Tax Filing Tips from the Free Library of Philadelphia

By Adam F. RSS Fri, February 8, 2013

Tax season is here, and as usual Philadelphians are flocking to every branch and regional library, as well as the Parkway Central Library, with questions about filing.  Unfortunately, librarians won't do your taxes for you.  However, as masters of the information universe, we can connect you the best resources on this (or any other) topic.  When it comes to taxes and the information you need for getting them done, first and foremost we'd like to spread the word about free tax filing options:

Solutions for Progress, a Philadelphia based public policy and technology firm, runs a robust and completely free eFile web application for state and federal returns for anyone with an adjusted gross household income under $60,000 called…

The Benefit Bank

It’s true that there are some forms and some tax situations which are too complex for this website.  But most Philadelphians are likely to be well served by its step-by-step guided movements through the most common tax situations.  All users should be encouraged to read the self-service website carefully, and follow all directions closely, as one would with any tax preparation software.  Staff at the libraries can help you find and access the website from our public computers, but library patrons should expect to be patient.  It may take several computer sessions to successfully do your own taxes using the Benefit Bank.  As you might expect, librarians cannot advise you on your taxes or tax law, but rather we’ll guide you to resources that can help.

For example, in order to receive intensive one on one help with taxes, Solutions for Progress maintains a database of community organizations that do provide tax and benefit counseling using their software for people who qualify:

Benefit Bank Tax Counseling Sites Database

The Campaign for Working Families maintains another excellent listing of tax counseling and preparation sites:

Campaign for working Families Database

Because of the tax legislation that was passed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day the Government Printing Office has not been able to print and deliver to us many of the paper forms and instruction booklets we normally offer the public.  So the Government Publications Department at the Parkway Central Library, the branches, and the regional libraries have not been able to make available any hardcopy forms for distribution.  At this point, GPD at Central estimates that the federal forms will be available in late February, and the Pennsylvania state forms and Rent Rebate / Property Tax booklets will be available in mid to late February.  IRS forms are available electronically for printing at the IRS’s website, much like the Pennsylvania forms.

The truly hardcore tax nerd should explore our catalog of physical and electronic books, magazines, videos, et cetera for the deepest insights into the history, the present, and the future of taxation.  Good key words on the subject of taxes include:


Tax Planning

Income Tax Law and Legislation United States

From the comfort of your home, we particularly recommend checking out eBooks on EBSCOhost a database of electronic books in our Digital Media Downloads section of our website. After entering your library card and PIN, you’ll find many interesting titles on taxes just by searching.

Good luck to everyone this tax season, from the Free Library of Philadelphia!

[Images from FLP Digital Collections]


Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

Leave this field empty

Add a Comment to Tax Filing Tips from the Free Library of Philadelphia

Email is kept private and will not be displayed publicly
Comment must be less than 3000 characters
This is a very helpful and informative blog post. I have no idea how to file my taxes, but with the information outlined here, I can see I have many options, not just for getting the job done, but for understanding what that means. Many thanks!
Andrew Lopez - Philadelphia
Thursday, February 28, 2013