Free help is available through Web

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Internal Revenue Service
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 8 and 9 of the Form 1040 Instructions booklet.Free tax preparation is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites in many communities. Call 1-800-829-1040 for more information. Taxpayers may also call AARP ó the largest TCE participant ó at 1-888-227-7669 to find the most convenient location.(In Rowan County, the service is offered at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center. See story page 4A).IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers are a source of personal tax help when taxpayers believe their tax issues cannot be handled online 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 (The nearest sites are in Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem).The IRS provides non-English-speaking taxpayers equal access to all Taxpayer Assistance Centers.
Some post offices and libraries offer IRS tax publications, forms and instructions for pick up. The main post office on East Innes Street in Salisbury does not have the forms, but Rowan Public Library has most federal forms available.For a comprehensive listing of free tax services, taxpayers should get IRS Publication 910, Guide to Free Tax Services.
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 1ń877ń777ń4778 or TTY/TTD 1-800-829-4059.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. The clinics are in Durham at Duke University School of Law, 919-613-7169 or 1-888-600-7274, a controversy clinic, Spanish speakers available; Greenville, Northeastern NC Low Income Taxpayer Assistance Project, 252-758-0113 or 1-800-682-4592; Charlotte, Western North Carolina LITC 704-971-2622 or 1-800-438-1254; and Camden, Northeastern Community Development Corporation, 252-338-5466. The last three are controversy and English as a second language clinics.

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