I spend up to $5,000 a year in IRS phone lines during tax filing season

THIS tax return season is expected to be busier and more complicated with the extra information needed to process tax returns.

If you have questions for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it recommends that you go to Locationbut some are looking for expensive ways to get answers from an employee at the IRS.

People are paying private companies thousands of dollars to have someone wait until they can get through the IRS.


People are paying private companies thousands of dollars to have someone wait until they can get through the IRS.

The IRS indicates that phone volume continues to remain at record-setting levels.

In 2021, the IRS phone system received more than 145 million calls between January 1 and May 17 — more than four times the average for the year, according to the agency.

The congestion and waiting to speak to an agent have taken some extreme measures.

Mark Steber, tax director at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, is handing over large sums of money to someone waiting.

Mr. Steber said to Related press (AP): “We disagree that it costs money to use a free government service.

“But to serve American taxpayers, I really blame the IRS for the lack of funding and resources – but they haven’t been funded in 20 years.”

Mr. Sterber uses a separate service called enQ to help contact an IRS agent.

enQ is a privately held company that says it uses patented technology to reduce retention times for its customers.

It offers someone who can talk to an IRS agent with up to 90% less retention time.

This advantage comes with a price.

Hopping plans cost up to $3,600 a year for unlimited users and unlimited calls.

Mr. Sterber is not alone. The accounting firm where E. Martin Davidoff works spends up to $5,000 a year on enQ, so he and others jumped to the top of the line to contact an IRS customer service representative.

Mr. Davidoff told the AP that paying for enQ’s line-hopping service would cut down on hours each day that he would otherwise spend waiting to speak to an agent.

The front of the line

Robert Nassau, director of the Low-Income Taxpayers Clinic at Syracuse College of Law, oversees about 10 law students each semester who help low-income people prepare and file their taxes.

Mr. Nassau told AP that going through an IRS agent can feel like winning the lottery.

“It doesn’t seem fair when it comes to the IRS, you’re essentially buying better service access and faster access.

“We finally got through it and it might take a few more days. I can imagine these enQ people costing us a few days. Frustrating. ”

The alternatives people are taking by paying for the service to wait in line are attracting the attention of some members of Congress.

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, February 17, regarding customer service issues at the IRS.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon told the AP: “No taxpayer has to transfer more than $1,000 to a private company to get their phone calls answered by the IRS. That’s sad.

“Rebuilding this agency so it can serve hardworking taxpayers is a top priority and the committee will examine the matter again this week.”

The IRS proposes to to troubleshoot any questions you may have, but if you need to call, it’s best to be prepared.

You will need to verify your identity with an IRS representative.

The IRS says the following information has been prepared.


  • Social Security number and date of birth
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for Taxpayers Without a Social Security Number
  • Application status: single, head of household, married filing jointly, or married filing separately
  • Tax return before the year
  • The tax return you are calling
  • Any correspondence the IRS sends you

Third party calling others

  • Verbal or written authorization to discuss the account
  • Taxpayer name, SSN or ITIN
  • The tax return you are calling
  • Valid Form 8821, tax information authorization or Form 2848, power of attorney and representative statement
  • Tax identification number or personal identification number

Third parties appeal to deceased taxpayers

  • Death Certificate
  • Court Letter of Approval or IRS Form 56, Notice Regarding Trustee Relationship (for executors of estates)

The IRS number is 800-829-1040. The phone line is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

The IRS says that during the filing season, January through April, there will be longer wait times for phone service lines.

Phone service is higher on Mondays and Tuesdays, during Presidents Day weekend and around the April tax filing deadline.

Tax deadline is Monday, April 18.

We explain when you will receive tax refund in 2022 and how to track it.

In addition, we have a tax return checklist so you get organized before filing your federal tax return.

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