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IRS Adding Phone Operators to Answer Virus Payment Questions

May 18, 2020, 8:02 PM

The IRS is beginning to add 3,500 telephone representatives to answer common questions about the economic impact payments authorized under the third coronavirus relief law.

The agency, which has struggled to bring phone lines back during the pandemic, said Monday it expects to recall more workers to help answer taxpayer questions as state and local governments start to ease closure and stay-at-home orders. Even so, the agency urged people to check its website first for answers.

  • So far, more than 130 million people have received direct payments worth more than $200 billion under the coronavirus relief law, known as the CARES Act (Public Law 116-136).
  • The IRS said people should call the number listed on Notice 1444, the letter informing them that their payment has arrived. That phone number should direct them to an automated message.
  • “Those who need additional assistance at the conclusion of the message will have the option of talking to a telephone representative,” the IRS said in a news release.

To contact the reporter on this story: Allyson Versprille in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Ambrosio at; Kathy Larsen at