5.   How To Get Tax Help

Table of Contents

    Do you need help with a tax issue or preparing your tax return, or do you need a free publication or form?

    Preparing and filing your tax return.    Find free options to prepare and file your return on IRS.gov or in your local community if you qualify.
    • Go to IRS.gov and click on the Filing tab to see your options.

    • Enter “Free File” in the search box to use brand name software to prepare and e-file your federal tax return for free.

    • Enter “VITA” in the search box, download the free IRS2Go app, or call 1-800-906-9887 to find the nearest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) location for free tax preparation.

    • Enter “TCE” in the search box, download the free IRS2Go app, or call 1-888-227-7669 to find the nearest Tax Counseling for the Elderly location for free tax preparation.

      The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited-English-speaking taxpayers who need help preparing their own tax returns. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older. TCE volunteers specialize in answering questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

    Getting answers to your tax law questions.    IRS.gov and IRS2Go are ready when you are—24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • Enter “ITA” in the search box on IRS.gov for the Interactive Tax Assistant, a tool that will ask you questions on a number of tax law topics and provide answers. You can print the entire interview and the final response.

    • Enter “Tax Map” or “Tax Trails” in the search box for detailed information by tax topic.

    • Enter “Pub 17” in the search box to get Pub. 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals, which features details on tax-saving opportunities, 2014 tax changes, and thousands of interactive links to help you find answers to your questions.

    • Call TeleTax at 1-800-829-4477 for recorded information on a variety of tax topics.

    • Access tax law information in your electronic filing software.

    • Go to IRS.gov and click on the Help & Resources tab for more information.

    Tax forms and publications.    You can download or print all of the forms and publications you may need on www.irs.gov/formspubs. Otherwise, you can:
    • Go to www.irs.gov/orderforms to place an order and have forms mailed to you, or

    • Call 1-800-829-3676 to order current-year forms, instructions, publications, and prior-year forms and instructions (limited to 5 years).

    You should receive your order within 10 business days.

    Where to file your tax return.   
    • There are many ways to file your return electronically. It’s safe, quick and easy. See Preparing and filing your tax return, earlier, for more information.

    • See your tax return instructions to determine where to mail your completed paper tax return.

    Getting a transcript or copy of a return.   
    • Go to IRS.gov and click on “Get Transcript of Your Tax Records” under “Tools.

    • Download the free IRS2Go app to your smart phone and use it to order transcripts of your tax returns or tax account.

    • Call the transcript toll-free line at 1-800-908-9946.

    • Mail Form 4506-T or Form 4506T-EZ (both available on IRS.gov).

    Using online tools to help prepare your return.    Go to IRS.gov and click on the Tools bar to use these and other self-service options.

    Understanding identity theft issues.   

    Checking on the status of a refund.   
    • Go to www.irs.gov/refunds.

    • Download the free IRS2Go app to your smart phone and use it to check your refund status.

    • Call the automated refund hotline at 1-800-829-1954.

    Making a tax payment.    You can make electronic payments online, by phone, or from a mobile device. Paying electronically is safe and secure. The IRS uses the latest encryption technology and does not store banking information. It’s easy and secure and much quicker than mailing in a check or money order. Go to IRS.gov and click on the Payments tab or the “Pay Your Tax Bill” icon to make a payment using the following options.
    • Direct Pay (only if you are an individual who has a checking or savings account).

    • Debit or credit card.

    • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.

    • Check or money order.

    What if I can’t pay now?    Click on the Payments tab or the “Pay Your Tax Bill” icon on IRS.gov to find more information about these additional options.
    • An online payment agreement determines if you are eligible to apply for an installment agreement if you cannot pay your taxes in full today. With the needed information, you can complete the application in about 30 minutes, and get immediate approval.

    • An offer in compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. Use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier to confirm your eligibility.

    Checking the status of an amended return.    Go to IRS.gov and click on the Tools tab and then Where’s My Amended Return?

    Understanding an IRS notice or letter.    Enter “Understanding your notice” in the search box on IRS.gov to find additional information about your IRS notice or letter.

    Visiting the IRS.    Locate the nearest Taxpayer Assistance Center using the Office Locator tool on IRS.gov. Enter “office locator” in the search box. Or choose the “Contact Us” option on the IRS2Go app and search Local Offices. Before you visit, use the Locator tool to check hours and services available.

    Watching IRS videos.    The IRS Video portal www.irsvideos.gov contains video and audio presentations on topics of interest to individuals, small businesses, and tax professionals. You’ll find video clips of tax topics, archived versions of live panel discussions and Webinars, and audio archives of tax practitioner phone forums.

    Getting tax information in other languages.    For taxpayers whose native language is not English, we have the following resources available.
    1. Taxpayers can find information on IRS.gov in the following languages.

    2. The IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers provide over-the-phone interpreter service in over 170 languages, and the service is available free to taxpayers.


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