Nothing is certain, except death and taxes

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 12/20/01, 1/23/03
 by Martin Zombeck

This is an occasional column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.


"The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has. Even when you make a tax form out on the level, you don't know when it's through if you are a crook or a martyr." - Will Rogers.

April 15 is coming but don't panic! The tax sites below can ease the burden of preparing your taxes and might even save you some money. For those of you with a wry sense of humor, some of the tax sites can even be fun to use - at least the first time. There is an embarrassment of riches of useful tax sites provided by State and Federal governments, tax consultants, accounting firms, tax preparers, and internet portals (Yahoo!, for example). Many tools, tips, and information resources are provided. If you surf on your own for tax sites other than those listed below, be wary of sites that offer tax-cutting schemes for a fee - tropical tax havens, "pure trusts", "de-taxing", etc. These schemes and many others can get you into hot water with the IRS. There are plenty of con artists on the Web. See the TaxProphet site below for information on scams. Also make sure the information on a given site is up-to-date. There's nothing worse than applying the previous year's tax laws to the current year's tax return. If you haven't been too fastidious, you can find a lawyer at this site www.winchestermass.org/wstar/law.html.

All state and federal forms and schedules are online and suitable for filing. All forms and schedules are in PDF (Portable Document Format) and require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader (www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html). If you don't already have the reader installed on your computer, you'll find it a most useful piece of software. Many documents on the Web are published in PDF.

Go forth and reduce your taxes.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue
www.dor.state.ma.us
The official Web site of the Mass IRS - help/resources, business information, forms and publications.

The Digital Daily
www.irs.gov
The federal IRS's official site. A very comprehensive site. The site contains information on how to contact the IRS, information for individuals and businesses, on-line forms and publications (see below), tax regulations, IRS job opportunities, IRS e-file information for individuals filing electronically including information on electronic payment options, and much more.

Federal Tax Forms and Publications
www.irs.gov/formspubs
On-line tax forms (in PDF format) and tax publications.

Small Business Tax Information
www.sba.gov/BI/taxinfo.html
The SBA's official tax information site.

Yahoo Tax Center
taxes.yahoo.com
One of the largest tax portal sites on the Web. Federal and state tax forms, tax guides for investors, tax tips, tax books, tax calculators, do-it-yourself taxes on-line, tax glossary (definitions of all those confusing terms), find an accountant, and additional links. The site is not yet up-to-date. A lot of the information and forms are for tax year 2000.

The Tax Prophet
www.taxprophet.com
This is a tax information site run by a San Francisco tax lawyer - estate planning, gift tax, IRA's, tax and trust scams, issues for foreign tax payers, articles on taxes, and a lot more.

H&R Block
rblock.com/taxes
Lots of free information - Tax law updates, tax planning, tax calculator, rate tables, on-line "ask a tax advisor" (for a fee), and more.

IRAplanning.com
iraplanning.com
From the site: "This site provides required distribution planning information to help optimize the benefits available from Individual Retirement Plans (IRA's), Qualified Retirement Plans (QRP's) and Tax Sheltered Annuities (TSA's)."

Tax Guide for Investors
www.fairmark.com
Tax related information on stock options, mutual fund dividends, capital gains, estimated tax, custodial accounts for minors, Roth IRAs, and many more topics.

State tax profiles
www.bankrate.com/yho/itax/state/state_tax_home.asp
Get a summary of the income, personal, and sales taxes levied in each state and state comparisons.

TaxHelpOnline
www.taxhelponline.com
Taxpayer rights.

Essential Links
www.el.com/elinks/taxes
Hundreds of useful links - major tax sites, regional and local taxes, tax law, tax professionals, tax associations, tax news, tax code, tax tools and utilities, tax software, and much more.

Tax Analysts
www.tax.org
An electronic publisher of tax information. Their principal online databases are available on the web, Lexis, and Dialog. Comprehensive databases are also available from Tax Analysts on CD-ROM.

Images in Tax History
www.tax.org/THP/Image_Gallery.htm
Cartoons from the history of U.S. Taxation.

The First Decade of Income Tax Cartoons
www.boondocksnet.com/gallery/taxes_intro.html
From the site - "The 16th Amendment to the Constitution, proposed by Congress in 1909 and ratified by the states in 1913, gave the federal government the power to levy income taxes." Also take a look at the collection of political cartoons at this site. They go back to the early 19th century.

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (www.winchestermass.org), Martin Zombeck can be found at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist. E-mail: mvz@alum.mit.edu.

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