Category: INDIVIDUALS

May 23rd, 2019 by Oscar

The IRS has some good news for taxpayers who are selling their home. When filing their taxes, they may qualify to exclude all or part of any gain from the sale from their income. Here are some things that homeowners should think about when selling a home:

Ownership and use
To claim the exclusion, the taxpayer must meet ownership and use tests. During a five-year period ending on the date of the sale, the homeowner must have owned the home and lived in it as their main home for at least two years.

Gains
Taxpayers who sell their main home and have a gain from the sale may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of that gain from their income. Taxpayers who file a joint return with their spouse may be able to exclude up to $500,000. 
Homeowners excluding all the gain do not need to report the sale on their tax return.

Losses
Some taxpayers experience a loss when their main home sells for less than what they paid for it. This loss is not deductible.

Multiple homes
Taxpayers who own more than one home can only exclude the gain on the sale of their main home. They must pay taxes on the gain from selling any other home.

Reported sale
Taxpayers who don’t qualify to exclude all of the taxable gain from their income must report the gain from the sale of their home when they file their tax return. Anyone who chooses not to claim the exclusion must report the taxable gain on their tax return.  Taxpayers who receive Form 1099-S must report the sale on their tax return even if they have no taxable gain.

Mortgage debt
Generally, taxpayers must report forgiven or canceled debt as income on their tax return. This includes people who had a mortgage workout, foreclosure, or other canceled mortgage debt on their home. Taxpayers who had debt discharged after Dec. 31, 2017, can’t exclude it from income as qualified principal residence indebtedness unless a written agreement for the debt forgiveness was in place before January 1, 2018.

Possible exceptions
There are exceptions to these rules for some individuals, including persons with a disability, certain members of the military, intelligence community and Peace Corps workers.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS

May 2nd, 2019 by Oscar

La ley federal requiere que una persona informe las transacciones en efectivo en exceso de $10,000 al IRS.  Aquí hay algunos datos importantes acerca de cómo reportar estos pagos.

A quién aplica

Para propósitos de pagos en efectivo, una “persona” se define como un individuo, compañía, corporación, sociedad, asociación, fideicomiso o patrimonio.  Por ejemplo:

Distribuidores de joyas, muebles, barcos, aviones, automóviles, arte, alfombras, y antigüedades

  • Casas de empeño
  • Abogados
  • Corredores de bienes raíces
  • Compañías de seguro
  • Agencias de viaje

Cómo informar

Las personas reportan el pago a través del  Formulario 8300, Informe de pagos en efectivo en exceso de $10,000 (PDF) recibidos en una ocupación o negocio. 

Una persona puede presentar el Formulario 8300SP electrónicamente. La presentación electrónica es gratis, rápida y segura. Los contribuyentes recibirán un acuse de recibo electrónico por cada formulario que presenten. Aquellos que prefieren enviar el Formulario 8300 por correo, pueden enviarlo al IRS a la dirección que aparece en el formulario.

Qué es efectivo

Efectivo incluye la moneda de los Estados Unidos o de cualquier país extranjero. Para algunas transacciones, también incluye cheque de caja, giros bancarios, cheques de viajeros o giros postales con un valor nominal de $10,000 o menos.

Una persona debe reportar efectivo si recibe más de $10,000 en efectivo:

  • En una suma global
  • En dos o más pagos relacionados dentro de 24 horas
  • Como parte de una sola transacción dentro de 12 meses
  • Como parte de una sola transacción o dos o más transacciones relacionadas dentro de 12 meses

Cuándo presentar

Una persona debe presentar el Formulario 8300 dentro de los 15 días posteriores a la fecha en que recibió el efectivo. Si recibe pagos para una sola transacción o dos o más transacciones relacionadas, debe presentar cuando la cantidad total pagada supere los $10,000.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

April 25th, 2019 by Oscar

Desde el alquiler de habitaciones y casas de vacaciones hasta viajes en automóvil o en bicicleta… nombre un servicio y probablemente esté disponible a través de la economía compartida. Aquí hay seis puntos que los contribuyentes deben saber acerca de cómo la economía compartida podría afectar sus impuestos.

La actividad económica compartida es generalmente tributable.

Está sujeta a impuestos incluso cuando:

  • La actividad es solo de medio tiempo
  • La actividad es algo que el contribuyente hace por el lado
  • Los pagos son en efectivo
  • El contribuyente recibe formularios de información, como un Formulario 1099 o un Formulario W-2

Algunos gastos son deducibles

Los contribuyentes que participan en la economía compartida pueden deducir ciertos gastos. Por ejemplo, un contribuyente que usa su auto frecuentemente para el negocio puede calificar para reclamar la tasa estándar de millaje, que en 2019 es de 58 centavos por milla.

Se aplican reglas especiales para alquileres

Si un contribuyente alquila su casa, apartamento u otra vivienda, pero también vive en ella durante el año, generalmente se aplican reglas especiales.

Los participantes pueden necesitar hacer pagos de impuestos estimados

El sistema tributario estadounidense aplica el criterio de “pague según gane”. Esto significa que los contribuyentes que frecuentemente participan en la economía compartida tienen que hacer pagos de impuestos estimados durante el año para cubrir su obligación tributaria. Estos pagos se vencen el 15 de abril, 15 de junio, 15 de septiembre y 15 de enero. Los contribuyentes usan el Formulario 1040-ES para calcular estos pagos.

Opciones de pago

La manera más rápida y fácil de realizar pagos estimados es con el Pago Directo con cuenta bancaria del IRS. También puede usar el Sistema de pago electrónico de impuestos federales (EFTPS, por sus siglas en inglés).

Los contribuyentes deben revisar su retención

Los contribuyentes que participan en la economía compartida, que son empleados en otro trabajo, pueden frecuentemente evitar efectuar pagos de impuesto estimados al aumentar la cantidad de impuestos retenidos de sus salarios. Después de determinar el monto de su retención, el contribuyente presentará a su empleador el Formulario W-4 (SP) para solicitar la retención adicional. 

Posted in INDIVIDUALS

April 18th, 2019 by Oscar

Just like taxpayers who file their taxes by the April deadline, those who filed an extension should also do everything to make sure their tax return is complete and accurate. Errors on a tax return can mean it will take longer for the IRS to process the return, which in turn, could delay a refund.

Taxpayers should remember they can avoid many common errors by filing electronically. Filing electronically is the most accurate way to file a tax return.

Taxpayers who filed an extension and who are filing their taxes this summer should avoid making these common errors:

  • Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers. The taxpayer should be sure to enter each SSN on a tax return exactly as printed on the Social Security card.
  • Misspelled names. Taxpayers should spell all names listed on a tax return exactly as listed on the individuals’ Social Security cards.
  • Filing status.  Some taxpayers claim the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single.
  • Math mistakes. Math errors are common on paper returns. These can range from simple addition and subtraction to more complex calculations. Taxpayers should always double check their math. Better yet, they should consider filing electronically. Tax preparation software does all the math automatically.
  • Mistakes made when figuring credits. Taxpayers can make mistakes when figuring things like their Earned Income Tax Credit and Child and Dependent Care Credit. Taxpayers should follow the instructions carefully, and double check the information they enter when filing electronically.
  • Incorrect bank account numbers. Taxpayers who are due a refund should choose direct deposit as this will get their money right in their bank account. However, the IRS cautions taxpayers to use the right routing and account numbers on the tax return. It’s a good idea to double and triple check the numbers they enter.
  • Unsigned forms. An unsigned tax return isn’t valid. Both spouses must sign a joint return. Taxpayers can avoid this error by filing their return electronically and digitally signing it before sending it to the IRS. Taxpayers who are using a tax software product for the first time will need their adjusted gross income from their 2017 tax return to file electronically. Taxpayers who are using the same tax software they used last year usually will not need to enter prior-year information to electronically sign their 2018 tax return.
  • An expired ITIN. The IRS  treats  a return filed with an expired Individual Tax Identification Number as filed on time, but there may be delays in processing it. Taxpayers will receive a notice explaining that an ITIN must be current before the IRS will pay a refund. Once the taxpayer renews the ITIN, the IRS will process the tax return and pay any allowed refund.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS

April 11th, 2019 by Oscar

Tax-related identity theft occurs when a thief uses someone’s stolen Social Security number to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund. The victim may be unaware that this has happened until they e-file their return. Even before the victim files their return, the IRS may send the taxpayer a letter saying the agency identified a suspicious return using the stolen SSN.

Here are some things people should know about identity theft, including warning signs and steps to take after identity theft occurs.

Warning signs that a theft occurs
Taxpayers should be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if they are contacted by the IRS or their tax preparer about:

  • More than one tax return being filed using the taxpayer’s SSN.
  • Additional tax owed.
  • A refund offset.
  • Collection actions taken against the taxpayer for a year when they did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records indicating they received wages or other income from an employer for whom the taxpayer did not work.

Taxpayers who suspect they are a victim of ID theft should continue to pay their taxes and file their tax return, even if they must do so on paper.

Steps to take if someone becomes a victim
The taxpayer should:

  • File a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on their credit records.
  • Contact their financial institutions to close any financial or credit accounts opened without permission or that were tampered with by identity thieves.
  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice and call the number provided in the letter.
  • Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. They can use a fillable form on IRS.gov, print it, then attach the form to their tax return and mail according to instructions.

Taxpayers who previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution can contact the agency for specialized assistance at 1-800-908-4490.

Taxpayers should remember that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and through social media channels.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

March 29th, 2019 by Oscar

The Internal Revenue Service today renewed its effort to encourage taxpayers to review their tax withholding and make any needed adjustments early in 2019.

Doing a paycheck checkup can help taxpayers avoid having too little or too much tax withheld from their paychecks. The IRS reminds taxpayers that they can generally control the size of their refund by adjusting their tax withholding.

Withholding
The federal income tax is a pay-as-you-go tax. Taxpayers pay the tax as they earn or receive income during the year. Employers generally use withholding tables to determine how much tax to withhold from their employees’ paychecks and then pay it to the IRS. Workers who are not subject to withholding, such as those working in the gig or shared economy, should make quarterly estimated tax payments to pay their tax during the year.

When to check withholding
Taxpayers should check their withholding each year and when life changes occur, such as marriage, childbirth, adoption or buying a home.

For 2019, it’s important to review withholding and do a paycheck checkup. This is especially true for taxpayers who adjusted their withholdings in 2018 – specifically in the middle or later parts of the year. And it’s also important for taxpayers who received a tax bill when they filed this year or want to adjust the size of their refund for next year.

A withholding table shows payroll service providers and employers how much tax to withhold from employee paychecks, given each employee’s wages, marital status, and the number of withholding allowances they claim.

The IRS makes annual updates to the withholding tables for inflation, tax rates, tax tables and cost of living adjustments. This annual withholding guidance helps employers make changes to their payroll systems. However, the withholding tables can’t fully factor in all changes for all taxpayers, and only employees know other variables that can affect the tax they owe, such as other household income, credits and deductions that might reduce tax. As a result, some taxpayers could have paid too much tax last year and will get a refund, or too little tax if they did not increase their withholding or pay more estimated tax in 2018.

Change withholding by submitting a new Form W-4
Taxpayers can use the results from the IRS Withholding Calculator to determine if they should complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. The calculator will recommend the number of allowances to claim on this form and, if needed, the amount of additional federal income tax to have withheld each pay period. Employees submit the completed Form W-4 to their employer, not the IRS.

Those who need to adjust their withholding should do so as soon as possible. Workers whose income is not subject to tax withholding should also plan to pay tax throughout the year.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
When taxpayers file their 2018 tax return, they may notice significant changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) including lowered tax rates, increased standard deductions, suspension of personal exemptions, increased Child Tax Credit and limited or discontinued deductions.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS

March 22nd, 2019 by Oscar

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes tax law changes that affect businesses and the 2018 tax returns they file this year. One change is to fringe benefit deductions, which can affect both a business’s bottom line and its employees’ deductions.

Here is a rundown of these changes:

Transportation fringe benefits
The new law disallows deductions for expenses associated with qualified transportation fringe benefits or expenses incurred providing transportation for commuting, except as necessary for employee safety.
 
Bicycle commuting reimbursements
Under the new tax law, employers can deduct qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements as a business expense for 2018 through 2025. The new tax law suspends the exclusion of qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements from an employee’s income for 2018 through 2025. Employers must now include these reimbursements in the employee’s wages.
 
Moving expenses
Employers must now include moving expense reimbursements in employees’ wages. The new tax law suspends the former exclusion for qualified moving expense reimbursements. There is one exception for active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces. They can still exclude moving expenses from their income. There is additional guidance on reimbursements for employees’ 2017 moves if an employer reimburses the expenses in 2018. Generally, reimbursements in this situation are not taxed.
 
Achievement awards
Special rules allow an employee to exclude achievement awards from wages if the awards are tangible personal property. An employer also may deduct awards that are tangible personal property, subject to certain deduction limits. The new law clarifies the definition of tangible personal property.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS

March 15th, 2019 by Oscar

Los contribuyentes y profesionales de impuestos que llamen al IRS deberán verificar sus identidades. El estar preparado antes de una llamada o visita al IRS puede ahorrarles tiempo a los contribuyentes y evitar tener que hacer varias llamadas.

Si un contribuyente decide llamar, debe saber que los asistentes telefónicos del IRS tienen mucho cuidado de sólo discutir información personal con el contribuyente o alguien a quien el contribuyente autoriza a hablar en su nombre. Para asegurarse de que los contribuyentes no tengan que volver a llamar, el IRS les recuerda que tengan a la mano la siguiente información:

  • Números de seguro social y fechas de nacimiento de quienes aparecen en la declaración de impuestos.
  • La carta del Número de identificación del contribuyente individual (ITIN) si el contribuyente tiene una en lugar de un número de seguro social.
  • El estado civil tributario: soltero, cabeza de familia, casado que presenta una declaración conjunta o casado que presenta una declaración por separado.
  • La copia de la declaración de impuestos del año anterior. Los asistentes telefónicos pueden necesitar verificar la identidad del contribuyente con la información de la declaración antes de responder ciertas preguntas.
  • Una copia de la declaración de impuestos en cuestión.
  • Cualquier carta o notificación del IRS recibida por el contribuyente.

Por ley, los asistentes telefónicos del IRS sólo hablarán con el contribuyente o con el representante legalmente designado del contribuyente. Si los contribuyentes o los profesionales de impuestos llaman sobre la cuenta de otra persona, deben estar preparados para verificar sus identidades y proporcionar información de la persona que representan.  Antes de llamar a nombre de una tercera persona, deben tener disponible la siguiente información:

  • Autorización verbal o escrita del tercero para discutir la cuenta.
  • Debe estar preparado para verificar el nombre del contribuyente, el SSN o el ITIN, el período tributario y los formularios de impuestos presentados.
  • Número de identificación del preparador de impuestos o PTIN si es un tercero designado.
  • Uno de estos formularios, que este vigente, completo y firmado:
    • Formulario 8821, Autorización de Información Tributaria
    • Formulario 2848, Poder legal y declaración de representante

Las preguntas con respecto a un contribuyente fallecido requieren diferentes gestiones. La persona que llama debe estar preparada para enviar por fax:

  • El acta de defunción del contribuyente fallecido.
  • Copias de Cartas Testamentarias aprobadas por el tribunal, o Formulario 56 del IRS, Aviso de la relación fiduciaria.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

March 7th, 2019 by Oscar

There are several changes to the 2018 Form 1040. However, taxpayers who file electronically may not notice the changes as the tax return preparation software guides people through the filing process.

The IRS worked closely with its partners in the tax return preparation and tax software industries to prepare for tax reform and tax form changes affecting tax year 2018, including the Form 1040. This ongoing collaboration ensures that taxpayers can continue to rely on the IRS, tax professionals and tax software programs when it’s time to file their tax returns. Here are six things taxpayers need to know about the 2018 Form 1040.

  • The 2018 Form 1040 replaces Forms 1040,1040A and 1040EZ with one 2018 Form 1040 that all taxpayers will file.
  • Forms 1040A and 1040EZ are no longer available. Taxpayers who used one of these forms in the past will now file Form 1040.
  • The 2018 Form 1040 uses a “building block” approach and allows taxpayers to add only the schedules they need to their 2018 tax return.
  • The most commonly used lines on the prior year form are still on the form. Other lines are moved to new schedules and are organized by category. These categories include income, adjustments to income, nonrefundable credits, taxes, payments, and refundable credits.
  • Many taxpayers will only need to file Form 1040 and no schedules. Those with more complicated tax returns will need to complete one or more of the 2018 Form 1040 Schedules along with their Form 1040.
  • These taxpayers include people claiming certain deductions or credits, or owing additional taxes.
  • For taxpayers who filed paper returns in the past and are concerned about these changes, this year may be the year to consider the benefits of filing electronically. Using tax software is convenient, safe and a secure way to prepare and e-file an accurate tax return.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS

March 6th, 2019 by Oscar

The IRS warns taxpayers to avoid unethical tax return preparers, known as ghost preparers. By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns must sign the return and include their Preparer Tax Identification Number.

‘Ghost’ preparers, however, avoid signing the tax return. Instead, they often inflate any potential refund and print the return and instruct the taxpayer to sign and mail it to the IRS. Or, for e-filed returns, they prepare but do not digitally sign it as a paid preparer to avoid scrutiny.

Taxpayers can report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a taxpayer suspects a tax preparer filed or changed their tax return without their consent, they should file Form 14157-A, Tax Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS