By CRAIG FREILICH
With just a few weeks until “tax day,” April 15, at least one St. Lawrence County library is having trouble getting its usual supply of the most-used federal tax forms for library patrons.
The delays and non-deliveries are causing consternation among patrons and staff at the Potsdam Public Library, which has been accused of dropping the ball on acquiring the 1040 and 1040A forms, and the instruction booklet.
And the Canton Free Library had trouble getting the forms, but they did finally get them.
“The forms were ordered in November and all came except the 1040, the 1040A and the 1040 booklet,” said Potsdam Public Library Director Pat Musante. Those forms are the most widely used federal tax forms.
“The IRS is still having a problem with this situation and they have still not been sent to us,” Musante said.
Canton Free Library Director Emily Owen, who is relatively new to the Canton library but not to ordering the forms for libraries, said they were ordered for Canton in August, “about as early as we could,” she said.
“It took some calls to finally get them,” but the 1040 forms did finally get there recently, she said. “I’m not the only person who was frustrated.”
A Potsdam resident said she has made some calls, too.
“I thought as usual I could stop at the library to pick up the forms after getting my groceries,” said the 82-year-old woman, who prefers not to be identified by name.
“The government expects us to pay our taxes, but they can’t make the forms available,” she said.
“The library made the usual application, but they’ve not been able to get them. I called (Assemblywoman) Addie Russell and (Representative) Bill Owens to see what could be done,” she said, but she says that a week later, she hasn’t heard anything.
The Canton library’s Owen said the forms are available on the IRS web site, and the staff at the library are happy to print them out, but not everyone wants to do it that way.
“People are asking for the forms every day,” she said.
“It’s a bit of a headache and we feel bad. We hate to have to turn them away.”
Musante said her staff will also gladly direct patrons to computers for the forms and help them with it, or to print out the instruction booklet, “but who wants to print out the whole booklet?”
Janet Moore at Potsdam’s library said she first ordered the forms in August, but it apparently turned out the that form on the IRS web site to order the 2013 forms inexplicably was for 2009 tax year forms. She said she got an email saying the order was wrong, but when she ordered them correctly, “it would just come back again.”
“They were all confused at the IRS,” Musante said.
“There’s a fair chance they may still come in,” she said.
“I don’t think they’re going to be sending them at all next year,” she said.
“I’m just speculating, but I think they want people to go online. But some people just want the paper forms.”
Both librarians say they have the state forms and most of the other federal forms.
Peggy Riley of the IRS regional office says she hasn’t heard of delivery problems at places that like to stock the forms, but she does say they have been getting orders for fewer paper forms over the last few years as online tax filing becomes more popular.
She says there isn’t a lot of time left, but people can still call (800) TAX FORM (829-3676) and get advice on what forms they need mailed to them.