Can I File Taxes Over the Phone?

by Denise Caldwell ; Updated July 27, 2017

Telephone filing of IRS returns began in 1992 and ended in 2005. According to the Internal Revenue Service, tax returns must now be filed online or mailed to an IRS processing center.
If you have trouble completing your return, the IRS is still available to answer questions over the phone.


Filing taxes over the phone began as a two year test program in Ohio. It expanded to six additional states in 1994 and went national in 1996.


Filing taxes over the phone, also known as “Tele File”, was implemented as a way to make tax filing simple and easy. The “Tele File” phone filing usually took about ten minutes as the phone process was accompanied by online software which was used by the IRS customer service representative to input the taxpayer’s information.


The “Tele File” was the first attempt by the IRS to automate the tax filing system and replace mailed returns. Tele File was discontinued in 2005 and replaced with “e-file.”


If you do not have access to a computer, the IRS will help you complete your return. Go to the link under References for more information.


The IRS will answer questions about your return at their toll free customer service hotline at 1-800-829-1040, but they are not allowed to complete your return for you.

About the Author

Denise Caldwell is a finance writer who has been writing on taxation and finance since 2006. Her articles appear regularly on websites such as and She has taken what she learned while working at the IRS to provide readers with helpful tax and finance tips. Caldwell received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Howard University.