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Tax Filing 2021: how to contact IRS for assistance

Filing a tax return in 2021 will require a little more work this year if you received benefits from any of the programs put into place due to the pandemic.

Filing a tax return in 2021 will require a little more work this year if you received benefits from any of the programs put into place due to the pandemic.

Congress passed the CARES Act in the spring of 2020 to stop the collapse of the US economy and help families, both reeling from the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic. Part of the relief package included federally funded expanded jobless benefits and the first round of stimulus checks, or Economic Impact Payment (EIP). Those who received either or both will need to navigate the filing requirements for their 2020 income-tax filing.

Many Americans as they sit down to do their paperwork this year will be asking themselves if they need to report the income they received from the EIPs, there were two rounds that could affect your 2020 filing. The direct payments were tax credits toward your tax obligations for the 2020 fiscal year, which means they were not taxable, but you may still be entitled to more if you were unfortunate and saw your income dramatically affected last year.

If you lost work or were furloughed during the pandemic, you may have been eligible for one of the federal pandemic-related unemployment programs in addition to state unemployment insurance. These benefits are considered a form of taxable income and will need to be reported on you 2020 income-tax filing this year.

How can I get in touch with the IRS?

Before you get in touch with the IRS you should be sure to have all the necessary information and documents ready to save time and have your inquiry handled more smoothly.

What you will need before you call


  • Social Security numbers (SSN) and birth dates
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for taxpayers without a Social Security number
  • Filing status – single, head of household, married filing joint, or married filing separate
  • Prior-year tax return
  • Tax return you’re calling about
  • Any correspondence we sent to you

Third parties calling for someone else

  • Verbal or written authorization to discuss the account
  • Taxpayer’s name, SSN or ITIN
  • Tax return you're calling about
  • Valid Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization or Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative
  • Preparer tax identification number or personal identification number

Third parties calling for a deceased taxpayer

  • Death certificate
  • Court approval letter or our IRS Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship (for estate executors)

Numbers to call the IRS

The IRS warns that due to the amount of workload they are currently dealing with that you should expect longer than normal wait times now that tax filing season is underway.

IRS customer support, which can be reached at 1-800-829-0922, is available Monday through Friday from 7am to 7pm local time.

For Economic Impact Payment questions, call 800-919-9835.

For additional contact numbers click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

IRS Free File

Another way to get help with your taxes is go through the experts who do it for a living. Many people filing taxes in the US are eligible for a free program through the IRS. The IRS Free File program, which is a public-private partnership between the agency and the Free File Alliance, a group of tax preparation companies with online software. About 70 percent of people filing taxes in the US can take advantage of the program. Even more may be able to file through other programs that offer tax preparation services at little or no cost.

To qualify for the IRS Free File program your annual gross income (AGI) in 2020 must be $72,000 or less. The software generally includes step-by-step instructions and help for filers. To use the program, you must go through the IRS site, not directly to a tax preparer. Each partner has its own special offers, including some that offer free state tax returns. Free File opened on 15 January, meaning that people can now enter and submit their tax information. When tax filing opened on 12 February, their forms were automatically filed with the IRS.

Popular tax software


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