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Tag Archive for IRS

J5 Reflects On Two-Years Pursuing Global Tax Cheats

J5 Reflects On Two-Years Pursuing Global Tax Cheats

Leaders from five international tax organizations are marking the two-year anniversary of the formation of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) this week.
The J5 includes the Australian Taxation Office (ATO, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) from the UK and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) from the US.

Taking advantage of each country’s strengths, the J5’s initial focus was on enablers of tax crime, virtual currency and platforms that enable each country to share information in a more efficient manner. Within the framework of each country’s laws, J5 countries shared information and were able to open new cases, more completely develop existing cases, and find efficiencies to reduce the time it takes to work cases. Operational results have always been the goal of the organization and they have started to materialize.

“While operational results matter, I’ve been most excited at the other benefits that this group’s existence has provided,” said Don Fort, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. “In speaking with law enforcement partners domestically and abroad as well as stakeholders in various public and private tax organizations, there is real support for this organization and tangible results we have all seen due to the cooperation and global leadership of the J5.”
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IRS Outlines Changes To Health Care Spending Available Under CARES Act

IRS: TaxConnections: Care Act

The Internal Revenue Service has advised that new rules under the CARES Act provide flexibility for health care spending that may be helpful in the current environment where more people may need at-home services due to measures to fight the coronavirus.

Telehealth And High Deductible Health Plans

Under the CARES Act, a high deductible health plan (HDHP) temporarily can cover telehealth and other remote care services without a deductible, or with a deductible below the minimum annual deductible otherwise required by law. Telehealth and other remote care services also are temporarily included as categories of coverage that are disregarded for the purpose of determining whether an individual who has other health plan coverage in addition to an HDHP is an eligible individual who may make tax-favored contributions to his or her HSA. Thus, an otherwise eligible individual with coverage under an HDHP may still contribute to an HSA despite receiving coverage for telehealth and other remote care services before satisfying the HDHP deductible, or despite receiving coverage for these services outside the HDHP. The temporary rules under the CARES Act, as extended by IRS Notice 2020-29, apply to services provided on or after Jan. 1, 2020, with respect to plan years beginning on or before Dec. 31, 2021.

Expansion Of Qualified Medical Expenses

The CARES Act also modifies the rules that apply to various tax-advantaged accounts (HSAs, Archer MSAs, Health FSAs, and HRAs) so that additional items are “qualified medical expenses” that may be reimbursed from those accounts. Specifically, the cost of menstrual care products is now reimbursable. These products are defined as tampons, pads, liners, cups, sponges or other similar products. In addition, over-the-counter products and medications are now reimbursable without a prescription. The new rules apply to amounts paid after Dec. 31, 2019. Taxpayers should save receipts of their purchases for their records and so that they are able to submit claims for reimbursements.
More information

The IRS will provide any further updates as soon as they are available on its webpage at IRS.gov/coronavirus

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IRS’ People First Initiative Provides Compliance Relief

IRS’ People First Initiative Provides Compliance Relief

The Internal Revenue Service unveiled the People First Initiative on March 25, 2020. It is an unprecedented effort to temporarily scale back many collection and enforcement activities by the IRS during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The purpose of the People First Initiative is to immediately ease the burden on people facing tax issues as much as possible, to enable them to better focus on the well-being of themselves and others during this unprecedented situation for the nation. It is not permanent, but it will stay in effect until it is deemed to no longer be needed.

In consultation with its partners, the IRS will continue to review the People First Initiative and modify or expand it as needed during this situation.

Main Elements of People First Initiative
The initiative modifies numerous IRS compliance programs, providing taxpayer relief for the following programs:
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IRS Provides Answers About Tax Relief For Qualified Opportunity Funds And Investors

IRS Provides Answers About Tax Relief For Qualified Opportunity Funds And Investors

The Internal Revenue Service today provided guidance for Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs) and their investors in response to the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Notice 2020-39 (PDF) answers questions regarding relief from certain requirements under section 1400Z-2 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) and the implementing regulations. Additionally, the IRS has updated the Qualified Opportunity Zones frequently asked questions.

Taxpayers who sold property for an eligible gain and who would have had 180 days to invest in a QOF to defer that gain, may have additional time. Notice 2020-39 provides that if a taxpayer’s 180th day to invest in a QOF would have fallen on or after April 1, 2020, and before December 31, 2020, the taxpayer now has until December 31, 2020 to invest that gain into a QOF. (The 180th day for some of these taxpayers was already postponed through July 15, 2020, under Notice 2020-23.) In addition, the notice provides that the period between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, is suspended for purposes of the 30-month period during which property may be substantially improved.
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Treasury, IRS Provide Safe Harbor For Taxpayers That Develop Renewable Energy Projects

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service is providing relief for taxpayers developing renewable energy projects and producing electricity from sources such as wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash, and hydropower. Safe harbor is also available for taxpayers using technologies such as solar panels, fuel cells, microturbines, and combined heat and power systems.

The IRS recognizes that COVID-19 has caused industry-wide delays in the supply chain for components needed to complete renewable energy projects otherwise eligible for important tax credits. The IRS has issued Notice 2020-41 to provide tax relief to affected taxpayers.

For certain projects that began construction in 2016 or 2017, Notice 2020-41 adds an extra year to the four year “Continuity Safe Harbor” provided in existing guidance. If these projects are placed in service in five years construction will be deemed continuous.

Notice 2020-41 also provides assurance for taxpayers who started construction by incurring 5 percent of project costs, and made payments for services or property and reasonably expected to receive such services or property within 3 ½ months. These taxpayers are considered incurred under economic performance rules. The Notice provides that if such services or property are received by October 15, 2020, the taxpayer’s expectations at the time of the 2019 payment are deemed reasonable.
Extending the Continuity Safe Harbor and providing a 3½ Month Safe Harbor will provide flexibility for taxpayers to satisfy the beginning of construction requirements and limit the impact of COVID-19-related delays on the ability to claim tax credits.

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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.

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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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