Saturday, January 16, 2010


It's getting to be that time of year again, when your mailbox starts filling up with wage earnings, interest statements, dividend statements, charitable giving statements, and tax booklets. For some, filling out all those forms can be daunting. And once you finish the federal form, you then have to do it all again for your state.

The IRS has a huge website. For several years now it's been the comprehensive place to go for forms, instructions, and publications. The link for all current forms and pubs is on the left of the screen. You'll need Adobe Reader to see them, but there's a link at the bottom of the list pages if you need to download it. If you have a new enough version of Adobe, you can fill out the forms online, print them, and save a copy to your computer.

If you need to file taxes for past years, start at the IRS homepage, click the link for Forms and Publications, then click the link for Previous Years. You can go back as far as 1980 for the basics, but you might not be able to get every form from every year.

From the homepage, you can also check on your refund, calculate your withholdings, and find out how to file online. Read the screens carefully to see whether you qualify for free e-filing and for choosing an online company.

The search function works well, even if you're not entirely sure what the name of the form or publication is that you need. For more assistance, click the Contact IRS button at the top right of the screen.

To get your state tax forms, instructions, publications, contact information, and more, try the Federation of Tax Administrators. Click your state on the map to get to the revenue department, or whatever your state's office is called.

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