IRS Near Me: What You Can and Can’t Do at an IRS Office


Staff Writer - Angela
October 24, 2018

If you’ve recently searched for an IRS near me, chances are you have a tax issue you want to discuss with an Internal Revenue Service representative. You can do so in person at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in your area. Online and phone-based help is also available.

Making an IRS Appointment

Although appointments were not always required to visit a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC), the agency began offering appointments in 2015 on an experimental basis and began mandating appointments for the 2017 tax season. Prior to 2015, you could seek help from a TAC representative in person on a first-come, first-served basis. However, this resulted in long waits and lots of frustration. Since taxpayers now have a specific time, the process should go more smoothly and limit wait times.

TAC has an online tool that helps you search for an IRS help location in your area. With this tool, you can enter your five-digit ZIP code to find the closest center. You can also schedule an appointment at your local TAC by calling 844-545-5640. When you come to your appointment, make sure to bring a valid form of photo ID along with your Social Security number.

Assistance is not available on weekends and federal holidays. Remember that peak demand for TAC services occurs in February, so schedule as early as possible during that time of year to ensure your questions are answered.

Accessing Free Tax Return Assistance

Some taxpayers are eligible for free in-person assistance with preparing their tax returns. However, these programs are administered not at TAC locations but at separate offices. They include:

  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps those who have limited ability to speak English, have disabilities, or earn less than $54,000 annually.
  • The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program assists all taxpayers ages 60 and older and is available from January through April.

Both programs offer advice from IRS-certified volunteers and are often held at schools, libraries, community centers, and other central locations nationwide. In the case of the TCE program, volunteers have extra training or expertise in retirement planning, pensions, estates, and other areas relevant to seniors.

Certain types of tax filing help are not available through these programs, including assistance with filing returns involving a Schedule C for self-employment income with a loss, a Schedule D with capital gains and losses, investment income for a minor, a nondeductible IRA, premium tax credits, and the need to determine worker status.

You can find the nearest VITA center by calling 800-906-9887 or searching the IRS website. TCE programs are operated by the AARP Foundation Tax Aide program. You can find the nearest location by calling 888-227-7669.

Seeking Help by Phone

Depending on the issue or question you have, you may not need to speak with an IRS representative in person. The agency strives for most claims to be solved on the phone or online. If you want to seek help by phone, start by calling one of these numbers between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time Monday through Friday, or 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time for residents of Puerto Rico:

  • Individual taxpayers: 800-829-1040
  • Businesses: 800-829-4933
  • Individuals with hearing impairment: 800-829-4059 (TDD).

Keep in mind that with this option, you’ll likely wait on hold. Forbes reported that 70% of taxpayers who called the IRS were able to reach a representative in 2016, which was a dramatic improvement over 2015 numbers. You can increase your luck by calling first thing in the morning and avoiding Mondays and afternoons (peak hours).

Getting Online Assistance

The IRS offers many intuitive online tools to answer some of the most common taxpayer questions. Some of the functions you can easily complete at include:

  • Entering an online payment plan agreement
  • Checking the status of your refund or amended return
  • Downloading tax transcripts
  • Accessing publications, resources, and forms
  • Making tax payments
  • Filing tax returns, including free filing services for those with an income of less than $60,000 annually.

These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are used by approximately 700 million taxpayers every year, according to the Forbes article.

Reasons to Visit an IRS Location

Although most IRS issues can be resolved online or over the phone, some problems and questions require in-person assistance. You should plan to make an appointment at your local TAC if:

  • You have applied for an individual taxpayer ID number using Form W-7 and need to have your ID documents verified. This is done only at certain participating TAC locations.
  • You received a letter or notice from the IRS and don’t understand the next steps you should take, even after searching the agency’s website and seeking phone-based assistance.
  • You need to make a monthly, quarterly, or annual tax payment and are unable to do so online.
  • You are an international visitor and need to obtain a certificate of tax clearance before leaving the United States. More information is available from Publication 513, Tax Information for Visitors to the United States.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Whether you’re visiting a TAC, TCE, or VITA IRS location, you’ll need to have most of the same documents with you. Make sure to bring the following for you and for your spouse if married filing jointly:

  • W-2 and 1099 forms as well as all other income information
  • Proof of ID for each party, as well as Social Security card
  • Receipts from daycare providers
  • Social Security number and birth date information for your dependents
  • Deduction and credit information
  • Proof of foreign status if applying for an individual taxpayer ID number
  • Copies of previous tax returns and income information where applicable
  • Bank account information.

If you are seeking help with a joint tax issue, both you and your spouse must be present at the appointment.




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