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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IRS provides a safe harbor method of accounting for passenger automobiles that qualify for the 100-percent additional first year depreciation


WASHINGTON –The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance today that provides a safe harbor method for determining depreciation deductions for passenger automobiles that qualify for the 100-percent additional first year depreciation deduction and that are subject to the depreciation limitations for passenger automobiles. 

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the additional first year depreciation deduction applies to qualified property, including passenger automobiles, acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, and before January 1, 2027. 

In general, the section 179 and depreciation deductions for passenger automobiles are subject to dollar limitations for the year the taxpayer places the passenger automobile in service and for each succeeding year.  For a passenger automobile that qualifies for the 100-percent additional first year depreciation deduction, TCJA increased the first-year limitation amount by $8,000.  If the depreciable basis of a passenger automobile for which the 100-percent additional first year depreciation deduction is allowable exceeds the first-year limitation, the excess amount is deductible in the first taxable year after the end of the recovery period.

The guidance provides a safe harbor method of accounting for passenger automobiles. The safe harbor allows depreciation deductions for the excess amount during the recovery period subject to the depreciation limitations applicable to passenger automobiles.  To apply the safe-harbor method, the taxpayer must use the applicable depreciation table in Appendix A of IRS Publication 946.  The safe harbor method does not apply to a passenger automobile placed in service by the taxpayer after 2022, or to a passenger automobile for which the taxpayer elected out of the 100-percent additional first year depreciation deduction or elected under section 179 to expense all or a portion of the cost of the passenger automobile. 

Taxpayers adopt the safe harbor method of accounting by applying it to deduct depreciation of a passenger automobile on their return for the first taxable year following the placed-in-service year.

For more information on the additional first year depreciation deduction, see TCJA, Depreciation. For information about other TCJA provisions, visit IRS.gov/taxreform.

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What changed about deducting unreimbursed job expenses?

Tax reform eliminated the option to claim “miscellaneous expenses subject to the 2 percent adjusted gross income (AGI) floor” as itemized deductions.  Unreimbursed job expenses were previously part of that miscellaneous expense category. That means as a traditional employee, you can no longer deduct those costs on your tax return. And that includes the cost of:

  • meals and entertainment
  • travel
  • office supplies
  • books
  • vehicles (actual expenses or the standard mileage rate)

Don’t fret if you’re self-employed or a small business owner! You can still deduct those costs as business expenses. That includes sole proprietorships, farms, and real estate rentals. The new law only eliminated the deduction for work-related expenses for traditional employees.

How do changes to the standard deduction affect itemized deductions?

As you may have heard, the standard deduction for 2018 doubled – or nearly doubled – for taxpayers in all filing statuses. Most people will find it’s not beneficial to itemize their deductions because the new, larger standard deduction provides more benefits.

If you’re not itemizing deductions, it no longer matters whether you can deduct unreimbursed job expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions.

What should I do if my unreimbursed job expenses are substantial?

If you have a lot of unreimbursed job expenses, the first thing you may want to do is see if your employer will cover the cost. Your employer can still deduct all qualified employee expense reimbursements. That why now is a great time to bring the subject up to your employer so you know what to expect come tax season.

If your employer decides to reimburse your expenses, make sure they use an “accountable plan” that meets all IRS requirements. Using an accountable plan allows your employer to deduct reimbursed expenses and not include the reimbursed amount with your wages on Form W-2. If your employer does not use an accountable plan, any reimbursements must be included on your Form W-2 as taxable income.

Another option is to see if you qualify to work as an independent contractor. If you often have a large number of unreimbursed job expenses, and you meet other independent contractor guidelines set by the IRS, it might be more beneficial to be classified that way. Just be sure you are paid a higher gross amount as a contractor than you were as an employee. That’ll help make up for the lost employer-paid Social Security, Medicare and other benefits lost. “from Tax Act Blog.”

Where’s My Refund? tool lets taxpayers check the status of their refund


The best way for taxpayers to check the status of their refund is to use the Where’s My Refund? tool on IRS.gov. This tool gives taxpayers access to their tax return and refund status anytime. All they need is internet access and three pieces of information:

  • Their Social Security number
  • Their filing status
  • The exact whole dollar amount of their refund

Taxpayers can start checking on the status of their return within 24 hours after the IRS received their e-filed return, or four weeks after they mail a paper return. Where’s My Refund? includes a tracker that displays progress through three stages: the IRS receives the tax return, then approves the refund, and sends the refund.

Where’s My Refund? Updates once a day, so taxpayers don’t need to check more often.

Taxpayers on the go can track their return and refund status on their mobile devices using the free IRS2Go app. Those who file an amended return should check out the Where’s My Amended Return? tool. 

Generally, the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, but some may take longer. IRS phone and walk-in representatives can research the status of refunds only if it’s been 21 days or more since a taxpayer filed electronically, or more than six weeks since they mailed a paper return. Taxpayers can also contact the IRS if Where’s My Refund? directs them to do so.

More information:
Understanding Tax Return Preparer Credentials and Qualifications
Tax Topic 254 – How to Choose a Tax Return Preparer
Choosing a Tax Professional
Filing for Individuals
e-File Options for Individuals
Paying Your Taxes
What to Expect for Refunds in 2019
Tax Reform: Basics for Individuals and Families
Multimedia Center: IRS on Social Media

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Find out how tax reform affects your businesses’ bottom line at IRS.gov

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Business may find they have questions about how 2017’s tax reform legislation affects their organization and their bottom line. IRS.gov is a great place to find answers. Here are several resources on the IRS website that address tax reform.

Tax reform provisions that affect businesses
This is the main page for businesses. Users can link from this page out to more resources with additional information, which is organized in sections by topic. These sections include a plain language description and links to news releases, notices and other technical guidance. Here are a few of the main tax topics on this page and the subtopics highlighted in each section:

  • Income: taxation of foreign income, carried interest, and like-kind exchanges
  • Deductions and depreciation: fringe benefits, moving expenses, standard mileage rates, deduction for pass-through businesses, and business interest expenses
  • Credits: employer credit for paid family and medical leave, and the rehabilitation tax credit
  • Taxes: blended federal income tax and withholding
  • Accounting method changes
  • Opportunity zones

This page also includes information for specific industries, such as farming, insurance companies, and aircraft management services.

Tax Reform Small Business Initiative
This one-stop shop highlights important tax reform topics for small businesses. From this page, users can link to several additional resources.

Tax reform resources
From this page, people can link to helpful products including news releases, tax reform tax tips, revenue procedures, fact sheets, FAQs and drop-in articles. Organizations can share these materials including the drop-in articles with employees, customers and volunteers to help them better understand tax reform.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A comparison for businesses
This side-by-side comparison can help businesses understand the changes the new law made to previous law. It will help businesses then make decisions and plan accordingly. It covers changes to deductions, depreciation, expensing, tax credits, and other tax items that affect businesses.

Tax reform: What’s new for your business 
This electronic publication covers many of the TCJA provisions that are important for small and medium-sized businesses, their owners, and tax professionals to understand. This concise publication includes sections about:

  • Qualified business income deduction
  • Depreciation: Section 168 and 179 modifications
  • Business-related losses, exclusions and deductions
  • Business credits
  • Corporate tax provisions
  • S corporations
  • Farm provisions

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Find out how tax reform affects your businesses’ bottom line at IRS.gov 
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IRS Update on Shutdown Impact on Tax Court Cases; Important Information for Taxpayers, Tax Professionals with Pending Cases


The United States Tax Court’s website (www.ustaxcourt.gov) announced that the Tax Court shut down operations on Friday, December 28, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. and will remain closed until further notice.  The IRS reminds taxpayers and tax professionals the Tax Court website is the best place to get information about a pending case. 

There are some important points for taxpayers and tax professionals to keep in mind. These are some questions and answers to help during the current appropriations lapse.

Q: What should I do if a document I mailed or sent to the Tax Court was returned to me?

A: The Tax Court website indicates that mail sent to the court through the U.S.  Postal Service or through designated private delivery services may have been returned undelivered.  If a document you sent to the Tax Court was returned to you, as the Tax Court website indicates, re-mail or re-send the document to the Court with a copy of the envelope or container (with the postmark or proof of mailing date) in which it was first mailed or sent. In addition, please retain the original.

My case was calendared for trial.  What does the Tax Court’s closure mean for my pending case? 

The Tax Court canceled trial sessions for January 28, 2019 (El Paso, TX; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; San Diego, CA; and Lubbock, TX), February 4, 2019 (Hartford, CT; Houston, TX; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; St. Paul, MN; Washington, DC; and Winston-Salem, NC) and February 11, 2019 (Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; San Diego, CA; and Mobile, AL). The Tax Court will inform taxpayers who had cases on the canceled trial sessions of their new trial dates.

The Tax Court’s website indicates that it will make a decision about the February 25, 2019 trial sessions (Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; and Philadelphia, PA) on or before February 7, 2019.  Taxpayers with cases that are scheduled for trial sessions that have not been canceled or that have not yet been scheduled for trial should expect their cases to proceed in the normal course until further notice.

If my case was on a canceled trial session, when will I have an opportunity to resolve my case with Appeals or Chief Counsel after the government reopens? 

After the IRS and Chief Counsel reopen, we will make our best efforts to expeditiously resolve cases. 

Where can I get more information about my Tax Court case? 

If someone is representing you in your case, you should contact your representative. In addition, the Tax Court’s website is the best place for updates.  The IRS Chief Counsel and Appeals personnel assigned to your case may be furloughed and will not be available to answer your questions until the government reopens.  In addition, The American Bar Association (ABA) is conducting a webinar on January 28, 2019, and you can get more information from the ABA Tax Section website (www.americanbar.org/groups/taxation). Taxpayers seeking assistance from Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) can find a list of LITCs on the Tax Court’s website (www.ustaxcourt.gov/clinics/clinics.pdf).

During the shutdown, does interest continue to accrue on the tax that I am disputing in my pending Tax Court case? 

Yes. To avoid additional interest on the tax that you are disputing in your pending Tax Court case, you can stop the running of interest by making a payment to the IRS.  Go to www.irs.gov/payments for payment options available to you.  The IRS is continuing to process payments during the shutdown.

What should I do if I received a bill for the tax liability that is the subject of my Tax Court case? 

If you receive a collection notice for the tax that is in dispute in your Tax Court case, it may be because the IRS has not received your petition and has made a premature assessment.  When the government reopens, the IRS attorney assigned to your case will determine if a premature assessment was made and request that the IRS abate the premature assessment. 

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IRS: Make an #estimated_tax payment now to avoid a tax time surprise


WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today advised employees, whose 2018 federal income tax withholding unexpectedly falls short of their tax liability for the year, that they can still avoid a tax-time surprise by making a quarterly estimated tax payment directly to the IRS. The deadline for making a payment for the fourth quarter of 2018 is Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.

Although the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the tax reform law enacted last December, lowered tax rates for most people, it also nearly doubled the standard deduction and limited or discontinued many deductions, among other changes. Though most 2018 tax filers are still expected to get refunds, the number who owe tax, and in some cases a penalty, is likely to be larger than in recent years, and many of them are likely to be people who have always gotten refunds.

Taxpayers who itemized in the past who now choose to take advantage of the increased standard deduction, as well as two-wage-earner households, employees with nonwage sources of income and those with complex tax situations, are at most risk of having too little tax withheld from their pay. This is especially true if they didn’t update their withholding earlier this year.

In addition, various financial transactions, especially those occurring late in the year, can often have an unexpected tax impact. Examples include year-end and holiday bonuses, stock dividends, capital gain distributions from mutual funds and stocks, bonds, real estate or other property sold at a profit.

For anyone at risk for a tax-time surprise, making an estimated tax payment soon is the fastest and easiest solution. Form 1040-ES, available on IRS.gov, includes a useful worksheet for figuring the right amount to pay. This form also includes a quick rundown of key tax changes and the federal income tax rate schedules for 2018.

A companion publication, Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, has additional details, including worksheets and examples, that can be especially helpful to those who have dividend or capital gain income, owe alternative minimum tax or self-employment tax, or have other special situations.

The fastest and easiest way to make an estimated tax payment is to do so electronically using IRS Direct Pay or the Treasury Department’s Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). For information on other payment options, visit IRS.gov/payments. If paying by check, be sure to make the check payable to the “United States Treasury.”

Though it’s too early to file a 2018 return, it’s never too early to get ready for the tax-filing season ahead. Though a good idea any year, starting early is a particularly good idea this year, when most tax filers will face revised tax rates and an altered array of deductions and credits.

To help anyone wishing to sketch out their return early, the IRS has already posted the 2018 Form 1040 and its instructions. Many supplemental forms and schedules have also been posted and others are being added every day.

Two other useful resources are Publication 5307, Tax Reform: Basics for Individuals and Families, and Publication 5318, Tax Reform What’s New for Your Business. For other tips and resources, check out the Get Ready page on IRS.gov.

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Individuals can find answers to their questions about #tax #reform on #IRS.gov

Tax reform legislation passed in December 2017 affects almost every taxpayer. The IRS is working closely with partners in the tax return preparation and tax software industries to prepare for tax reform affecting tax year 2018. This ongoing collaboration ensures that taxpayers can continue to rely on the IRS, tax professionals and tax software programs when it’s time to file their returns.

As people prepare to file their 2018 tax returns in 2019, they can visit IRS.gov for answers to their questions about tax reform. Here are several of the resources that will help taxpayers find out how this law affects them:

Tax reform provisions that affect individuals

This is the main tax reform page with information for individual taxpayers. It includes dozens of links to more information on topics from withholding and tax credits to deductions and savings plans.

Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families

This publication provides information to help individual taxpayers understand the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and how to comply with federal tax return filing requirements.

Tax reform resources

On this page, taxpayers can find helpful products including news releases, tax reform tax tips, revenue procedures, fact sheets, FAQs and drop-in articles.

Steps to Take Now to Get a Jump on Next Year’s Taxes

This page has dozens of resources and tools that people can visit now or any time before they file their 2018 tax returns.

Paycheck Checkup

This page has information for people doing a Paycheck Checkup to see if they’re withholding the right amount of tax from their paychecks. Taxpayers can perform a Paycheck Checkup at the beginning of 2019 to make sure their withholding is correct for the rest of the year.

IRS Withholding Calculator

One way in which taxpayers can do a Paycheck Checkup is to use the Withholding Calculator. Checking withholding can help taxpayers protect against having too little tax withheld and facing an unexpected tax bill or penalty at tax time.

Taxpayer Advocate

The Taxpayer Advocate Service’s Tax Reform Changes website, available in English and Spanish, explains what is changing and what is not this year for individuals. Its interactive information can be reviewed by tax topic or line by line using a Form 1040 example and is updated to show the new 2018 Form 1040 references.

Tax reform

The main tax reform webpage on IRS.gov features information for individuals, but also takes users directly to info for people who are self-employed. It is also a great resource for anyone who does taxes or accounting for a business or charity.

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Individuals can find answers to their questions about tax reform on IRS.gov. https://go.usa.gov/xE35V.

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#IRS issues #proposed #regulations on #foreign_tax_credits

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulationstoday on foreign tax credits for businesses and individuals.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), legislation passed in December 2017, made major changes to the way the U.S. taxes foreign activities. Significant new provisions include a dividends-received deduction for dividends from foreign subsidiaries and the addition of Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income rules, which subject to current U.S. taxation certain foreign earnings that would have been deferred under previous law.

The TCJA also modified the foreign tax credit rules, which allow U.S. taxpayers to offset their taxes by the amount of foreign income taxes paid or accrued, in several important ways to reflect the new international tax rules. These changes include repeal of rules for computing deemed-paid foreign tax credits on dividends on the basis of foreign subsidiaries’ cumulative pools of earnings and foreign taxes, and the addition of two separate foreign tax credit limitation categories for foreign branch income and amounts includible under the new Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income provisions. The TCJA also modified how taxable income is calculated for the foreign tax credit limitation by disregarding certain expenses related to income eligible for the dividends-received deduction and repealing the use of the fair market value method for allocating interest expense. The new foreign tax credit rules apply to 2018 and future years.

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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