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IRS Starts Accepting e-Filed Returns Again

Hardware Failure Resolved

The IRS is once again accepting e-filed returns following the outage reported on Thursday. At the time of the outage, the agency seemed confident that the apparent hardware failure would not cause a delay for taxpayer refunds. Today, the IRS reiterated that belief – stating that the outage should not have much of an impact on the majority of refunds. [Read more…]

What to Do About Your Missing W-2

While the majority of taxpayers receive a W-2 before the beginning of January, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Luckily – since it’s needed for filing an accurate return – the IRS has advice for people who are missing their Form W-2.

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IRS Releases Top 10 Tax Facts for Exemptions and Dependents

The IRS released another top 10 list, this time identifying the important information for exemptions and dependents. These tips aim to help taxpayers reduce the amount of tax they owe.

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IRS Issues 10 Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer

Filing season began a little more than a week ago, and while some taxpayers have already filed their 2015 returns, many others are still gathering receipts and shopping around for a tax professional. To help the latter group, the IRS suggested ten things to do when choosing a tax preparer.

Here’s the checklist:

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Tax Relief for Mississippi Disaster Victims

IRS Extends Filing Deadline in Affected Counties

Today the IRS announced that victims of the storms that swept through Mississippi now have until May 16 to file returns and meet some payment deadlines. This tax relief is also being extended to workers from government and philanthropic organization workers helping with relief efforts.

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National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers Report to Congress

Warns that Tax System may Become “Pay to Play”

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson’s annual report to Congress addressed concerns about the IRS’s Future State plan: specifically, a reduction in phone and face-to-face service, potential security issues related to taxpayer data, and the general need for transparency moving forward. While Olson believes some parts of the undisclosed plan are good, she worries that a significant reduction in access to previous services could result in an environment wherein “only taxpayers who can afford to pay for tax advice will receive personal service, while others will be left struggling for themselves.”

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Highlights of the 2015 Extenders

Bipartisan Effort Passes Extenders; Makes Some Permanent

When testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee in April, IRS Commissioner Koskinen feared Congress would delay passing extenders until late in the year, stating that any provisions left out of the legislation could postpone the start of filing season due to the IRS needing time to adequately prepare for changes. When the tax extenders legislation was announcedit was only fitting that the Commissioner mentioned the extenders as one of the key reasons that tax season is going to start on time in 2016.

Unlike previous years, this extenders package doesn’t simply push temporary deductions into 2016; the PATH Act makes several tax breaks permanent and is being called the first major step toward comprehensive tax reform by Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch.

Here are a few of the changes for 2016 listed in the section-by-section summary:

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Just in Time: 2016 Tax Season Won’t be Postponed

Today, the IRS issued a press release stating that the combination of tax extenders legislation, agency preparation, and help from tax professionals ensured that they will be able to begin tax season on time in 2016. That means they will start accepting e-filed returns on January 19, 2016, though some tax preparers will accept client information earlier in January so they can file as soon as the IRS opens the floodgates. [Read more…]

IRS Suggests Password Standards

Combat Identity Theft with Stronger Password Systems

Innumerable articles underscore the need for keeping unique, rotating passwords for every online account: email, social media, gaming, video streaming services, and the like. Short of using password management software to generate random passwords, a combination of numbers, letters (both upper- and lower- case), and special characters should reduce the chance that your accounts will be compromised. 

As part of their Security Awareness Tax Tip series aiming to combat identity theft, the IRS today announced a stronger password initiative for 2016. If any of the online services you use implement complexity requirements for account passwords, then some of these strategies might seem familiar: [Read more…]

IRS Reminds Retirees to Take Retirement Plan Distributions

On October 29, the IRS released part of their “Tax Preparedness Series” aimed at “taxpayers born before July 1, 1945,” reminding them that the deadline for required minimum distribution payments (RMD) is December 31, 2015. [Read more…]