2009-03-19 / Local & State

IRS Marks Super Saturday To Help Taxpayers

31 tax assistance centers open in PA this Saturday

PHILADELPHIA - The Internal Revenue Service and scores of its community partners will open their doors on Saturday, March 21, to help people who need free tax preparation, a question answered or a payment schedule arranged.

The IRS will open more than 250 local offices from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Community partners will open approximately 1,000 sites on March 21. Tax return preparation is limited to people who earn $42,000 or less. There is no income limitation for people needing IRS assistance for other services at Taxpayer Assistance Centers. To locate an office near you follow this link http://www.irs.gov/individuals/art icle/0,,id=205157,00.html.

"Because of the economic downturn, many financially distressed taxpayers may be in need of free services. Our Super Saturday service will make it a little easier for people to get that help. Although our Taxpayer Assistance Centers are not normally open on Saturdays, we're trying to go the extra mile in these difficult times," said Doug Shulman, IRS commissioner. "Our Super Saturday service will help people get their refunds quickly. Also, if you think you owe taxes and can't pay, please come in and talk to us about it. There are steps we can take to help."

Locations and hours of operation of Super Saturday sites are available at IRS.gov, keyword Super Saturday. People without computer access can call 1-800- 906-9887 to find a nearby IRS or partner office. IRS customer service telephone lines, 1-800- 829-1040, also will be available on Super Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to answer tax questions.

People who earn $42,000 or less can have their tax return prepared by the IRS or a community volunteer at participating locations. Filing a tax return may also be the fastest way to get some extra money. More than 80 percent of all taxpayers receive a refund. IRS employees and the community volunteers can help people get all the tax credits and deductions for which they are eligible. Taxpayers who electronically file their tax returns and who use direct deposit can receive their refunds in as few as 10 days.

Because of lost jobs or reduced income, many people may be eligible for certain tax credits for the first time. For example, the Earned Income Tax Credit is for people who work but who do not earn a lot of money. The EITC adds an extra $2,000 benefit on average. It is the government's largest anti-poverty program. The additional child tax credit and the first-time homebuyers' credit are important benefits also affected by a taxpayer's income.

People who owe taxes but who cannot pay should contact the IRS as soon as possible. Regardless of income, people who need payment options can get help at an IRS office. The IRS can help set up an installment payment plan or a deferred payment plan. It is important that people contact the agency so they can avoid penalties and interest that will make their tax bill even higher.

People who want their tax returns prepared should bring the following information:

Valid driver's license or photo identification (self & spouse, if applicable)

Social Security cards for all persons listed on the return

Dates of birth for all persons listed on the return

All income statements: Forms W-2, 1099, Social Security, Unemployment, or other benefits statements, self-employment records and any documents showing taxes withheld

Dependent child care information: payee's name, address and Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number

Proof of account at financial institution for direct debit or deposit (i.e. cancelled/voided check or bank statement)

Prior year tax return (if available)

Any other pertinent documents or papers

For those who don't want to make a trip, the IRS also offers other free services for tax preparation, including the Free File program on IRS.gov.

For people with computer access, the IRS Web site remains the best place to go for answers, access to forms and publications and other free services. For example, taxpayers will find the latest details on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on the IRS.gov homepage.

People also can track their refunds through "Where's My Refund?" - another free service offered by the agency. People without computer access can still use "Where's My Refund?" by calling 1-800-829-1954. Taxpayers should have their tax return handy to use the "Where's My Refund?" application.

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