May 1, 2013
Every year the Headquarters and eight branches of the Marathon County Public Library provide free paper copies of common federal and state tax forms to county residents. This year, MCPL furnished over 28,000 forms at the Wausau location alone; which equates to boxes and boxes and boxes of 1040 forms, 1040-EZs, Wisconsin Form 1, rent certificates and so on!
However, both the Internal Revenue Service and Wisconsin Department of Revenue are increasingly emphasizing that tax-filers file electronically. In recent years, both agencies have limited the number and variety of tax forms MCPL can order for the public.
It is very conceivable that, in the near future, one or both agencies may stop providing tax forms to outlets like the Marathon County Public Library.
In light of this, local tax filers should be aware of other avenues of help with tax forms.
The Internal Revenue Service website offers a ‘Free File’ service (http://www.irs.gov/Filing). Alternately, all Federal forms are available for downloading at the IRS website. See the ‘Forms and Publications’ section (http://www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs). Forms can also be ordered via telephone (800-829-3676) or by mail (Internal Revenue Service, 1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway, Bloomington, IL 61705-6613).
All Wisconsin tax forms are available at the State's Department of Revenue website (www.revenue.wi.gov). Forms and publications can be ordered via telephone (608-266-1961) or by mail (Forms Request Office, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, P.O. Box 8949, Madison, WI 53708-8949).
MCPL staff can help guide customers to the appropriate websites and demonstrate how to copy off needed forms. (Staff cannot help prepare actual forms).
There also are several local options in terms of tax preparation help. One source of free tax preparation help is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provided by the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. The VITA program is geared to taxpayers with income less than $49,000.00 without business ownership, capital gains or rental property.
Likewise, the local AARP office offers free tax prep help for middle and low income people, especially those 60 and older.
Watch for future updates on the tax forms issue.