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September 2, 2021

TAS Tax Tip: Additional help is now available for visually impaired and other taxpayers with disabilities

Additional help is now available for visually impaired and other taxpayers with disabilities

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Policy Statement 1-47, Reasonable Accommodations for People with Disabilities (see IRM 1.2.1.2.12), requires the IRS to take necessary actions to ensure taxpayers with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate effectively in its programs, activities and services. If a taxpayer is unable to read IRS forms, publications and correspondence issued in standard print, they may request an accessible copy of that product in an alternative format.

The IRS has established an Accessibility Helpline at 833-690-0598, where taxpayers, who use assistive technology such as screen reading software, refreshable Braille displays and screen magnifying software may request assistance in getting certain IRS forms and products in an alternative media format (Section 508 compliant PDF, HTML, eBraille, text and large print).

Getting accessible forms and products

The IRS already provides a number of accessible tax forms, instructions and publications on the Accessible Forms and Publications page, including some Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) publications, so look there first. To request paper copies of tax forms, instructions or publications in Braille or large print, you can also call the tax form telephone number at 800-829-3676. However, if you are having trouble requesting these products or have questions about current and future accessibility services or other alternative media formats available to taxpayers with disabilities, please call the Accessibility Helpline at 833-690-0598.

Getting accessible IRS notice or letters

If you receive a notice or letter in print format and prefer it in Braille or large print, choose one of the three options below to request your preferred alternative media format:

  • Call the tax assistance number at 800-829-1040.
  • Fax your notice and a cover sheet to: Alternative Media Center, at 855-473-2006. On the cover sheet, write “Alternative Media Format” at the top and include your name, address, daytime phone number and your preferred format.
  • Mail your notice with a note stating your preferred format (Braille or large print) to: Internal Revenue Service, Alternative Media Center, 400 N. 8th St. Room G39, Richmond, VA 23219.

Once the IRS receives your request it will take up to 15 business days to convert the notice or letter and mail it back to you.

Note: The IRS is developing a process to make it easier for visually impaired taxpayers to request post-filing tax notices — such as notices about additional taxes or penalties owed — in Braille, large print, audio or electronic formats. The new process is expected to be in place by January 31, 2022.

Helpline limitations

This helpline is operated by the IRS Alternative Media Center personnel and they are only able to answer questions related to current and future accessibility services and alternative media formats. Be aware that the staff managing the Accessibility Helpline do not have access to your IRS account and cannot assist you with any IRS tax account issues.

Penalty Relief

On April 15, 2021, the IRS posted an IRM Procedural Update for the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) 20.1.1.3.2.2.8, Inaccessible Notices, which provides guidance on how to handle a request for abatement of a penalty from a visually impaired taxpayer who did not timely respond to an inaccessible notice.

You may request penalty relief if a notice in standard print format was received requiring your action, but you did not timely respond because the notice was inaccessible. To qualify for relief, you, however, must still meet the reasonable cause standard.

Federal tax law or IRS account related assistance

For assistance with matters regarding tax law, refunds or other account related issues, visit the Let Us Help You page on IRS.gov. Callers who are hearing impaired can call TTY/TDD 800-829-4059.

You can also visit the Taxpayer Advocate Service Get Help pages for information on certain tax topics and IRS processes. If you still need additional help, see if you qualify for TAS assistance by using our “Can TAS help me with my tax issue?” tool. If you do qualify, there are many ways to contact us and request assistance. See our Contact Us page for more information.