Processing Delays for Paper Tax Returns
We continue to process electronic and paper tax returns, issue refunds, and accept payments. We’re experiencing delays in processing paper tax returns due to limited staffing. If you already filed a paper return, we will process it in the order we received it.
Do not file a second tax return or call the IRS.
Online Tools and Resources
- Where’s My Refund?
- Refund less than expected
- Received a refund but wasn't expecting one
- Lost refund
- Frequently Asked Questions
Expecting a refund?
- The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.
When to check status of your refund:
- Within 24 hours after we've received your e-filed tax return; or
- 4 weeks after mailing your paper return.
You should only call if:
- Payment options
- Payment plan or installment agreement
- Financial hardship
- View your balance and payment history
- Help for struggling taxpayers
Liens and levies
Resolve a dispute
Prevent future tax bill
To get your refund faster, e-file your return and choose direct deposit for your refund.
- Free File your return
- E-file options for individual taxpayers
- Direct deposit your refund
- Sign your e-filed return with your adjusted gross income (AGI)
Note: You can’t get your AGI over the phone. To get your AGI quickly, order a tax transcript online.
Filing by mail
We generally process mailed returns (individuals or business) within 4 - 6 weeks.
Use our Interactive Tax Assistant to answer your tax-related questions, such as:
- Should you file?
- What is your filing status?
- Are your Social Security benefits taxable?
- Is your pension or annuity taxable?
- Understanding your IRS notice or letter
- Verify your identity (5071C)
- We changed your return (CP12)
- Imminent levy notification (CP504)
- Income reporting or payment error (CP2000)
- Balance due reminder (CP71A)
- Dependent’s Social Security number listed on another return (CP87A)
- Most correspondence requires approximately 45-90 days for processing.
- Correspondence regarding identity theft cases generally requires 120 days for resolution.
To check the status of your amended return:
- You must wait 3 weeks after filing the form before using Where’s My Amended Return? tool.
You should only call if:
- It has been more than 16 weeks since you mailed the amended return; or
- The Where’s My Amended Return? tool directs you to call us.
Telephone assistors can help with many topics but see the list of topics our assistors can’t address. If you need help with one of these topics:
- See the IRS Services Guide (PDF)
- Research our website using site search
- Review our forms, publications and instructions
- Contact a tax professional
- Check the Help feature of your electronic filing software
Verify your identity when you call
Our representatives must verify your identity before discussing your personal information.
Have the following ready when 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)
IRS phone number - Call Wait Times
(January - April)
- Telephone service wait times can average 15 minutes. Some telephone service lines may have longer wait times.
- Telephone service wait times are higher on Monday and Tuesday, during Presidents Day weekend and around the April tax filing deadline.
(May - December)
- Telephone service wait times can average 27 minutes. Some telephone service lines may have longer wait times.
- Telephone service wait times are generally higher on Monday and Tuesday.
Our help lines are open Monday through Friday. Residents of Alaska and Hawaii should follow Pacific time. Phone lines in Puerto Rico are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time.
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time
Estate and gift taxes (Form 706/709)
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern time
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time
Use our International Services page.
Callers who are hearing impaired
Requesting a face-to-face meeting for help
You can make an appointment at an IRS local office to get help. Appointment times vary by tax issues and office locations.
To help protect taxpayers and employees, the COVID-19 Screening Tool is available for people to self-screen for symptoms relative to the novel Coronavirus. This tool is for optional use by IRS employees, taxpayers, tax professionals and others prior to entering an IRS facility. The IRS is committed to protecting against further spread of COVID-19, and we encourage people to use this self-screening tool prior to visiting IRS facilities.
IRS offices are closed on federal holidays.
Other Available Help
Certain taxpayers may qualify for free tax assistance.
If you’re having tax problems associated with financial difficulties or immediate threat of adverse action and you haven’t been able to resolve them with the IRS, the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) may be able to help you.