Tax season is right around the corner and most libraries offer tax forms. However, not all library staff members are prepared to answer questions about these forms. I have been doing some research to help you and your patrons get the right answers.
The IRS offers a comprehensive website with lots of information. Unfortunately some of it is in tax-speak and is not always easy to understand. Thankfully, the IRS also has a You Tube channel which explains many tax concepts in lay person’s terms. Use the following links to go to the IRS webpage and YouTube channel.
IRS YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/irsvideos#p/a
The IRS website offers all tax forms and publications. There are specific requirements to be met for each form so it is important to read the qualifications that are published. The publications also explain how to fill out each form. E-filing is also available on the IRS website. There are certain specifications for the various types of e-filing available, so again it is important to read this site carefully.
Forms and Publications: http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html
The IRS has also created lesson plans for teacher and information for students trying to better understand the United States Tax system. The Teacher page includes 38 lesson plans with factsheets. There is also a custom resource list and downloadable materials including PowerPoint presentations. The lesson plans are grouped into 6 themes and include the history of taxes, why we pay taxes.
The student tax site has activities and tutorials to instruct students, young and old, on taxes and how to file. It is divided into two broad categories; the how’s of taxes and the why’s of taxes.
Understanding Taxes Teacher: http://www.irs.gov/app/understandingTaxes/teacher/index.jsp
Understanding Taxes Student: http://www.irs.gov/app/understandingTaxes/student/index.jsp
Besides the IRS site there are other websites that offer helpful tax information. For some extremely basic but helpful information, check out this link.
Tax Preparation for Beginners: http://learnthat.com/2000/03/tax-preparation-for-beginners/
Another really helpful website is the YouTube Channel for Harbor Financial. They do a little advertising for their web page and Turbo Tax, but their short videos are extremely informative and easy to understand.
Harbor Financial YouTube Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/HarborFinancial/videos?view=u
If you or someone you know has the time and ability to help others with their taxes and tax questions, please consider becoming a tax volunteer. The IRS offers training for tax volunteers. Your library can be a volunteer center. The links below will help you get started.
Become a tax volunteer: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=248201,00.html?portlet=108
Tax Volunteer Form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14310.pdf
Finally, if you are concerned about a tax audit, there is help available for that too. The IRS offers the Tax Advocate Service to be your voice in this area. They have an extensive webpage and a YouTube channel.
Taxpayer Advocate Service Website: http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/
Taxpayer Advocate Service You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/tasnta