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Four Ways to Get Free Tax Help

Many of us need information when preparing our federal income tax returns, like which form to use or how to claim a credit. The IRS offers free information and services to help taxpayers online, by phone and in person. Here are four ways to get the help you need.

1. On the Web. The website is your one-stop federal tax shop. Start here to find tips and information at  1040 Central. You ll find information about filing options, the latest news, special topics like identity theft, frequently asked questions and tax forms. You ll also find a sample of online tools like the Interactive Tax Assistant and Where s My Refund?

2. On the Phone. You can get free personal tax help by calling 800-829-1040. To order free tax forms and publications call 800-TAX FORM (829-3676). Check the status of your refund 24/7 by calling 800-829-4477. Call the same number to hear taped messages on more than 150 tax topics. These phone services are available Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time. Hours of service in Alaska and Hawaii follow Pacific Time.

3. In Your Community. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program helps people who make $51,000 or less prepare and file their tax returns. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly program is a similar service for seniors. Both are free and offered in many local areas. Between January and April visit or call 800-906-9887 for a list of VITA sites near you. To find a TCE or AARP Tax-Aide site during this same period, go to or call 888-227-7669 (888-AARPNOW).

4. In IRS Offices. IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers are located in many major cities. IRS employees offer personal assistance with a variety of tax issues. Before you visit, check the IRS website for a list of office locations, and the location-specific business hours and services offered. Visit, click on the  Help & Resources tab and then click  Contact Your Local IRS Office.