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IRS responds to tough times for taxpayers

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Those having trouble -- during these tough economic times -- figuring out their tax situation may benefit from an upcoming tax workshop, according to officials with the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS announced Monday a new event, called Solution Saturday, which will offer the 1.5 million taxpayers in metro Atlanta personalized tax assistance.

"We are opening our doors on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 9 a.m., to 2 p.m., to assist taxpayers in the Atlanta-metro area with a wide range of personalized tax assistance," said IRS Spokesman Mark Green.

The purpose in having the qorkshop, explained Green, is to reach out to taxpayers, particularly taxpayers dealing with recently created tax-related concerns pertaining to layoffs, home foreclosures, or losses sustained due to the area's recent flooding.

Taxpayers will be able to get first-hand assistance from IRS professionals who will help navigate the issues of new tax law, bankruptcies, and past-due tax payment plans and penalties, he said. The IRS, he added, will also help taxpayers with their tax-return preparation during the event.

"We're going to provide a full array of services to taxpayers," said Susan Carroll, IRS director of customer assistance, relationships, and education (CARE).

Carroll acknowledged that the first-time event was motivated by the hardships metro Atlantans have experienced in recent months, from flooding, to record-high unemployment. "This is actually something new for us," Carroll said. "With the tough times that we've had, we thought it was important to open on Saturday.

"We just felt the need to solve these issues and answer these questions," she said. "What we hope to do is to solve issues on that day and prevent them from being problems for people in the future."

The event will be held in the Summit Building at 401 West Peachtree St., N.W., in Atlanta. Carroll said the building can be accessed from the Civic Center MARTA Station, and encourages taxpayers to schedule appointments as soon as possible, by calling the IRS, at (404) 588-5444. She said phone lines will be open through Nov. 5.

"The sooner the better," she saidl. "However, individuals without an appointment can also visit the Atlanta IRS location on Solution Saturday."

She said those interested in participating should have with them corresponding documents. When reporting tax returns, for instance, be sure to bring last year's tax returns and a photo ID.

According to Mark Green, the IRS will also set up information booths at the Solution Saturday event, in order to offer information on getting the most out of the new tax credits created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; starting a new business; dealing with difficult tax issues; and navigating the many helpful IRS programs.

"We need to stay in touch with taxpayers and keep the lines of communication open for people who need tax help," said Rick Byrd, IRS commissioner of wage and investment. "Solution Saturday will be another way taxpayers can get access to the help they need to solve their unique issues."

To learn more, visit the IRS web site at www.IRS.gov, or call

1-800-TAX-1040.