::No PC? Income Tax Forms Hard To Find
By Ira Ess, Special To The Raleigh Chronicle
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
RALEIGH - For millions of Americans who have a personal computer, federal and state tax forms are just a click away on the Internet at government websites.
However, for the millions of Americans who don't have access to the Internet or even a PC, printed federal and state tax forms are getting harder and harder to find.
In Wake County, it seems that in the 831 square mile county, a recent search revealed that official printed tax forms were available for free at only one location -- the Internal Revenue office on Bland Road in Raleigh.
In past years, printed forms were available at many United States post offices -- that policy has evidently been abandoned at least in Raleigh. Seemingly, the post office has made a conscious effort to abandon its role as the center of a community by doing away with such non-essential services.
We tried calling a Raleigh post office to find out why they don't provide forms, but their local phone numbers are not listed in the phone book anymore and a USPS 1-800 number operator refused to give out any local post office phone numbers.
Perhaps talking to post office customers is no longer an essential service either, so we stopped by a local branch.
A sign at the Cameron Village Post Office off of Oberlin Road makes it clear that helping you file taxes is also not one of their duties.
"Postal service personnel are unable to answer any questions and/or provide you with any forms," said a brief notice posted on the door.
The sign was kind enough to point form-seekers to the only place evidently that you can obtain printed forms -- the IRS office and the NC Department of Revenue office.
Forms also used to be freely available at local libraries. However, a worker at the Cameron Village Public Library said that all of the Wake County libraries had quit providing printed IRS forms to the public.
Evidently, so many people still stop by the local library to get forms, the receptionist said that the library had designed and printed up a map to the IRS office.
The maps were great, but one has to wonder whether it just would have been easier to print up the forms instead.
In Raleigh, we asked an elderly gentleman how he prepared his tax returns and if he had problems finding forms. The man said that he did not have access to the Internet and did not have a computer, but he found a simple solution anyway.
"I just paid an accountant a hundred bucks and they took care of filing for me two weeks ago," he said. ::