Here’s a quick overview of #tax_reform changes and where #taxpayers can find more info


Major #tax law changes affect every taxpayer filing a #2018 tax return this year. To help taxpayers understand these changes, the #IRS created several resources that are available on IRS.gov.

Here’s a quick overview of key changes with a link to more information on IRS.gov:

Tax rates lowered.  Starting in 2018, tax rates are lower for most income brackets. The seven rates range from 10 percent to 37 percent.

Standard deduction nearly doubled. For 2018, the basic standard deduction is $12,000 for singles, $18,000 for heads of household and $24,000 for married couples filing a joint tax return. Higher amounts apply to people who are blind or at least age 65. Along with other changes, this means that more than half of those who itemized their deductions in tax year 2017 may instead take the higher standard deduction on their 2018 tax return.

  • Check out this resource: Publication 501, Dependents, Standard Deduction and Filing Information

Various deductions #limited or #discontinued. New limits apply to mortgage interest. Additionally, taxpayers can no longer deduct miscellaneous itemized deductions for job-related costs and certain other expenses. The law also limits the state and local tax deduction to $10,000, $5,000 if married and filing a separate tax return.

Child Tax Credit doubled, and more people qualify. The maximum credit is now $2,000 for each qualifying child under age 17. The income limit for getting the full credit increased to $400,000 for joint filers and $200,000 for other taxpayers.

New credit for other dependents. Taxpayers can claim a $500 credit for each dependent who doesn’t qualify for the Child Tax Credit. This includes older children and qualifying relatives, such as a parent.

Personal and dependency exemptions suspended. This means that taxpayers filing a tax return can no longer claim an exemption for themselves, a spouse and dependents.

More information:
Tax Time Guide 
Be Tax Ready – understanding tax reform changes affecting individuals and families
Interactive Tax Assistant
Subscribe to IRS Tax Tips

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#IRS warns of new phone #scam using Taxpayer Advocate Service numbers


IRS YouTube Videos: 
Tax Scams – English | Spanish | ASL
Dirty Dozen – English | Spanish | ASL

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned the public about a new twist on the IRS impersonation phone scam whereby criminals fake calls from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS.

Similar to other IRS impersonation scams, thieves make unsolicited phone calls to their intended victims fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS. In this most recent scam variation, callers “spoof” the telephone number of the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service office in Houston or Brooklyn. Calls may be ‘robo-calls’ that request a call back. Once the taxpayer returns the call, the con artist requests personal information, including Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).

TAS can help protect your taxpayer rights. TAS can help if you need assistance resolving an IRS problem, if your problem is causing financial difficulty, or if you believe an IRS system or procedure isn’t working as it should. TAS does not initiate calls to taxpayers “out of the blue.” Typically, a taxpayer would contact TAS for help first, and only then would TAS reach out to the taxpayer.

In other variations of the IRS impersonation phone scam, fraudsters demand immediate payment of taxes by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The callers are often hostile and abusive.

Alternately, scammers may tell would-be victims that they are entitled to a large refund but must first provide personal information. Other characteristics of these scams include:

  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may know the last four digits of the taxpayer’s Social Security number.
  • Scammers spoof caller ID to make the phone number appear as if the IRS or another local law enforcement agency is calling.
  • Scammers may send bogus IRS emails to victims to support their bogus calls.
  • Victims hear background noise of other calls to mimic a call site.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or with, driver’s license or other professional license revocation, scammers hang up. Others soon call back pretending to be from local law enforcement agencies or the Department of Motor Vehicles, and caller ID again supports their claim.

Here are some things the scammers often do, but the IRS will not do. Taxpayers should remember that any one of these is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Call about an unexpected refund.

For taxpayers who don’t owe taxes or don’t think they do:

  • Please report IRS or Treasury-related fraudulent calls to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: IRS Phone Scam).
  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately. The longer the con artist is engaged; the more opportunity he/she believes exists, potentially prompting more calls.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

For those who owe taxes or think they do:

  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help.
  • View tax account online. Taxpayers can see their past 24 months of payment history, payoff amount and balance of each tax year owed.

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS or other legitimate companies and agencies as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more information visit Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts on IRS.gov.

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Tax reform changes to fringe benefit deductions affect business’s bottom line


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes tax law changes that affect businesses and the 2018 tax returns they file this year. One change is to fringe benefit deductions, which can affect both a business’s bottom line and its employees’ deductions.

Here is a rundown of these changes:

Transportation fringe benefits
The new law disallows deductions for expenses associated with qualified transportation fringe benefits or expenses incurred providing transportation for commuting, except as necessary for employee safety.
 
Bicycle commuting reimbursements
Under the new tax law, employers can deduct qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements as a business expense for 2018 through 2025. The new tax law suspends the exclusion of qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements from an employee’s income for 2018 through 2025. Employers must now include these reimbursements in the employee’s wages.
 
Moving expenses
Employers must now include moving expense reimbursements in employees’ wages. The new tax law suspends the former exclusion for qualified moving expense reimbursements. There is one exception for active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces. They can still exclude moving expenses from their income. There is additional guidance on reimbursements for employees’ 2017 moves if an employer reimburses the expenses in 2018. Generally, reimbursements in this situation are not taxed.
 
Achievement awards
Special rules allow an employee to exclude achievement awards from wages if the awards are tangible personal property. An employer also may deduct awards that are tangible personal property, subject to certain deduction limits. The new law clarifies the definition of tangible personal property.

More information
Employer Update

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Tax Time Guide: #Seniors who turned 70½ last year must start receiving retirement plan payments by April 1

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that, in most cases, Monday, April 1, 2019, is the date by which persons who turned age 70½ during 2018 must begin receiving payments from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans.

This news release is part of a series called the Tax Time Guide, a resource to help taxpayers file an accurate tax return. Additional help is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, and the tax reform information page.

Two payments in the same year

The payments, called required minimum distributions (RMDs), are normally made by the end of the year. Those persons who reached age 70½ during 2018 are covered by a special rule, however, that allows first-year recipients of these payments to wait until as late as April 1, 2019, to get the first of their RMDs. The April 1 RMD deadline only applies to the required distribution for the first year. For all following years, including the year in which recipients were paid the first RMD by April 1, the RMD must be made by Dec. 31.

A taxpayer who turned 70½ in 2018 (born July 1, 1947, to June 30, 1948) and receives the first required distribution (for 2018) on April 1, 2019, for example, must still receive the second RMD by Dec. 31, 2019.  To avoid having both amounts included in their income for the same year, the taxpayer can make their first withdrawal by Dec. 31 of the year they turn 70½ instead of waiting until April 1 of the following year.

Types of retirement plans requiring RMDs

The required distribution rules apply to owners of traditional, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) and Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLE) IRAs but not Roth IRAs while the original owner is alive. They also apply to participants in various workplace retirement plans, including 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

An IRA trustee must either report the amount of the RMD to the IRA owner or offer to calculate it for the owner. Often, the trustee shows the RMD amount on Form 5498 in Box 12b. For a 2018 RMD, this amount is on the 2017 Form 5498 normally issued to the owner during January 2018.

Some can delay RMDs

Though the April 1 deadline is mandatory for all owners of traditional IRAs and most participants in workplace retirement plans, some people with workplace plans can wait longer to receive their RMD. Employees who are still working usually can, if their plan allows, wait until April 1 of the year after they retire to start receiving these distributions. See Tax on Excess Accumulation in Publication 575. Employees of public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations with 403(b) plan accruals before 1987 should check with their employer, plan administrator or provider to see how to treat these accruals.

IRS online tools and publications can help

Many answers to questions about RMDs can be found in a special frequently asked questions section at IRS.gov. Most taxpayers use Table III (Uniform Lifetime) to figure their RMD. For a taxpayer who reached age 70½ in 2018 and turned 71 before the end of the year, for example, the first required distribution would be based on a distribution period of 26.5 years. A separate table, Table II, applies to a taxpayer married to a spouse who is more than 10 years younger and is the taxpayer’s only beneficiary. Both tables can be found in the appendices to Publication 590-B.

Taxpayers can find answers to questions, forms and instructions and easy-to-use tools online at IRS.gov. They can use these resources to get help when it’s needed, at home, at work or on the go.

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IRS: Be vigilant against #phone #scams Annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ list continues


IRS YouTube Videos:
Tax Scams – English | Spanish | ASL
Dirty Dozen – English | Spanish | ASL

WASHINGTON — As the April filing deadline approaches, the Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to be alert to tax time phone scams where aggressive criminals pose as IRS agents in hopes of stealing money or personal information.

Phone scams or “vishing” (voice phishing) continue to pose a major threat. The scam has cost thousands of people millions of dollars in recent years, and the IRS continues to see variations on these aggressive calling schemes.

Phone scams again made the IRS’ Dirty Dozen list, an annual compilation of some of the schemes that threaten taxpayers not only during filing season but throughout the year.

The IRS is highlighting each of these scams on consecutive days to help raise awareness and protect taxpayers. The IRS also urges taxpayers to help protect themselves against phone scams and identity theft by reviewing safety tips prepared by the Security Summit, a collaborative effort between the IRS, states and the private-sector tax community.

“Taxpayers should be on the lookout for unexpected and aggressive phone calls purportedly coming from the IRS,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “These calls can feature scam artists aggressively ordering immediate payment and making threats against a person. Don’t fall for these.”

Beginning early in the filing season, the IRS generally sees an upswing in scam phone calls threatening arrest, deportation or license revocation, if the victim doesn’t pay a bogus tax bill. These calls most often take the form of a “robo-call” (a text-to-speech recorded voicemail with instructions to call back a specific telephone number), but in some cases may be made by a real person. These con artists may have some of the taxpayer’s information, including their address, the last four digits of their Social Security number or other personal details.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the federal agency that investigates tax-related phone scams, says these types of scams have cost 14,700 victims a total of more than $72 million since October 2013

How do the scams work?

Criminals make unsolicited calls and leave voicemails with urgent callback requests claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill by sending cash through a wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card.

Many phone scammers use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. The phone scammers may alter or “spoof” their caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers may use IRS employee titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate.

The IRS also reminds taxpayers that scammers often change tactics. Variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round and tend to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike. Tax scams can be more believable during the tax filing season when people are thinking about their taxes.

Here are some things the scammers often do, but the IRS will not do. Taxpayers should remember that any one of these is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Call about an unexpected refund.

For taxpayers who don’t owe taxes or don’t think they do:

  • Please report IRS or Treasury-related fraudulent calls to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: IRS Phone Scam).
  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately. The longer the con artist is engaged; the more opportunity he/she believes exists, potentially prompting more calls.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

For those who owe taxes or think they do:

  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help.
  • View tax account online. Taxpayers can see their past 24 months of payment history, payoff amount and balance of each tax year owed.

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS or other legitimate companies and agencies as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more information visit Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts on IRS.gov.

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IRS issues proposed regulations on deduction for foreign-derived intangible income and global intangible low-taxed income

I

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations under section 250 of the Internal Revenue Code, which offers domestic corporations deductions for foreign-derived intangible income (FDII) and global intangible low-taxed income. Section 250, as well as section 951A dealing with global intangible low-taxed income, was added by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

These proposed regulations provide guidance on both the computation of the deductions available under section 250 and determination of FDII. In addition, the proposed regulations provide rules for the computation of FDII in the consolidated return context. Proposed guidance on the computation of global intangible low-taxed income was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 10, 2018.

New reporting rules requiring the filing of Form 8993, Section 250 Deduction for Foreign-Derived Intangible Income and Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income, are also described in the proposed regulations.

Treasury and IRS welcome public comments on these proposed regulations. For details on submitting comments, see the proposed regulations.

Updates on the implementation of the TCJA can be found on the Tax Reform page of IRS.gov.

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Here’s how a #name #change affects a #tax #return

When someone legally changes their name, there are tax consequences they need to know about., especially at tax time. People change their names for several reasons:

  • Taking their spouse’s last name after a marriage
  • Hyphenating their last name with their spouse’s after getting married
  • Going back to their former name after a divorce
  • Giving an adopted child the last name of their new family

The IRS wants people experiencing a name change to remember these important things:

Reporting change to SSA. Taxpayers should notify the Social Security Administration of a name change ASAP. When a taxpayer files their taxes, the IRS checks SSA records to ensure names and social security numbers on the forms match.

Failing to report a name change. If a name on a taxpayer’s tax return doesn’t match SSA records, it can delay the IRS processing of that return. In that case, if the taxpayer is due a refund, it will take longer for them to get their money.
 
Name Change Due to Adoption. In the case of an adoption, if the child has a Social Security number, the taxpayer should be sure to inform the SSA of a name change. If the child does not have a Social Security number, the taxpayer may use an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number on their tax return. An ATIN is a temporary number. Taxpayers can apply for an ATIN by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. Taxpayers file this form with the IRS. 
 
Getting a New SS Card. After a name change, a taxpayer should file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. The form is available on SSA.gov or by calling 800-772-1213. The taxpayer’s new Social Security card will reflect the name change.

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Videos help taxpayers learn more about #tax #reform

The IRS has several videos that can help individual and business taxpayers learn more about the tax reform legislation. The IRS posts these videos on the IRS Video Portal and to their YouTube channel. Aside from these sites, the IRS offers tax reform information on its other social media channels, such as Twitter and their new Instagram account. Taxpayers can visit the Multimedia Center on IRS.gov for links to all the agency’s social media sites.

Here are some of the tax reform videos taxpayers can watch on their computer or on their smartphone when they’re on the go.

IRS Video Portal
The IRS produces and posts videos to post on the Video Portal. These videos can help individual and business taxpayers better understand how the tax reform law affects them and their taxes.


IRS YouTube Channel
These videos are all in English, with several also being offered in Spanish and American Sign Language.

  • Paycheck CheckupEnglish | Spanish | ASL 
    Taxpayers can watch this video to find out why they should do a Paycheck Checkup after tax reform legislation changed how much tax is taken out of individuals’ paychecks.

  • IRS Withholding Calculator TipsEnglish | Spanish | ASL
    This video gives taxpayers tips for using the calculator, including what documents to have on hand before starting their Paycheck Checkup.

  • Paid Family and Medical Leave:  English
    If employers provide paid family and medical leave for their employees, they may be eligible for a tax credit. This video has more information about this credit.

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