Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Some Taxpayers Have Many Avenues Available for Help

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Some Taxpayers Have Many Avenues Available for Help

Article excerpt

Associated Press

WASHINGTON _ Some taxpayers wouldn't dream of letting someone else do their taxes any more than some auto aficionados would think of letting mechanics touch their cars.

They take pride in knowing their own finances and slogging through their own tax forms, line by line. It's doable, especially if your financial life isn't too complicated.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, only one in 20 people filing the simplest tax form, 1040EZ, uses a paid preparer. About one in four pays to have the short form, the 1040A, prepared. Two out of three have their long form, the 1040, done professionally.

If you're one of the intrepid, it doesn't mean you're totally alone. There's a lot of help available, much of it from the IRS itself.

First, obtain a Publication 17, "Your Federal Income Tax: The 1994 Tax Guide for Individuals." It explains the rules in much more detail than the instructions that accompany your tax forms. It has plenty of examples, decision flowcharts and filled-out forms. But, keep in mind, it reflects official IRS policy and may not tell you about all court rulings favoring taxpayers.

Forms and IRS publications (which themselves are listed in Publication 910) can be obtained in English and Spanish at 530 IRS walk-in sites or by calling 1 (800) TAX-FORM. More than 93,600 banks, post offices and libraries have copies of commonly used forms and instructions. Many libraries have a reference set of IRS publications, which can be copied.

Tax forms in braille are available through 142 regional libraries for the visually impaired in conjunction with the Library of Congress' National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, 1 (800) 424-8567. Publication 1614 has large-print copies of many forms and instructions.

You can listen to recorded tax information, some in Spanish, about 140 topics by calling the local TeleTax number for your area listed in your tax form instruction booklet. If your area doesn't have a local number, call 1 (800) 829-4477. That's also the number to call to check on the status of your refund.

You also can get answers to tax questions by calling local IRS numbers or, when one isn't available, by calling 1 (800) 829-1040. …

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