IRS Offers Free Tax Help
FS-2008-7, January 2008
The Internal Revenue Service offers free tax help by computer and telephone and in person. The IRS helps taxpayers get forms and publications and answers a wide range of tax questions. The IRS can also help individuals find free tax preparation services.
Taxpayers can access a wealth of free tax information on IRS.gov. 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 forms, instructions or publications; get answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs); and use the EITC Assistant to find out if 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 2007 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.
IRS cautions taxpayers to make sure to find the authentic IRS Web site by typing www.IRS.gov into their browser. The official IRS Web site does not end in .com, .net, .org or any other designation.
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 a refund. TeleTax topics, which range from “IRS Assistance” to “Who Must File,” are listed on pages eight and nine of the Form 1040 Instructions booklet.
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 of personal tax help when taxpayers believe their tax issues cannot be handled on-line or by phone, and they want face-to-face assistance. IRS representatives in these offices can help with inquiries, adjustments, letters and notices and payment plans for those who owe tax and cannot pay the full amount.
Locations are posted on IRS.gov under the "Individuals" tab. Just click the link Contact My Local Office. Also, taxpayers can hear a recorded message detailing office hours and addresses by calling the number listed in their local phone directory.
The IRS provides non-English-speaking taxpayers equal access to all Taxpayer Assistance Centers.
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. You can also type “Contact My Local Office” in the search box on IRS.gov to find availability by state. All local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers 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.
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
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS whose employees assist taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels, or who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. If you believe you are eligible for TAS assistance, you can reach TAS by calling their toll-free case intake line at 1–877–777–4778 or TTY/TTD 1-800-829-4059.
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs)
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent organizations that provide low income taxpayers with representation in federal tax controversies with the IRS for free or for a nominal charge. The clinics also provide tax education and outreach for taxpayers with limited English proficiency or who speak English as a second language. IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List, provides information on clinics in your area.