The tax deadline applies to everyone, even those who suffer from disabilities. But the Internal Revenue Service does offer accessibility options to those who need it, including filers who are visually impaired. You can get help with braille-enabled forms and extended customer support, as long as you know where to find them.
Forms for Visually Impaired Taxpayers
If you need tax forms, you likely already know that you can get them at IRS.gov, as well through tax preparation services and solutions and at local venues like your neighborhood library. But if you're visually impaired, you need to know about the various options available to you.
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- IRS Alternative Media Center: You can find large print versions of forms, as well as Braille-ready printable forms, in this section of the IRS's website. Not all forms are available in all formats yet, though.
- Form 9000: Complete this form and mail it or include it with your tax return to request that all IRS communications be sent in alternative media formats. You can request braille, large print, audio and text only.
Those who qualify as legally blind should take advantage of the higher standard deduction for blindness.
Request Accessible Options by Phone
To make things as easy as possible for people with disabilities, the IRS also provides phone assistance for requesting forms.
- Accessibility services by phone: The IRS has established an accessibility hotline. Call 833-690-0598 to ensure you get the forms you need in the formats you need them.
- Request for Communications: Instead of completing Form 9000, you can 800-829-1040 and ask that all IRS communications come to you in braille, large print, audio or text only.
It's important to note that the personnel handling the IRS's accessibility hotline are only trained to answer accessibility-related questions. They cannot access your account, help you file your income tax or provide tax tips of any type.
Consider also: Tax Deductions for Visually Impaired Individuals
In-Person Taxpayer Assistance
Among the tax products offered by the IRS are those that help with tax filing. First, for those who qualify, there's IRS Free File, which is a handy tool for many taxpayers. It's lacking, though, when it comes to helping visually impaired taxpayers.
For taxpayers with disabilities, the IRS does offer two in-person services that can help. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly are both designed to provide help to qualifying taxpayers. Those with disabilities qualify for VITA, and those aged 60 and over qualify for TCE.
Consider also: When to Consult With a Tax Professional
Other Accessibility Options
Filing taxes isn't something you have to do on your own. Many taxpayers use a service to take care of things for you. But this can be pricey. Fortunately, there are some services available to those who are visually impaired.
- Tax-Aide: This program from the American Association of Retired Persons offers tax help for all taxpayers, with a focus on those who are aged 50 and over.
- State Tax Prep Help: If you need assistance with your local income taxes, check with the state revenue department. Some states have programs to help disabled taxpayers.
Deductions for Visually Impaired Taxpayers
Some visually impaired taxpayers have assistive technology that lets them use the free e-filing services available. If you fall into that category, make sure to take advantage of the tax deduction you get. If you buy screen readers or speech input software for work, for instance, it could qualify as an impairment-related work expense.
Those who qualify as legally blind should take advantage of the higher standard deduction for blindness. If you aren't totally blind, you'll need a statement from your doctor certifying that you can't see better than 20/200 in the better eye with contact lenses or glasses or your field of vision is 20 degrees or less.
For visually impaired taxpayers, the Alternative Media Center is a great place to grab your forms in your preferred format. You can also save money by taking advantage of the tax deductions and free services available to you. Many professional tax preparers will provide a free consultation that can help you identify the best way to file your taxes based on your unique situation.
- IRS: Accessible Forms & Publications
- IRS: Form 9000
- IRS: Information About the Alternative Media Center
- IRS: IRS Free File: Do Your Taxes for Free
- IRS: Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers
- AARP: AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program
- IRS: Publication 502 (2021), Medical and Dental Expenses
- IRS: Publication 501