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Scam Calls and Emails Using IRS as Bait Persist Scams using the IRS as a lure continue. They take many different forms. The most common scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. They use the IRS name, logo or a fake website to try to steal your money. They may try to steal your identity too. Be wary if you get an out-of-the-blue phone call or automated message from someone who claims to be from the IRS. Sometimes they say you owe money and must pay right away. Other times they say you are owed a refund and ask for your bank account information over the phone. Don’t fall for it. Here are several tips that will help...
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The IRS Issued Revenue Procedure 2016-14 The IRS today issued Revenue Procedure 2016-14, which provides inflation adjustments for certain items for 2016, including the section 179 expensing limits. These amounts were modified late last year by enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 114-113). "For taxable years beginning in 2016, under section 179(b)(1) the aggregate cost of any section 179 property that a taxpayer elects to treat as an expense cannot exceed $500,000," the IRS says. "Under section 179(b)(2)(C), the $500,000 limitation is reduced (but not below zero) by the amount the cost of section 179 property placed in service...
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IRS Resumes Processing Tax Returns The IRS announced it resumed processing individual and business tax returns at approximately 5 p.m. Thursday following resolution of its system outage. Many of the tools and applications came up earlier on Thursday morning, including “Where’s My Refund” on IRS.gov. “IRS teams worked throughout the night and around the clock on this system outage,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Our processing systems are back in business. Taxpayers should see little, if any, impact on their tax returns or refunds. We apologize for the inconvenience this caused, and we appreciate the support and patience from taxpayers as well...
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New Update IRS teams continued working throughout the night and this morning on the system outage, and many of our tools and applications came back up this morning, including “Where’s My Refund” on IRS.gov. We are continuing our work and analysis of our return processing system; we hope to have that back up again running at some point today. We will provide a further update later today. While the e-file system for individual and business returns remains unavailable, the IRS reminds taxpayers they can still prepare and file tax returns as they normally would. Taxpayers can continue to send their tax returns to their e-file provider; these companies will...
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Tax Tips Every Homeowner Needs to be Using This Year Larry Alton Whether you purchased your first home last year or have lived in the same home for the past 20 years, being a homeowner comes with a number of tax-related advantages. It also means you have more responsibilities and intricacies to keep an eye on. Let’s walk you through some of the top things you need to be aware of when filing taxes this year. Mortgage Interest For first-time homebuyers , one of the primary benefits comes from being able to deduct mortgage interest. The IRS allows you to deduct interest on up to $1 million of debt used to acquire your home. You should...
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Individuals May Get New Health Care Information Forms This Year Starting this year, you may receive one or more forms providing information about the health care coverage that you had or were offered during 2015. Much like Form W-2 and Form 1099, which include information about the income you received, these forms provide information about your health care coverage that you may need when you file your individual income tax return. Two of these forms are new this year and on is a form that was sent to some taxpayers in 2015. The new forms are: Form 1095-B , Health Coverage. Health insurance providers send this form to individuals they...
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Identity Theft is an Ongoing Concern and on the IRS Annual “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams to Avoid The Internal Revenue Service today issued a filing season alert warning taxpayers to watch out for identity theft at tax time and highlighted the crime as the first scam in the agency’s “Dirty Dozen” series. Over the course of the past year, as part of the Security Summit initiative, the IRS partnered with states and the tax industry to enhance coordination and create a more secure system for taxpayers. Security Summit participants, including the IRS, will regularly share details of fraudulent schemes detected this season so industry and government...
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Choosing the Correct Filing Status It’s important to use the right filing status when you file your tax return. The status you choose can affect the amount of tax you owe for the year. It may even determine if you must file a tax return. Keep in mind that your marital status on Dec. 31 is your status for the whole year. Sometimes more than one filing status may apply to you. If that happens, choose the one that allows you to pay the least amount of tax. IRS e-file is the easiest and most accurate way to file your tax return. Tax software helps you choose the right filing status. Most people can use tax software and e-file for free with IRS Free File....
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The IRS has issued a proposed regulation to increase EA testing fees. The proposal would increase the fee to $99 per part for the IRS costs. The vendor fee of $99 would remain at $98. Consequently, the testing fee per part would be a total of $197. The explanation for the increase as stated in the proposal is that the IRS is required by law to cover its costs for administering the examination and that those costs have increased since 2006, when the fee was last increased. Specifically, the proposed regulation points to three reasons for the increase: The number of individuals taking the examination is in the range of 20,000 per year but...
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Tax Preparers: Perform a Deep Security Scan of Your Computer Drives The Internal Revenue Service urges all tax return preparers to get off to a clean start this January and perform a security deep scan of their computer drives and devices. Already in 2016, the IRS is seeing multiple email phishing scams – some posing as the IRS – targeting tax preparers. These scams are designed to steal sensitive information – either the preparers’ passwords for IRS accounts or sensitive taxpayer data stored on computers. The IRS has teamed up with state revenue departments and the tax industry to make sure you understand the dangers to your personal and financial...
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Questions to Ask When Hiring a Tax Preparer Asking the right questions can make a big difference when hiring a tax preparer. It helps ensure that you are getting a qualified professional who knows the tax code and will act ethically and responsibly in filing your tax return. “ NSA members adhere to a code of ethics to ensure professional services on behalf of taxpayers,” says NSA Executive Vice President John Ams. “The typical member has more than 27 years of experience and holds one or more credential demonstrating their ability, experience, and knowledge of the tax code.” When choosing a professional tax preparer, the common credentials that...
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IRS, States and Tax Industry Deploy New Safeguards for 2016 Because of improved protections in recent years, the Internal Revenue Service stops the vast majority of fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities. But identity thieves and criminal syndicates continue to persist and evolve. As the threat has changed, so has the IRS. In a new era of cooperation, the IRS, the states and the entire tax industry came together to identify what additional steps could be taken to better fight identity theft and better protect the taxpayers. Starting in January 2016, this renewed effort will make for a safer, more secure filing season for taxpayers. Many...
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IRS, States and Tax Industry Deploy New Safeguards for 2016 Because of improved protections in recent years, the Internal Revenue Service stops the vast majority of fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities. But identity thieves and criminal syndicates continue to persist and evolve. As the threat has changed, so has the IRS. In a new era of cooperation, the IRS, the states and the entire tax industry came together to identify what additional steps could be taken to better fight identity theft and better protect the taxpayers. Starting in January 2016, this renewed effort will make for a safer, more secure filing season for taxpayers. Many...
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Who Can Represent You Before the IRS? Many people use a tax professional to prepare their taxes. Tax professionals with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) can prepare a return for a fee. If you choose a tax pro, you should know who can represent you before the IRS. There are new rules this year, so the IRS wants you to know who can represent you and when they can represent you. Choose a tax return preparer wisely . Representation rights, also known as practice rights, fall into two categories: Unlimited Representation Limited Representation Unlimited representation rights allow a credentialed tax practitioner to...
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IRS Tax Filing Deadline Extended And Customer Service Improvement Today, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the Service will hire up to 1,000 additional customer service representatives to help answer the toll-free help lines this filing season. The likely result? Koskinen says he expects that at least 60 percent of taxpayers will be able to reach a representative. This compares with the 37% rate taxpayers experienced in 2015. "We expect the level of service on the phone will be better than last year," the Commissioner said, and acknowledged that "the level of service last year was so bad that anything would be better." On average, callers were...
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Annual Filing Season Program Update As of today, over 44,000 non-credentialed tax return preparers have elected to participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program and received a Record of Completion, which already exceeds last year’s 41,000+ participants. The deadline to complete the required continuing education was Dec. 31, but for those who obtained the CE but still haven’t gotten a Record of Completion, it’s not too late! They only need to renew their PTIN (if they haven’t already) and sign the online Circular 230 consent. More than 40,000 other tax return preparers fall into this category and can still get a Record of Completion. We have...
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Tips to Keep Your Tax Records Secure; Protect Yourself from Identity Theft If you’re still keeping old tax returns and receipts stuffed in a shoe box stuck in the back of the closet, you might want to rethink that approach. The IRS has teamed up with state revenue departments and the tax industry to make sure you understand the dangers to your personal and financial data. Taxes. Security. Together . Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference. You should keep your tax records safe and secure, whether they are stored on paper or kept electronically. The same is true for any financial or health records you store, especially any document...
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IRS Provides Tax Relief to Mississippi Storm Victims; Tax Deadline Extended to May 16 The Internal Revenue Service announced today that Mississippi storm victims will have until May 16, 2016 to file their returns and pay any taxes due. All workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization also qualify for relief. Following this week’s disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ), the IRS said that affected taxpayers in Benton, Coahoma, Marshall, Quitman and Tippah counties will receive this and other special tax relief....
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Due to an error, taxpayers are receiving Identity Protection PIN letters with an incorrect year listed. Taxpayers and tax professionals should be advised the IP PIN listed on the CP 01A Notice dated January 4, 2016 is valid for use on all individual tax returns filed in 2016. The notice incorrectly indicates the IP PIN issued is to be used for filing the 2014 tax return when the number is actually to be used for the 2015 tax return. The IRS emphasizes the IP PIN listed on the CP 01A notice is valid for the 2015 returns. Taxpayers and their tax professionals should use this PIN number for 2015 tax returns, which the IRS will begin accepting...
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Tips to Protect Your Personal Information While Online The IRS, the states, and the tax industry urge you to be safe online and remind you to take important steps to help protect your tax and financial information and guard against identity theft. Treat your personal information like cash – don’t hand it out to just anyone. Your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank and utility account numbers can be used to steal your money or open new accounts in your name. Every time you are asked for your personal information think about whether you can really trust the request. In an effort to steal your information, scammers will do everything...
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