· Tax Identity Theft – Tax Professionals on the Ramparts
o January 30, 2017 – 2:00 pm Eastern, 1:00 pm Central, 12:00 pm Mountain.
No pre-registration required.
o The FTC, IRS, and the National Association of Tax Professionals offer practical guidance about identity theft issues important to tax professionals, including scams targeting tax professionals, cybersecurity, protecting client data, and how tax professionals can help identity theft victims.
- · Click HERE for National and Local webinars for Tax Professionals.
- · Click HERE for webinars and videos recently posted to the IRS Video Portal.
Inform your clients about the Earned Income Tax Credit during EITC Awareness Day on January 27
· EITC Awareness Day is January 27, 2017. The IRS created several messages to inform your employees about this important credit, ways to determine if they qualify for it and how to claim it.
· We also hope you’ll support our EITC Awareness Day Thunderclap effort by promoting it anytime now through January 27 using your Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr social media accounts. http://thndr.me/wR8wNT
Use Publication 2043 to Set Refund Expectations for Your Clients
· The IRS updated Publication 2043, IRS Refund Information Guidelines for the Tax Preparation Community for 2017. The publication provides the latest refund information and guidelines for advising your clients who are expecting refunds.
· This year’s update includes information about a new law that requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. The IRS will begin to release EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15.
· However, these refunds likely will not reach taxpayers until the week of Feb. 27.
Plan Now to Get Full Benefit of Saver’s Credit; Tax Credit Helps Low- and Moderate-Income Workers Save for Retirement
· Low- and moderate-income workers that they can take steps now to save for retirement and earn a special tax credit in 2016 and years ahead.
· The saver’s credit helps offset part of the first $2,000 workers voluntarily contribute to IRAs and 401(k) plans and similar workplace retirement programs. Also known as the retirement savings contributions credit, the saver’s credit is available in addition to any other tax savings that apply.
IRS Face-To-Face Help Now By Appointment
· The IRS reminds taxpayers that an appointment is required for in-person tax help at all IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC).
· IRS TACs continue to be a vital part of the service IRS provides when a tax issue cannot be resolved on-line or by phone. All IRS TACs now provide face-to-face service by-appointment. Instead of taxpayers going directly to their local TAC, they can call 844-545-5640 to reach an IRS representative, who is trained to either help them resolve their issue or schedule an appointment for them to get the help they need.
· The Contact Your Local Office tool on IRS.gov helps taxpayers find the closest IRS TAC, the days and hours of operation, and a list of services provided. The IRS said studies show most taxpayers visit a TAC to make payments, inquire about a notice, ask about a refund, get a transcript or obtain a tax form. Many of these issues can be resolved at IRS.gov without traveling to an IRS office.
Earned Income Tax Credit and Other Refundable Credits
· Check out the Tax Preparer Toolkit. This toolkit has everything you need for helping you with the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit/Additional Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit claims.
· Take the Due Diligence Training Module online. This module covers the technical parts of the due diligence must do's and contains scenarios. Take quizzes to test your knowledge as you complete the training. Then, pass the test, and print a certificate of completion. You may also receive one Continuing Education credit.
· Due Diligence Videos - the popular due diligence videos from the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums gives examples of interview techniques for those prickly due diligence situations.
· By answering questions and providing basic income information, you can use our EITC Assistant to:
o find out if your client is eligible for EITC;
o determine if the child or children meet the tests for a qualifying child; and
o estimate the amount of the credit.
· Other Refundable Credits Toolkit. The toolkit brings you tools and resources for other refundable credits, including the Additional Child Tax Credit refundable portion and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
Many ITINs Expire Jan. 1; Renew Now to Avoid Refund Delays
· Time is running out for many ITIN holders who need to file a federal income tax return in 2017 and want to avoid a long wait for a refund.
- · Several common errors are currently slowing down and holding up some ITIN renewal applications. The mistakes generally center on missing information and/or insufficient supporting documentation. Please see the article above to learn about these errors and how to avoid them.
Want to File Forms 941 Instead of Form 944?
· Employers required by the IRS to file Form 944, Employers ANNUAL Federal Tax Return, cannot change their filing requirements unless they contact the IRS. To request a change to file Form 941, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return, they should contact the IRS before April 10. The IRS will respond in writing. More information is available on IRS.gov.
►AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
· What to Know About Health Coverage Information Statements You May Receive in 2017
· If/Then Chart Explains How the Health Care Law Affects You
· Affordable Care Act: What Employers with Fewer than 50 Employees Need to Know
· The IRS updated three sets of Questions and Answers related to information reporting requirements and shared responsibility provisions for employers. See the Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions Questions and Answers page on IRS.gov.
►TAXES. SECURITY. TOGETHER. (Identity Theft)
IRS, States, Industry Urge Taxpayers to Learn Signs of Identity Theft
- · You already know that if you e-file your return and it rejects, you may be a victim of ID Theft. Please read the article above for more signs that you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft.
IRS and Partners Move to Strengthen Anti-Fraud Effort with Form W-2 Verification Code
· When you get your Form W-2 in early 2017, you may notice a new entry – a 16-digit verification code. This is part of an effort conducted by the IRS to protect taxpayers and strengthen anti-fraud efforts.
· The expanded use of the W-2 Verification Code is a way to validate the wage and tax withholding information on the tax form. For taxpayers, taking a moment to add this code when filling out their taxes helps the IRS authenticate the information. This in turn helps protect against identity theft and unnecessary refund delays.
· For 2017, the IRS and its partners in the payroll service provider industry will place the code on 50 million Forms W-2. This is up from two million forms in 2016.
IRS e-Services Reminder: Time Is Running Out to Revalidate
· Time is running out to revalidate your identity if you received Letter 5903. Revalidate your account either online or by telephone. The IRS has extended Help Desk hours on weekdays and Saturdays.
Safeguarding Taxpayer Data: Monitor Your EFIN for Suspicious Activity
- · As part of the ongoing concerns about security and identity theft, the IRS recommends that you verify the number of returns submitted under your EFIN. Do this routinely and especially during filing season. Verify your EFIN through IRS e-Services. If you do not have an e-Services account, then your first step would be to go to e-Services and register for an account.
Security Summit Alert: New Two-Stage E-mail Scheme Targets Tax Professionals
· The IRS, state tax agencies and tax industry leaders today warned tax professionals to be alert to an email scam from cybercriminals posing as clients soliciting their services.
· A new variation of this phishing scheme is targeting accounting and tax preparation firms nationwide. The scheme's objective is to collect sensitive information that will allow fraudsters to prepare fraudulent tax returns.
· These latest phishing emails come in typically two stages. The first email is the solicitation, which asks tax professionals questions such as "I need a preparer to file my taxes." If the tax professional responds, the cybercriminal sends a second email. This second email typically has either an embedded web address or contains a PDF attachment that has an embedded web address.
Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – Make a Security Plan
· Cybercriminals want sensitive client data that tax professionals have, so the tax preparation community is a target. As a tax professional, you can take the initial step to safeguard taxpayer data by assessing your risks and making a security plan.
· Here are some initial steps:
o Step 1: Complete a risk assessment
o Step 2: Write and follow an Information Security Plan
o Step 3: At least once a year, if not more, perform an internal assessment
· Learn more about these and other steps by reviewing IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data.
►NEWS FROM OTHER AGENCIES
From the Federal Trade Commission
· Copier Data Security: A Guide for Businesses
►IN EVERY ISSUE (new links)
Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter
Basic Tools for Tax Professionals
Recent Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts
Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance
Federal Trade Commission: