skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help

Topic Index
ABCDEFGHI
JKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ#

Affordable Care Act
Tax Topic Index

International
Tax Topic Index

FAQs
Forms
Publications
Tax Topics

Comments
About Tax Map

IRS.gov Website
Publication 557
taxmap/pubs/p557-047.htm#en_us_publink1000200483

Chapter 6
How To Get Tax Help(p70)

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/p557-047.htm#en_us_publink1000250745

Contacting your Taxpayer Advocate.(p70)

rule
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS. We help taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, such as not being able to provide necessities like housing, transportation, or food; taxpayers who are seeking help in resolving tax problems with the IRS; and those who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. Here are seven things every taxpayer should know about TAS:
taxmap/pubs/p557-047.htm#en_us_publink1000250746
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs).(p70)
The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic program serves individuals who have a problem with the IRS and whose income is below a certain level. LITCs are independent from the IRS. Most LITCs can provide representation before the IRS or in court on audits, tax collection disputes, and other issues for free or a small fee. If an individual's native language is not English, some clinics can provide multilingual information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities. For more information, see Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. This publication is available at IRS.gov, by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676), or at your local IRS office.
taxmap/pubs/p557-047.htm#en_us_publink1000250747

Free tax services.(p70)

rule
Publication 910, IRS Guide to Free Tax Services, is your guide to IRS services and resources. Learn about free tax information from the IRS, including publications, services, and education and assistance programs. The publication also has an index of over 100 TeleTax topics (recorded tax information) you can listen to on the telephone. The majority of the information and services listed in this publication are available to you free of charge. If there is a fee associated with a resource or service, it is listed in the publication.
Accessible versions of IRS published products are available on request in a variety of alternative formats for people with disabilities.
taxmap/pubs/p557-047.htm#en_us_publink1000250748

Free help with your return.(p70)

rule
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 IRS.gov and enter keyword "VITA" in the upper right-hand corner.
EIC
Internet. You can access the IRS website at 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 2011 refund. Go to 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 2011 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, including talking tax forms, instructions, and publications.
  • Order IRS products online.
  • Research your tax questions online.
  • Search publications online by topic or keyword.
  • Use the online Internal Revenue Code, Regulations, or other official guidance.
  • 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-TAX FORM (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 2011 refund, call 1-800-829-1954 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 2011 tax return available so you can provide your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. 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 1-800-829-1040.
 ____ 
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


EIC
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 2012.
    – The final release will ship the beginning of March 2012.
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).

Organization Reference Chart

Section of 1986 CodeDescription of organizationGeneral nature of activitiesApplication
Form No.
Annual return
required to be
filed
Contributions
allowable
501(c)(1)Corporations Organized under Act
of Congress (including Federal Credit Unions)
Instrumentalities of the
United States
No FormNoneYes, if made for exclusively public purposes
501(c)(2)Title Holding Corporation For
Exempt Organization
Holding title to property of an
exempt organization
10249901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(3)Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations Activities of nature implied by description of class of organization10239901 or 990-EZ8, or 990-PF Yes, generally
501(c)(4)Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local
Associations of Employees
Promotion of community welfare; charitable, educational, or recreational10249901 or 990-EZ8No, generally 2, 3
501(c)(5)Labor, Agricultural, and Horticultural OrganizationsEducational or instructive, the
purpose being to improve conditions of work, and to improve products of efficiency
10249901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(6)Business Leagues, Chambers of Commerce, Real Estate Boards,
etc.
Improvement of business
conditions of one or more lines of business
10249901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(7)Social and Recreational ClubsPleasure, recreation, social activities10249901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(8)Fraternal Beneficiary Societies
and Associations
Lodge providing for payment of life, sickness, accident or other benefits
to members
10249901 or 990-EZ8Yes, if for certain Sec. 501(c)(3) purposes
501(c)(9)Voluntary Employees Beneficiary AssociationsProviding for payment of life, sickness, accident, or other benefits to members10249901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(10)Domestic Fraternal Societies
and Associations
Lodge devoting its net earnings to charitable, fraternal, and other
specified purposes. No life, sickness, or accident benefits to members
10249901 or 990-EZ8Yes, if for certain Sec. 501(c)(3) purposes
501(c)(11)Teachers' Retirement Fund AssociationsTeachers' association for payment of retirement benefitsNo Form69901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(12)Benevolent Life Insurance Associations, Mutual Ditch or
Irrigation Companies, Mutual or Cooperative Telephone Companies, etc.
Activities of a mutually beneficial
nature similar to those implied by the description of class of organization
10249901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(13)Cemetery CompaniesBurials and incidental activities10249901 or 990-EZ8Yes, generally
501(c)(14)State-Chartered Credit Unions,
Mutual Reserve Funds
Loans to membersNo Form69901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(15)Mutual Insurance Companies or AssociationsProviding insurance to members substantially at cost10249901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(16)Cooperative Organizations to
Finance Crop Operations
Financing crop operations in
conjunction with activities of a marketing
or purchasing association
Form 1120-C69901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(17)Supplemental Unemployment
Benefit Trusts
Provides for payment of
supplemental unemployment compensation benefits
10249901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(18)Employee Funded Pension Trust (created before June 25, 1959)Payment of benefits under a
pension plan funded by employees
No Form69901 or 990-EZ8No2
501(c)(19)Post or Organization of Past or
Present Members of the Armed Forces
Activities implied by nature of organization10249901 or 990-EZ8No, generally7
501(c)(21)Black Lung Benefit TrustsFunded by coal mine operators to satisfy their liability for disability or
death due to black lung diseases
No Form6990-BLNo4
501(c)(22)Withdrawal Liability Payment FundTo provide funds to meet the
liability of employers withdrawing from
a multi-employer pension fund
No Form69901 or 990-EZ8No5
501(c)(23)Veterans' Organization (created
before 1880)
To provide insurance and other
benefits to veterans
No Form69901 or 990-EZ8No, generally7
501(c)(25)Title Holding Corporations or Trusts with Multiple Parent CorporationsHolding title and paying over
income from property to 35 or fewer parents or beneficiaries
10249901 or 990-EZ8No
501(c)(26)State-Sponsored Organization Providing Health Coverage for High-Risk IndividualsProvides health care coverage to high-risk individualsNo Form69901 or 990-EZ8No
501(c)(27)State-Sponsored Workers' Compensation Reinsurance OrganizationReimburses members for losses
under workers' compensation acts
No Form69901 or 990-EZ8No
501(c)(28)National Railroad Retirement Investment TrustManages and invests the assets of the Railroad Retirement AccountNo FormNoneNo11
501(c)(29)CO-OP health insurance issuersA qualified health insurance issuer which has received a loan or grant under the CO-OP programTBD9901 or 990-EZ8No13
501(d)Religious and Apostolic AssociationsRegular business activities;
Communal religious community
No Form10659No2
501(e)Cooperative Hospital Service OrganizationsPerforms cooperative services for hospitals10239901 or 990-EZ8Yes
501(f)Cooperative Service Organizations
of Operating Educational Organizations
Performs collective investment
services for educational organizations
10239901 or 990-EZ8Yes
501(k)Child Care OrganizationsProvides care for children10239901 or 990-EZ8Yes
501(n)Charitable Risk PoolsPools certain insurance risks of sec. 501(c)(3) organizations10239901 or 990-EZ8Yes
501(q)Credit Counseling OrganizationCredit counseling services1023102312No
521(a)Farmers' Cooperative AssociationsCooperative marketing and
purchasing for agricultural procedures
1028990-CNo
527Political organizationsA party, committee, fund,
association, etc., that directly or indirectly accepts contributions or makes expenditures for political campaigns
88711120-POL10
9901 or 990-EZ8
No
1For exceptions to the filing requirement, see chapter 2 and the form instructions. Note: For annual tax periods beginning after 2006, most tax-exempt organizations, other than churches, are required to file an annual Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF with the IRS or to submit an annual electronic notice, Form 990-N (e-Postcard), to the IRS. Tax-exempt organizations failing to file an annual return or submit an annual notice as required for 3 consecutive years will automatically lose their tax-exempt status.

2An organization exempt under a subsection of section 501 other than 501(c)(3) can establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).

3Contributions to volunteer fire companies and similar organizations are deductible, but only if made for exclusively public purposes.

4Deductible as a business expense to the extent allowed by section 192.

5Deductible as a business expense to the extent allowed by section 194A.
6Application is by letter to the address shown on Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

7Contributions to these organizations are deductible only if 90% or more of the organization's members are war veterans.

8For limits on the use of Form 990-EZ, see chapter 2 and the general instructions for Form 990-EZ (or Form 990).

9Although the organization files a partnership return, all distributions are deemed dividends. The members are not entitled to pass through treatment of the organization's income or expenses.

10Form 1120-POL is required only if the organization has taxable income as defined in section 527(c).

11Only required to annually file so much of the Form 990 that relates to the names and addresses of the officers, directors, trustees, and key employees, and their titles, compensation, and hours devoted to their positions (Part VII of Form 990) and complete Tax exempt status (Item I in the Heading of Form 990).

12See section 501(q) if the organization provides credit counseling services and seeks recognition of exemption under section 501(c)(4). Use Form 1024 if applying for recognition under section 501(c)(4).

13See section 501(c)(29) for details.