Did you know the IRS is available to give you free tax advice? It might seem shocking since most people feel the IRS is only out to get you or subject you to a tax audit, but they really are able to help you. That’s why they have a toll-free help line you can call at 1-800-829-1040.
This is particularly a nice resource if you are someone who does taxes on your own and don’t want to pay for those wasteful additional services many of the tax software packages provide where it can cost upwards of $49-$99 to interact with a human to go over your return. This is a free service. Granted, they won’t be able to go over your return line by line and check for errors, but they can help assist you with many questions that can come up with even a simple return. Checking for clarification on an issue could save you money, or even more importantly, keep you from an audit.
Even through you still have a few weeks to complete your taxes, this could help reduce a lot of stress that can come from waiting until the last minute. And if you’re still waiting to get started you may want to jump on one of the free online filing options at TurboTax or H&R Block to get started.
Another helpful resource can be found by calling TeleTax at 1-800-829-4477. Calling this number you can hear pre-recorded messages covering various tax topics or to check on the status of your refund. TeleTax topics, which range from IRS assistance, to who must file, are listed on pages 8 and 9 of the Form 1040 instruction booklet. The topic list is extensive and could provide a quick answer to a question you may have.
In addition, IRS Publication 910 provides a guide to all available free tax services. This will outline various phone numbers, newsletters, IRS service centers and even workshops to help educate you further on taxes. Bookmark these pages and write down the phone numbers so that you’re prepared once tax time comes. It could end up saving you money.
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.
I want to know if I can use file my unemployment (which has no with holdings) with my school w2 and my self employment that I earned but I don't have a EIN number to go with it? Would I get a return, I have 3 dependents and I was trying to see what I can do.
Great tip. This could be quite useful to me because I do do my own taxes since it is still simple and once in awhile I would run across a little problem but let's hope that they will be able to help me next time.
Sounds great, Jeremy, until you realize that the IRS's goal for correct answers on their tax helpline is only 80%. And currently they're only hitting about 70%. Add to that the fact that if they give you a wrong answer you're still on the hook for any interest and penalties, and suddenly it doesn't sound like such a great idea.
So sure, if it's a fairly basic question you can call the IRS hotline. But if it's complicated, you'd be better off hiring an experienced, educated tax preparer. There are no education/training requirements for the seasonal IRS workers who manage the phones.