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Where to go for free tax help

Last reviewed: February 2010

IRS Telephone Assistance

To speak with a representative, dial 800-829-1040, press 1 (for English), then 5. During tax season, the service is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in your local time zone (Pacific time in Alaska and Hawaii). Write down the rep's ID number, the date and time you called, and the answers. If an audit reveals that the rep's guidance was wrong, you'll still owe any extra taxes, but you'll avoid penalties. Prepared tax topics covering popular categories are available at www.irs.gov.

TurboTax Live Community

Go to www.turbotaxsupport.com, then click on TurboTax Live Community in the box on the right side. You'll need to register and pick a user name before posting in one of more than a dozen tax categories. You can scroll through answered questions or search to see what's already been said about your topic. You can also answer other people's questions.

AARP's Tax-Aide

Go to www.aarp.org/money/taxaide and find the box, "Online Tax Assistance Available Year Round," and follow the directions. On that page, you can also locate one of 7,000 locations nationwide hosting the organization’s face-to-face Tax-Aide service, manned by trained volunteers from Feb. 1 to April 15.

H&R Block Tax Forum

Register at getitright.hrblock.com. You'll be able to post questions and get answers from tax professionals. You can also browse for answers to common tax questions in nine categories.

Usenet newsgroups

We found misc.taxes.moderated and misc.taxes by going to www.googlegroups.com and typing "taxes" in the Explore Groups search box. You'll have to register to post.