| By Gale Staff |
The public library is a hub for stories, fun children’s activities, and community building. At the same time, libraries provide valuable municipal and educational resources—including tax assistance.
The 2024 tax season officially begins on January 23, when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin accepting and processing tax returns. Around that time, Americans will start receiving their tax forms.
As households across the nation clean up after their New Year’s Eve parties, tear down holiday decor, and turn the calendar to a new year, your library can play an invaluable role in planning for tax season. With Gale LegalForms, you can help your community remove the additional financial stress of expensive accountant services or confusing software in preparation for Tax Day on April 15. LegalForms empowers library users to access state-specific tax forms and valuable tips, making tax season more manageable.
Gale LegalForms is an extensive collection of free forms that library patrons can navigate regardless of prior experience. Users can find thousands of legal forms in the database, which are actively maintained by Gale’s team. In addition to tax forms, users can also find digital forms for hundreds of legal subjects, including real estate, bankruptcy, and name changes. Of course, librarians should encourage their patrons to connect with an attorney for serious legal issues, but Gale LegalForms can serve as a helpful starting point for the basic definitions and processes involved.
Demystify Tax Forms
Let’s face it: tax forms are confusing. With coded names like W-2, 1099-INT, 1099-MISC, and 1095-A, it’s challenging to keep them straight, let alone fill them out appropriately. Thankfully, the Free Tax Forms portal streamlines the process by connecting users to vetted resources for reliable information.
First, the federal tax forms section features a direct link to the official where users can leverage the IRS tool and browse dozens of relevant FAQs. Gale LegalForms also embeds helpful and facilitates a trustworthy legal Q&A forum for tax-related queries. In a world of misinformation and confusing legal jargon, your patrons can feel confident that the resources housed in Gale are accurate, up-to-date, and dependable.
Find State-Specific Resources
One of the most useful assets in the Gale LegalForms tax portal is its state-specific guidance. To get the most out of it, direct your patrons to the main Free Tax Forms page, where they can find links to each state’s tax department. There, users can quickly access their state’s relevant forms. While functionality varies from state to state, many websites provide a digital form for users to complete online and submit electronically.
Add Some Fun to Tax Season
Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” And yet, there’s no reason taxes must be morbid and dreary. No one looks forward to parting with their hard-earned money, but the process doesn’t need to cause so much stress and confusion either. Your library plays a critical role in providing access and support to individuals struggling to navigate their taxes and help ensure they get a fair shot at optimizing their tax returns.
Award Prizes for Early Returns
Gather prizes from local businesses for people who complete their tax returns early! Advertise the contest through your social media platforms and tag local businesses whose goods you’ll be offering as prizes for the first three, five, or 10 people who bring proof of their accepted return. (Your choice how many prizes you want to give away, or if you want to stagger by month to keep people engaged in the lead-up to Tax Day on April 15, 2024.) Raffle fun items like spa gift cards, gift baskets, library swag, or a coupon to forgive their overdue library fees.
Engage Your Community on Social Media
Using your social media platforms, consider giving shout-outs to patrons who completed their tax returns early or use library resources like Gale LegalForms. Their testimonials are a great way to ensure your community knows about Gale LegalForms—and that your library is a community hub for helpful tips, deadline reminders, podcasts, news articles, and additional tax season-related content.
Host a CPA Night
You can invite a local Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to your library for a special tax season Q&A. You might even provide some cookies, tea, and coffee to make the event feel more welcoming. This is a perfect chance for library patrons to talk to experts about their tax returns—and provide visibility for small businesses for those who want to hire a professional to assist with their taxes.
Tax Lingo Bingo
Consider hosting a tax-themed game night at your library. Use a Bingo card generator and use tax vocabulary instead of numbers. See if someone in your community is willing to serve as the MC, have a cash bar, or whatever you want to do to make a night of it. You can charge $5 per Bingo card and award prizes or cash to the winners.
Come January, your library patrons are ready for the new year to start. They’re committed to their resolutions and taking advantage of a clean slate. In the face of all this excitement, tax season feels burdensome, and too often, people kick those problems down the road. Make taxes less scary and transform your library into a tax season community hub. You might not be a tax expert, but you can learn the basics and trust the accuracy of the helpful resources in Gale LegalForms.
If your library is not an active Gale subscriber, connect with your local Gale representative to learn more about our public library resources.