IRS tax booklets at libraries? Not anymore (Indianapolis Star)

February 20, 2015

The IRS is cutting back dramatically on the amount of printed tax materials it creates. This means that taxpayers used to getting copies of their forms at public institutions like libraries are finding that they aren't available. Maureen Groppe of the Indianapolis Star covered that trend in her state.

Patrons started calling Indianapolis-area libraries in December, asking when they could pick up the annual instruction booklets for preparing their federal income taxes.

The answer, which many were surprised to hear, is they can't.

The IRS is saving money by reducing the amount of instruction booklets and tax forms available in printed form.

While participating libraries have been a primary distribution point, especially after the IRS stopped mailing materials to households in 2011, this year taxpayers are being encouraged to get everything they need online at IRS.gov.

Delia Blanchard, manager of one of the busiest branches of the Indianapolis Public Library system, in the Nora neighborhood, said many older residents still file their taxes on paper and are extremely upset about the change.

"The comment we hear is, 'I guess they don't want my taxes,' " Blanchard said.

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, whose office was created to help taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS, warned Congress last month that taxpayers this year are likely to receive the worst levels of service since the IRS implemented performance measures in 2001.

Less than half the calls made to the IRS are likely to be answered. Taxpayers who get through should expect to be on hold for more than half an hour. And when they do get through, the IRS will answer only "basic" questions to allow employees to handle more calls.

Olson said the "unacceptably low levels" of taxpayer service are the result of a shrunken IRS budget at the same time duties have increased.

Read the full article:  IRS tax booklets at libraries? Not anymore (Indianapolis Star)