addressed on the site. On the bright side, this is the internet, so the site is available 24/7.

Reach Out to the IRS by Phone

You’ll have to call the IRS if you want to ask a human being a question, but take a deep breath first. You could be on the phone for a while.

The IRS indicates that the average wait time is 13 minutes during tax season (January through April) and warns that “some telephone service lines may have longer wait times.” The wait tends to be longer on Mondays, Tuesdays, during President’s Day weekend, and near the tax filing deadline, usually April 15. The average wait time increases to 19 minutes from May through December, according to the agency.

Most phone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, except in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Use Pacific time if you're located in Alaska or Hawaii. Availability shifts to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Puerto Rico. The main information line, 800-829-1040, is available 24/7.

The number you’ll use can depend on why you’re calling. A list is available on the IRS website. Some commonly used IRS phone numbers include:

  • 800-829-4933: Questions about tax law or your IRS account
  • 800-829-1040: Questions about the status of your tax refund or other issues, including assistance if you speak Spanish
  • 800-829-4059: Questions about the status of your refund if you’re hearing impaired
  • 833-533-9895: If you speak any language other than English or Spanish
  • 800-829-3676: For help with tax forms and instructions
  • 800-829-4477: For recorded answers to 100 common tax questions


The IRS cautions that you should only call about your refund if you e-filed at least three weeks ago or if six weeks have passed since you mailed in a paper return. Be prepared to take steps to confirm your identity by providing various personal information such as your Social Security or taxpayer identification number.

Visit an IRS Office in Person

You can seek help in person if your issue is such that a recorded message or even a telephone voice isn’t sufficient to work out your problem. The IRS provides Taxpayer Assistance Centers all over the country.

You can access a search tool online to find the IRS location closest to you. The tool will provide you with a phone number for your chosen location, or you can call 844-545-5640. You must make an appointment in advance of your visit. A call also will tell you what services are offered at that particular location. Some still have COVID-19 precautionary measures in place as of December 2022.

The Bottom Line

The best way to reach out to the IRS depends a great deal on why you need to contact the agency, but mailing paper information via the U.S. postal system probably should be your last resort. As of December 2022, the IRS indicates that “it’s taking us longer to process mailed documents including paper tax returns" and that it’s “processing all mail in the order we receive it.” You might want to make use of one of the other options if you’re dealing with a time-sensitive issue.

You also might qualify for third-party assistance from IRS-certified volunteers. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program is available to low- and moderate-income taxpayers, senior citizens, taxpayers with disabilities, and those who don’t speak English well. Tax Counseling for the Elderly is a similar program available to taxpayers who are ages 60 or older.

And the Taxpayer Advocate Service stands by to assist with IRS collection issues that you haven’t been able to resolve with the tax agency. Its offices remain closed or restricted as of December 2022 due to COVID, but telephone help is available.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the email address for the IRS?

The IRS has one email address, but it’s only for use in reporting phishing and fraud schemes:

How do I know if an IRS email is real?

It’s not. The IRS does not send emails under any circumstances, even to respond to those received at

How can I contact a person at the IRS?

Your best option to guarantee live interaction in a timely manner would be to visit a Taxpayer Assistance Center in person. Otherwise, you can call the 800-829-1040 number and follow the prompts.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. IRS. “Avoid Scams: Know the Facts on How the IRS Contacts Taxpayers.”

  2. IRS. “Suspicious Emails and Identity Theft.”

  3. IRS. “Contact Your Local IRS Office.”

  4. IRS. “Let Us Help You.”

  5. IRS. “IRS Tax Tip 2001-39 - Toll-Free Telephone Service.”

  6. IRS. “Contact IRS for More Information.”

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