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Tag Archive for IRS

IRS People First Initiative Limits Certain Enforcement Actions

IRS People First Initiative Limits Certain Enforcement Actions

The IRS postponed certain compliance actions under a new program entitled “IRS People First Initiative,” effective April 1, and running through July 15 initially, in an effort to help taxpayers facing tax challenges in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The changes include issues ranging from postponing certain payments related to Installment Agreements and Offers in Compromise to collection procedures and limiting certain enforcement actions.

The new IRS People First Initiative outlines the IRS’s temporary policies in the following key tax areas:

-Earned Income Tax Credit and Wage Verification Reviews
-Non-Filers
-Audits
-Appeals
-Field Collection Actions
-Liens and Levies
-Passport Certifications to the State Department
-Private Debt Collection
-Statute of Limitations
-Practitioner Priority Service
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IRS Provides Tax Relief Through Increased Flexibility For Taxpayers In Section 125 Cafeteria Plans

IRS Provides Tax Relief Through Increased Flexibility For Taxpayers In Section 125 Cafeteria Plans

The Internal Revenue Service today released guidance to allow temporary changes to section 125 cafeteria plans. These changes extend the claims period for health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and dependent care assistance programs and allow taxpayers to make mid-year changes.

The guidance issued today addresses unanticipated changes in expenses because of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and provides that previously provided temporary relief for high deductible health plans may be applied retroactively to January 1, 2020, and it also increases for inflation the $500 permitted carryover amount for health FSAs to $550.

Notice 2020-29 (PDF) provides greater flexibility for taxpayers by:

-extending claims periods for taxpayers to apply unused amounts remaining in a health FSA or dependent care assistance program for expenses incurred for those same qualified benefits through December 31, 2020.
-expanding the ability of taxpayers to make mid-year elections for health coverage, health FSAs, and dependent care assistance programs, allowing them to respond to changes in needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
-applying earlier relief for high deductible health plans to cover expenses related to COVID-19, and a temporary exemption for telehealth services retroactively to January 1, 2020.
Notice 2020-33 (PDF) responds to Executive Order 13877, which directs the Secretary of the Treasury to “issue guidance to increase the amount of funds that can carry over without penalty at the end of the year for flexible spending arrangements.” The notice increases the limit for unused health FSA carryover amounts from $500, to a maximum of $550, as adjusted annually for inflation.

IRS

IRS Adds Phone Operators To Answer Economic Impact Payment Questions

IRS Adds Phone Operators To Answer Economic Impact Payment Questions

The Internal Revenue Service is starting to add 3,500 telephone representatives to answer some of the most common questions about Economic Impact Payments.IRS telephone assistance and other services will remain limited, and answers for most of the common questions related to Economic Impact Payments are available on IRS.gov. The IRS anticipates bringing back additional assistors as state and local advisories permit.

Answers for most Economic Impact Payment questions are available on the automated message for people who call the phone number provided in the letter (Notice 1444). Those who need additional assistance at the conclusion of the message will have the option of talking to a telephone representative.
Americans are encouraged to use IRS.gov.

The IRS regularly posts new and updated answers to the most frequently asked questions about Economic Impact Payments and the Get My Payment tool. Those who wish to know the status of their Economic Impact Payment are reminded to check Get My Payment regularly; the information is frequently updated as the IRS continues to process the remaining payments for delivery.
For those who are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment but aren’t required to file a tax return, the IRS reminds them the Non-Filers tool also remains available in English or Spanish for them to register for a payment.

IR-2020-97

Economic Impact Payments Continue To Be Sent, Answers To Common Questions

Economic Impact Payments Continue To Be Sent

As Economic Impact Payments continue to be successfully delivered, the Internal Revenue Service today reminds taxpayers that IRS.gov includes answers to many common questions, including help to use two recently launched Economic Impact Payment tools.

The IRS is regularly updating the Economic Impact Payment and the Get My Payment tool frequently asked questions pages on IRS.gov as more information becomes available.

Get My Payment shows the projected date when a deposit has been scheduled. Information is updated once daily, usually overnight, so people only need to enter information once a day. Those who did not use direct deposit on their 2018 or 2019 tax return can use the tool to input information to receive the payment by direct deposit into their bank account, so that they can get their money faster.

The Non-Filers Enter Payment Info tool is helping millions of taxpayers successfully submit basic information to receive Economic Impact Payments quickly to their bank accounts. This tool is designed only for people who are not required to submit a tax return. It is available in English through Free File Fillable Forms and in Spanish through ezTaxReturn.
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Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) Or Employee?

Independent Contractor or Self-Employed

It is critical that business owners correctly determine whether the individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors.

Generally, you must withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment tax on wages paid to an employee. You do not generally have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors.

Select The Scenario That Applies To You:

-I am an independent contractor or in business for myself
If you are a business owner or contractor who provides services to other businesses, then you are generally considered self-employed. For more information on your tax obligations if you are self-employed (an independent contractor), see our Self-Employed Tax Center.

-I hire or contract with individuals to provide services to my business
If you are a business owner hiring or contracting with other individuals to provide services, you must determine whether the individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors. Follow the rest of this page to find out more about this topic and what your responsibilities are.

Determining Whether The Individuals Providing Services Are Employees or Independent Contractors
Before you can determine how to treat payments you make for services, you must first know the business relationship that exists between you and the person performing the services. The person performing the services may be –
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IRS Provides Guidance Under The CARES Act To Taxpayers With Net Operating Losses

IRS Provides Guidance Under The CARES Act To Taxpayers With Net Operating Losses

The Internal Revenue Service today issued guidance providing tax relief under the CARES Act for taxpayers with net operating losses. Recently the IRS issued tax relief for partnerships filing amended returns.

COVID Relief For Taxpayers Claiming NOLs

Revenue Procedure 2020-24 (PDF) provides guidance to taxpayers with net operating losses that are carried back under the CARES Act by providing procedures for:

-waiving the carryback period in the case of a net operating loss arising in a taxable year beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2021,
-disregarding certain amounts of foreign income subject to transition tax that would normally have been included as income during the five-year carryback period, and
-waiving a carryback period, reducing a carryback period, or revoking an election to waive a carryback period for a taxable year that began before Jan. 1, 2018, and ended after Dec. 31, 2017.

Six Month Extension Of Time For Filing NOL Forms

In Notice 2020-26 (PDF), the IRS grants a six-month extension of time to file Form 1045 or Form 1139, as applicable, with respect to the carryback of a net operating loss that arose in any taxable year that began during calendar year 2018 and that ended on or before June 30, 2019. Individuals, trusts, and estates would file Form 1045 (PDF), and corporations would file Form 1139 (PDF).
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Virtual Currency: IRS Issues Additional Guidance On Tax Treatment And Reminds Taxpayers Of Reporting Obligations

Virtual Currency: IRS Issues Additional Guidance On Tax Treatment And Reminds Taxpayers Of Reporting Obligations

As part of a wider effort to assist taxpayers and to enforce the tax laws in a rapidly changing area, the Internal Revenue Service today issued two new pieces of guidance for taxpayers who engage in transactions involving virtual currency.

Expanding on guidance from 2014, the IRS is issuing additional detailed guidance to help taxpayers better understand their reporting obligations for specific transactions involving virtual currency. The new guidance includes Revenue Ruling 2019-24 (PDF) and Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs).

The new revenue ruling addresses common questions by taxpayers and tax practitioners regarding the tax treatment of a cryptocurrency hard fork. In addition, a set of FAQs address virtual currency transactions for those who hold virtual currency as a capital asset.

“The IRS is committed to helping taxpayers understand their tax obligations in this emerging area,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The new guidance will help taxpayers and tax professionals better understand how longstanding tax principles apply in this rapidly changing environment. We want to help taxpayers understand the reporting requirements as well as take steps to ensure fair enforcement of the tax laws for those who don’t follow the rules.”
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Avoid Scams: Know The Facts On How The IRS Contacts Taxpayers

IRS Scams

Crooks impersonating the IRS either by phone, email or in person cost people their time and money. The IRS urges people to stay vigilant against schemes and scams and avoid becoming a victim.

Here are some important tips for taxpayers to keep in mind to avoid scams:

How the IRS initiates contact
The IRS initiates most contacts with taxpayers through regular mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as:

When a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill,

To secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or

To tour a business, for example, as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.

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IRS Increases Visits To High-Income Taxpayers Who Haven’t Filed Tax Returns

IRS Visits Taxpayer Homes

As part of a larger effort to ensure compliance and fairness, the Internal Revenue Service today announced that it will step up efforts to visit high-income taxpayers who in prior years have failed to timely file one or more of their tax returns.

Following the recent and ongoing hiring of additional enforcement personnel, IRS revenue officers across the country will increase face-to-face visits with high-income taxpayers who haven’t filed tax returns in 2018 or previous years. These visits are primarily aimed at informing these taxpayers of their tax filing and paying obligations and bringing these taxpayers into compliance.

“The IRS is committed to fairness in the tax system, and we want to remind people across all income categories that they need to file their taxes,” said Paul Mamo, Director of Collection Operations, Small Business/Self Employed Division. “These visits focusing on high-income taxpayers will be taking place across the country. We want to ensure taxpayers know their options to get right with their taxes and avoid bigger issues later.”
For the current tax season, the IRS reminds taxpayers that everyone should file their 2019 tax return by the April 15 filing deadline regardless of whether they can pay in full. Six-month filing extensions are also available, although that does not extend the April deadline for paying any taxes owed.
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IRS, Treasury Issue Proposed Regulations Updating Income Tax Withholding Rules

IRS Proposed Regulations

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations updating the federal income tax withholding rules to reflect changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and other legislation.

In general, the proposed regulations, available now in the Federal Register, are designed to accommodate the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, to be used starting in 2020, and the related tables and computational procedures in Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods. The proposed regulations and related guidance do not require employees to furnish a new Form W-4 solely because of the redesign of the Form W-4.

Employees who have a Form W-4 on file with their employer from years prior to 2020 generally will continue to have their withholding determined based on that form.
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IRS Helps Workers, Businesses With New Gig Economy Tax Center

Gig Economy Tax Center

The Internal Revenue Service launched a new Gig Economy Tax Center on IRS.gov to help people in this growing area meet their tax obligations through more streamlined information.

“The IRS developed this online center to help taxpayers in this emerging segment of the economy,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Whether renting out a spare bedroom or providing car rides, we want people to understand the rules so they can stay compliant with their taxes and avoid surprises down the line.”

The gig economy is also known as the sharing, on-demand or access economy. It usually includes businesses that operate an app or website to connect people to provide services to customers. While there are many types of gig economy businesses, ride-sharing and home rentals are two of the most popular.
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FBAR Non-Willful Penalties Are Real

DARLENE HART

While there has been no official change to the current FBAR penalty rules we laid out in 2015, it should be noted there was a recent court case which has reached an unfavorable result for FBAR Penaltiestaxpayers with regard to potential FBAR non-willful penalties.

In an April 2019 California District Court case (U.S. vs Boyd), the court ruled that while the penalty rules for non-willful failure to comply with FBAR reporting requirements are ambiguous, it agreed with the IRS that it is more appropriate to impose the penalty ($10,000 max for the years dealt with in the Boyd case) on unreported accounts, on an account by account basis rather than per a calendar year penalty. So, rather than a maximum $10,000 penalty for all unreported accounts in a given year, in Boyd, the taxpayer was assessed a $10,000 per account penalty per year of non-compliance.
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