Use The Clock And Google Voice To Actually Reach The IRS

Sure, it’s not peak IRS season right now, but there is quite a variety of reasons that you might have to deal with the ever-present government agency anyway. Tax Cat is out of the office, vacationing at his offshore kitty condo in the Cayman Islands, so it’s up to reader Christopher, a tax preparer, to serve us up with handy tax advice. See, sometimes you have to call the IRS. You can’t avoid it. But so does everyone else in the country. What Christopher figured out is that the IRS call center doesn’t have fixed hours like most. Its open hours depend on what time zone you live in. His solution? Use a Google Voice number to fudge what time zone he’s in, and call late in the evening when the business day is done for most of the continental U.S.

This tip may come in handy for anyone who has to call the IRS to work out a tax problem, but can’t call during the workday.

I prepare tax returns and provide accounting services for a living. So I spend a lot of time on the phone with the IRS fixing client issues throughout the year. Unfortunately, I sometimes don’t have enough time in the day to get to everything within the the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time that their 800 number serves the public. If you call after 7 p.m., you’re routed to the automated system and informed that person to person assistance isn’t available until the next day. The computer uses your area code to decide if you get an operator or a computer.

An easy way around this? Today I set up a Google Voice account with a San Diego area code. It gave me 2 extra hours to work out tax issues for clients. I suppose if I wanted to, I could have used a Honolulu area code and extended the service time even more.

Of course, I still spent most of my extra time on hold, but I’m concentrating on the positive.


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