IRS offers online and in person services to help with tax filing

By Ben Watson - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Filing your tax return is easier than ever in 2011, with new tools that allow you to file online and check the status of your return on your phone.

But according to spokesperson Dan Boon of the Internal Revenue Service, you should check the IRS website before filing.  Then, once you file, you can check on the status of your refund through a new smart phone app, IRS2Go.

"It's free for iPhone or Android users, and it allows you to check on your refund right from your phone," Boone said Thursday.

According to Boone, you'll also find helpful information at the agency's website, including information about new tax laws, old tax rules and directions to more than 20 places in Shelby County where IRS volunteers will fill out your taxes for free if you qualify.

"If you are age 60 or over or if your income is $49,000 or less last year, you qualify to go to one of our help sites," Boone said.

Because so many people have switched from paper taxes to e-filing, the IRS did not send out paper forms this year.  And because of the large number of home foreclosures and job layoffs, the IRS has a section on its website about the "What Ifs" of the economic downturn.

"It goes into situation like, if you had to cash in your IRA just to pay your bills, if you are dealing with a foreclosure on your home, what are the tax implications? One thing that people may not know if you have mortgage debt forgiven," Boone said.

The IRS is also reminding taxpayers about deductions for students going to college...

"You can claim the American Opportunity Tax Credits, which are available for the first four years of college," Boone said. "Then there is the Lifetime Learning Credit. That is available even for graduate school."

You'll find all the details on the IRS's website.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.