Posts Tagged ‘Tax’

Don’t be a victim of tax identity theft: File your 2017 return early

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

The IRS has just announced that it will begin accepting 2017 income tax returns on January 29. You may be more concerned about the April 17 filing deadline, or even the extended deadline of October 15 (if you file for an extension by April 17). After all, why go through the hassle of filing your return earlier than you have to?

But it can be a good idea to file as close to January 29 as possible: Doing so helps protect you from tax identity theft.

All-too-common scam

Here’s why early filing helps: In an all-too-common scam, thieves use victims’ personal information to file fraudulent tax returns electronically and claim bogus refunds. This is usually done early in the tax filing season. When the real taxpayers file, they’re notified that they’re attempting to file duplicate returns.

A victim typically discovers the fraud after he or she files a tax return and is informed by the IRS that the return has been rejected because one with the same Social Security number has already been filed for the same tax year. The IRS then must determine who the legitimate taxpayer is.

Tax identity theft can cause major headaches to straighten out and significantly delay legitimate refunds. But if you file first, it will be the tax return filed by a potential thief that will be rejected — not yours.

The IRS is working with the tax industry and states to improve safeguards to protect taxpayers from tax identity theft. But filing early may be your best defense.

W-2s and 1099s

Of course, in order to file your tax return, you’ll need to have your W-2s and 1099s. So another key date to be aware of is January 31 — the deadline for employers to issue 2017 Form W-2 to employees and, generally, for businesses to issue Form 1099 to recipients of any 2017 interest, dividend or reportable miscellaneous income payments.

If you don’t receive a W-2 or 1099, first contact the entity that should have issued it. If by mid-February you still haven’t received it, you can contact the IRS for help.

Earlier refunds

Of course, if you’ll be getting a refund, another good thing about filing early is that you’ll get your refund sooner. The IRS expects over 90% of refunds to be issued within 21 days.

E-filing and requesting a direct deposit refund generally will result in a quicker refund and also can be more secure. If you have questions about tax identity theft or would like help filing your 2017 return early, please contact us.

© 2018

14 tax issues to watch after the election

Friday, November 9th, 2012

These personal tax matters could see changes in 2013, depending on who wins the White House.
Whatever happens in the election on Nov. 6, the next Congress and president will face a heaping helping of unfinished tax business. Here’s the second part of our two-part story on the most important unresolved personal tax issues — along with some fearless predictions.

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Supreme Court’s health care decision affects many tax provisions

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The Supreme Court’s decision upholding the individual mandate in the health care law had a surprisingly large number of tax ramifications. Because much of the health care law was enacted through the Internal Revenue Code, the court’s decision to let the law stand means that numerous tax provisions will take effect over the next few years. Many of those provisions involve health care, but some, such as the 3.8% tax on net investment income and the codified economic substance doctrine, don’t, and may surprise taxpayers.

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Political Activity – Can You Participate?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

A 501(c)(3) organization is absolutely prohibited from participating in any political campaign at all levels, national, state and local.  Political intervention includes candidate endorsements, contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition to candidates, distributing information/pamphlets, etc. made by others in support or opposition to candidates and any other similar activities that is in support or opposition of candidates.

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IRS To Exam Trade Associations And Labor Organizations In 2011

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

In its FY 2011 work plan, the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS announced that they are increasing their focus on Section 501 (c) (4), (5) and (6) organizations.  In their FY 2011 Annual Report and Workplan, the IRS stated that “with the additional information available on the new Form 990, we will look at issues including political activity, inurement and the extent of compliance with the requirements for tax exemption by organizations that self-identified themselves as a Section 501 (c) (4), (5), or (6) organization”.

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Inurement – Is That Really a Word?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Although it is doubtful the word “inurement” is used in normal conversations, the IRS has a particular fondness for its use and is one of the areas they plan to examine in their 2011 audit work plan.  However, even the IRS seems to have difficulty formulating an exact definition of the term, stating that, “Inurement is likely to arise where the financial benefit represents a transfer of the organization’s financial resources to an individual solely by virtue of the individual’s relationship with the organization, and without regard to accomplishing exempt purposes”.
The term appears to be used most frequently when the IRS is discussing organizations exempt under 501(c) (6) which code section states “no part of the net earnings” of an organization may “inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual”.  However, the term applies to a number of exempt organizations including 501 (c) (3), (4) and (5) organizations.

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