IRS News Release  
January 01, 1996

Free Tax Assistance

Because the demand for tax assistance continues to increase, and the IRS's budget -- and its ability to hire more assistors -- has decreased, the IRS is constantly seeking alternative sources for providing information to the public. And while taxpayers are encouraged to use these alternative sources, assistors will still be available both by phone and in person to provide free tax help.


Tele-Tax has 148 topics available 24 hours a day using a touch-tone phone. Taxpayers can call (toll-free) 1-800-829-4477 to hear recorded information on tax subjects such as earned income credit, child care/elderly credit, dependents or other topics such as electronic filing, which form to use, or what to do if you can't pay your taxes. Nearly seven million taxpayers used Tele-Tax last filing season for recorded tax information.


Last year, the IRS Automated Refund Information system received over 54 million calls to check on the issuance of tax refunds. Taxpayers may call 1-800-829-4477 -- toll-free -- from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. weekdays, to check on the status of their refunds


Tax help is also now available on-line from Internal Revenue Information System (IRIS) at FedWorld, the electronic marketplace of U.S. government information. The following tax information is available to anyone with a personal computer and a modem:

  • tax forms, instructions, and publications;
  • tax tables, Earned Income Tax Credit tables and rate schedules;
  • hypertext versions of Publications 17, "Your Federal Income Tax," and 334, "Tax Guide for Small Business," -- taxpayers can move from one section to a reference with a click of the mouse to search for the tax answers they need;
  • all Tele-Tax topics;
  • "Dear IRIS" -- ability to research answers to the most frequently asked tax questions; - a library of tax regulations and plain English summaries.

Taxpayers can access FedWorld on the Internet through IRS's home page on World Wide Web (, Telnet (, or FTP (; or by direct dial (703-321- 8020).


Telephone tax assistors are expected to answer nearly 20 million calls this filing season. Taxpayers can call (toll-free) 1-800-829-1040 for tax assistance. Taxpayers who receive notices from the IRS about their tax accounts should call the toll-free number listed on those notices.


Four million taxpayers were assisted last filing season at more than 8,000 IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites and more than 11,000 Tax Counseling for the Elderly sites. These volunteer programs are set up in shopping centers, libraries, churches or community centers. To find out where to go for this free assistance, taxpayers should call 1-800-829-1040.


Tax assistance, including tax law information, tax return preparation, and forms and publications, is available at more than 400 IRS offices nationwide. However, because of IRS's reduced budget, there are fewer walk-in offices and fewer assistors available. As an alternative, taxpayers who require face-to-face contact may want to consider the free volunteer programs available in many communities.


By Phone

Tax forms and publications are available Monday through Friday during normal business hours by calling IRS at 1-800-TAXFORM (1-800-829-3676).


Taxpayers with a personal computer, a modem and a printer can download most tax forms and publications from IRIS.

By Fax

Beginning in late January, taxpayers will be able to receive most tax forms 7 days a week, 24 hours a day by fax from the Department of Commerce's National Technical Information Service. Taxpayers must use the voice unit of their fax machine to dial the service at (703) 487-4160. This is not a toll-free number, and the taxpayer will pay for the call.


The 1995 Federal Tax Forms CD-ROM contains more than 600 tax forms and instructions, and some 3,000 pages of topic-oriented tax information. Users can electronically search, view-onscreen, or print-out any of the items contained on the CD. Available through the Government Printing Office's Superintendent of Documents, the three-issue subscription is $46.

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