The Cruelest Month

| February 12, 2011

Tax complexity itself is a kind of tax. ~Max Baucus

For several years I was the Official Tax Coordinator of Mounds View Public Library, an illustrious post and one that I dearly miss. There’s nothing quite like the smell of a freshly opened box of 1040-EZ instructional booklets. In the spirit of tax preparedness I shall present for your amusement an array of resources and links akin to the appetizing buffet of IRS missives I so lovingly assembled long ago.

It being the internet age, the IRS has been gently nudging users towards the wonders of e-filing for the past several years. It’s pretty hard to get ye olde paper tax forms nowadays, but one can still obtain them in person at some public library branches.

You can get the same forms and print them from the IRS website but if you’d like to save the 15 cents you can have the IRS mail you the forms by ordering online or by phone at 800-829-3676.  It’s always fun to get mail…right? For the kids, one can now e-file through the IRS website! The baby step in this bunch is their alliterative Free File Fillable Forms which are just like the paper forms except the IRS need not painfully decipher your handwriting. For those who need a little hand-holding the IRS has also compiled a little list of free software though most of it has an AGI cap of $58,000. If your AGI is below $31,000 you can also take advantage of the Turbo Tax Freedom Edition. Who says the rich get everything?

Columbia University Libraries has a pretty nice list of tax links, including resources for international students. NYPL has a good resource list too, including times and locations for tax prep assistance, though most of these sessions have income or ability requirements.

Above all, don’t worry! Taxes are painful, stressful and frightening for everyone.  At best you will get money back and at the very worst you will go to jail where you will still have to do taxes but with greater stakes and scrutiny. Cheers!