The IRS is Not Accepting Paper Applications
Little Giant Tax Services are are here to help you with your tax filing throughout the next few months of stay at home orders. At this time, the IRS is not accepting physical returns. If you want to have one of our staff help you e-file your return, please call or email us.
Extensions Extended To Trusts, Estates, Corporations
The IRS recently extended the filing and payment deadline for most individual taxpayers to July 15, from April 15. Now they have extended that same relief to trusts, estates, corporations, and other non-corporate filers. Additionally, those with estimated tax payments typically due June 15, 2020 can wait until July 15 to make that payment, without penalty.
Registration Tool For Non-Filers
The Treasury and IRS have released a new tool for certain individuals to register to receive economic impact payments. Those who have not filed taxes for 2018 or 2019, and also did not receive Social Security payments or Railroad Retirement benefits will need to use the new web tool to register and input their information in order to receive payment. This may apply to individual and joint filers who do not make enough to file a tax return, but will not apply to students or others who are claimed as dependents on another tax return. A new tool is being built to check the status and expected date of all economic impact payments, and should be online by the end of this week.
Reschedule April 15 Payments Now
Taxpayers who have scheduled quarterly payments for April 15 have until midnight eastern time on the 13th to reschedule their payment for July 15, 2020. Those who have scheduled electronic funds transfer (EFT) or debit, credit, or digital wallet payments can reschedule those payments, but those adjustments must be made right away.
Reminder: Up-To-Date Coronavirus Tax Relief
The IRS is aggregating all pertinent tax information regarding Coronavirus tax relief in one central site. Whether you are a taxpayer, employer, small business owner, health plan administrator, or just wanting to know the latest deadline updates, you can find it here.
Withholding Rules Updates Proposed
The IRS and Treasury have proposed regulations updating payroll withholding rules to reflect changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and related legislation. These updates accommodate the redesigned Form W-4, and the adjusted tables and computations for tax withholding. The regulations also address other withholding issues, such as how to treat an employee who hasn’t turned in a completed W-4.
IRS Increases Visits To High-Income Delinquents
In an effort to promote compliance and fairness among taxpayers, the IRS has committed to increasing face-to-face visits with those taxpayers who haven’t filed tax returns in 2018 or previous years. Their goal is to inform taxpayers of their obligations and to bring them into compliance. Revenue officers will not make threats or demand unusual forms of payment, but rather inform and assist. Taxpayers have the right to see credentials and should do so to protect themselves against fraud. Furthermore, getting ahead of the situation is advisable: “Taxpayers having delinquent filing or payment obligations should consult a competent tax advisor before waiting to be contacted by an IRS revenue officer,” according to Paul Mamo, Director of Collection Operations, Small Business/Self Employed Division.
Meals And Entertainment Deduction Guidance Updated
The IRS has updated its proposed guidance regarding the handling of business meals and entertainment expense deductions. The TCJA eliminated the deduction for activities generally considered entertainment, amusement or recreation. It also limited the deduction for expenses related to food and beverages provided by employers to their employees. The proposed guidelines help determine what qualifies as entertainment and address the meals expense limit. As these are proposed guidelines, the IRS is taking public comment and will hold a public hearing on these proposed regulations on April 7, 2020.
Military Members’ Tax Benefits Explained
A newly-revised publication aims to inform members of the military of their tax benefits under the law. The Armed Forces Tax Guide will help those serving in the military, including National Guard, reservists, and those stationed abroad, understand specific tax issues related to their situation. Moving expenses, treatment of combat pay, IRA contribution limits and extended tax deadlines are included in this helpful guide.
National Tax Security Awareness Week
The IRS and Security Summit partners marked National Tax Security Awareness Week earlier this month with a series of tips and reminders for consumers, taxpayers, businesses, and professionals. Advice focused on protecting your personal and financial information while online shopping, guarding against email and phishing scams, creating strong passwords, tips for business owners to avoid identity theft, and encouraging tax professionals to have a data security plan.
Foreign Tax Credit Regulations Finalized
The IRS and Treasury issued final regulations regarding the Foreign Tax Credit. This credit generally allows individuals and businesses to claim a US tax credit for income taxes paid to foreign governments. These regulations were updated due to changes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made in how taxable income is calculated and how the US taxes international income.
Jan 31 Filing Deadline For Businesses
The IRS reminds employers and other businesses that wage statements and independent contractor forms have a due date of January 31. While businesses used to have more time to file such forms as Form W-2, Form W-3, and 1099-MISC, the 2015 Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act permanently changed the due date to help protect against fraud.
Dec 31 Deadline For Minimum Distributions
December 31 is the deadline for retirees to take their required minimum distributions (RMDs) from certain retirement plans. Those who turned 70½ in 2019 are allowed to wait until April 1, 2020, to take their first RMD. This deadline applies to most IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and workplace plans such as 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans. Roth IRAs don’t require distributions while the original owner is alive.
Interest Rates To Remain the Same
The IRS announced that interest rates will remain the same for the quarter beginning January 1, 2020. The rates will be:
- 5% for overpayments (4% in the case of a corporation)
- 2.5% for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000
- 5% for underpayments
- 7% for large corporate underpayments
These rates are computed from the federal short-term rate determined during October 2019.
The IRS has warned about a recent gift card scams, one of the many scams that people need to be aware of.
IRS GIft Card Scams
These scams follow many of the traits of a typical phone scam: someone calls you from a source that you wouldn’t question. They tell you that something bad has happened (in recent cases, your identity is stolen). Then, they get you to do something that gives them access to your income. In this case, they attempt to convince you that you need to buy different gift cards and give them the card numbers in order to prove that you are who you say you are.
If you think this sounds silly, remember that aware and alert people don’t fall to scammers, but anyone can fall to this type of scam when tired, scared about an actual IRS issue, or too nervous or hopeful from some other issue.
Avoid IRS Scams
If someone contacts you and asks for immediate payment, purchasing gift cards, giving your info, or some other time sensitive activity, remember these principles:
- Call Them – If you are dealing with financial or tax issues, you will get many calls from creditors, collectors, and so on. Look up the organization you are dealing with and call them on an official number. If they demand you do something now, thank them for the information and inform them you will call them back. Then, find the official customer service number and call them.
- Get it in writing – Official correspondence in the United States is in writing. If the IRS is dealing with you in an official manner, they will send you paperwork.
- If It’s too good (or bad) to be true, it’s not true – not to sound too pessimistic, but scammers always attempt to appeal to our hopes by giving us limited time offers to something that has the potential to completely change our lives. Demand double verification and time if something seems to be life changing, either good or bad.
What to Do if You are Contacted By Scammers
If you happen to be targeted by a scammer, you have several options to notify governmental enforcement:
Don’t get scammed by fraudsters pretending to be with the IRS. If you are worried about IRS collections or other issues, come by our office for an appointment and we will discuss your tax needs.
Third Quarter Tax Payments Due
The IRS reminds taxpayers that those owing estimated quarterly tax payments must
pay their third quarter installment by September 16 . This generally applies to small
business owners and the self-employed, including those participating in the sharing
economy as well as others whose earnings aren’t subject to withholding, such as
retirees, investors, landlords, and those receiving alimony.
Regulations For 100% Depreciation Released
The IRS and Treasury released final and proposed regulations regarding the 100% first-
year depreciation allowed on certain depreciable business assets. Machinery,
equipment, computers, appliances and furniture generally qualify. The final regulations
provide guidance on the depreciation of used property as well as qualified film,
television and live theatrical productions. The proposed regulations deal with new
provisions not addressed previously.
Reporting Relief For Some Tax-Exempt Organizations
The IRS has issued proposed regulations regarding the reporting requirements for
certain tax-exempt organizations which include, among other things, the existing
exception from having to file an annual return for certain organizations that have gross
receipts of $50,000 or less, and relief from the requirement to report contributor names
and addresses. In compliance with a recent court decision, the IRS and Treasury
welcome all public comments on the proposed regulations.
Former US Citizens Offered Tax Relief
New procedures have been announced that will enable certain individuals who
relinquished their U.S. citizenship to fulfill their tax and filing requirements and receive
some relief for back taxes. Those whose tax non-compliance was non-willful, who owe
less than $25,000 in back taxes, and whose net assets are less than $2 million may be
able to avoid interest and penalties, and come into compliance with their tax obligations.
The IRS will host a webinar in the near future with additional information and practical
tips for making a submission to the Relief Procedures for Certain Former Citizens .
Transition Tax On Untaxed Foreign Earnings
The IRS has provided details on Section 965, transition tax on untaxed foreign earnings. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) requires some untaxed foreign earnings and profits to be taxed as if those earnings have been repatriated to the US. Details on the income that must be recognized are provided, as well as a related deduction which generally lowers the effective tax rate to between 8% and 15.5%. Information is also available detailing how some taxpayers may choose to make installment payments over eight years.
Preventive Care To Include Some Chronic Conditions
The IRS has expanded the list of preventive care for HSA participants to include care for some chronic conditions. Preventive care benefits that may be provided by a high deductible health plan (HDHP) are not subject to the deductible, and now include certain medical care services received and items purchased, including prescription drugs, for certain chronic conditions for someone with that chronic condition. These include SSRIs, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, diabetes testing materials, and more, for people with specific diagnoses.
Tax Security Remains a Priority
The IRS continues to help tax professionals secure client data and reduce tax fraud. “Taxes-Security-Together” – Step 1 details six sub-steps to secure basic protections, including anti-virus software, firewalls, two-factor authentication, backup services, encryption, and VPNs. The “Taxes-Security-Together” Checklist – Step 2 reminds tax professionals of their duty to have a written data security plan, and what is required in that plan. More steps to come.
IRS Pursues Virtual Currency Taxes
The IRS has begun sending letters to virtual currency owners, reminding them of their obligations to file amended returns and pay back taxes, interest, and penalties where appropriate. Ten thousand taxpayers are expected to receive these letters by the end of August as the IRS continues its efforts of addressing virtual currency non-compliance. Taxpayers who do not properly report such transactions could even be subject to criminal prosecution.
Summer is quickly flying by and the 2019-2020 school year fast approaches! Students who need to file the 2019 FAFSA will need to use their income from their or their parents 2017 Federal Tax Return.
Filing FAFSA and Reporting Taxes
The IRS reminds people that there are multiple ways to access the 2017 tax return: use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, contact the provider who filed your 2017 return, or get a tax transcript online or via the mail. If you are retrieving data from the IRS, you may be required to supply additional paperwork with a student loan provider. Check with www.studentaid.gov or with your bank.
Keep a Copy of Tax Records
This is a good time to have a reminder that you should keep an electronic copy of your tax records and have it accessible. Besides making FAFSA filing easier, tax records are necessary for accounting, proof of income, and in the worst-case scenario of a tax audit.
If you do not have a record, check with your tax preparer to find out if they have a record of your tax return for that year.
At Little Giant Tax Services, we help people track their finances and get the best returns in order to help their children go to college. If your taxes and FAFSA is too confusing, stop by an office during our office hours and we can help you walk through it.
Need to connect with the IRS? There’s an app for that. IRS2Go, available in English and Spanish, and for Android and Apple, offers tax tips, IRS YouTube videos, and your refund status. You can even pay your taxes via the app.
In an effort to connect with small business owners and taxpayers, the IRS also has several official social media accounts. Find them on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The official IRS YouTube channel offers a small business playlist full of tax tips. The videos are available in English, Spanish, and even American Sign Language.
News and information can be found on the IRS’ official Instagram account, IRSNews.
The IRS has several Twitter accounts:
And the newly added:
If Facebook is your social media platform of choice, find the IRS on Facebook and in Spanish, for news, updates, tips, and more.
For agency updates and job opportunities, check the IRS’ LinkedIn account.