Small Business Taxes – How to Contact the IRS Without Breaking Into a Sweat

We all love to criticize the IRS, don’t we? It’s easy to ridicule a huge organization of government bureaucrats who often seem to be Public Enemy #1.

Our negative attitude toward the IRS can lead to a strong desire to just ignore it altogether. But self-employed people who ignore the IRS do so at their own peril.

So when it comes to providing free information about taxes, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. The IRS does provide some excellent resources to help us make the best of a potentially bad situation.

If you need tax assistance and prefer not to pay for it, do not overlook these three ways to obtain help from the IRS:

1. The Internet

There’s a wealth of information just for small business owners and self-employed people at:

Here you’ll find everything from how to obtain a federal business tax ID to a series of free audio and video presentations on a wide range of business tax issues. Or if you prefer to attend an IRS small business workshop in person, check here to see what’s available in your state.

Need tax forms and/or their instructions? Look no further than the IRS website:

Here you’ll find a boatload of links to every tax form imaginable, available as downloadable PDF files or in fill-in format. All form instructions can also be downloaded.

The IRS has many free publications that explain virtually every major (and many minor) tax topics in great detail. Sure, IRS “pubs” are not always written in the most entertaining style, but, hey, remember the price.

2. Toll-Free Telephone Hotlines.

Special toll-free numbers exist for the following:

— To order forms & pubs: 800-829-3676
(in case you’d like to receive a paper copy via snail-mail)
— To ask business tax questions: 800-829-4933
— To ask personal tax questions: 800-829-1040
— Need help with long-standing problems: 877-777-4778
— Prerecorded messages on 150 topics: 800-829-4477

Use common sense when phoning the IRS: to avoid long wait times, don’t call on Monday morning. And no matter when you call, be prepared! Write out your questions beforehand and have all relevant documentation in front of you, as well as a favorite book or magazine to read during the inevitable wait time. Stay calm; don’t yell; treat the IRS employee like a human being and he/she will likely return the favor.

3. Walk-In Offices.

Need some face-to-face tax help? For a complete list of IRS offices in all 50 states, including hours of operation and contact info, check out the IRS website.

Whether online, by phone, or in person, the IRS can provide the information you need.

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