A column on personal finance prepared by the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants


March 1, 2004) – Need a tax form in a hurry? Have a question about itemized deductions? Want to know where your tax refund is? Now you can get easy access to tax information on, one of the most frequently visited Web sites in the world. According to the Virginia Society of CPAs, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Web site offers both individuals and small businesses a full range of tax resources and online assistance. The site also includes information in Spanish.

Tax Forms and Publications

The Forms and Publications section on the IRS home page allows you to select and download tax forms and publications. If you’re not sure of the number, use the search feature. You’ll need Adobe Acrobat to view and print pdf files of these documents.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to many frequently asked questions can be found by visiting You can search through the FAQs by category or keyword.

IRS Newsroom

The Newsroom page provides the latest information, press releases and fact sheets on recent changes.

Where’s My Refund?

A new feature on the IRS Web site provides immediate access to the status of refunds. By entering your name, Social Security number, filing status, and refund amount, you can learn whether your check is on its way. You can also find out if the IRS is correcting a mistake on your return.

Your Rights as a Taxpayer

Learn your rights and get help in resolving problems with the IRS from the Taxpayer Advocate page, which you can reach from the IRS home page.

Information About E-Filing

The e-file icon on the IRS home page brings you to information about how e-filing can simplify tax filing and deliver your refund sooner.

Withholding Calculator

A simple-to-use withholding calculator makes it easy to compute your Federal income tax, so you can avoid under or overpaying by having your employer withhold the proper amount.

Ask a Question

If you cannot get the information you need on the IRS Web site, visit the Contact Us page. The IRS will respond to your questions via e-mail. However, be aware that the IRS will not address highly complex tax issues or questions regarding your specific tax situation.

Starting and Running a Business

For a thorough overview of the basics on self-employment – from filing requirements and the reporting responsibilities of independent contractors to useful form and publications the small business section of the Web site provides a wealth of information.

Employer Identification Number

You can apply online for an Employer Identification Number by going to

Industry Specific Help

If you need information about a specific industry, look in the small business section. Here you’ll find special rules and tax information for more than twenty industries, including manufacturing, childcare, restaurants, and cosmetology. And the IRS reports that more will be available in the future.

Complex Situations Require Help From a CPA

Although the IRS site is a good place to get educated about certain tax rules and taxpayer responsibilities, consult a CPA to obtain answers to more complex issues or to learn how IRS rules impact your specific situation.

The Virginia Society of CPAs is the leading professional association dedicated to enhancing the success of all CPAs and their profession by communicating information and vision, promoting professionalism, and advocating members’ interests. Founded in 1909, the Society has nearly 8,000 members who work in public accounting, industry, government and education. This Money Management column and other financial news articles can be found in the Press Room on the VSCPA Web site at

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