IRS Information Super Highway
© by Greta P. Hicks, CPA
The Internal Revenue Service produces and provides publications,
forms, and other tax materials and information to help taxpayers comply
with the tax laws. These materials can be obtained via the Internet, CD-ROM,
fax-on-demand, over the telephone, through the mail, and at local IRS offices.
If you have access to a personal computer, you may download and print
any of 600 federal tax forms with instructions, approximately 90 tax publications,
and other tax information materials. Additionally, for your convenience,
the IRS Federal Tax Forms CD-ROM contains forms and publications, and you
can request and receive forms over a fax machine.
What’s On The IRS Web Page?
Tax Calendars. This probably won't help you organize your birthday
card list, but their Tax Calendar will help you find important individual,
business, and excise tax dates for 1997. They also have a Tax Tips Calendar
for Small Businesses which replaces the 12-month Tax Tips newsletter subscription.
Digital Dispatch. Join the Digital Dispatch mailing list. An e-mail
service of the IRS Digital Daily. They know you are busy people and the
Dispatch makes it easier than ever to get your tax forms and information
from the IRS. Sign-up for the Dispatch and you'll get information about:
- Important upcoming tax dates
- What's new on the IRS Web site
- Recently added Tax Forms and Publications
- IRS News Releases and special IRS announcements.
Internal Revenue Bulletins. The Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB) is
the authoritative instrument of the IRS for announcing all substantive
ruling necessary to promote a uniform application of tax law. This section
brings you Treasury Decisions, Executive Orders, Tax Conventions, legislation,
court decisions, and other interesting information in a series of weekly
publications. Keep up with the newest changes in procedure and official
Market Segment Specialization Program Audit Techniques Guides. The
Market Segment Specialization Program focuses on developing highly trained
examiners for a particular market segment. A market segment may be an industry
such as construction or entertainment, a profession like attorneys or real
estate agents or an issue like passive activity losses. An integral part
of the approach used is the development and publication of Audit Techniques
Guides. These Guides contain examination techniques, common and unique
industry issues, business practices, industry terminology and other information
to assist examiners in performing examinations. Either read on the Web
or purchase by mail.
Independent Contractor or Employee? Publication 1976 is available
here in Adobe PDF format. Businesses get relief from federal employment
tax obligations if certain requirements are met. IRS training materials
on worker classification are also available.
Help For Small Business. Programs and
services for small business are described in detail.
Tax Trails for Business. Quick and interactive
answers to some popular business questions.
Important Business Links. Not just federal
taxes here, but other places that can help you in your business.
Your Business Tax Kit. This is a packet
of federal forms and publications for small business owners.
Tax Topics for Business. An online version
of their voice-response system. This area contains helpful tips and pointers
to relevant resources for businesses.
Frequently Asked Tax Questions. Remember,
no question is stupid, unless you never ask it!
Electronic Services. Find out about
electronic filing and payment options.
On-line filing is the newest way to file. You file from your home
using your computer. On-line filing is a way for taxpayers to prepare their
tax return on their home computer using an off-the- shelf tax preparation
software package and transmit their tax return through their computer modem
to IRS via an on-line filing company (on-line service provider or transmitter).
Q. Please explain how the process works in a little more detail.
A. Taxpayers prepare their tax returns on a personal computer using
commercial tax preparation software, and transmit the information via modem
to an on-line filing company (on-line service provider or transmitter).
The on-line filing company converts the file from the tax preparation software
format to the format that meets IRS specifications and transmits it to
After the on-line return is transmitted, the on-line filing company
informs the taxpayer of the return's status (acceptance or rejection).
Taxpayers are required to send the signature document, Form 8453-OL, "U.S.
Individual Income Tax Declaration for On-Line Filing", with Forms
W-2 and supporting documents to the appropriate service center after the
return is accepted.
Refunds should be in taxpayers' savings or checking accounts within
3 weeks. If a balance is due, taxpayers can still file the return and pay
by April 15th. If the return was not accepted, the on-line filing company
will assist the taxpayer in the correction process as part of their customer
Q. What are the benefits of filing through this method?
A. Taxpayers have all the benefits of electronic filing; more accurate
processing, direct deposit, etc.; from the convenience of their home. Taxpayers
can also file early and pay later.
Q. What forms and schedules can be filed using on-line filing?
A. The On-Line Filing Program accommodates all the basic individual
income tax returns and form/schedules as Electronic Filing. However, the
forms and schedules available within different software packages may vary.
Other Web Sites
The United States Code contains the text of current public laws enacted
by Congress. The U.S. Code database service is brought to you by the Office
of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives,
in cooperation with House Information Resources and Personal Library Software,
Inc. This service was developed to demonstrate the potential for making
the U.S. Code available to the public at no charge. Every effort has been
made to make this database accurate. Nonetheless, if you are using it for
legal research, They urge you to verify your results with the printed U.S.
Code available through the U.S. Government Printing Office.
This database is currently up-to-date through January 16, 1996. The
database includes all official U.S. Code notes and appendices, as well
as the Table of Popular Names. The U.S. Code database constitutes the 1994
Edition of the U.S. Code, plus Supplement I and the contents of the most
recent edition of the Law Revision Counsel's U.S. Code Classification Table.
The U.S. Code Classification Table covers Public Laws 104-1 through 105-19
(enacted June 18, 1997). The text of recently adopted public laws is separately
available through the University of California's GPO Gate.
The U.S. Code does not include regulations issued by executive branch
agencies, decisions of the federal courts, or treaties. Regulations issued
by executive branch agencies are available in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Proposed regulations and regulations adopted so recently that they are
not yet in the Code of Federal Regulations, may be found in the Federal
Register. Some of the decisions of the Federal courts (particularly recent
decisions) are available through the Federal Court Decisions and Rules
page of the U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library. A collection
of treaties is available through the Treaties and International Law page
of the House of Representatives Internet Law Library.
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us target your needs more directly.)
The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Reports provides
up to date information on committee activities and their proposals for
tax law changes. The same type information is available from the U. S.
Senate Finance Committee. Currently tax bills have been passed by both
Houses and have been referred to the Joint Committee on Taxation which
has a web site at http://www.senate.gov/committee/jct.html.
If the Web is not you thing there here are the more traditional means
of obtaining information regarding income taxes and IRS procedures.
An alternative to downloading files from the Internet is getting
the Federal Tax Forms CD-ROM. This CD contains over 600 current year IRS
tax forms with instructions and tax publications as well as prior-year
tax forms and instructions beginning with 1991. The cost for the CD is
To order the 1997 Federal Tax Forms CD-ROM (stock number 648-096-00004-6),
contact the Government Printing Office's Superintendent of Documents, PO
Box 371954, Pittsburgh PA 15250-7954, or call 202-512-1800. Fax request
to 202-512-2250. To obtain CD information electronically through GPO's
World Wide Web site enter http://www.gpo.gov/su_docs/.
From a fax machine, dial 703-368-9694. Follow the voice prompts and
key in your response -- "1" to get a faxed index of nearly 100
more frequently requested IRS tax forms (with a two digit item number for
each form); or "2" to key in any two digit item number. You can
select up to three items to order during a single call. The forms are generally
available for fax transmission at all times. Your order will be faxed back
to you through your fax machine.
Telephone - Recorded Tax Information
TeleTax is the IRS toll-free telephone service that provides both
recorded tax information and has about 140 recorded topics that provide
basic tax information. You can listen to up-to-three topics on each call
you make. A complete list of TeleTax topics follows. This touch-tone service
is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Select, by number, the topic
you want to hear. Then, call the appropriate phone number listed below.
For the directory of topics, listen to Topic 123. Have paper and pencil
handy to take notes.
Telephone - Automated Refund Information
Automated Refund Information allows you to check the status of your
refund. Be sure to have a copy of your current tax return available since
you will need to know the first social security number shown on your return,
the filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. Then
call the appropriate phone number listed on this page and follow the recorded
instructions. The IRS updates refund information every 7 days. If you call
to find out about the status of your retired and do not receive a refund
mailing date, please wait 7 days before calling back. This touch-tone service
is available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (Hours
may vary in your area.)
Telephone - Personal Assistance
Call 1-800-829-1040 during regular business hours. If you have access
to TTY/TDD equipment, you can call 1-800-820-4059.
Write to the IRS Forms Distribution Center listed for your state.
Print or type your name and address clearly and indicate the number of
the form or publication, i.e., Form 1040 or Publication 463.
Post Office Or Library
The post office is a good source of the most common forms and schedules.
The library stocks a wider variety of forms and some publications that
you may photocopy.
Handy Publications To Have
- Publication 15, Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide
- Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax
- Publication 334, Tax Guide for Small Business
- Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax
- Publication 535, Business Expenses
- Publication 583, Taxpayers Starting a Business
- Publication 910, Guide to Tax Free Services
The bottom line is that if you want information, it is available.
It just takes time and effort to sort through the volumes of data in order
to find the specific information you are seeking. Good hunting!
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List of Articles by Greta P. Hicks, CPA
GRETA P. HICKS, CPA and former IRS manager, concentrates in solutions to IRS problems and advises business and tax professional on IRS policies
and procedures. Ms Hicks is owner of TAX SOLUTIONS, Inc., a company providing
educational materials and programs on solutions to IRS problems and is
a nationally known speaker and writer on solutions to IRS problems. To
arrange for consultation contact:
Greta's web site: http://www.gretahicks.com
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