The beginning of the tax season is less than a month away. The IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns on January 31st and in order to assist taxpayers with general tax questions, it has set up several help options. Besides the information available on irs.gov, the IRS created plenty of instructional videos on YouTube. Although the videos are short, they provide quick tips and answers to the most common questions and situations. If you are just beginning to learn about tax issues, this is probably the best place to start and from there venture into more complex issues of the tax code.
Instructional tax videos
The IRS has been adjusting to a growing diversity of the American workforce and steadily adding instructional videos in languages other than English. The two growing channels are in American Sign Language (ASL) and Spanish (see links below).
There are several categories for which you will find tax tips, among them:
- IRS Videos – the broadest category of instructional videos with over 30 tax tips, small business tax issues (health care tax credit, home office deductions, EIN), or identity theft among others.
- ASL – tax tips, how to do your taxes for free, and tools for Deaf & Hard of Hearing services.
- Spanish – tax tips (consejos tributarios), preparing your taxes for free (haga sus impuestos gratuitamente), ideantity theft (robo de identidad), and small business (pequenas empresas).
The videos should provide a broad answer to your questions; they are at the bottom of your tax knowledge pyramid. It’s quite possible they answer your inquiry but if you’re looking for answers to more specific tax scenarios, further exploration is required.
The IRS Help & Resources section is among the best places to search for answers. You can enter a tax specific question on IRS procedures, collection, alternative filing methods, types of incomes and adjustments, itemized deductions, tax credits, etc., or study the publications. They contain all the details of the current tax law but more importantly they provide numerous examples and variations of how the law is applied. It will help to clarify and better understand each concept.
Finally, you can also browse for answers to many tax topics on supporting websites such as letsdotaxes.com. They often specialize in a range of topics and allow for a dialogue with other participants, essentially creating a network or community.