Free Tax Help Available
FS-2006-2, January 2006
The IRS offers free assistance by computer, telephone and in person. The IRS can help taxpayers get forms and publications and answer a wide range of tax questions. The IRS can also help find free tax preparation services for those who qualify.
On IRS.gov, the IRS Web site, taxpayers can access a wealth of free tax information. Taxpayers should check out 1040 Central, a special section of the Web site that has all the help, updates and information taxpayers need to prepare and file their returns. Taxpayers can readily access necessary forms, instructions or publications; get answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs); and use the EITC Assistant to find out whether they qualify for the earned income tax credit.
Taxpayers may also check their refund status using IRS.gov’s “Where's My Refund?” tool. They will need to enter a Social Security number, filing status (such as single or married filing jointly) and the amount of the refund shown on their 2005 tax return. They will then see a Web page that shows the status of their refund payment as well as instructions to resolve refund-related problems.
Taxpayers may also order current and prior year forms, instructions and publications by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Taxpayers may ask tax questions by calling the toll-free customer service line at 1-800-829-1040 for individual tax issues or 1-800-829-4933 for business-related tax issues. TTY/TDD users may call 1-800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or to order forms and publications.
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 8 and 9 of the Form 1040 Instruction booklet, available at IRS.gov — just type “1040 instructions” in the search box at the upper right corner of the home page.
In Person Assistance with Returns
Free tax preparation is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites in many communities. Check your community’s newspaper for site locations or call 1-800-829-1040 for more information. Taxpayers may also call AARP — the largest TCE participant — at 1-888-227-7669 to find the most convenient location.
Taxpayer Assistance Centers
IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers are a source for personal tax help when taxpayers believe a tax issue cannot be handled on-line or by phone, and they want face-to-face assistance. Complementing 24/7 access to tax forms and information on-line at IRS.gov and the convenience of toll-free telephone assistance, Taxpayer Assistance Centers are an option when taxpayers want to talk with the IRS in person. IRS representatives in these offices can help with inquiries or adjustments to tax accounts, payment plans for those who owe tax and cannot pay the full amount, questions about IRS letters and notices, and levies on wages or bank accounts.
Although appointments are not necessary, taxpayers may call ahead to leave messages requesting convenient appointments to resolve tax issues, or to hear recorded messages with office hours and addresses. Local phone numbers for Taxpayer Assistance Centers are in telephone directories and are posted on IRS.gov at “Contact My Local Office."
The IRS provides non-English-speaking taxpayers equal access to all
Tax Forms and Publications Walk-In Service
Many post offices and libraries offer IRS tax publications, forms and instructions for pick up. Participation of post offices and libraries changes from year to year so taxpayers should check with their local community organization before making the trip. Electronic kiosks containing commonly-used forms (Form 1040 series) and tax information are available in some locations. Type “Contact My Local Office” in the search box on IRS.gov for availability by state. All local IRS offices have tax publications, forms and instructions available to pick up.
For a comprehensive listing of free tax services, taxpayers should get IRS Publication 910, Guide to Free Tax Services, available at irs.gov.
Braille Tax Material
A variety of Braille materials 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.
Taxpayer Advocate Service
If you have unresolved IRS problems, or are facing economic burden harm due to IRS actions, contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS that helps resolve and prevent taxpayer problems.
You can call or write to your local Taxpayer Advocate, whose address and phone number are listed in your local telephone directory and in Publication 1546, How to Get Help With Unresolved Tax Problems. Or go on-line to www.irs.gov/advocate.