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Erik and I filed our taxes a few weeks ago. The refund, which was direct deposited this week, was not as much as we expected, so we wanted to find out why. Was it our mistake or was something not entered correctly somewhere along the line?

Erik tried calling the IRS on Saturday and kept swearing through the process. He was stuck on a nightmare phone roundabout, wherein menu after menu of options is offered but not a single one of them fit our situation. He really wanted to talk to a person, but this was never offered as an option. He tried two other IRS phone numbers, one for refund questions and one for the Taxpayer Advocate and was sent to the same roundabout both times. (Why is the IRS paying for several phone numbers if they lead to the same place?)

After looking online, he discovered that no live people were available at the IRS on the weekends, so we stopped the madness and planned for me to try again Monday … today.

I called early this morning, just after 8 a.m. , figuring that an early call gave me the best chance of getting through without too much waiting, plus I could get the expected aggravation out of the way for the day. I went through the same phone roundabout Erik did and could immediately see why he kept swearing at the phone. Even though live people were supposed to be available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., I was never given an option to talk to someone. I tried selecting different parts of the menu, even options that didn’t fit, in the hopes that I’d be led through the rabbit hole to a successful outcome. I hung up and redialed several times when I didn’t like where I was going and kept shouting, “Give me a live person!” into the receiver. (It didn’t work, in case you’re wondering.) Finally … finally! … I came to the end of a menu that put me on hold and told me I’d be there for 4 to 7 minutes while waiting for an honest-to-goodness IRS representative.

Once the representative came on the line, she was incredibly helpful and walked me through each line of our tax return until we found the problem and cleared it up. My representative was Mrs. Ellis. That’s how she introduced herself, Mrs. Ellis, no first name. She was a kind, understanding, patient person. Well played, IRS, to give me someone so genuinely nice after making me suffer through the horror show of the phone roundabout.

Here’s a link to the IRS phone lines. I wish I could remember exactly how I got to the point of getting a live person, but there were too many menus offered. If anyone has a suggestion on how to easily get through the IRS phone roundabout to an IRS representative, please let me and everyone else know in the comments.