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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

IRS Updated Identity Theft Information for Tax Preparers



Tax preparers play a critical role in assisting clients, both individuals and businesses, who are victims of tax-related identity theft. The IRS is working hard to prevent and detect identity theft as well as reduce the time it takes to resolve these cases.

What is tax-related identity theft?

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your client’s stolen social security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.  Thieves may also use a stolen EIN from your business client to create false Forms W-2 to support refund fraud schemes. 

Warning signs of tax-related identity theft

You may be unaware your client is a victim of identity theft until you attempt to file the tax return and it is rejected. Your client also may receive an IRS notice regarding: 

  • More than one tax return was filed using your client’s SSN,
  • Your client has a balance due, refund offset or a collection action taken for a year in which your client did not file a tax return,
  • IRS records indicate your client received wages from an unknown employer,
  • A business client may receive an IRS letter about an amended tax return, fictitious employees or about a defunct, closed or dormant business. 

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IRS Launches International Data Exchange Service



WASHINGTON — On January 12 the Internal Revenue Service announced the opening of the International Data Exchange Service (IDES) for enrollment.  Financial institutions and host country tax authorities will use IDES to securely send their information reports on financial accounts held by U.S. persons to the IRS under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) or pursuant to the terms of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA), as applicable.

More than 145,000 financial institutions have registered through the IRS FATCA Registration System. The U.S. has more than 110 IGAs, either signed or agreed in substance. Financial institutions and host country tax authorities will use IDES to provide the IRS information reports on financial accounts held by U.S. persons.

“The opening of the International Data Exchange Service is a milestone in the implementation of FATCA,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “With it, comes the start of a secure system of automated, standardized information exchanges among government tax authorities. This will enhance our ability to detect hidden accounts and help ensure fairness in the tax system.”

Where a jurisdiction has a reciprocal IGA and the jurisdiction has the necessary safeguards and infrastructure in place, the IRS will also use IDES to provide similar information to the host country tax authority on accounts in U.S. financial institutions held by the jurisdiction’s residents.

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IRS Technical Guidance and Notices



  • Notice 2015-3 provides rules for claimants to make one-time claims for the retroactively extended 2014 biodiesel mixture and alternative fuel excise tax credits.  It also provides guidance for claimants to claim the other retroactively extended credits for 2014, including the alternative fuel mixture excise tax credit. This will appear in IRB 2015-6 dated February 9, 2015. 
  • Notice 2015-08 provides guidance on section 45R for certain small employers that cannot offer a qualified health plan (QHP) through a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchange because the employer’s principal business address is in a county in which a QHP through a SHOP Exchange will not be available for the 2015 calendar year (the counties, which are listed in the notice, are all in Iowa).  Notice 2015-08 will appear in IRB 2015-06, dated February 9th, 2015. 

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More IRS Resources and Technical Guidance



Filing Season Starts Today, January 20. Are you ready? 

The IRS has a variety of online tools to assist you this filing season. Visit Basic Tools for Tax Professionals for information you need to file returns for your clients and e-Services for Tax Pros, a suite of web-based tools that allow you to complete certain transactions online. ACA is a hot topic this year, so bookmark the ACA Information Center for Tax Professionals page. And if you have questions about FATCA, take a look at the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act page

Resources on IRS.gov for Handling Estates, Bankruptcies. 

IRS.gov has resources that can help tax professionals manage estate and bankruptcy issues. For more information, including links to forms and publications, see Bankruptcy and Deceased Taxpayers – Probate, Filing Estate and Individual Returns, Paying Taxes Due

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Press Release: IRS Cuts eHelp Hours For Tax Professionals



The IRS recently published the hours of operation for their eHelp service. This document identifies upcoming holidays that the eHelp office will be closed:

Due to Budget restrictions for 2015, extended weekday hours, Saturday service and President’s Day service will not be available. The e-help desk will continue to provide service during the hours listed below.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

e-help Desk assists tax professionals such as Enrolled Agents, Reporting Agents, Electronic Return Originators, Certified Public Accountants, Software Developers, and Transmitters with non-account related questions and issues concerning e-products.

e-help Desk Toll Free Number

1-866-255-0654

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IRS Updated Identity Theft Information for Tax Preparers



Outlines Warning Signs that Client Information Could be Compromised

Tax preparers play a critical role in assisting clients, both individuals and businesses, who are victims of tax-related identity theft. The IRS is working hard to prevent and detect identity theft as well as reduce the time it takes to resolve these cases.

What is tax-related identity theft?

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your client’s stolen social security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.  Thieves may also use a stolen EIN from your business client to create false Forms W-2 to support refund fraud schemes. 

[Read more…]