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09.01.21

E-Government Services @ Your Library

As budgets shrink, public libraries have become the access and distribution point for a number of government services, more and more of which are moving online.  What do citizens use libraries for today?

Tax Forms and Payments
For years, the Internal Revenue Service has distributed federal tax forms and instruction booklets through public libraries.  Although many public libraries no longer participate in this program, Tazewell County Public Library does continue to make forms available.

Many people visit the library to obtain federal tax forms and some are beginning to file returns online.  If the IRS form you need is not available at the library, you may print it from the IRS website.

Patrons should understand that, while staff are happy to distribute forms provided to us by the IRS, staff are not able to answer tax questions, such as What form should I use?, or How do I calculate the tax I owe?  The restriction on assisting with such questions is a matter of legality, professional qualifications and ethics, and is the same as that which applies to medical and legal questions.  For detailed assistance, consult a tax professional or a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program offered by Clinch Valley Community Action (988-5583) or Bluefield State College.

The Commonwealth of Virginia no longer provides state tax forms through libraries, and is beginning to require filing tax returns and payments online.  You can access tax forms online, print them out, and file returns online at the library.

Staff can make a computer available, on a first come first served basis, and will provide very brief instruction to help the patron navigate to the desired website.  Staff cannot, however, enter the patron’s personal information or file forms for the patron, for reasons of privacy as well as lack of time.

Remember Lucy in the Peanuts comic strips advertising that the doctor is in, questions: 5 cents?  Think of this when visiting the library today:
The librarian is: In.
Tax forms: Free
Photocopies and computer printouts: 10 cents
Tax advice: @ NO price

Drivers License Renewals
The Division of Motor Vehicles strongly encourages clients to file application for renewal of licenses and vehicle registrations, as well as other services, online, and charges visitors to their offices a $5 fee to discourage onsite visits.  Clients file required applications online, often at their public library.

Social Security Registration
The Social Security Administration has announced that they are accepting registration for Social Security benefits online.  Visit www.socialsecurity.gov to learn more about this and other online services.

Unemployment Applications
The Virginia Employment Commission encourages workers to file applications for unemployment benefits online.  Many of these workers use their local libraries’ public access computers to submit these applications.

Job resources for identifying openings, preparing resumes, and interviewing are also available in print and online at the library. 

The library’s public access computers are very popular and frequently occupied.  The best time to find one open is weekday mornings.
Library users will find links to several government agencies on TCPL’s website at www.tcplweb.org  under Reference.  For more information, contact Sarah Bowen, reference librarian, at 988.2541.

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