Tips for getting questions answered from the IRS

Posted by Jordon Rosen, CPA, MST AEP®

Questions answered from IRS - Delaware CPA FirmWe are in the thick of the tax filing season and the call volume to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is high, so we would like to share some tips the IRS has communicated which will enable you to get a quick answer.

  • Check for Resources on IRS.gov for your questions – IRS.gov offers many resources, such as the IRS Service Guide, which might answer questions faster than if you called.
  • Be prepared to verify your identity – If you have to call, the IRS is asking taxpayers and tax professionals to verify their identities when they call the IRS.
  • Be prepared with your questions before you call the IRS – This will help minimize the number of calls you might have to make because you needed to provide additional information during the call.

Confirming taxpayers’ identities during calls

The IRS reminds taxpayers to have the following information ready:

  • Social Security numbers (SSN) and birth dates for those who were named on the tax return
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if the taxpayer has one in lieu of a SSN
  • Filing status – single, head of household, married filing joint or married filing separate
  • Prior-year tax return in case they need to verify taxpayer identity with information from the return before answering certain questions
  • Copy of the tax return in question
  • IRS letters or notices received by the taxpayer, if applicable

Confirming third-party authorizations during calls

By law, IRS telephone representatives will only speak with the taxpayer or to the taxpayer’s legally designated representative.

If the taxpayers are calling about a third-party’s account, they should have the following information available:

  • Verbal or written authorization from the third party to discuss the account
  • Ability to verify the taxpayer’s name SSN/ITIN, tax period, and tax form(s) filed
  • Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) or PIN if a third-party designee
  • Current, completed and signed
    • Form 8821 – Tax Information Authorization, OR
    • Form 2848 – Power or Attorney and Declaration of Representative

If a taxpayer has questions regarding a deceased taxpayer, they should be prepared to fax:

  • Deceased taxpayer’s death certificate, AND
  • Copies of Letters Testamentary approved by the court OR IRS Form 56 – Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship (for estate executors)

Alternatives for faster answers

Additional resources

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