January 01, 2004
Free Tax Help Available
The IRS offers free assistance by computer, telephone, fax and in person. The IRS can help taxpayers get forms, publications and answer a wide range of tax questions. The IRS can also help find free tax preparation for those who qualify.
Through the Internet, taxpayers can access a wealth of free tax information on IRS.gov. A new feature for IRS.gov this year is 1040 Central, which has all the help, forms and information taxpayers need to file their returns. Taxpayers can check out links such as Forms and Publications to download necessary forms, instructions or publications; get the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) to get answers to questions; and review issues related to Small Business and Self-Employed.
Taxpayers may also check on the status of their refund using the Where's My Refund? tool. They will need to enter their Social Security Number, filing status (such as Single or Married Filing Jointly) and the amount of the refund shown on their 2003 tax return. They will then see a Web page that shows the status of their refund check as well as instructions to resolve refund-related problems.
Taxpayers may call 1-800-829-4477 to hear pre-recorded messages covering various tax topics or to check on the status of their refund. TeleTax topics, which range from "IRS assistance" to "who must file," are listed on pages 11 and 12 of the Form 1040 Instruction booklet, available at IRS.gov - just type "1040" in the forms and publications search box.
By using the phone attached to a fax machine, taxpayers can receive faxed forms and publications by calling 1-703-368-9694 (not a toll-free call). Taxpayers should follow the directions from the prompts. Taxpayers who order forms should enter the catalog number for the form they need. The requested items will then be faxed.
Taxpayers may order current and prior year forms, instructions and publications by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Taxpayers may ask the IRS tax questions by calling the toll-free customer service line at 1-800-829-1040. TTY/TDD users may call 1-800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or to order forms and publications.
Many post offices, libraries and IRS offices have tax publications, forms and instructions available to pick up.
Taxpayer Assistance Centers
Taxpayers needing face-to-face help solving individual or business tax problems can get help every business day in every IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. Taxpayers can receive assistance with issues such as IRS notices, payment plans, levies on wages or bank accounts, and tax law questions. Although appointments are not necessary, taxpayers may call ahead to make an appointment at a time convenient to them or to hear a recorded message with office hours and locations. Local phone numbers for Taxpayer Assistance Centers are available in telephone directories and are posted at IRS.gov. From January through April 15, Taxpayer Assistance Centers may offer evening hours and Saturday service. It is important to check IRS.gov or call the phone number listed on IRS.gov or the local phone book to ensure the office you want to visit is open.
The IRS provides non-English-speaking taxpayers equal access to all services through a phone interpreter.
Assistance with Returns
Free tax preparation is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs in most communities. Volunteers help prepare basic tax returns for taxpayers with low or limited incomes. Call 1-800-829-1040 to find the VITA or TCE site nearest you. Taxpayers may also call AARP - the largest TCE participant - at 1-877-227-7844 to see if they are near a local Tax Aide site.
Braille Tax Material
A variety of Braille material may be ordered at no charge by calling the IRS at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). The Braille print files are in .brf format and can be sent directly to an embosser for high-quality Braille output.
To find out what free tax services are available, taxpayers should get IRS Publication 910, Guide to Free Tax Services.
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