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

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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.

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Here’s how a name change affects a tax return  https://go.usa.gov/xEdw9

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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.

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Videos help taxpayers learn more about tax reform  https://go.usa.gov/xERDc

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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

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Where’s My Refund? tool lets taxpayers check status of their refund. https://go.usa.gov/xE53w

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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 
https://go.usa.gov/xEkSq

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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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