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IRS provides update to libraries on tax form program

Photo by AgriLifeToday via Flickr
Photo by AgriLifeToday via Flickr

On Tuesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the agency will continue to deliver 1040 EZ forms to public libraries that are participating in the Tax Forms Outlet Program (TFOP). TFOP offers tax products to the American public primarily through participating libraries and post offices. The IRS will distribute new order forms to participating libraries in the next two to three weeks.

The IRS released the following statement on November 4, 2014:

Based on the concerns expressed by many of our TFOP partners, we are now adding the Form 1040 EZ, Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers with No Dependents, to the list of forms that can be ordered. We will send a supplemental order form to you in two to three weeks. We strongly recommend you keep your orders to a manageable level primarily due to the growing decline in demand for the form and our print budget. Taxpayers will be able to file Form 1040 EZ and report that they had health insurance coverage, claim an exemption from coverage or make a shared responsibility payment. However, those who purchased health coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace must use the Form 1040 or 1040A.Your help communicating this to your patrons within your normal work parameters would be greatly appreciated.

We also heard and understood your concerns of our decision to limit the number of Publication 17 we plan to distribute. Because of the growing cost to produce and distribute Pub 17, we are mailing to each of our TFOP partners, including branches, one copy for use as a reference. We believe that the majority of local demand for a copy of or information from Publication 17 can be met with a visit to our website at or by ordering it through the Government Printing Office. We value and appreciate the important work you do providing IRS tax products to the public and apologize for any inconvenience this service change may cause.

Public library leaders will have the opportunity to discuss the management and effectiveness of the Tax Forms Outlet Program with leaders from the IRS during the 2015 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting session “Tell the IRS: Tax Forms in the Library.” The session takes place on Sunday, February 1, 2015.

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Emily Sheketoff

Emily Sheketoff is the former Associate Executive Director of the American Library Association's Washington Office.


  1. Hi, Emily
    Thank you for the heads-up. I will not be able to attend Midwinter but I would love to give some feedback to the IRS officials. I am the Library Director for the Ketchikan Public Library in Ketchikan, AK. Ketchikan is in SE Alaska and we are on an island, accessible only by plane or boat. People here do not always have the computer skills to access tax information and so they come to my staff for help. The problem is that my staff is already worked to the max and to show someone how to access tax information takes them away from the circulation desk. Also, when the IRS states we should “keep your orders to a manageable level primarily due to the growing decline in demand for the form and our print budget,” are they assuming our print budgets are bigger and better. Sure, we can pass the cost on to the patron, but sometimes it is quite a cost to them. Is that fair? Doesn’t that take away their access to information, if they need something from us but the only way we can afford to offer it is to charge them?

    Understandably, I am upset at the cavalier way the US government, the IRS, decides they can’t afford something, so they’ll just delete it–without getting buy-in from their customers (taxpayers). Although, I guess it will be ok for people to lose their tax records since they have had a good example set for them, huh?


  2. Lisa D'Ambrosio Lisa D'Ambrosio

    Hear Hear Linda Lyshol! I work at a small library in Central Mass. I feel so badly for some of our patrons (mostly older) who have few to no computer skills. Many of them have deliberately avoided learning about anything related to computers until now, when they are forced to do certain things on-line with no choice! Our staff tries to help, but as you say, it’s very difficult when we are busy with other patrons!!! And some of them need a LOT of help …. We do not charge for printing tax forms from the IRS website, but we charge $.10 a page for all other printing. The first ten pages used to be free, but that changed with the recession … 🙁

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