As you are doing your federal income taxes, you may experience a moment of panic: I don’t have Schedule SE (the form for the self-employed)! Or I don’t have Schedule D (the form for capital gains)! Or I need 1040-SR (the form for seniors)!
Don’t worry. Even if your tax situation is complex, you should be able to get your tax forms easily.
Help from the IRS website
The IRS no longer automatically mails out tax forms, because most people file online. The fastest and most efficient way of getting tax forms is through the Internal Revenue Service website. Click on the link for Forms, Instructions and Publications and you’ll be able to find most tax forms, as well as the instructions for each form. You can download those forms, print them out and send them to the IRS. If you have income of less than $73,000, you can get free software that will calculate your taxes and let you file electronically for free.
If you like, you can use the IRS free file fillable forms, which will do some basic calculations for you and help you file for free electronically. You’ll have to create an IRS account to file electronically. The forms are available until Oct. 17, 2023, for the 2022 tax year.
All accounts and tax return information are erased after the five-day correction period in October. You’ll have to create a new account in the next tax year. Be very careful when entering your email address and your phone number; otherwise, you could get locked out of your account.
By phone and in person
If you simply want forms, you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-3676. If you want to talk to an IRS representative, call (800) 829-1040 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time. Monday is the heaviest day for call traffic.
Finally, you can walk in and pick up your forms at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). There are more than 400 TACs across the country where the IRS offers face-to-face assistance to taxpayers, and where taxpayers can pick up many IRS forms and publications. Visit IRS.gov and go to Contact My Local Office on the Individuals page to find a list of TAC locations by state. On the Contact My Local Office page, you can also select Office Locator and enter your zip code to find the IRS walk-in office nearest you, as well as a list of services available at specific offices.
The post office no longer carries tax forms. However, your local government offices may have federal and state tax forms. You can also get tax forms from many local libraries. If they don’t have the paper forms, they may well have computers where you can download the forms and print them out.
Be aware that filing a paper return means that you will have a long wait to get your tax return. The IRS says that if you file a complete and accurate paper tax return, your refund should be issued in about six to eight weeks from the date IRS receives your return. If you file your return electronically, your refund should be issued in less than three weeks — even faster when you choose direct deposit.