Library stops offering state, federal tax forms

Published 10:32 am Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Austin residents and other residents in southeast Minnesota aren’t going to be able to access paper tax forms from libraries this tax season.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue will not provide state tax forms to libraries and counties within the Southeastern Libraries Cooperating system (SELCO) because they want to ensure people are filing with the most up-to-date forms.

Minnesota state tax forms and instructions will now only be available online or by phone.

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The Austin Public Library board stopped providing federal and state tax forms about a year ago before this decision from SELCO because the number of people coming in to get the forms had decreased, Library Director Ann Hokanson said.

“It was hard to keep up with changes that were made to the tax forms,” Hokanson said. “It was hard to predict the numbers and forms people would need.”

Hokanson said it would make more sense for people to print the forms they need.

SELCO leaders say the changes come as a result of the increasing number of taxpayers using software to prepare their federal tax returns (95 percent electronically filed last tax season), the IRS continues to decrease the number of tax products available to public libraries. Some libraries may receive a limited supply of federal tax forms from the Internal Revenue Service.

Jennifer Harveland, Communication Specialist at SELCO, says while many people file electronically, there is still some demand for paper forms.

Hokanson said the library providing paper forms did pose challenges, but they’re still happy to help.

“Each year there was more and more trouble with extra forms and recycling, getting the right numbers of forms,” Hokanson said. “We’re happy to help people find the forms they need online.”

Some libraries may have copies of the 1040 instruction booklet and/or the 2015 Tax Guide for Individuals, for use in the library, or, in some cases, for limited check out. Individuals and employers may order forms from the IRS webpage or by calling 1-800-829-3676, and the IRS will deliver them by mail. Many forms and instructions are also available to view and download online.

Taxpayers may obtain forms and instructions from the Department of Revenue website, , or by calling 1-800-652-9094.