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Publication 721
taxmap/pubs/p721-005.htm#en_us_publink1000265693

How To Get Tax Help(p27)

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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/p721-005.htm#en_us_publink1000293272

Free help with your tax return.(p27)

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Free help in preparing your return is available nationwide from IRS-certified volunteers. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is designed to help low-moderate income, elderly, disabled, and limited English proficient taxpayers. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program is designed to assist taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. Most VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing and all volunteers will let you know about credits and deductions you may be entitled to claim. Some VITA and TCE sites provide taxpayers the opportunity to prepare their return with the assistance of an IRS-certified volunteer. To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, visit IRS.gov or call 1-800-906-9887 or 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, visit AARP's website at www.aarp.org/money/taxaide or call 1-888-227-7669.
For more information on these programs, go to IRS.gov and enter "VITA" in the search box.
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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 2012 refund. Go to IRS.gov and click on Where’s My Refund. Information about your return will generally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed return, or 4 weeks after you mail your paper return. If you filed Form 8379 with your return, wait 14 weeks (11 weeks if you filed electronically). Have your 2012 tax return handy so you can provide your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund.
  • Where's My Refund? has a new look this year! The tool will include a tracker that displays progress through three stages: (1) return received, (2) refund approved, and (3) refund sent. Where's My Refund? will provide an actual personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. So in a change from previous filing seasons, you won't get an estimated refund date right away. Where's My Refund? includes information for the most recent return filed in the current year and does not include information about amended returns.
  • You can obtain a free transcript online at IRS.gov by clicking on Order a Return or Account Transcript under "Tools." For a transcript by phone, call 1-800-908-9946 and follow the prompts in the recorded message. You will be prompted to provide your SSN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), date of birth, street address and ZIP code.
  • Download forms, including talking tax forms, instructions, and publications.
  • Order IRS products.
  • Research your tax questions.
  • Search publications by topic or keyword.
  • Use the 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 IRS Withholding Calculator at www.irs.gov/individuals.
  • Determine if Form 6251 (Alternative Minimum Tax— Individuals), must be filed by using our Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Assistant available at IRS.gov by typing Alternative Minimum Tax Assistant in the search box.
  • 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 (limited to 5 years). 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 most business days in IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC). 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. The TTY/TDD telephone number is for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. These individuals can also access the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay.
  • TeleTax topics. Call 1-800-829-4477 to listen to pre-recorded messages covering various tax topics.
  • Checking the status of your 2012 refund. To check the status of your 2012 refund, call 1-800-829-1954 or 1-800-829-4477 (automated Where's My Refund? information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Information about your return will generally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed return, or 4 weeks after you mail your paper return. If you filed Form 8379 with your return, wait 14 weeks (11 weeks if you filed electronically). Have your 2012 tax return handy so you can provide your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. Where's My Refund? will provide an actual personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. Where's My Refund? includes information for the most recent return filed in the current year and does not include information about amended returns.
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. Some products and services are available on a walk-in basis.
  • Products. You can walk in to some post offices, libraries, and IRS offices to pick up certain forms, instructions, and publications. Some IRS offices, libraries, and city and county government offices have a collection of products available to 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 TAC most business days 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 TAC where you can talk with an IRS representative face-to-face. No appointment is necessary—just walk in. Before visiting, check www.irs.gov/localcontacts for hours of operation and services provided. If you have an ongoing, complex tax account problem or a special need, such as a disability, an appointment can be requested by calling your local TAC. You can leave a message and a representative will call you back within 2 business days. All other issues will be handled without an appointment. To call your local TAC, 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


taxmap/pubs/p721-005.htm#en_us_publink1000293277

Taxpayer Advocate Service.(p29)

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The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS. Its job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly, and that you know and understand your rights. TAS offers free help to guide you through the often-confusing process of resolving tax problems that you haven’t been able to solve on your own. Remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all.
TAS can help if you can’t resolve your problem with the IRS and:
If you qualify for help, they will do everything they can to get your problem resolved. You will be assigned to one advocate who will be with you at every turn. TAS has offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Although TAS is independent within the IRS, their advocates know how to work with the IRS to get your problems resolved. And its services are always free.
As a taxpayer, you have rights that the IRS must abide by in its dealings with you. The TAS tax toolkit at www.TaxpayerAdvocate.irs.gov can help you understand these rights.
If you think TAS might be able to help you, call your local advocate, whose number is in your phone book and on our website at www.irs.gov/advocate. You can also call the toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-829-4059. These individuals can also access the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay.
TAS also handles large-scale or systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it through the Systemic Advocacy Management System at www.irs.gov/advocate.
taxmap/pubs/p721-005.htm#en_us_publink1000293278
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs).(p29)
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS. Some clinics serve individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve a tax problem. These clinics provide professional representation before the IRS or in court on audits, appeals, tax collection disputes, and other issues for free or for a small fee. Some clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in many different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. For more information and to find a clinic near you, see the LITC page on www.irs.gov/advocate or IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. This publication is also available by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) or at your local IRS office.
taxmap/pubs/p721-005.htm#en_us_publink1000293279

Free tax services.(p29)

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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.
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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.
  • Links to other Internet-based tax research materials.
  • 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 2013.
    – The final release will ship the beginning of March 2013.
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).
taxmap/pubs/p721-005.htm#en_us_publink1000228413
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Worksheet A. Simplified Method

See the instructions in Part II of this publication under 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 at the annuity starting date, plus any death benefit exclusion*. See Your cost in Part II, Rules for Retirees, 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 the number on 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 7 8.
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, or Form 1040A, line 12b. If you are a nonresident alien, enter this amount on line 1 of Worksheet C. If your Form CSA 1099R or Form CSF 1099R shows a larger amount, use the amount figured on this line instead. If you are a retired public safety officer, see Distributions Used To Pay Insurance Premiums for Public Safety Officers in Part II before entering an amount on your tax return or Worksheet C, line 1 9.
10.Was your annuity starting date before 1987?
box Yes. stop Do not complete the rest of this worksheet.

box No. Add lines 6 and 8. This is the amount you have recovered tax free through 2012. 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.
Table 1 for Line 3 Above
 IF your age on your annuity
starting date was
 AND your annuity starting date was—
  before November 19, 1996,
THEN enter on line 3
after November 18, 1996,
THEN enter on line 3
 55 or under300360
 56–60260310
 61–65240260
 66–70170210
 71 or over120160

Table 2 for Line 3 Above
 IF the annuitants' combined ages on your 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   
* A death benefit exclusion of up to $5,000 applied to certain benefits received by survivors of employees who died before August 21, 1996.

taxmap/pubs/p721-005.htm#en_us_publink1000228418
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Worksheet B. Lump-Sum Payment
See the instructions in Part II of this publication under Alternative Annuity Option.


1.
Enter your lump-sum credit (your cost in the plan at the annuity starting date)1.
2.Enter the present value of your annuity contract2.
3.Divide line 1 by line 23.
4.Tax-free amount. Multiply line 1 by line 3. (Caution: Do not include this amount on line 6 of Worksheet A in this publication.) 4.
5.Taxable amount (net cost in the plan). Subtract line 4 from line 1. Include this amount in the total on Form 1040, line 16b; Form 1040A, line 12b; or Form 1040NR, line 17b. Also, enter this amount on line 2 of Worksheet A in this publication. 5.