You may not love the Internal Revenue Service right now, but consider what it has done for you lately. Until this year, only the tiniest businesses (less than $150,000 in gross annual sales) could get a 90% discount on the $5,000 cost of obtaining a private-letter ruling (that's an advance judgment from the IRS on any tricky deduction you want to claim). Now, companies with as much as $1 million in sales pay just $500. Want another break? The IRS is letting employees file even with the incorrect W-2 forms that many small employers gave out this year--the result of a form change that some tax software makers didn't catch. And the IRS has more help-desk services. A hotline (800 829-1040) is open 24 hours. (Try calling in the wee hours when traffic is light; it switches to automated voice mail when lines are busy.) Also, free in-person advice from IRS reps is available at 250 locations. Find when and where by using the term "IR-1999-09" in the search engine on the "Forms and Pubs" page at

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