Filing Season Scams Abound
The IRS has issued an alert warning taxpayers of new scams that urge people to claim false tax credits with inaccurate wage information. One scheme encourages people to use tax software to manually fill out Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement with false income information. Scam artists instruct people to use the bogus information in their electronically-filed return with the aim of getting a large refund. A variation of the scam involves using Form 7202, Credits for Sick Leave and Family Leave for Certain Self-Employed Individuals to claim a credit based on income earned as an employee. These credits are not available for 2022 tax returns.
Another warning has been renewed, urging people to carefully review the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) guidelines before trying to claim the credit. Third parties are aggressively pushing ineligible people to use this, misleading people and businesses into thinking they can claim these credits. Penalties are wide-ranging and may include a $5000 fine or criminal prosecution. Those who have participated in such schemes can amend a previous return or consult with a trusted tax professional.
Digital Intake Ramps Up
The IRS has announced an expansion of digital scanning, having already scanned more than 120,000 paper Forms 940 since the beginning of the year. This is a 20-fold increase compared to all of 2022. The effort will expand soon to include scanning of Forms 1040 and Forms 941. The IRS has used various technologies to scan tax returns over the years, but recently took a leap forward thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. Most tax returns are filed electronically but millions of forms are still filed by paper. With an increased capability to scan and electronically process these paper returns, the IRS will be able to shorten overall processing time.
Retiree Reminder: April 1 Deadline Approaches
The IRS reminds retirees who turned 72 during 2022 that, in most cases, Saturday, April 1, 2023 is the last day to begin receiving payments from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), 401(k)s and similar workplace retirement plans. These payments, called required minimum distributions (RMDs) are normally made by the end of the year. However, those who reached age 72 during 2022 are covered by a special rule that allows them to wait until as late as April 1, 2023 to take their first RMD. This delayed deadline only applies to the RMD for the first year. In subsequent years the RMD must be made by the year’s end. This means that those who opt for their 2022 RMD by April 1 must still receive their 2023 RMD by December 31, 2023. Both RMDs are taxable and will be reported on the 2023 tax return. Visit the RMD FAQs page for more information.