It’s that time of year again folks, and if you live in Georgia, that means another wait for your tax refund check from the Georgia Department of Revenue. As a former “insider” I am frequently asked, “How can I get in touch with a live person at the Georgia Department of Revneue?”
If you happen to be one of the several hundred thousand individual taxpayers calling about a tax refund for this, or any prior year, it’s not that easy to actually get a live person. But, it can be done. Here’s how:
- File electronically. Statistically, you have a better shot at getting your refund faster if you file electronically, and especially if you elect for direct deposit.
- If you haven’t received your refund within two to three weeks (filing electronically) or six to eight weeks (filing a paper return), then you should begin by going to this website https://etax.dor.ga.gov/WMRefund/index.aspx and searching there. Don’t worry, it’s safe and secure and actually works in most cases. You’ll be asked some identification info – your SSN without dashes, and the whole dollar amount of your expected refund.
- If this doesn’t work, then there’s no need to call the Refund Inquiry Hotline (877) 423-6711, because it has the EXACT SAME INFORMATION, but if you do, press 2 and you will be taken to the exact same computer system as the website in the previous bullet point.
- If you must call, do so early in the morning. The Automated Caller Distribution System switches from the night message (which says they’re closed and gives you the hours of operation) to Active status at about 7:30. If you call at exactly the right time, you can be among the first in line. Then the callers will back up behind YOU, because they don’t read my blog. Later in the day, it is not unusual to experience an hour or more hold time. Frequently, a call to this number returns a fast busy, which means that the system is overloaded with calls and cannot take another one. If you get this, wait 10 minutes and call back, or wait until early the next morning.
- The Refund Inquiry System is on the main income tax number (Press 2) and it will ask you for your SSN and expected refund amount.
- If you receive a response like “we do not have a record of your return” or something to that effect, don’t send in another copy. They probably have your return somewhere. If you mailed a paper return, shame on you. If you filed electronically and they say they don’t have it – then you may have a problem.
- If everything is correct on your return and the name and address information matches what is in the Department’s files from previous years, then you should hear a message like, “Your refund should be deposited into your account on __/__/2010,” or, “Your refund check will be mailed by __/__/2010.” These dates are pretty accurate if you get to this point, because if they have assigned a “check date” to your refund, then it’s approved and they really will mail it or deposit it when they say they will. The Department prints checks and does direct deposits frequently throughout the week and they are pretty good at getting the COMPLETED refunds out the door. Commissioner Graham has a pretty decent record on this during his term.
- At every menu level in the Department’s phone system, you should be able to click through to a live person by hitting the “0″ or “#” key to get to a live operator.
- When you do get a live person, please be nice. Don’t tell them how long you have been on hold. They know. They’re sorry. It’s not their fault. Trust me on this. Comments like these waste your time and theirs. Just avoid those kinds of comment, and you will be met with a much nicer person on the other end. These examiners take as many as 500 calls per day apiece, with about a second and a half in between, and everyone has been on hold and most of them complain about it, as though the examiner somehow wasn’t aware of this.
- Bear in mind that the “operator” you will get at this level is likely a seasonal employee (we used to call them Temporary Tax Examiners), with just enough training to answer some basic questions about your refund, but not necessarily trained to talk to you about your whole tax return at all.
- The GADOR is crippled by a number of old computer systems (some from the 1980′s) that do not “talk” to each other. This necessitates Tax Examiners having to toggle between various systems to answer a single question about a specific taxpayer. The Refund Inquiry operators may or may not have access to any other system, so any kind of examination takes a long while.
- If you have a question about your return, or if the system tells the Examiner that your return is in some type of “Review Status”, then you will need to speak to a higher level Tax Examiner.
- Likely, these higher level examiners are already speaking with someone else, so you will be placed on hold again. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to get a Refund Examiners to transfer you to a specific Tax Examiner, but it’s worth asking.
- When you are transferred to a live person, try to get them to give you their direct phone number if you want to call back for further information or questions. Almost every employee at the GA DOR has a direct line (and usually a group fax #). Try to get both of these if possible. In my experience, the examiners are more likely to answer a direct call than one routed to them via the Automated Caller Distribution system.
- Also, try to get the correct spelling of both the first and last name of the employee. Departmental policy changes from year to year, but typically, they are only required to give you their employee ID, but most of the employees will give you their first and last names when requested.
- Armed with first and last names, the nomenclature for the emails at the DOR is simple: firstname.lastname@example.org . So, if you can get the examiner’s first and last name, you can at least email them any future questions.
- Finally, if you are still unable to get through, there are some backdoor tricks that I have found to be effective. I will be posting about some of these over the next few days, so please subscribe to this blog (in the top right corner of this page) and I’ll let you know when there is an update.