While few would label the IRS as being helpful, the IRS Web site is a good place to start the tax preparation process. Visitors can download various IRS publications and forms; find articles on tax issues, information, services, and regulations; browse through FAQs (frequently asked questions); and find links to sites offering electronic filing options. The site uses the Portable Document Format (PDF) to make forms and articles available for download. You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to view these files, which you can download for free from the Adobe Web site (www.acrobat.com).
The IRS Web site is divided into several sections that cater to individuals, businesses, charities and non-profits, government entities, tax professionals, and retirement plans. The area for individuals provides a wide range of information geared toward personal tax filing. There are links to information on the IRS e-file (electronic filing) program and third-party tax preparers, information on the 2003 advance child tax credit, health coverage tax credit (HCTC), and earned income tax credit (EITC), as well as warnings on abusive tax shelters, tax information for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and directions for filing an individual tax return. There is also a withholding calculator to help you figure out whether your employer is withholding enough from your paycheck. Those with special filing status—farmers, foreign nationals, household employees, overseas taxpayers, or retirees—will find sections providing information, publications, and forms related to each particular situation.
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