IRS holds back on tax booklet mailings People who use preparers are off list to save money

February 05, 1997|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

If you haven't received your federal tax booklet yet, it's no accident.

The IRS isn't sending tax booklets to people who hire professional tax preparers because they typically don't use the guides. And this year, the IRS has also begun scaling back the number of labels mailed on postcards it sends taxpayers for much the same reason. The sticky label bears the taxpayer's name, address and Social Security number.

"What is happening is what's supposed to be happening," said Domenic J. LaPonzina, spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service's Delaware/Maryland District, based in Baltimore. "The vast majority of people who did not get booklets this year, that wasn't by error, that was by design. It is because they go to a preparer and they use the preparer's forms."

The federal government has saved $9 million nationwide this year in printing and postage costs by cutting back on booklets and postcards with labels, LaPonzina said.

"When we get a savings, the taxpayers get a savings," he said.

The IRS has been scaling back on the number of booklets it sends to taxpayers over the past several years. Fifty-five percent of all taxpayers prepare their own taxes, while 45 percent hire someone, LaPonzina said.

There were about 2.9 million returns filed in the Delaware, Maryland and Washington region for 1995.

Taxpayers who didn't receive a booklet by now and think they should have, can call 1 800 TAX FORM.

If a taxpayer needs help, the IRS and the Maryland State Comptroller's Office are offering joint tax assistance in their Baltimore offices all this week.

IRS and Maryland State representatives will be in the lobby of the Fallon Federal Building, 31 Hopkins Plaza, from 8 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m., and in the lobby of the State Office Building, 301 W. Preston St., from 8 a.m. to 4: 30 p.m.

Another change this year is that about 340,000 taxpayers in Maryland and Washington will receive a booklet without a tax form, just instructions, a work sheet, and a personal identification number, LaPonzina said.

Those who receive the booklet are eligible to file their taxes using a push button telephone.

"Which means they have no form to send in, nothing to mail. It's a 10-minute call," LaPonzina said.

Pub Date: 2/05/97

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