The Internal Revenue Service announced last week that it will forgive late penalties for certain taxpayers.

Those eligible are wage earners who were unemployed for at least 30 consecutive days between Jan. 1, 2011, and April 17, 2012, and who made less than $100,001 individually or $200,001 when filing jointly. Self-employed people who made at least 25 percent less than the year before are also eligible.

IRS form 1127A, found at, will waive the late-payment penalty as long as taxes are paid by Oct 15, 2012.

Another change last week was an increase to $50,000 in the back taxes eligible to be paid in as many as 72 monthly installments. To apply, go to

Neither plan waives the 3 percent annual interest charged on unpaid back taxes.

Become a savvy consumer

The federal government offers free publications to help consumers make wise money decisions and avoid or deal with scams, fraud and identity theft.

Titles include "Free Trials Aren't Always Free" and "Billed for Merchandise You Never Received? Here's What To Do."

A particularly hefty offering is the just-released "2012 Consumer Action Handbook," a 160-page pamphlet that gives tips on dozens of topics, including credit-card offers, car warranties and cellphone cramming.

Some publications can be ordered in print. Some are offered in Spanish. Go to