Archive for the ‘IRS’ Category

Tax Deadline Extended One Day for IRS Purposes

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

The IRS announced late today that due to the computer issues with IRS Direct Pay and the IRS e-filing systems, that individuals and businesses with a tax deadline of today (April 17th) have an extra day, until midnight, April 18th. Here is the IRS announcement:

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it is providing taxpayers an additional day to file and pay their taxes following system issues that surfaced early on the April 17 tax deadline. Individuals and businesses with a filing or payment due date of April 17 will now have until midnight on Wednesday, April 18. Taxpayers do not need to do anything to receive this extra time.

The IRS encountered system issues Tuesday morning. Throughout the system outage, taxpayers were still able to file their tax returns electronically through their software providers and Free File. Taxpayers using paper to file and pay their taxes at the deadline were not affected by the system issue.

“This is the busiest tax day of the year, and the IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. “The IRS appreciates everyone’s patience during this period. The extra time will help taxpayers affected by this situation.”

The IRS advised taxpayers to continue to file their taxes as normal Tuesday evening – whether electronically or on paper. Automatic six-month extensions are available to taxpayers who need additional time to file can visit https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/extension-of-time-to-file-your-tax-return.

It is likely that most states will conform to this extension (California has already announced that they will).

IRS Direct Pay Down

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

It’s not as if today is a big day, right? IRS Direct Pay is down. This is not impacting most tax professionals efiling and initiating direct debit (the information is being sent to our software providers), but it is causing an issue for the public. If you cannot use it, you can always pay by check and voucher (Form 1040-V). If you mail a check, make sure to use certified mail, return receipt requested.

Bozo Tax Tip #4: Procrastinate!

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Today is April 10th. The tax deadline is just seven days away.

What happens if you wake up and it’s April 17, 2018, and you can’t file your tax? File an extension. Download Form 4868, make an estimate of what you owe, pay that, and mail the voucher and check to the address noted for your state. Use certified mail, return receipt, of course. And don’t forget your state income tax. Some states have automatic extensions (California does), some don’t (Pennsylvania is one of those), while others have deadlines that don’t match the federal tax deadline (Hawaii state taxes are due on April 20th, for example). Automatic extensions are of time to file, not pay, so download the extension form and mail off a payment to your state, too. If you mail your extension, make sure you mail it certified mail, return receipt requested. (You can do that from most Automated Postal Centers, too.)

By the way, I strongly suggest you electronically file the extension. The IRS will happily take your extension electronically; many (but not all) states will, too.

But what do you do if you wait until April 18th? Well, get your paperwork together so you can file as quickly as possible and avoid even more penalties. Penalties escalate, so unless you want 25% penalties, get everything ready and see your tax professional next week. He’ll have time for you, and you can leisurely complete your return and only pay one week of interest, one month of the Failure to Pay penalty (0.5% of the tax due), and one month of the Failure to File Penalty (5% of the tax due).

There is a silver lining in all of this. If you are owed a refund and haven’t filed, you will likely receive interest from the IRS. Yes, interest works both ways: The IRS must pay interest on late-filed returns owed refunds. Just one note about that: The interest is taxable.

Bozo Tax Tip #6: The $0.49 Solution

Friday, April 6th, 2018

With Tax Day fast approaching it’s time to examine yet another Bozo method of courting disaster. And it doesn’t, on the surface, seem to be a Bozo method. After all, this organization has the motto, Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night can stay these messengers about their duty.

Well, that’s not really the Postal Service’s motto. It’s just the inscription on the General Post Office in New York (at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street).

So assume you have a lengthy, difficult return. You’ve paid a professional good money to get it done. You go to the Post Office, put proper postage on it, dump it in the slot (on or before April 17th), and you’ve just committed a Bozo act.

If you use the Postal Service to mail your tax returns, spend the extra money for certified mail. For $3.45 you can purchase certified mail. Yes, you will have to stand in a line (or you can use the automated machines in many post offices), but you now have a receipt that verifies that you have mailed your return.

About fourteen years ago one of my clients saved $2.42 (I think that was the cost of a certified mail piece then) and sent his return in with a $0.37 stamp. It never made it. He ended up paying nearly $1,000 in penalties and interest…but he did save $2.42.

Don’t be a Bozo. E-File (and you don’t have to worry at all about the Post Office), or spend the $3.45! And you can go all out and spend $2.75 and get a return receipt, too (though you can now track certified mail online). For another $1.50, you can get the postal service to e-mail the confirmation that the IRS got the return (for the OCD in the crowd). There’s a reason every client letter notes, “using certified mail, return receipt requested.”

Bozo Tax Tip #10: Email Your Social Security Number

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

It’s time for our annual rundown of Bozo Tax Tips, strategies that you really, really, really shouldn’t try. But somewhere, somehow, someone will try these. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

This is a repeat for the fifth year in a row, but it’s one that bears repeating. Unfortunately, the problem of identity theft has burgeoned, and the IRS’s response has been pitiful. (To be fair, it has improved somewhat over the last year, but that didn’t take much.)

I have some clients who are incredibly smart. They make me look stupid (and I’m not). Yet a few of these otherwise intelligent individuals persist in Bozo behavior: They consistently send me their tax documents by email.

Seriously, use common sense! Would you post your social security number on a billboard? That’s what you’re doing when you email your social security number.

We use a web portal for secure loading and unloading of documents and secure communications to our clients. As I tell my clients, email is fast but it’s not secure. It’s fine to email your tax professional things that are not confidential. That said, social security numbers and most income information is quite confidential. Don’t send those through email unless you want to be an identity theft victim or want others to know how much money you make!

If I send an email to my mother, it might go in a straight line to her. It also might go via Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga. At any one of these stops it could be intercepted and looked at by someone else. Would you post your social security number on a billboard in your community? If you wouldn’t, and I assume none of you would, why would you ever email anything with your social security number?

A friend told me, “Well, I’m not emailing my social, I’m just attaching my W-2 to the email.” An attachment is just as likely to be read as an email. Just say no to emailing your social security number.

If you’re not Internet savvy, hand the documents to your tax professional or use the postal service, FedEx, or UPS to deliver the documents, or fax the documents. (If you fax, make sure your tax professional has a secure fax machine.) If you like using the Internet to submit your tax documents, make sure your tax professional offers you a secure means to do so. It might be called a web portal, a file transfer service, or perhaps something else. The name isn’t as important as the concept.

Unfortunately, the IRS’s ability to handle identity theft is, according to the National Taxpayer Advocate, poor. So don’t add to the problem—communicate in a secure fashion to your tax professional.

S-Corp/Partnership/1042 Deadline Is Tomorrow

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Tomorrow is the deadline for calendar-year S-Corporations and partnerships to file their tax returns. In reality, most will file extensions. But let’s say you’re an S-Corp (or partnership) owner and you just realized there’s a deadline. What should you do?

“It’s better to extend than amend.” And the penalties for not filing an extension are, as President Trump would say, bigly.

That’s the answer–file an extension. Download Form 7004, follow the instructions, and mail the form using certified mail, return receipt requested, to the IRS. Or file your extension electronically.

Remember your state taxes. Some states have an automatic extension; some require a form to be filed. A few, such as Illinois and New York, have taxes on partnerships or S-Corporations. If you don’t know your income, make an estimate of what it is, calculate the tax, and send that with your extension.

The deadline is a postmark deadline, so as long as the extension is postmarked tomorrow you’re fine. If you are in an area hit by the recent winter storms (mainly in the northeast and mid-Atlantic), you have an extra five days (until March 20th) to file your extensions (or returns).

Tomorrow is also the deadline to file Forms 1042-S and 1042 with the IRS. These are reports of withholding to non-Americans. If you need to file those forms, make sure you get that done by tomorrow, too.

The deadline for individual tax returns, trust/estate returns, and calendar year C-Corporations is Tuesday, April 17th.

IRS Interest Rates Rise for Second Quarter

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

The IRS today announced the interest rates for the second quarter of 2018.

The interest rates will be 5 percent for overpayments (4 percent in the case of a corporation), 2.5 percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000, 5 percent for underpayments, and 7 percent for large corporate underpayments.

The interest rate had been 4 percent for overpayments.

January 31st Tax Deadlines: 2016 Hurricane Extensions and Information Returns

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

We’re one week away from the first tax deadline of the 2018 Tax Season along with the final tax deadline for filing 2016 tax returns.

Taxpayers on extension for filing 2016 tax returns because of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria have until next Wednesday, January 31st, to file their 2016 tax returns. Those tax returns can either be mailed, or beginning this coming Monday (January 29th) they can be electronically filed. This extension also holds for taxpayers impacted by the Northern California wildfires.

FBAR filers on extension because of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria have until next Wednesday, January 31st, to file their 2016 FBARs. Those returns must be efiled through the BSA efiling system. This extension also holds for taxpayers impacted by the Northern California wildfires.

The deadline for mailing out most 1099s to recipients is next Wednesday, January 31st. That’s a postmark deadline, not a receipt deadline.

The deadline for filing 1099-MISC’s showing “Nonemployee Compensation” (box 7) with the IRS is next Wednesday, January 31st. Those 1099s can either be mailed (if mailed, Form 1096 must be included as a cover page) or efiled (if you’re an authorized e-filer of information returns) through the IRS FIRE system.

IRS & FTB Give Tax Relief to Wildfire and Mudslide Victims in Southern California

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

The IRS announced last week that they are giving tax relief to victims of the Southern California wildfires and mudslides. The IRS extended impacted taxpayers’ deadlines that fell (or will fall) between December 4, 2017 and April 29, 2018 to April 30, 2018. This includes the Form 1040 deadline of April 17th (it will be April 30th for impacted taxpayers). This impacts individuals and businesses who are in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties who were impacted by the disasters.

California’s Franchise Tax Board automatically follows federal tax disaster relief, so state tax deadlines will also be postponed on the state level for impacted taxpayers.

IRS Releases New 2018 Withholding Tables

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

The IRS announced today the release of new withholding tables reflecting the new tax law. These will be used for W-2s, and should be used no later than February 15th. The IRS is working on a new W-4 form that will reflect the new law. That will likely be out in February.