If you use a tax preparer, you usually won't need to worry about which forms to file or how to complete those forms - that's in part what the preparer is paid to know. However, there may be occasions where you want to review the contents of a form or read a publication so you can become better informed on taxes that you owe.
The Internal Revenue Service has many forms and free publications on a wide variety of topics to help you understand and meet tax filing requirements. These forms and publications are available on the Internet, on CD-ROM, through fax on demand, over the telephone, through the mail, at local IRS offices, at some banks, post offices and libraries, and even at some grocery stores, copy centers and office supply stores.
If you know what form or publication you need, call the IRS toll-free order number at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). If you're not sure what to order, review IRS Publication 910, "Guide to Free Tax Services," which lists publications and related forms, with descriptions and a subject matter index.
Two other helpful publications are Publication 2053, "Quick and Easy Access to IRS Tax Help and Forms/Fax Forms List." This four-page publication explains how to obtain forms and publications via personal computer, phone, walk-in, mail, or CD-ROM and includes a detailed list of forms available by fax. Publication 2053A is a shortened version, omitting the three-page "Tax Products by Fax" list.
Personal computer users may download forms and publications from the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov . This site also has links to state tax forms and to forms that you can fill in online and then print.
During the tax-filing season, many libraries and post offices offer free tax forms to taxpayers. Some libraries also have copies of commonly-requested publications. Braille materials are also available. Many large grocery stores, copy centers, and office supply stores have forms you can photocopy or print from a CD-ROM.
Current tax forms, instructions and publications, as well as prior-year tax Materials, are available on CD-ROM. Publication 1796, "Federal Tax Products on CD-ROM," can be purchased from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) for $21, plus a $5 handling fee for phone orders. Call 1-877-CDFORMS (1-877-233-6767), or save the handling fee by ordering online at www.ntis.gov .
Finally, you can get that last-minute or forgotten form by fax by dialing 703-368-9694 (not a toll-free call) from your fax machine and following the voice prompts to have the form you need faxed back to you.
This daily Tax Tip has been provided by the IRS
Note: These tips are provided to help trigger ideas on ways to minimize your tax burden, not as a substitute for professional advice. There is no "one-size-fits-all" answer - each taxpayer's situation is different. You should contact your tax preparer to determine together how this may affect your unique situation.