Revenue Department ready to answer taxpayer questions
SALEM — Have questions about your taxes?
While the Oregon Department of Revenue can't help you prepare your taxes line by line, the department can answer general questions, such as what a term on your tax form means.
The department has 22 full-time staff and four seasonal workers on hand to help in the tax services unit.
In addition to the main Department of Revenue office in Salem, there are also five regional offices — Portland, Eugene, Gresham, Bend and Medford — where taxpayers can walk in to ask questions or to make payments.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue recommends going to the department's website first, oregon.gov/dor, to see if the information there answers your question or questions.
What's the most commonly asked question?
"'When will I get my refund?'" says Joy Krawczyk, a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue. Taxpayers can check the status of their refund at the department's website as well. The department also gets a lot of questions about tax credits and deductions, Krawczyk said.
For detailed preparation help, the department recommends seeing whether you qualify for free tax preparation help from the AARP, CASH Oregon or United Way's MyFreeTaxes program.
The Internal Revenue Service also has a free file program: in any state, if you meet the qualifications, you can get free help filing your federal taxes through private tax prep vendors such as H&R Block.
Generally speaking, people making less than $66,000, or those who serve in the military, qualify for the service.
Oregon is also one of about two dozen states that allow those same taxpayers to get free help filing their state returns in the same way.
You can find more information about whether you qualify, and which companies might be able to provide you the free service, at irs.gov/freefile.
And what if you make a mistake? According to the revenue department, you can turn in an amended form by turning in a correct version of the same form, but checking a box stating the return is amended. The amended return will supersede the initial return.
Meanwhile, the Department of Revenue is working on adapting to changes contained in the federal tax reforms signed into law by the president in December.
Since the changes start in the 2018 tax year, you won't see changes on your personal income taxes for your payments for the 2017 tax year. However, you may already see changes to the amount of tax dollars withheld from your paycheck.
Oregon is expected to collect about $17.5 billion in personal income taxes in the current two-year budget cycle, which began July 1 and ends June 30, 2019.