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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

IRS Library Program - 2015

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, January 18, 2015


Our library system has been part of the IRS Library Program for over 35 years, providing federal tax forms to the public at our library locations.


We found it to be a great service to the public as the locations of local IRS Offices were reduced.


In the past, cases of IRS publications and forms began arriving at the library in December ready for the spring tax season.  Many forms were relative the entire year and our libraries kept back files of brochures and forms for a couple years in the past.


This year we were told that the distribution within the IRS Library Program would be late due to changes in some of the forms brought about by alterations in law requiring those form changes.


About a week ago, I heard moans and groans from my library staff when the following was received online from the IRS:


“As you may be aware, IRS appropriations were significantly cut in the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill recently passed by Congress.  Unfortunately, this puts us in a position where we have very few options.  We want to honor our commitment to you by providing some key products, but we cannot deliver nearly what we have in the past.”


As we read the details of what the library will NOT be receiving to provide to the public, it seemed easier to make a list of what we WILL receive from the IRS Library Program.


The concern of the library staff was that people will blame us for this problem, not the IRS, and the library staff has always been pleased to assist the public with their federal form and publication needs.


We are just the “messenger” of the news, not the cause, and we are looking to see if there is anything else that we could do to soften the blow of this major change in the IRS Library Program.


We realize that many people now file their federal taxes online, and the need for paper forms may have diminished, yet we still provide cases and cases of forms and publications from January to April every year.


Even online filers come to the library for supplemental information, including instructions and publications that support their filing of federal tax forms.


This year, the only thing that we will receive for distribution is forms 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ not including the Instructions.  1040EZ will be distributed as a percentage of the other two forms.


We will also receive the “Reproducible Copies of Federal Tax Forms and Instructions” that allows people to make copies of many of the common forms.


We will have access to the online forms which can then be copied for use, or you can use the library’s public computers to read instructions and publications online.


Our library system has been upgrading our Internet service to fiber optics, and we have networked printers to make copies at all of our locations.


Regardless, it will cost for the copies and we regret this change to the IRS Library Program with the lack of availability of materials provided by the IRS.


It is also possible to order forms from the IRS which will be mailed to you directly.


So, that’s the story of the IRS Library Program for 2015.  The Library staff regrets these changes, as they have always been delighted to assist the public with the need for various forms and information.  As far as we know, the State of Ohio Tax Forms program will continue, and by the end-of-the-month those forms should have arrived at the library.


One staff member commented that the IRS Library Program was a wonderful way for people to be introduced to their local public library.  Many new library cards would be issued, and people would often ask if “it is okay to look around the library while I am here.”


Absolutely it is!  We are delighted any time someone enters “their” public library for whatever reason, and if you need an excuse, getting a tax form is as good as any.