In 15 years in this profession, I’ve seen the phone lines at the IRS go down a few times. Usually it’s the result of a congressional budget debate that’s caused the federal government to shut down temporarily.
But I can’t remember a single time yet where the practitioner priority line (the line that CPAs and other pros dial in to) was also taken offline. No ability to call in and check on things for our clients, to confirm whether a return was received, to find out whether a refund is on the way.
There are very few options right now, as phone lines are mostly still on hold. Please read this article that does a great job of both summarizing the current state of things at the IRS and explaining why it’s so hard for their model to transition to work-at-home like many other businesses and agencies have.
In the meantime, if you are looking for IRS assistance and they’re not answering the phones for you, word on the street is that your best (and probably very unattractive) option is to try to schedule an in-person appointment at a local office. The Taxpayer Advocate Group is another route, though I hear that’s largely by appointment only as well. Whatever you do, have patience. Know that just because you haven’t heard back doesn’t mean it’s lost forever. There are hundreds of thousands of files piling up waiting to be processed over there and their workforce is struggling to keep up while also staying safe—just like all of us.
If there’s anything you think we can help with or you’d like to talk through in the meantime, drop us a note.