#IRS #Never #Call #You!

#IRS #alerts #taxpayers: #Scammers #scheming around Oct. 15 deadline; Here’s what to do

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers to beware of criminals who continue using devious tactics to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting victims, especially as the fall season approaches.

The agency warns that scammers continue to pose as the IRS, making threatening phone calls and using email phishing schemes to lure taxpayers. The scams may be particularly prevalent ahead of the Oct. 15 tax-filing extension deadline. Another tax scam, where criminals pose as charity organizations, tends to peak during hurricane season or following a natural disaster. Taxpayers should learn about these ongoing tax scams and know what to do if they’re targeted.

The IRS urges taxpayers to look out for suspicious calls, emails and donation requests and take appropriate action if they experience any of the following:

Telephone scams

How the scam works: Criminals pose as IRS employees and call victims, demanding immediate payment of a so-called tax debt. Payments are often requested via prepaid debit cards and/or money wires. The caller will ask to stay on the line or otherwise call repeatedly while the victim completes the transaction. The caller may use a condescending tone and will often threaten to file a lawsuit, call the police or involve federal law enforcement agencies if the victim doesn’t comply. The call may appear to come from emergency services and/or a local/federal law enforcement agency but the fraudsters are faking, or “spoofing” the caller ID to only appear to come from a legitimate agency.

What taxpayers should do: Hang up the phone. Know that the IRS would never call to threaten or demand immediate tax payment. The agency offers taxpayers a chance to appeal any amount in question and offers numerous ways of resolving a tax liability.

Anyone wishing to check their account after receiving this type of call can visit the IRS website and register to view your account information online. The tool allows taxpayers to view up to 24 months of payment history and balance due for any given tax year. Taxpayers who want to report scam calls can visit the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s website, TIGTA.gov, and also email phishing@irs.gov (Subject: IRS Phone Scam). Visit Report Phishing for more information.

Phishing emails

How the scam works: Criminals send an email to your personal or business account(s) appearing to be from the IRS. The email usually features the IRS logo, uses agency language and asks taxpayers to provide sensitive information. It may also ask recipients to open an attachment or click on a link embedded within the email to supposedly give the taxpayer account access. In a more recent variation called “spear phishing,” the criminal, having done research on the victim ahead of time, will send an email posing as a trusted source. The email will make an urgent plea to click on a link and update an account immediately. The link will then direct the victim to what seems to be a trusted website but is in reality a phishing website controlled by the thief who can install malicious software.

What taxpayers should do: Do not provide personal information, click on links or open attachments from emails pretending to be from the IRS. Know that the IRS does not initiate contact by email or social media channels. The agency gets in touch with taxpayers through paper letters mailed by the U.S. Postal Service. IRS letters and notices are mailed to the taxpayer’s most recent address on file. Forward the email as-is, preferably with the full email headers to phishing@irs.gov. Delete the original email.

Fake charity donation requests

How the scam works: Criminals set up fake charities to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors. The scammers prey on well-intentioned taxpayers, especially during times of distress, such as following a natural disaster. They solicit money either by phone, email or even in person. The scammers may even contact disaster victims and claim to be working on behalf of the IRS with the goal of gaining access to personal information under the pretext of filing a casualty loss claim.

What taxpayers should do: Don’t give out personal or financial information such as Social Security numbers. Be wary of charities with names that resemble nationally-known charity organizations. The IRS has an online search tool called the Tax Exempt Organization Search which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to whom a donation may be tax deductible. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or another way that provides documentation of the gift. Taxpayers who want to report suspected tax fraud activity can do so by completing Form 3949-A, Information Referral.

For more information about tax scams, visit the IRS website at www.irs.govand search for “scams and schemes,” including the agency’s 2018 Dirty Dozen list.

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#New #credit #benefits #employers who provide #paid_family and #medical_leave

Eligible employers who provide paid family and medical leave to their employees during tax years 2018 and 2019 might qualify for a new business tax credit. This new employer credit for family and medical leave is part of tax reform legislation passed in December 2017. Here are some facts about the credit to help employers find out if they might be able to claim it.

To be eligible, an employer must:

  • Have a written policy that meets several requirements, as detailed in Notice 2018-71.
  • Provide:
    • At least two weeks of paid family and medical leave to full-time employees.
    • A prorated amount of paid leave for part-time employees.
    • Provide pay for leave that is at least 50 percent of the wages normally paid to that employee.

The credit applies to these dates:

  • It is available for wages paid in taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2020.

The amount of the credit:

  • The credit is generally equal to 12.5 to 25 percent of paid family and medical leave for qualifying employees.

Here’s what kind of leave qualifies:

  • The leave can be for any or all of the reasons specified in the Family and Medical Leave Act:
    • Birth of an employee’s child.
    • Care for the child.
    • Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
    • To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition.
    • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position.
    • Any qualifying exigency due to an employee’s spouse, child, or parent being on covered active duty – or having been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty – in the Armed Forces.
    • To care for a service member who is the employee’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin.
  • However, leave paid by a state or local government, or that is required to be provided by state or local law, does not count toward the 50 percent.

Some employers are eligible to claim the credit retroactively to the beginning of their taxable year:

  • Normally employers can only claim the credit based on eligible leave taken after their new or amended policy goes into effect.
  • Read Notice 2018-71 for a description of special rules for when an employer can claim the credit retroactively.

To claim the credit, employers will:

  • Attach Form 8994 to their return. The IRS expects to have this new form available later in 2018.

The Notice sets out special rules and limitations that apply:

  • For example, only paid family and medical leave provided to employees whose prior-year compensation was at or below a certain amount qualify for the credit.
    • Generally, for tax-year 2018, the employee’s 2017 compensation from the employer must be $72,000 or less.

More Information:
Tax Reform Provisions that Affect Businesses

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Facts to help taxpayers understand #Individual #Retirement #Arrangements

Individual Retirement Arrangements – better known simply as IRAs – are accounts into which someone can deposit money to provide financial security when they retire. A taxpayer can set up an #IRA with a:

  • bank or other financial institution
  • life insurance company
  • mutual fund
  • stockbroker

Here are some terms and definitions related to IRAs to help people learn more about how the arrangements work:

Traditional IRA: Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax-deductible. The amounts in a traditional IRA are not generally taxed until you take them out of the account.

Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees: commonly known as a SIMPLE IRA. It allows employees and employers to contribute to traditional IRAs set up for employees. It is ideal as a start-up retirement savings plan for small employers not currently sponsoring a retirement plan.

Simplified Employee Pension: Better known simply as an SEP-IRA, it is a written plan that allows an employer to make contributions toward their own retirement and their employees’ retirement without getting involved in a more complex qualified plan. An SEP is owned and controlled by the employee.

ROTH IRA: An IRA that is subject to the same rules as a traditional IRA with certain exceptions. For example, a taxpayer cannot deduct contributions to a Roth IRA. However, if the IRA owner satisfies certain requirements, qualified distributions are tax-free.

Contribution: The amount of money someone puts into their IRA. There are limits to the amount that someone can put into their IRA annually. These limits are based on the age of the IRA holder and the type of IRA they have.

Distribution: Essentially a withdrawal. This is the amount someone takes out from their IRA.

Required distribution: A taxpayer cannot keep retirement funds in their account indefinitely. Someone with an IRA generally must start taking withdrawalsfrom their IRA when they reach age 70½. Roth IRAs do not require withdrawals until after the death of the owner.

Rollover: This is when the IRA owner receives a payment from retirement plan and deposits it into a different IRA within 60 days.

More Information:

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Facts to help taxpayers understand Individual Retirement Arrangements https://go.usa.gov/xPgcd

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Taxpayers should check out these helpful tax tools

Questions about taxes could come up any time of the year. Whether it’s about tracking a refund or paying a bill, taxpayers can find answers to their questions on IRS.gov. Here are some of the most popular IRS tools:

  • IRS Free File. Taxpayers who filed an extension can use IRS Free File to prepare and e-file a federal tax return. Free File is available at no cost for anyone with income below $66,000. Free File is available through Oct. 15 to file a 2017 tax return. IRS Free File is available through IRS.gov or the IRS2Go mobile app.
  • Direct DepositDirect Deposit is the best and fastest way for taxpayers to get their tax refund electronically deposited for free into their financial account. Combining direct deposit with electronic filing is the fastest way for a taxpayer to receive their refund.
  • Where’s My Refund? Taxpayers can use “Where’s My Refund?” at IRS.gov or the IRS2Go mobile app to check the status of a refund within 24 hours after the IRS receives the e-filed return or four weeks after a mailed paper return. The IRS2Go app is free and available on Google Play, the Apple App Store or Amazon App Store.
  • Paying a Tax Bill. IRS Direct Pay is free and taxpayers can pay directly from a checking or savings account. They can choose to receive email notifications about their payments each time they use Direct Pay There are five simple steps to pay in a single online session and it’s also available with the IRS2Go mobile app. Other payment options are available at IRS.gov/payments.
  • Tax Account Information Online. At IRS.gov/account individual taxpayers can view their balance and payment history. They can also pay with their bank account, a debit or credit card or apply for an installment agreement. They can view, print or download tax records, and view their most current tax return information as originally filed. First time users must authenticate their identity through the Secure Access process. Taxpayers who already have a user name and password from Secure Access for their tax account, Get Transcript Online or Identity Protection PIN, may use the same username and password.
  • Online Payment Agreement. Taxpayers who can’t pay their taxes in full can apply for an Online Payment Agreement. Using the Direct Debit payment plan option is a lower-cost, hassle-free way to make monthly payments.
  • Interactive Tax Assistant. Taxpayers can use this tool to find answers to their tax questions. This tax law resource asks a series of questions and provides instant answers on a variety of tax topics, including general filing questions, deductions, credits and income.
  • Tax Map. The IRS Tax Map integrates web links, tax forms, instructions and publications into one search result. Taxpayers can quickly find forms, publications, frequently asked questions and news by topic.

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Taxpayers should check out these helpful tax tools. https://go.usa.gov/xPqkW


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