No more paper forms

Published 8:34 pm Saturday, January 29, 2011

IRS won’t mail tax papers this year

For the first time this year, millions of taxpayers will have to find their tax forms someplace other than their mailbox.

The Internal Revenue Service announced they will no longer mail paper income tax packages this year. The packages contained the forms and instructions for filing a paper return, but it was not cost-effective this year, the agency said.

“The IRS is taking this step because of the continued growth in electronic filing and the availability of free options to taxpayers, as well as to help reduce costs,” reads a press release on the IRS website.

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According to the release, only eight percent of taxpayers received tax packages in the mail. More than 96 million tax returns were e-filed, and an estimated 20 million returns were filed through paid preparers.

Taxpayers still can get free paper forms by downloading them from the website or picking them up at the library. Those who wish to file online have numerous options, including about 20 commercial software providers whose programs are available free on the IRS website — if certain income, age and other requirements are met.

Some folks are none too happy about the loss of the paper forms in mailboxes, but the IRS says it will save millions of dollars by eliminating the automatic mailings. In past years, paper forms were sent automatically to taxpayers who filed paper forms the year before.

Susan Baker, business office manager for the Lake Prince Woods retirement community, said she had not heard any concerns from residents about not receiving the forms.

“If that was an issue, I would have been seeing them by now,” Baker said. “I haven’t heard any of that. That’s a good thing.”

Those who must have paper forms can pick them up at a library. Suffolk libraries already have most of the forms, but still are waiting for further shipments of some forms and instruction booklets that are on backorder.

“Next year, it’s going to be obsolete,” Shavonne Kirkland, lead preparer at Liberty Tax Service in Suffolk, said of the paper forms.

Paper forms also can be downloaded from the website,

The more technologically-inclined taxpayers can do their return entirely online. IRS Free File provides options for free brand-name tax software or fillable forms, the electronic version of paper forms. Both options have free electronic filing.

For more information on your taxes this year, check our special tax section on page 1B of Sunday’s paper.