How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
User avatar
Sheepdog
Posts: 5665
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:05 pm
Location: Indiana, retired 1998 at age 65

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Sheepdog »

Call 1-800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time to order current or prior year forms and instructions or IRS publications.
I have completed my taxes many times without a computer just by reading the instructions and completing the forms by hand but not recently though.
All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
scrabbler1
Posts: 2531
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:39 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by scrabbler1 »

Even with computer access, I have still made use of ordering tax forms through the mail and/or getting them from the local library. Through the mail, I have ordered forms because they come two-sided whereas on line they print one-sided (unless I re-enter the printed page), and the lengthier instruction booklets are more cumbersome to read off the screen. I have had to order state (non-resident) tax forms and booklets from states I did not live in or near. One state's non-resident forms were formatted differently on line compared to getting them from the tax department, pretty strange.
User avatar
Epsilon Delta
Posts: 8090
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:00 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Epsilon Delta »

teen persuasion wrote: Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:41 am Agreed! I'm always ranting that we need simplified forms for people who speak math.
I think the IRS does a pretty good job. From time to time I've tried to use excel to duplicate the logic on some of the forms and I've never been able to come up with something that is both equivalent and clearly simpler. If you try to write the formulas as one liners you often end up with long strings of max(), min() and if() due to ceilings, floors and discontinuous rate changes. I have never been able to do much with these formulas, they have too many non-linearities. What I have to do is look at piecewise linear or continuous part of the function of interest, but that is not a general approach and can't be used by the IRS.

The issue is not with the person who comes up with the forms, it's with the people who comes up with the laws the forms implement.

Personally I think the forms would be better if the IRS guidelines were more tolerant of multiplication and division. They could get rid of tax tables and such. But I've worked with engineers and I understand why the IRS tries to avoid division. I've also worked with marketing and understand why they try to avoid multiplication. If I were in charge I'd put division on the forms and use a $50 math error penalty to solve the national debt.
User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 6015
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Pajamas »

Most people who don't have computer access are likely to be the same people who have to pay someone else to do their taxes for them. Tax preparation offices are ubiquitous even in smaller towns and poor urban neighborhoods. Many of them also rely on free tax preparation through the VITA program.

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-ta ... volunteers

Libraries today do provide computer access and sometimes that is even more of an emphasis than paper media.

As a reminder, many people qualify for free use of online tax software, if their income is under $66,000.

https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do ... s-for-free
Topic Author
Random Poster
Posts: 2324
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:17 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Random Poster »

As a bit of an update:

About a week ago, I ordered about 25 forms and 6 publications from the IRS, using the “forms by mail” option.

I asked for the current version of each requested document.

Yesterday I received my first delivery, of Publication 505 and Form 1040-ES.

Unfortunately, both are meant to be used for the 2020 tax year, not the 2021, so they are of extremely limited use now.

Perhaps last year’s form still counts as current, but I didn’t see a way to specify that I wanted the documents for the 2021 tax year when I did the ordering.

Sure hope that all of my remaining requested documents aren’t for last year’s tax filing (ie, 2019).

If they are, then this whole order by mail system doesn’t really work for me.
User avatar
Shackleton
Posts: 507
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:20 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Shackleton »

Do the forms say 2020 at the top? Those are the current tax forms. The forms for the 2021 tax year won’t be available until next year around this time.
“Superhuman effort isn't worth a damn unless it achieves results.” ~Ernest Shackleton
Hyperchicken
Posts: 527
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:33 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Hyperchicken »

1040-ES is special in that it's running ahead of the rest of the forms, you'd use 2021 version to make estimated payments during 2021 calendar year.

What Random Poster is saying is that 2020 1040-ES is useless now because almost all estimated payments for tax year 2020 have already been made.

That being said, IRS has not yet published 2021 1040-ES, soon they probably will.

https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-1040-es
Last edited by Hyperchicken on Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Abe
Posts: 2216
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:24 pm
Location: Earth in the Milky Way Galaxy

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Abe »

I take my tax information to my tax preparer, and after he prepares my tax return (hard copy), I sign it and mail it to the IRS through the US mail. If I owe anything, I include a check with my return. I do not use a computer at all.
Of course, you can prepare your return yourself by hand, thereby bypassing the preparer.
Last edited by Abe on Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Slow and steady wins the race.
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 6694
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by JoeRetire »

Random Poster wrote: Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:49 am So how do people without internet/computer access obtain their tax forms?
I used to get my tax forms at my local library.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
Topic Author
Random Poster
Posts: 2324
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:17 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Random Poster »

Shackleton wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:14 am Do the forms say 2020 at the top? Those are the current tax forms. The forms for the 2021 tax year won’t be available until next year around this time.
Yes, for Publication 505 and Form 1040-ES, but both clearly state that they are for calculating one’s 2020 estimated taxes and the form contains payment vouchers for the 2020 tax year.

I don’t think that either are all that helpful in calculating this year’s (2021) estimated taxes.
User avatar
HueyLD
Posts: 8025
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:30 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by HueyLD »

Random Poster wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:29 am
Shackleton wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:14 am Do the forms say 2020 at the top? Those are the current tax forms. The forms for the 2021 tax year won’t be available until next year around this time.
Yes, for Publication 505 and Form 1040-ES, but both clearly state that they are for calculating one’s 2020 estimated taxes and the form contains payment vouchers for the 2020 tax year.

I don’t think that either are all that helpful in calculating this year’s (2021) estimated taxes.
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/f1041es--2021.pdf

The forms are near the end of this pdf file.
User avatar
teen persuasion
Posts: 1400
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:43 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by teen persuasion »

Random Poster wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:46 am As a bit of an update:

About a week ago, I ordered about 25 forms and 6 publications from the IRS, using the “forms by mail” option.

I asked for the current version of each requested document.

Yesterday I received my first delivery, of Publication 505 and Form 1040-ES.

Unfortunately, both are meant to be used for the 2020 tax year, not the 2021, so they are of extremely limited use now.

Perhaps last year’s form still counts as current, but I didn’t see a way to specify that I wanted the documents for the 2021 tax year when I did the ordering.

Sure hope that all of my remaining requested documents aren’t for last year’s tax filing (ie, 2019).

If they are, then this whole order by mail system doesn’t really work for me.
I just checked the IRS Forms by Mail page:
Need Products to Complete Your 2020 Tax Return?
You can order the tax forms, instructions and publications you need to complete your 2020 tax return here. We will process your order and ship it by U.S. mail when the products become available. Most products should be available by the end of January 2021.
So they are talking about 2020 taxes, and the forms aren't ready, yet. Not surprising, since they just made changes at the last minute (newest stimulus needs to get included on the credit form, etc.) They will ship when ready. When I've tested the system in the past, each form shipped as available, so spread over time.

Same reason libraries don't have any forms yet - they aren't ready. Patrons have learned over the past few years' increasingly slow release of forms not to expect them before maybe mid February. I haven't fielded ANY questions yet about tax forms. I also haven't heard a peep from the state about form shipments coming; IRS double-checked in Dec to make sure we still wanted forms, and how many. Both have made it abundantly clear that they'd love to stop sending forms. Actually, given the minimal set of forms they send out, I think it would be much more cost/time/materials effective to just give libraries a bit of cash to cover the costs of us printing online pdf forms on request. We end up doing that anyways for the oddball forms that are not sent anymore but patrons need, and we hate charging patrons for it, but can't eat the loss on top of other govt budget cutbacks. :annoyed
User avatar
Tamarind
Posts: 2371
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:38 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Tamarind »

Why not print the paper forms at the library? Or heck, at a Kinkos? Not free but not expensive either.
OnTrack2020
Posts: 715
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:24 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by OnTrack2020 »

We help our kids file their taxes. However, I've mentioned to them that if, in the future, they would ever need help to do them, to go to Walmart. As I recall, Walmart normally has a tax preparer in the store, although I can't remember what company usually does them.
Topic Author
Random Poster
Posts: 2324
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:17 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Random Poster »

Tamarind wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:05 pm Why not print the paper forms at the library? Or heck, at a Kinkos? Not free but not expensive either.
I have a fundamental aversion to spending money to satisfy a government obligation.

The government requires me to pay and file my taxes. The very least they could (and should) do is provide me with the necessary documents to do so at no cost to me.
Topic Author
Random Poster
Posts: 2324
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:17 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Random Poster »

HueyLD wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:51 am
Random Poster wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:29 am
Shackleton wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:14 am Do the forms say 2020 at the top? Those are the current tax forms. The forms for the 2021 tax year won’t be available until next year around this time.
Yes, for Publication 505 and Form 1040-ES, but both clearly state that they are for calculating one’s 2020 estimated taxes and the form contains payment vouchers for the 2020 tax year.

I don’t think that either are all that helpful in calculating this year’s (2021) estimated taxes.
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/f1041es--2021.pdf

The forms are near the end of this pdf file.
Thanks, but I think that the form you linked is for use by estates and trusts, not for individuals.
User avatar
Tamarind
Posts: 2371
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:38 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Tamarind »

Random Poster wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:45 pm
Tamarind wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:05 pm Why not print the paper forms at the library? Or heck, at a Kinkos? Not free but not expensive either.
I have a fundamental aversion to spending money to satisfy a government obligation.

The government requires me to pay and file my taxes. The very least they could (and should) do is provide me with the necessary documents to do so at no cost to me.
Buddy, have I got a surprise for you regarding all the government obligations that cost money to satisfy, particularly for people who don't have the money to spare in the first place.

The IRS's budget has been frozen for a decade. Something had to go besides audits and staff.

It's the old "cheap, fast, or good; choose any 2". But in this case, it's free, convenient, or paper. You can get forms mailed to you the slow way for free, print them conveniently for a few bucks, or use Free Fillable Forms on a computer or tablet.
benderbr
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:08 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by benderbr »

https://www.freetaxusa.com/

Free and you can use your smartphone. State is $12.95.
retire2022
Posts: 1820
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:10 pm
Location: NYC

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by retire2022 »

Random Poster wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:46 am As a bit of an update:

About a week ago, I ordered about 25 forms and 6 publications from the IRS, using the “forms by mail” option.

I asked for the current version of each requested document.

Yesterday I received my first delivery, of Publication 505 and Form 1040-ES.

Unfortunately, both are meant to be used for the 2020 tax year, not the 2021, so they are of extremely limited use now.

Perhaps last year’s form still counts as current, but I didn’t see a way to specify that I wanted the documents for the 2021 tax year when I did the ordering.

Sure hope that all of my remaining requested documents aren’t for last year’s tax filing (ie, 2019).

If they are, then this whole order by mail system doesn’t really work for me.
Random

you can retrieve 1040 facsimile based on Excel files for prior years here for free here, of course Glen Reeves could use a donation.

Edit: Other Schedules are located within the 1040 for that year

I assume since you are able to post here, you at least have access to a computer or smartphone.

https://sites.google.com/view/incometax ... e/download
Last edited by retire2022 on Thu Jan 14, 2021 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
arcticpineapplecorp.
Posts: 7128
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

ask Warren Buffett who owns no computer:
https://www.google.com/search?client=fi ... a+computer

and he only switched from a flip phone to a smart phone in 2020:
https://www.google.com/search?client=fi ... mart+phone
It's "Stay" the course, not Stray the Course. Buy and Hold works. You should really try it sometime. Get a plan: www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Investment_policy_statement
benderbr
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:08 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by benderbr »

Warren is also 90 and he's a peculiar guy. I guess he can afford to be!
ReadyOrNot
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:51 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by ReadyOrNot »

The original post was almost 3 years ago. Didn't the original poster try out forms by mail from the IRS before? The latest forms have often not been available until well after the beginning of the year.
Topic Author
Random Poster
Posts: 2324
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:17 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Random Poster »

ReadyOrNot wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:10 pm The original post was almost 3 years ago. Didn't the original poster try out forms by mail from the IRS before? The latest forms have often not been available until well after the beginning of the year.
No, I haven’t.

Last week was the first time I requested tax forms by mail from the IRS.
User avatar
anon_investor
Posts: 4549
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:43 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by anon_investor »

When I was a kid my parents always paid an accountant... no forms needed :twisted:
ReadyOrNot
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:51 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by ReadyOrNot »

If you can get your 2019 forms by mail and only are waiting for your estimated tax forms, you can probably use your phone or tablet for the estimated tax.
The last couple of years I have used my smart phone for estimated taxes and filing using Free File Fillable Forms. It can be inconvenient to be unable to view the whole form at once because the screen is too small. But if you read and fill out full-size dummy forms beforehand, it is not too bad.
I usually use a stylus, but have also used a full-size USB keyboard with a USB-to-microUSB adapter cable. Tablets are probably big enough to see enough to work directly on the tablet.

You can look on the IRS website for the latest revisions and check when they are available. You probably would need a separate worksheet to estimate your taxes anyway. Until the 2021 1040-ES is available, the 2020 form probably gives you close enough information for your estimate. The 2021 form will probably come out at least a month before the first payment is due.
Deontic
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:19 pm

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Deontic »

In the non-profit world, the new kid on the block for tax filings (about $66,000 maximum income) allows you to get your taxes filed by simply using your smart phone. Code for America provides a number of services including tax preparation/filing using the www.GetYourRefund.ORG site. Partnering with a number of organizations including VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) this past year has helped many to file their returns and obtain their stimulus payments without leaving home. Tax season goes live January 20th., and for more information see:

https://www.codeforamerica.org/programs/getyourrefund
User avatar
wander
Posts: 3525
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:10 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by wander »

Take all the forms to Jackson Hewitt tax service. You never need a computer to file tax if you want.
RudyS
Posts: 2068
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:11 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by RudyS »

dodecahedron wrote: Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:05 am
livesoft wrote: Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:55 am And if you ask, "How do people without computers and phones file their taxes?" I can answer that, too: They don't file taxes because they don't owe any taxes and have no refund coming to them either.
You are seriously out of touch with reality if you think that, livesoft. VITA sites like ours serve many low income clients who do not have computers or smartphones capable of filing taxes. Some of them owe taxes and others get refunds. VITA sites have income limits of $54K but AARP sites offer similar services without an income limit.
The VITA and TCE (AARP) services are great. But COVID-19 has complicated things.

I used to volunteer for TCE. Quite a few folks only filed because of available State tax credits: Homestead, heating, etc. I often shuddered at seeing people come in with last year's taxes done by H&R Block or the equivalent because their fee was often a significant part of their credit.
Katietsu
Posts: 4345
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Katietsu »

OnTrack2020 wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:28 pm We help our kids file their taxes. However, I've mentioned to them that if, in the future, they would ever need help to do them, to go to Walmart. As I recall, Walmart normally has a tax preparer in the store, although I can't remember what company usually does them.
Anecdotally, the Walmart Jackson Hewitt tax preparers can be pretty bad. Your kids would probably die as good of a job using one of those apps on their phone. I think I would send them a different direction.
Katietsu
Posts: 4345
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Katietsu »

Random Poster wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:45 pm
Tamarind wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:05 pm Why not print the paper forms at the library? Or heck, at a Kinkos? Not free but not expensive either.
I have a fundamental aversion to spending money to satisfy a government obligation.

The government requires me to pay and file my taxes. The very least they could (and should) do is provide me with the necessary documents to do so at no cost to me.
I tried to control myself, but I keep coming back to this post. If you are posting here, how can you be without computer access?
Topic Author
Random Poster
Posts: 2324
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:17 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Random Poster »

Katietsu wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:06 am
Random Poster wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:45 pm
Tamarind wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:05 pm Why not print the paper forms at the library? Or heck, at a Kinkos? Not free but not expensive either.
I have a fundamental aversion to spending money to satisfy a government obligation.

The government requires me to pay and file my taxes. The very least they could (and should) do is provide me with the necessary documents to do so at no cost to me.
I tried to control myself, but I keep coming back to this post. If you are posting here, how can you be without computer access?
I have an iPad and iPhone, but I like to file my taxes by hand and send them off by mail.

In previous years, I would print out the tax forms (using my employer’s printer, forgive me), fill them out by hand, and then either type the numbers into the tax form on a computer and print out the final version or just file the hand-written forms.

I no longer have access to my (ex-)employer’s printer and I don’t want to burn through a lot of paper and toner to print off the tax forms, and I don’t think that I can file taxes online due to some foreign tax carryover issues. Hence my query.
User avatar
HueyLD
Posts: 8025
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:30 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by HueyLD »

The OP said: “ I don’t think that I can file taxes online due to some foreign tax carryover issues.”

That should not prevent you from using a tax software.
Katietsu
Posts: 4345
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by Katietsu »

Random Poster wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:46 am

Yesterday I received my first delivery, of Publication 505 and Form 1040-ES.

Unfortunately, both are meant to be used for the 2020 tax year, not the 2021, so they are of extremely limited use now.

Perhaps last year’s form still counts as current, but I didn’t see a way to specify that I wanted the documents for the 2021 tax year when I did the ordering.
The last estimated tax payment was only due January 15. So, unlike other tax forms, I would consider the 2020 1040-ES to still be the current year at the time you ordered and received.

I do not know what the current policy is for forms by mail. But, in the past, they asked that you wait until mid January before ordering forms for the upcoming tax season to insure that you received the correct year. So, if you wish to do this next year, maybe wait a little longer.
retire2022
Posts: 1820
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:10 pm
Location: NYC

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Post by retire2022 »

Random Poster wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:35 pm
Katietsu wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:06 am
Random Poster wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:45 pm
Tamarind wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:05 pm Why not print the paper forms at the library? Or heck, at a Kinkos? Not free but not expensive either.
I have a fundamental aversion to spending money to satisfy a government obligation.

The government requires me to pay and file my taxes. The very least they could (and should) do is provide me with the necessary documents to do so at no cost to me.
I tried to control myself, but I keep coming back to this post. If you are posting here, how can you be without computer access?
I have an iPad and iPhone, but I like to file my taxes by hand and send them off by mail.

In previous years, I would print out the tax forms (using my employer’s printer, forgive me), fill them out by hand, and then either type the numbers into the tax form on a computer and print out the final version or just file the hand-written forms.

I no longer have access to my (ex-)employer’s printer and I don’t want to burn through a lot of paper and toner to print off the tax forms, and I don’t think that I can file taxes online due to some foreign tax carryover issues. Hence my query.
Seems like overkill, how much of your personal time is it worth? Printers are cheap, seems all of the time invested in the back and forth could had brought a printer already.

Live below one's means is overkill.
Post Reply