January 02, 1998
Tax Season Brings Familiar Forms,
More Phone Service
WASHINGTON - Many taxpayers will find some good news in the tax
packages they will be receiving in the next week from the Internal
Revenue Service: familiar forms and an expanded schedule of IRS
Although the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 made many changes in
the tax laws, most of them do not begin until 1998, so this year's
tax forms look very much like last year's. For example, the Form
1040 has just two new lines -- one for the medical savings account
deduction and the other for the adoption credit, both provisions
resulting from 1996 legislation.
"For the most part, taxpayers should be able to use last year's
tax return as a guide when doing their 1997 return," said IRS
Commissioner Charles 0. Rossotti.
The biggest change is on Schedule D (Form 1040), "Capital Gains
and Losses." Additional lines on page two take taxpayers
step-by-step through the new, lower tax rates on capital gains. All
taxpayers with capital gains must use Schedule D -- mutual fund
investors can no longer put their capital gains distributions
directly on Form 1040.
The IRS toll-free help line -- 1-800-829-1040 -- is now open
from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, Monday through Saturday. "Our extra hours
should make it easier for taxpayers to get help when they're at home
working on their tax forms," Commissioner Rossotti said.
About 26 million tax packages will have no forms -- just
instructions for using TeleFile, the file-by-phone system that 4.7
million people used last year. With TeleFile, a toll-free, ten-
minute call may be all a taxpayer needs to do. Only those who
receive these packages from the IRS may use TeleFile.
Taxpayers who used a paid preparer last year will not receive a
tax package, since preparers almost always use their own forms.
The IRS has forms and publications available to computer users
through its Website at www.irs.ustreas.gov. TaxFax offers forms and
instructions via return fax -call 703-368-9694 (not toll-free) from
a fax machine. Forms and publications are also available by calling
(toll- free) 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).
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