Not so taxing

Andrew George

The Internal Revenue Service’s website, The Daily Digital,, contains a lot more than just 1040 forms and W2s.

The homepage is laid out very simply, with the main links near the top and the most recent or important news releases links featured prominently. Also on the front page are two search bars. The first is for a general search of the entire website for articles or different topics the IRS covers. The second search is specifically for IRS forms and publications such as personal income tax returns.

But why is this site interesting to anyone besides tax accountants and IRS employees?

The “Tax stats” link off the main page is a great source of useless facts that would make anybody a Trivial Pursuit genius, such as the number of people with gross income greater than $1 million in North Dakota.

If history is more up your alley, the “About IRS” link is a great place to surf. Believe it or not, the IRS and the U.S. tax code share a long and colorful history dating back to the Civil War. Everybody knows that taxes are a necessary evil, but probably don’t know that in 1895 the income tax was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and overturned. If you’re curious about why we pay it now, look no further than this website.

Seniors all know that their future calls for finding a job after graduation, and the IRS is looking for a few good men and women. The “Careers” link leads to the recruiting webpage for the IRS. Hiring more than accountants, the IRS has branches for information technology, law enforcement and finance-related fields. If being a manager just isn’t exciting enough, maybe a special agent with the IRS would be.

The “Newsroom” link leads to a page containing a listing of tax law changes and new developments that can affect the amount of income tax assessed. For example, there is now a personal deduction for purchasing Honda Insights, Civic Hybrids and Toyotal Priuses. If there are any unclear parts of a tax return, the frequently asked questions section can answer just about anything that plagues the tax-paying public.

Back on the main page, there are a number of links down the left-hand side for the four main tax-paying entities; individuals, businesses, charities and non-profits and government entities. Also included here is a link for retirement planning. Since Social Security is projected to run out of money when the baby boomers retire, it is never too early to start planning for retirement. The “Retirement Plans” link lists a number of important tax consequences of different types of retirement plans that should be considered before investing in IRAs or employer pension plans.