Provided by Drake Software

Press Release: Phone Scams Continue to be Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2015 Filing Season



WASHINGTON — Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain near the top of the annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for the 2015 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.

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Drake Has Top-Rated Conversion Software



In its 2014 annual survey, Sorting Out Software, the National Association of Tax Preparers (NATP) rated, among other things, how well each software package performed in converting client data from other tax programs. 

The average rating was 4.22 (out of 5) among the 10 packages evaluated.  Drake Software scored an impressive 4.64, giving it the highest rating of all of the software.  That can be important when it comes to upgrading your tax software. 

Here’s the basic information about Drake’s conversion support, gleaned from the Conversions web page

When you become a Drake customer, you can bring your client’s prior year tax returns with you with our free data conversion service. 

Current Conversion Programs

·         ATX™ by CCH Small Firm Services® (1040, 1065, 1120, 1120S)

·         Crosslink® by Petz Enterprises (1040)

·         Lacerte® by Intuit® (1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S)

·         ProSeries® by Intuit® (1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S)

·         ProSystem FX® by CCH (1040, 1065, 1120, 1120S)

·         TaxAct® by 2nd Story Software, Inc. (1040)

·         TaxSlayer Pro® (1040)

·         TaxWise® by CCH Small Firm Services® (1040, 1065, 1120, 1120S)

·         TaxWorks® by RedGear (1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S)

·         TurboTax® by Intuit® (1040, files must be sent to Drake for conversion)

·         UltraTax® by Creative Solutions (1040, 1065, 1120, 1120S) 

Please call Drake at 800-890-9500 if you don’t see your software listed. 

Benefits of Data Conversion

·         Enhanced professionalism – After conversion, the right data will be in the right places. You’ll be able to work with your clients immediately, instead of fumbling for their tax information.

·         Time savings – Drake’s data conversion saves you countless hours of re-entering prior year data.

·         Removed risk – Accurate data conversion removes keystroke risk – the potential for a wrong number, an incorrect decimal place. 

How do I start?

When you become a Drake customer, you’ll receive the conversion program on CD. Conversion programs and instructions are also available on support.drakesoftware.com

Most conversions can be completed in a few simple steps. If you need assistance, Drake’s Conversion Group can answer questions and guide you through the process. Call (828) 524-8020 for help. 

You may also send your data to us and we will convert it for you, free of charge. 

More About Data Conversions

Drake takes data conversion as seriously as you do. We know how important a solid conversion is to you and your clients. 

Drake’s Conversion Group is a dedicated team of software developers, quality assurance personnel and support staff who have the expertise and experience to convert your data correctly. 

Source:  DrakeSoftware.com – Conversions ; NATP “Sorting Out Software 2014” 

IRS Notices and Guidance #2015-09 and #2019-03



  • Notice 2015-09 provides limited relief for taxpayers who have a balance due on their 2014 income tax return as a result of reconciling advance payments of the premium tax credit against the premium tax credit allowed on the tax return. Notice 2015-09 will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2015-6 on February 9, 2015. 
  • Tax Year 2013 Individual Income Tax Returns, Preliminary Data. Two tables containing preliminary data on individual income tax returns for Tax Year 2013 are now available. These data represent estimates of income and tax items based on a sample of individual income tax returns filed between January and late September of a given processing year and then weighted to represent a full year of tax data.

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Press Release: IRS Launches Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers; Online Tool Offers New Option to Help Taxpayers



WASHINGTON—The Internal Revenue Service today announced the launch of a new, online public directory of tax return preparers. This searchable directory on IRS.gov will help taxpayers find a tax professional with credentials and select qualifications to help them prepare their tax returns.

“This new directory will be a practical tool for the millions of Americans who rely on the services of a paid return preparer,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers can also look to these tax professionals for help if they have questions about the new health care provisions on this year’s tax forms.”

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Press Release: Excessive Claims for Fuel Tax Credits Make the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2015 Filing Season



WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service yesterday warned that taxpayers should watch for improper claims for fuel tax credits, one of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for the 2015 filing season.

“We will do everything we can to stop erroneous claims for the fuel tax credit and catch scammers promoting them,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS is also concerned about identity thieves trying to use this credit to inflation their bogus claims for refunds.”

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IRS Publishes Tax Deadlines For February 2015



February 2 

  • Individuals who must make estimated tax payments. If you did not pay your last installment of estimated tax by January 15, you may choose (but are not required) to file your income tax return (Form 1040) for 2014 by February 2. Filing your return and paying any tax due by February 2 prevents any penalty for late payment of the last installment. If you cannot file and pay your tax by February 2, file and pay your tax by April 15. 
  • All businesses. Give annual information statements to recipients of certain payments you made during 2014. You can use the appropriate version of Form 1099 or other information return. Form 1099 can be issued electronically with the consent of the recipient. Payments that may be covered include the following.
    • Cash payments for fish (or other aquatic life) purchased from anyone engaged in the trade or business of catching fish.
    • Compensation for workers who are not considered employees (including fishing boat proceeds to crew members).
    • Dividends and other corporate distributions.
    • Interest.
    • Royalties.
    • Payments of Indian gaming profits to tribal members.
    • Profit sharing distributions.
    • Retirement plan distributions.
    • Original issue discount.
    • Prizes and awards.
    • Medical and health care payments.
    • Debt cancellation (treated as payment to debtor).
    • Cash payments over $10,000. See the instructions for Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business.

See the General Instructions for Certain Information Returns for information on what payments are covered, how much the payment must be before a statement is required, which form to use, when to file, and extensions of time to provide statements to the IRS. 

Forms 1099B, 1099S, and certain reporting on Form 1099MISC, Miscellaneous Income, are due to recipients by February 17. 

February 10 

  • Employees who work for tips. If you received $20 or more in tips during January, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070. 

February 17 

  • Individuals. If you claimed exemption from income tax withholding last year on the Form W4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, you gave your employer, you must file a new Form W4 by this date to continue your exemption for another year. 
  • All businesses. Give annual information statements to recipients of certain payments you made during 2014. You can use the appropriate version of Form 1099 or other information return. Form 1099 can be issued electronically with the consent of the recipient. This due date applies only to the following types of payments.
    • All payments reported on Form 1099B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions.
    • All payments reported on Form 1099S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions.
    • Substitute payments reported in box 8 or gross proceeds paid to an attorney reported in box 14 of Form 1099MISC.

Source: IRS Publication 509

Free Download: 2014 ACA Quick Reference Guide



New ACA Quick Reference Guide Now Available

Drake Software produced an ACA-related quick reference guide to help tax preparers during the 2015 filing season.

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Press Release: J. Russell George Urges Taxpayers to Be on “High Alert” to Phone Fraud Scam



TIGTA Reminds Taxpayers to Beware of Calls from IRS Impersonators this Filing Season

WASHINGTON — As the 2015 tax filing season begins, the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) is reminding taxpayers to beware of phone calls from individuals claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in an effort to defraud them. 

“It is critical that all taxpayers continue to be wary of unsolicited telephone calls from individuals claiming to be IRS employees,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “This scam, which is international in nature, has proven to be the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen. The callers are aggressive, they are relentless and they are ruthless,” he said. “Once they have your attention, they will say anything to con you out of your hard-earned cash,” George added. 

TIGTA has received reports of roughly 290,000 contacts since October 2013 and has become aware of nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively paid over $14 million as a result of the scam, in which individuals make unsolicited calls to taxpayers fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials and demanding that they send them cash via prepaid debit cards. 

“The increasing number of people not only receiving but accepting these unsolicited calls from individuals who fraudulently claim to represent the IRS is alarming,” George said. “At all times, and particularly during the tax filing season, we want to make sure that innocent taxpayers are alert to this scam so they are not harmed by these criminals,” he said, adding, “Do not become a victim.” 

“This is a crime of opportunity, so the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to take away the opportunity,” the Inspector General added. “Do not engage with these callers. If they call you, hang up the telephone.” 

Inspector General George noted that the scam has hit taxpayers in every State in the country. Callers claiming to be from the IRS tell intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with immediate arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license. 

The IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes. And the IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS also won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone. 

“If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and uses threatening language if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling,” George said. 

The callers who commit this fraud often: 

  • Utilize an automated robocall machine.
  • Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
  • May know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number.
  • Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling.
  • Send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam.
  • Call a second or third time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim. 

If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do: 

  • If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
  • If you don’t owe taxes, fill out the “IRS Impersonation scam” form on TIGTA’s website, www.treasury.gov/tigta or call TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
  • You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint. 

TIGTA and the IRS encourage taxpayers to be alert for phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name. The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, texting or any social media. You should forward scam e-mails to [email protected]. Don’t open any attachments or click on any links in those e-mails. 

Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes winner) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

Read more about tax scams on the genuine IRS website at www.irs.gov. 

Source:  US Treasury Inspector General Press Release TIGTA – 2015-01

Press Release: Phone Scams Continue to be Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2015 Filing Season



IRS Warns Against Tax Scams

WASHINGTON — Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain near the top of the annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for the 2015 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. 

The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season. 

“If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don’t pay immediately, it’s a scam artist calling,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail. Taxpayers have rights, and this is not how we do business.” 

The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so. This year for the first time, the IRS will issue the individual Dirty Dozen scams one at a time during the next 12 business days to raise consumer awareness. 

Phone scams top the list this year because it has been a persistent and pervasive problem for many taxpayers for many months. Scammers are able to alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. They often leave “urgent” callback requests. They prey on the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English. Scammers have been known to impersonate agents from IRS Criminal Investigation as well. 

“These criminals try to scare and shock you into providing personal financial information on the spot while you are off guard,” Koskinen said. “Don’t be taken in and don’t engage these people over the phone.” 

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of roughly 290,000 contacts since October 2013 and has become aware of nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively paid over $14 million as a result of the scam, in which individuals make unsolicited calls to taxpayers fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials and demanding that they send them cash via prepaid debit cards. 

Protect Yourself

As telephone scams continue across the country, the IRS recently put out a new YouTube video with a renewed warning to taxpayers not to be fooled by imposters posing as tax agency representatives. The new Tax Scams video describes some basic tips to help protect taxpayers from tax scams. 

These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you. 

The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. 

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying. 

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do: 

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 or at tigta.gov.
  • If you’ve been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint. 

Remember, too, the IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue involving bills or refunds. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box. 

Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube http://www.youtube.com/irsvideos and Tumblr http://internalrevenueservice.tumblr.com, where people can search “scam” to find all the scam-related posts.

IRS YouTube Video:
Tax Scams: English | Spanish | ASL

Podcasts:  English | Spanish

Source:  IRS at IR-2015-5

Bill Introduced To Regulate Tax Preparers



In the waning hours before turning control of the Senate Finance Committee to the new Republican leadership, Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) re-introduced his bill to regulate tax preparers.  Co-signing the bill is Sen Ben Cardin (D-MD). 

The new bill is identical to last year’s proposed legislation, which did not garner enough support to get out of committee.  So far, incoming Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has not indicated support for the bill. 

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