And here is some advice I’ve pulled off of the VTLIBRARIES mailing list about tax assistance for people with disabilities. Here is an obligatory link to an article outlining the effect on some public libraries (in Maine in this case) who are dealing with the fact that people are not getting mailed paper tax forms unless they request them. Currently about 70% of Americans file their taxes electronically.
“Hundreds of the most popular federal tax forms and publications are available for download from IRS.gov for sight impaired individuals. These products range from talking tax forms to Braille formats, and are accessible using screen reading software, refreshable Braille displays and voice recognition software. Click on the links below to download these forms and publications:
Download Accessible Tax Forms (Braille and Text Formats)
Download Accessible Tax Publications (Braille and Text Formats)
Download Accessible Talking Tax Forms
Download Tax Instructions (Large Print Format)
Download Tax Publications (Large Print Format)
The IRS also offers customer service assistance for persons who are deaf or who have hearing disabilities. People with TTY equipment may call 800-829-4059, which is a toll-free number, for assistance.
People who are unable to complete their tax return because of a physical disability may get assistance from an IRS office, or through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) sponsored by the IRS. Taxpayers can find a nearby location by calling 1-800-906-9887 or checking the partial list on the IRS’s website.
Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities, explains the tax implications of certain disability benefits and other issues, and is available at IRS.gov.
Visit www.IRS.gov and click on the word â€œaccessibilityâ€ for help and information.
Only sort of related to libraries, but since it’s National Library Week and coincidentally tax week in the US, I thought you might be interested in reading this article about how and why the IRS is moving to e-filing. To me this touches on some digital divide issues. It’s significantly cheaper for the IRS to process a return submitted online.
It costs nearly $3 to process a paper return, but processing an electronic return costs only about 35 cents. The error rate on paper returns is 20 percent, which consumers must compute and workers must enter into IRS computers, compared with 1 percent for e-filed returns.
People also get their refunds more quickly. There are fewer errors with online returns.
Yet after 20 years of e-file availability, we’re still only seeing 66% of returns filed online. And this is happening even as printed state (NJ, KY) and federal tax forms are becoming less and less available in libraries. Some states aren’t even printing the big tax form notebook anymore. And some states aren’t mailing print forms. Some county library systems haven’t been doing the tax form thing for nearly 20 years. The article examines why. If you are helping your patrons file online, be aware that there are free options available for low-income filers and even discounts for non-low income people if they know where to look. My bank, for example, had a discount on TurboTax’s usual rates available just by me clicking a link on their website.
And I’m trying to track down the copy I had of the letter we got at one of the small rural libraries from the IRS that basically said they wouldn’t be sending us printed tax forms anymore. This was back when we still had a dialup connection and it was mighty inconvenient. Having a hard time remembering when this was. Anyone know?