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previous page Previous Page: Publication 575 - Pension and Annuity Income - Relief for Midwestern Disaster Areas
next page Next Page: Publication 583 - Starting a Business and Keeping Records - Starting a Business and Keeping Records
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication
taxmap/pubs/p575-010.htm#en_us_publink100070886

How To Get Tax Help(p40)


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You can get help with unresolved tax issues, order free publications and forms, ask tax questions, and get information from the IRS in several ways. By selecting the method that is best for you, you will have quick and easy access to tax help.
taxmap/pubs/p575-010.htm#en_us_publink100070887

Contacting your Taxpayer Advocate.(p40)


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The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS whose employees assist taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels, or who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should.
You can contact the TAS by calling the TAS toll-free case intake line at 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059 to see if you are eligible for assistance. You can also call or write your local taxpayer advocate, whose phone number and address are listed in your local telephone directory and in Publication 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service—Your Voice at the IRS. You can file Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order), or ask an IRS employee to complete it on your behalf. For more information, go to www.irs.gov/advocate.
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Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs).(p40)
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LITCs are independent organizations that provide low income taxpayers with representation in federal tax controversies with the IRS for free or for a nominal charge. The clinics also provide tax education and outreach for taxpayers who speak English as a second language. Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List, provides information on clinics in your area. It is available at www.irs.gov or your local IRS office.
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Free tax services.(p40)


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To find out what services are available, get Publication 910, IRS Guide to Free Tax Services. It contains lists of free tax information sources, including publications, services, and free tax education and assistance programs. It also has an index of over 100 TeleTax topics (recorded tax information) you can listen to on your telephone.
Accessible versions of IRS published products are available on request in a variety of alternative formats for people with disabilities.
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Free help with your return.(p40)


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Free help in preparing your return is available nationwide from IRS-trained volunteers. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is designed to help low-income taxpayers and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program is designed to assist taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. Many VITA sites offer free electronic filing and all volunteers will let you know about credits and deductions you may be entitled to claim. To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, call 1-800-829-1040.
As part of the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program. To find the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit AARP's website at 
www.aarp.org/money/taxaide.
For more information on these programs, go to www.irs.gov and enter keyword "VITA" in the upper right-hand corner.
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Internet. You can access the IRS website at www.irs.gov 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to:
  • E-file your return. Find out about commercial tax preparation and e-file services available free to eligible taxpayers.
  • Check the status of your 2008 refund. Go to www.irs.gov and click on Where's My Refund. Wait at least 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or 3 to 4 weeks after mailing a paper return. If you filed Form 8379 with your return, wait 14 weeks (11 weeks if you filed electronically). Have your 2008 tax return available so you can provide your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund.
  • Download forms, instructions, and publications.
  • Order IRS products online.
  • Research your tax questions online.
  • Search publications online by topic or keyword.
  • View Internal Revenue Bulletins (IRBs) published in the last few years.
  • Figure your withholding allowances using the withholding calculator online at  
    www.irs.gov/individuals.
  • Determine if Form 6251 must be filed by using our Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Assistant.
  • Sign up to receive local and national tax news by email.
  • Get information on starting and operating a small business.
Phone
Phone. Many services are available by phone.  
  • Ordering forms, instructions, and publications. Call 1-800-829-3676 to order current-year forms, instructions, and publications, and prior-year forms and instructions. You should receive your order within 10 days.
  • Asking tax questions. Call the IRS with your tax questions at 1-800-829-1040.
  • Solving problems. You can get face-to-face help solving tax problems every business day in IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers. An employee can explain IRS letters, request adjustments to your account, or help you set up a payment plan. Call your local Taxpayer Assistance Center for an appointment. To find the number, go to  
    www.irs.gov/localcontacts or look in the phone book under United States Government, Internal Revenue Service.
  • TTY/TDD equipment. If you have access to TTY/TDD equipment, call 1-800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or to order forms and publications.
  • TeleTax topics. Call 1-800-829-4477 to listen to pre-recorded messages covering various tax topics.
  • Refund information. To check the status of your 2008 refund, call 1-800-829-1954 during business hours or 1-800-829-4477 (automated refund information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Wait at least 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or 3 to 4 weeks after mailing a paper return. If you filed Form 8379 with your return, wait 14 weeks (11 weeks if you filed electronically). Have your 2008 tax return available so you can provide your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. Refunds are sent out weekly on Fridays. If you check the status of your refund and are not given the date it will be issued, please wait until the next week before checking back.
  • Other refund information. To check the status of a prior year refund or amended return refund, call 1-800-829-1954.
 ____ 
Evaluating the quality of our telephone services. To ensure IRS representatives give accurate, courteous, and professional answers, we use several methods to evaluate the quality of our telephone services. One method is for a second IRS representative to listen in on or record random telephone calls. Another is to ask some callers to complete a short survey at the end of the call.
Walk In
Walk-in. Many products and services are available on a walk-in basis. 
  • Products. You can walk in to many post offices, libraries, and IRS offices to pick up certain forms, instructions, and publications. Some IRS offices, libraries, grocery stores, copy centers, city and county government offices, credit unions, and office supply stores have a collection of products available to print from a CD or photocopy from reproducible proofs. Also, some IRS offices and libraries have the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, Internal Revenue Bulletins, and Cumulative Bulletins available for research purposes.
  • Services. You can walk in to your local Taxpayer Assistance Center every business day for personal, face-to-face tax help. An employee can explain IRS letters, request adjustments to your tax account, or help you set up a payment plan. If you need to resolve a tax problem, have questions about how the tax law applies to your individual tax return, or you are more comfortable talking with someone in person, visit your local Taxpayer Assistance Center where you can spread out your records and talk with an IRS representative face-to-face. No appointment is necessary—just walk in. If you prefer, you can call your local Center and leave a message requesting an appointment to resolve a tax account issue. A representative will call you back within 2 business days to schedule an in-person appointment at your convenience. If you have an ongoing, complex tax account problem or a special need, such as a disability, an appointment can be requested. All other issues will be handled without an appointment. To find the number of your local office, go to www.irs.gov/localcontacts or look in the phone book under United States Government, Internal Revenue Service.
Due date
Mail. You can send your order for forms, instructions, and publications to the address below. You should receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

 
Internal Revenue Service 
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway 
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613


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DVD for tax products. You can order Publication 1796, IRS Tax Products DVD, and obtain:
  • Current-year forms, instructions, and publications.
  • Prior-year forms, instructions, and publications.
  • Tax Map: an electronic research tool and finding aid.
  • Tax law frequently asked questions.
  • Tax Topics from the IRS telephone response system.
  • Internal Revenue Code—Title 26 of the U.S. Code.
  • Fill-in, print, and save features for most tax forms.
  • Internal Revenue Bulletins.
  • Toll-free and email technical support.
  • Two releases during the year. 
    – The first release will ship the beginning of January 2009. 
    – The final release will ship the beginning of March 2009.
Purchase the DVD from National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at  
www.irs.gov/cdorders for $30 (no handling fee) or call 1-877-233-6767 toll free to buy the DVD for $30 (plus a $6 handling fee).
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Small Business Resource Guide 2009. This online guide is a must for every small business owner or any taxpayer about to start a business. This year's guide includes:
  • Helpful information, such as how to prepare a business plan, find financing for your business, and much more.
  • All the business tax forms, instructions, and publications needed to successfully manage a business.
  • Tax law changes for 2009.
  • Tax Map: an electronic research tool and finding aid.
  • Web links to various government agencies, business associations, and IRS organizations.
  • "Rate the Product" survey—your opportunity to suggest changes for future editions.
  • A site map of the guide to help you navigate the pages with ease.
  • An interactive "Teens in Biz" module that gives practical tips for teens about starting their own business, creating a business plan, and filing taxes.
The information is updated during the year. Visit www.irs.gov and enter keyword "SBRG" in the upper right-hand corner for more information.
taxmap/pubs/p575-010.htm#w46713c58
Pencil

Worksheet A. Simplified Method

1.Enter the total pension or annuity payments received this year. Also, add this amount to the total for Form 1040, line 16a; Form 1040A, line 12a; or Form 1040NR, line 17a 1.            
2.Enter your cost in the plan (contract) at the annuity starting date plus any death benefit exclusion.* See Cost (Investment in the Contract) earlier 2.            
Note: If your annuity starting date was before this year and you completed this worksheet last year, skip line 3 and enter the amount from line 4 of last year's worksheet on line 4 below (even if the amount of your pension or annuity has changed). Otherwise, go to line 3.  
3.Enter the appropriate number from Table 1 below. But if your annuity starting date was after 1997 and the payments are for your life and that of your beneficiary, enter the appropriate number from Table 2 below. 3.            
4.Divide line 2 by line 34.            
5.Multiply line 4 by the number of months for which this year's payments were made. If your annuity starting date was before 1987, enter this amount on line 8 below and skip lines 6, 7, 10, and 11. Otherwise, go to line 6 5.            
6.Enter any amounts previously recovered tax free in years after 1986. This is the amount shown on line 10 of your worksheet for last year 6.            
7.Subtract line 6 from line 27.            
8. Enter the smaller of line 5 or line 78.            
9.Taxable amount for year. Subtract line 8 from line 1. Enter the result, but not less than zero. Also, add this amount to the total for Form 1040, line 16b; Form 1040A, line 12b; or Form 1040NR, line 17b.
Note: If your Form 1099-R shows a larger taxable amount, use the amount figured on this line instead. If you are a retired public safety officer, see Insurance Premiums for Retired Public Safety Officers earlier before entering an amount on your tax return
9.            
10.Was your annuity starting date before 1987?
□ Yes. STOP. Do not complete the rest of this worksheet.
□ No. Add lines 6 and 8. This is the amount you have recovered tax free through 2008. You will need this number if you need to fill out this worksheet next year
10.            
11.Balance of cost to be recovered. Subtract line 10 from line 2. If zero, you will not have to complete this worksheet next year. The payments you receive next year will generally be fully taxable 11.            
* A death benefit exclusion (up to $5,000) applied to certain benefits received by employees who died before August 21, 1996.
Table 1 for Line 3 Above
 IF the age at
annuity starting date was
  
  AND your annuity starting date was—
  BEFORE November 19, 1996,
enter on line 3
AFTER November 18, 1996,
enter on line 3
 55 or under300360
 56-60260310
 61-65240260
 66-70170210
 71 or over120160
Table 2 for Line 3 Above
 IF the combined ages at annuity starting date were THEN enter on line 3   
 110 or under 410   
 111-120 360   
 121-130 310   
 131-140 260   
 141 or over 210   
taxmap/pubs/p575-010.htm#en_us_publink1000121027
taxmap/pubs/p575-010.htm#TXMP5a5ed448
Tax Publications for Individual Taxpayers and Commonly Used Tax Forms Text DescriptionTax Publications for Individual Taxpayers and Commonly Used Tax Forms  
previous pagePrevious Page: Publication 575 - Pension and Annuity Income - Relief for Midwestern Disaster Areas
next pageNext Page: Publication 583 - Starting a Business and Keeping Records - Starting a Business and Keeping Records
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication