Category: SMALL BUSINESSES

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 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 5th, 2019 by Oscar

The Internal Revenue Service today urged businesses required to file reports of large cash transactions to take advantage of the speed and convenience of filing these reports electronically.

Although businesses have the option of filing Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000, on paper, many have already found that e-filing is a faster, more convenient and cost-effective way to meet the reporting deadline. The form is due 15 days after a transaction and there’s no charge for the e-file option.

Electronically filing Form 8300 is a secure way for businesses to send sensitive information to the IRS. Although many cash transactions are legitimate, information reported on this form can help stop those who evade taxes, profit from the drug trade and engage in terrorist financing and other criminal activities. The government can often trace money from these illegal activities through the payments reported on this and other cash reporting forms.

Businesses that file Form 8300 electronically get free, automatic acknowledgment of receipt when they file. In addition, electronic filing is more accurate, reducing the need for follow-up correspondence with the IRS.

Posted in SMALL BUSINESSES

January 31st, 2019 by Oscar

The Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations and three related pieces of guidance, implementing the new qualified business income (QBI) deduction (section 199A deduction).
 
The new QBI deduction, created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) allows many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations, trusts, or estates to deduct up to 20 percent of their qualified business income.  Eligible taxpayers can also deduct up to 20 percent of their qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends and publicly traded partnership income. 
 
The QBI deduction is available in tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, meaning eligible taxpayers will be able to claim it for the first time on their 2018 Form 1040.

The guidance, released today includes:

  • A set of regulations, finalizing proposed regulations issued last summer, A new set of proposed regulations providing guidance on several aspects of the QBI deduction, including qualified REIT dividends received by regulated investment companies
  • A revenue procedure providing guidance on determining W-2 wages for QBI deduction purposes,
  • A notice on a proposed revenue procedure providing a safe harbor for certain real estate enterprises that may be treated as a trade or business for purposes of the QBI deduction

The proposed revenue procedure, included in Notice 2019-07, allows individuals and entities who own rental real estate directly or through a disregarded entity to treat a rental real estate enterprise as a trade or business for purposes of the QBI deduction if certain requirements are met.  Taxpayers can rely on this safe harbor until a final revenue procedure is issued.

The QBI deduction is generally available to eligible taxpayers with 2018 taxable income at or below $315,000 for joint returns and $157,500 for other filers. Those with incomes above these levels, are still eligible for the deduction but are subject to limitations, such as the type of trade or business, the amount of W-2 wages paid in the trade or business and the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of qualified property. These limitations are fully described in the final regulations.

The QBI deduction is not available for wage income or for business income earned by a C corporation.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

January 28th, 2019 by Oscar

El Servicio de Impuestos Internos inició exitosamente hoy la temporada de presentación de impuestos de 2019, mientras la agencia comenzó a aceptar y procesar las declaraciones de impuestos federales para el año tributario 2018. A pesar de los cambios importantes en la ley de impuestos realizados por la Ley de Empleos y Reducción de Impuestos, el IRS pudo abrir esta temporada de presentación de impuestos un día más temprano que la temporada de impuestos del año anterior. Se espera que se presenten más de 150 millones de declaraciones de impuestos individuales para el año tributario 2018, y la gran mayoría de éstas se presentarán antes de la fecha límite de abril. Hasta el mediodía del lunes, el IRS ya había recibido varios millones de declaraciones de impuestos durante las horas de apertura.

La fecha límite para presentar las declaraciones de impuestos de 2018 es el lunes, 15 de abril de 2019 para la mayoría de los contribuyentes. Debido a la celebración del Día de los Patriotas el 15 de abril en Maine y Massachusetts y al Día de la Emancipación en el Distrito de Columbia, los contribuyentes que viven en Maine y en Massachusetts tienen hasta el 17 de abril de 2019 para presentar sus declaraciones.

El IRS también señala que los reembolsos, por ley, no pueden emitirse antes del 15 de febrero para las declaraciones de impuestos que reclaman el Crédito Tributario por Ingreso del Trabajo o el Crédito Tributario Adicional por Hijos. Esto se aplica a todo el reembolso, incluso la parte no asociada con el EITC y ACTC. Si bien el IRS procesará las declaraciones de EITC y ACTC cuando se reciban, estos reembolsos no pueden emitirse el 15 de febrero. Al igual que el año pasado, el IRS espera que los primeros reembolsos relacionados con EITC/ACTC estén disponibles en las cuentas bancarias o en las tarjetas de débito de los contribuyentes desde el 27 de febrero de 2019, si eligieron el depósito directo y no hay otros problemas con la declaración de impuestos.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, NEWS, SMALL BUSINESSES

January 17th, 2019 by Oscar

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it is waiving the estimated tax penalty for many taxpayers whose 2018 federal income tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year.

The IRS is generally waiving the penalty for any taxpayer who paid at least 85 percent of their total tax liability during the year through federal income tax withholding, quarterly estimated tax payments or a combination of the two. The usual percentage threshold is 90 percent to avoid a penalty.

The waiver computation announced today will be integrated into commercially-available tax software and reflected in the forthcoming revision of Form 2210 and instructions. This relief is designed to help taxpayers who were unable to properly adjust their withholding and estimated tax payments to reflect an array of changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the far-reaching tax reform law enacted in December 2017.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

January 14th, 2019 by Oscar

Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service today confirmed that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.

Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation (31 U.S.C. 1324), and the IRS has consistently been of the view that it has authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations. Although in 2011 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed the IRS not to pay refunds during a lapse, OMB has reviewed the relevant law at Treasury’s request and concluded that IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse.

The IRS will be recalling a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work. Additional details for the IRS filing season will be included in an updated FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan to be released publicly in the coming days.
 
As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. For taxpayers who usually file early in the year and have all of the needed documentation, there is no need to wait to file. They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.
 
The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers.  Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns.
 
Tax professionals will be accepting and preparing tax returns before Jan. 28 and then will submit the returns when the IRS systems open later this month. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

November 28th, 2018 by Oscar

The Internal Revenue Service is advising taxpayers that now is a good time to decide how to prepare and file their 2018 tax return. The IRS has updated its Get Ready page with steps to take now.
This is the eighth and final in a series of reminders designed to help taxpayers Get Ready for the upcoming tax filing season when tax reform changes will start affecting the returns most people file.
For taxpayers who filed paper returns in the past and are concerned about changes to popular tax forms, 2019 may be the year to e-file. Whether self-prepared, completed by a tax professional or with the help of a volunteer at a community tax help site, using tax software is convenient, safe and a secure way to prepare and e-file a tax return.

Paid tax return preparers include enrolled agents, certified public accountants, and attorneys, as well as others without a professional credential who provide outstanding and professional tax service. All paid tax preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. Paid preparers must sign the return and include their PTIN. The IRS offers tips to help taxpayers choose a tax return preparer wisely.
• The Choosing a Tax Professional page has information about tax preparer credentials and qualifications.
• The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications is a listing of preparers who have a professional credential or participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program.
The IRS urges taxpayers to avoid dishonest preparers. Common warning signs of an unscrupulous preparer include only taking cash payments, basing the fee on the size of the tax refund or not signing the tax return. A “ghost preparer” may include fake claims to get a larger refund but makes the return appear to be self-prepared. The IRS stresses that by signing the return, the taxpayer becomes legally responsible for its accuracy, no matter who prepared it.
Taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

November 27th, 2018 by Oscar

With the tax filing season quickly approaching, the Internal Revenue Service wants taxpayers to understand how long to keep tax returns and other documents.

The IRS generally recommends keeping copies of tax returns and supporting documents at least three years. Employment tax records should be kept at least four years after the date that the tax becomes due or paid, whichever is later. Tax records should be kept at least seven years if a return claims a loss from worthless securities or a bad debt deduction. Copies of previously-filed tax returns are helpful in preparing current-year tax returns and making computations if a return needs to be amended.

Safe-keeping records
Tax records should be kept safe and secure regardless of whether they are stored on paper or kept electronically. Paper records should be kept in a secure location, preferably under lock and key, such as a secure desk drawer or a safe. Records retained electronically should be backed up electronically and encrypted when possible. The IRS also suggests scanning paper tax and financial records into a format that can be encrypted and stored securely on a flash drive, CD or DVD with photos or videos of valuables.

Disposing of records
Tax records contain sensitive data such as Social Security numbers, income amounts and bank account information. Tax documents not properly disposed of can land in the hands of criminals and lead to identity theft. Once past their useful date, records should be disposed of properly. Paper tax returns and supporting documents should be shredded before being discarded. Old computers, back-up drives and media contain sensitive data. Deleting stored tax files will not completely erase them. Using special wiping software ensures the removal of sensitive data.

Taxpayers still keeping old tax returns and receipts stuffed in a shoebox may want to rethink their approach. When records are no longer needed the data should be properly destroyed.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

November 23rd, 2018 by Oscar

The Internal Revenue Service reminded employers and other businesses that Jan. 31 remains the filing deadline for wage statements and independent contractor forms. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 started a requirement for employers to file their copies of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with the Social Security Administration by Jan. 31.

Certain Forms 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, filed with the IRS to report non-employee compensation to independent contractors are also due at this time. Such payments are reported in box 7 of this form.

The IRS can more efficiently verify income that individuals report on their tax returns because of the Jan. 31 deadline; this helps prevent fraud. File these forms correctly and timely to avoid penalties. IRS e-file is the quickest, most accurate and convenient way to file these forms.

Pointers to help filers prepare
Employers should verify employees’ information. This includes names, addresses, and Social Security or individual taxpayer identification numbers. They should also ensure their company’s account information is current and active with the Social Security Administration before January. If paper Forms W-2 are needed, they should be ordered early.

Automatic extensions of time to file Forms W-2 are not available.

Posted in SMALL BUSINESSES