Mr. Postman Has No Tax Forms for Me

Originally Published in the Pacific Grove Hometown Bulletin

March 2, 2011

 

If you are still waiting for your tax forms to arrive in the mail and you refuse to file without them, you might find yourself on a blind date with an IRS agent next year.  No doubt, the agent will be very interested in you, however, the personal finance questions may be a rude topic on a first date.  In case you missed the IRS postcard last October, the decision was made not to mail forms for the 2010 tax year – primarily for economic and technological reasons.  (It is not because the new Congress repealed the income tax system as I saw rumored on one online blog!)

The decision is only estimated to save taxpayers about $10 million – a seemingly trivial amount by today’s standards.  Computerized e-filing continues to devour the tax filing landscape and only 8 percent of Americans received paper packages in the mail in 2009.  In the near future, it is conceivable that virtually all filing with the IRS will be electronic.

So what do you do this year if you still want paper forms?  April 15 is fast approaching. Well, you could go to www.irs.gov and try to navigate and download the forms and publications (I also have links on my website www.tlongcpa.com/forms) – but then again, if you have a paper persuasion, that may not be the answer for you.  You can still get paper forms at the local post office or IRS office and some local libraries.  If you experience a hardship getting the forms or publications, you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-3676 to request them through the mail (it takes about ten days).

If you decide you would like help filing your return there are a number of free options sponsored by the IRS and available for taxpayers meeting certain criteria.  People 60 and older may contact Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) – 1-888-227-7669.  People making $49,000 or less may be able to get assistance via the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program – 1-800-906-9887.  There are other programs as well and full details are available from the IRS.  These programs do not meet the needs of everyone, and your best option may be to call a local tax professional.

No matter what you choose, make sure you file a return if required – I assure you the new Congress did not repeal the income tax system!

Travis H. Long, CPA is located at 706-B Forest Avenue, PG.  Travis can be reached at 831-333-1041.

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