IRS Tax News

  • 08 Aug 2018 11:32 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations today for a new provision allowing many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts and S corporations to deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income.

    The new deduction -- referred to as the Section 199A deduction or the deduction for qualified business income -- was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The deduction is available for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. Eligible taxpayers can claim it for the first time on the 2018 federal income tax return they file next year.

    The deduction is generally available to eligible taxpayers whose 2018 taxable incomes fall below $315,000 for joint returns and $157,500 for other taxpayers. It’s generally equal to the lesser of 20 percent of their qualified business income plus 20 percent of their qualified real estate investment trust dividends and qualified publicly traded partnership income or 20 percent of taxable income minus net capital gains.

    Deductions for taxpayers above the $157,500/$315,000 taxable income thresholds may be limited. Those limitations are fully described in the proposed regulations.

    Qualified business income includes domestic income from a trade or business. Employee wages, capital gain, interest and dividend income are excluded.

    In addition, Notice 2018-64, also issued today, provides methods for calculating Form W-2 wages for purposes of the limitations on this deduction. More information may be found at www.IRS.gov.

    Taxpayers may rely on the rules in these proposed regulations until final regulations are published in the Federal Register.

    Written or electronic comments and requests for a public hearing on this proposed regulation must be received within 45 days of publication in the Federal Register.

  • 06 Aug 2018 11:47 AM | Anonymous

    IR-2018-160, Aug. 3, 2018

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance today on new tax law changes that allow small business taxpayers with average annual gross earnings of $25 million or less in the prior three-year period to use the cash method of accounting.

    The Revenue Procedure outlines the process that eligible small business taxpayers may obtain automatic consent to change accounting methods that are now permitted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA.

    The TCJA, enacted in December 2017, expands the number of small business taxpayers eligible to use the cash method of accounting and exempts these small businesses from certain accounting rules for inventories, cost capitalization and long-term contracts.  As a result, more small business taxpayers will be allowed to change to cash method accounting starting after Dec. 31, 2017.

    The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service welcome public comments on future guidance. For details on submitting comments, see the Revenue Procedure.

    Updates on the implementation of the TCJA can be found on the Tax Reform page of IRS.gov.

  • 06 Aug 2018 11:45 AM | Anonymous

    If you have an active e-file application on file and have made changes such as adding a provider option, principal or responsible official and it has not been resubmitted it will be deleted in 90 days.  If the application is not resubmitted and the 90 days has not elapsed since the changes were made, the application can be resubmitted by an authorized individual.

    If 90 days has elapsed and your application has been deleted, contact the e-help Desk at 866-255-0654 for assistance with resubmitting your application.

  • 30 Jun 2018 8:15 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON — As part of a larger effort to help taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service plans to streamline the Form 1040 into a shorter, simpler form for the 2019 tax season.

    The new 1040 – about half the size of the current version -- would replace the current Form 1040 as well as the Form 1040A and the Form 1040EZ.  The IRS circulated a copy of the new form and will work with the tax community to finalize the streamlined Form 1040 over the summer.

    This new approach will simplify the 1040 so that all 150 million taxpayers can use the same form. The new form consolidates the three versions of the 1040 into one simple form. At the same time, the IRS will still obtain the information from each taxpayer needed to determine their tax liability or refund. 

    The new Form 1040 uses a “building block” approach, in which the tax return is reduced to a simple form. That form can be supplemented with additional schedules if needed. Taxpayers with straightforward tax situations would only need to file this new 1040 with no additional schedules.

    Since more than nine out of 10 taxpayers use software or a tax preparer, the IRS will be working with the tax community to prepare for the streamlined Form 1040. This will also help ensure a smooth transition for people familiar with software products and the interview process used to prepare tax returns.

    Taxpayers who file on paper would use this new streamlined Form 1040 and supplement it with any needed schedules.

  • 19 Jun 2018 3:39 PM | Anonymous

    The IRS wants to help the small business and self-employed communities determine whether an unsolicited contact is truly from an IRS employee.

    The IRS initiates most contacts 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 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 the business as part of an audit.

    See: How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door for more information.

  • 25 May 2018 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON –  The Internal Revenue Service today provided information to taxpayers and employers about changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that affect:

    • Move related vehicle expenses
    • Un-reimbursed employee expenses
    • Vehicle expensing

    Changes to the deduction for move-related vehicle expenses

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspends the deduction for moving expenses for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, and goes through Jan. 1, 2026. Thus, during the suspension no deduction is allowed for use of an automobile as part of a move using the mileage rate listed in Notice 2018-03.  This suspension does not apply to members of the Armed Forces of the United States on active duty who move pursuant to a military order related to a permanent change of station.

    Changes to the deduction for un-reimbursed employee expenses

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also suspends all miscellaneous itemized deductions that are subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income floor. This change affects un-reimbursed employee expenses such as uniforms, union dues and the deduction for business-related meals, entertainment and travel.

    Thus, the business standard mileage rate listed in Notice 2018-03, which was issued before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed, cannot be used to claim an itemized deduction for un-reimbursed employee travel expenses in taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2026. The IRS issued revised guidance today in Notice 2018-42.

    Standard mileage rates for 2018

    As mentioned in Notice 2018-03, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck for 2018 remain:

    • 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, a 1 cent increase from 2017.
    • 18 cents per mile driven for medical purposes, a 1 cent increase from 2017.
    • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, which is set by statute and remains unchanged.

    The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical purposes is based on the variable costs.

    Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

    A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

    Increased depreciation limits

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increases the depreciation limitations for passenger automobiles placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017, for purposes of computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan. The maximum standard automobile cost may not exceed $50,000 for passenger automobiles, trucks and vans placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017. Previously, the maximum standard automobile cost was $27,300 for passenger automobiles and $31,000 for trucks and vans.

    More information

    Notice 2018-42 is posted on IRS.gov and contains information about the update to the standard mileage rates, including the details about the suspension of the deduction for operating a vehicle for moving purposes.

  • 25 May 2018 2:19 PM | Anonymous

    IRS YouTube Videos:

    • Phishing/Malware -- English
    • Why Tax Professionals Need a Security Plan -- English
    • How to Maintain, Monitor and Protect Your EFIN -- English

    WASHINGTON – The IRS and its state and industry Security Summit partners today warned tax practitioners to beware of phishing emails posing as state accounting and professional associations.

    This week, the IRS received reports from tax professionals who received fake emails that were trying to trick them into disclosing their email usernames and passwords.

    Cybercriminals specifically targeted tax professionals in Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey and North Carolina. The IRS also received reports about a Canadian accounting association.

    The awkwardly worded phishing email states: “We kindly request that you follow this link HERE and sign in with your email to view this information from (name of accounting association) to all active members. This announcement has been updated for your kind information through our secure information sharing portal which is linked to your email server.”

    Tax practitioners nationwide should be on guard because cybercriminals can easily change their tactics, using other association names or making other adjustments in their scam attempts.

    Tax practitioners who are members of professional associations should go directly to those associations’ websites rather than open any links or attachments. Tax practitioners who receive suspicious emails related to taxes or the IRS, or phishing attempts to gain access to practitioner databases, should forward those emails to phishing@irs.gov.

    This scam serves as a reminder to all tax professionals that cybercriminals are targeting their offices in an attempt to steal client data.

    To assist tax professionals with safeguards, the Security Summit partners urge practitioners to follow these minimal security steps:

    • Learn to recognize phishing emails, especially those pretending to be from the IRS, e-Services, a tax software provider or cloud storage provider. Never open a link or any attachment from a suspicious email. Remember: The IRS never initiates initial contact with a tax pro via email.
    • Create a data security plan using IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, and Small Business Information Security – The Fundamentals, by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
    • Review internal controls: 
      • Install anti-malware/anti-virus security software on all devices (laptops, desktops, routers, tablets and phones) and keep software set to automatically update.
      • Create passwords of at least eight characters; longer is better. Use different passwords for each account, use special and alphanumeric characters and phrases. Password protect wireless devices and consider a password manager program.
      • Encrypt all sensitive files/emails and use strong password protections.
      • Back up sensitive data to a safe and secure external source not connected fulltime to a network.
      • Wipe clean or destroy old computer hard drives and printers that contain sensitive data.
      • Limit access to taxpayer data to individuals who need to know.
      • Check IRS e-Services account weekly for number of returns filed with EFIN.
    • Report any data theft or data loss to the appropriate IRS Stakeholder Liaison.
    • Stay connected to the IRS through subscriptions to e-News for Tax Professionals, Quick Alerts and Social Media.

    Additional resources:

  • 23 May 2018 1:34 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued a notice today stating that proposed regulations will be issued addressing the deductibility of state and local tax payments for federal income tax purposes. Notice 2018-54 also informs taxpayers that federal law controls the characterization of the payments for federal income tax purposes regardless of the characterization of the payments under state law.

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limited the amount of state and local taxes an individual can deduct in a calendar year to $10,000. In response to this new limitation, some state legislatures have adopted or are considering legislative proposals allowing taxpayers to make payments to specified entities in exchange for a tax credit against state and local taxes owed.

    The upcoming proposed regulations, to be issued in the near future, will help taxpayers understand the relationship between federal charitable contribution deductions and the new statutory limitation on the deduction of state and local taxes.

    Taxpayers should also be aware the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service are continuing to monitor other legislative proposals being considered to ensure that federal law controls the characterization of deductions for federal income tax filings.

    The limitation imposed by the TCJA applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026.

    Updates on the implementation of the TCJA can be found on the Tax Reform page of IRS.gov.

  • 10 May 2018 11:03 AM | Anonymous

    Washington – The Internal Revenue Service today warned of a new twist tied to an old scam aimed at international taxpayers and non-resident aliens. In this scam, criminals use a fake IRS Form W-8BEN to solicit detailed personal identification and bank account information from victims.

    Here’s how the scam works. Criminals mail or fax a letter indicating that although individuals are exempt from withholding and reporting income tax, they need to authenticate their information by filling out a phony version of Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting. Recipients are requested to fax the information back.

    The Form W-8BEN is a legitimate U.S. tax exemption document, however, it can only be submitted through a withholding agent. In the past, fraudsters have targeted non-residents of the U.S. using the form as a lure to get personal details such as passport numbers and PIN codes. The legitimate IRS Form W-8BEN does not ask for any of that information. The phony letter or fax also refers to a Form W9095, which does not exist. Furthermore, the IRS doesn’t require a recertification of foreign status.

    Scam variations

    Be alert to bogus letters, emails and letters that appear to come from the IRS or your tax professional requesting information. Scam letters, forms and e-mails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. These phishing schemes may seek personal information, including mother’s maiden name, passport and account information in order steal the victim’s identity and their assets.

    Note that the IRS does not:

    • Demand that people use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will not ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone. For people who owe taxes, make payments to the United States Treasury or review IRS.gov/payments for IRS online options.  
    • Demand immediate tax payment. Normal correspondence is a letter in the mail and taxpayers can appeal or question what they owe. All taxpayers are advised to know their rights as a taxpayer.
    • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement to arrest people for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke a license or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into believing their schemes.

    Taxpayers who receive the IRS phone scam or any IRS impersonation scam should report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at its IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting site and to the IRS by emailing phishing@irs.gov with the subject line “IRS Impersonation Scam.” 

  • 21 Apr 2018 8:55 AM | Anonymous

    Seminar topics for the 2018 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums are now available. You can choose from multiple sessions on tax reform, cyber-security and much more. Seminars are available for practitioners at all levels, and tax professionals earn continuing education credits for attending. Visit www.irstaxforum.com for more information and to register.


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