People are getting frustrated about their tax returns, but not for the usual reasons.
As a courtesy, Great River Regional Library (GRRL) branches distribute state and federal tax forms. This year, people are getting frustrated because the income tax forms they want aren't available. But the unavailability is due to factors outside the library's control.
Bush Tax Cut Extension Delays Delivery
Late in 2010, Congress extended the Bush tax cuts and forms had to be revised. Forms the library had ordered in October didn’t arrive until mid-January. The binder including originals of forms not used by most people but available for copying didn't arrive until mid-February.
No Home Delivery Spikes Demand at Libraries
Because 78 percent of Minnesotans filed their taxes online in 2010, the IRS decided not to mail out form packets in 2011. Instead, the IRS sent a postcard to residents informing them they can access forms online, at IRS taxpayer assistance centers, or participating post offices or libraries. Library staff anticipated an increase in demand and adjusted their order to allow for that change, but the public soon exhausted the supply.
Reorder Fails to Arrive
By mid-January when it was clear that the first order of forms was inadequate, a second order was placed. That order still hadn't arrived five weeks later.
Libraries are not obliged to provide tax forms, and GRRL has discussed discontinuing the service because it is time-consuming and costly. The public often ask staff to provide assistance on which forms to fill in or even on how to fill them in, but librarians are not qualified to provide that assistance.
Residents can access forms online and at IRS taxpayer assistance centers, or individuals may use library Internet stations to access tax sites in order to print forms. The standard copy charge of 10 cents per page is applied.
GRRL has a link for tax information on the website. The tax information page includes links to the IRS and Minnesota Revenue.
The official source of IRS tax products is the IRS forms and publications resource page.
GRRL is working hard to obtain the tax forms and information needed by area residents, and will make it available as soon as possible.