Posts Tagged ‘Internal Revenue Service’

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Schedule “C” Updates…

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on September 11, 2016 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , ,

Some Light Reading for the Weekend: Updated Schedule C Instructions

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think-about-1184858_640Folks, the 2015 Tax Extension deadline is upon us!!!!  October 15 is right around the corner!!! Yikes!!!  Let’s get that Schedule C finalize and send off to your CPA or the IRS and be done with year 2015!  Let’s review some of the changes for year 2015 before you hit that “SEND” button or lick that envelope and stamps to The IRS.surprised-1184889_640

easy-estimated-taxes-2013For many Americans, filing taxes is a quick and painless process. For sole proprietors and the self-employed, it’s never so easy. If you’re one of these folks, you have the privilege of struggling through Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, and its many accompanying forms. And just when you think you’ve mastered the twists and turns of those documents, the IRS changes the instructions so you have to figure them out all over again.

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The latest round of Schedule C instructions are available here. Small businesses that changed accounting methods to adopt repair regulations will want to check out the simplified reporting requirements. The instructions also cover deduction and capitalization of tangible property expenditures related to those repair regulations.

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For your reading pleasure, the IRS also released updated instructions for Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization. For tax years beginning in 2015, the maximum Section 179 expense deduction is $500,000 ($535,000 for enterprise zone property), with this limit reduced by the amount by which the cost of section 179 property placed in service during the tax year exceeds $2 million.

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house-valueAlso note that you can choose to claim a 50% special depreciation allowance for certain qualified property that you got after Dec. 31, 2007 and placed in service before Jan. 1, 2016. According to the instructions, the definition of qualified property differs for some qualified property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2015. And corporations should review the updated Form 4562 instructions, since there’s news on claiming certain unused minimum tax credits.

MH900334322So if you were looking for some easy reading material to keep you occupied this weekend, today’s your lucky day!

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

 

 

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IRS Impersonation Scams

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on December 15, 2015 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , ,

IRS Impersonation Scams Running Rampant: Watch out for New Tricks from Con Artists

TaxScamScamming just isn’t what it used to be – it’s a whole lot worse. As technology has evolved, so has the way people use it to exploit other people, and a lot of the time, the victims are taxpayers. Since October 2013, at least 4,000 people have lost more than $20 million collectively from tax scams. As such, the IRS has issued another warning for taxpayers to keep their eyes and ears wide open for any suspicious phone calls, e-mails, or letters.

CardTrickTax scammers have some new tricks up their sleeves and everyone is their target. One ruse is to alter the number that appears on the taxpayer’s telephone caller ID so it looks they’re getting a bona fide call from the IRS or other agency. The scammers keep the act up by spewing fake names, titles, and badge numbers, all to make themselves sound legit.

ScamsSometimes, the scammers will be so kind as to give their victims step-by-step instructions on how they can make the “required” payment, e.g. by going to a nearby bank and getting a debit card. And recently, some scammers have been giving out actual IRS addresses where the victims can mail their payment receipt. Little do the taxpayers know that their money is going straight into the pockets of thieves!

Threatening2On the one hand, these scams work because the fake correspondence often looks and seems official to unsuspecting taxpayers – con artists will even send e-mails and letters using official IRS letterhead. The scams also succeed because taxpayers get scared – scammers rely heavily on fear tactics, such as threatening to call the police, to make people react immediately and shell out money without thinking twice.

The real IRS will NEVER call you about taxes owed without first mailing a Notice, then another Notice, then a bill, etc. etc.  The IRS will NEVER ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; and will NEVER demand taxes without giving the taxpayer the chance to question the amount owed. If you get a weird call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, HANG UP and call the IRS back from your end at 1-800-829-1040. Also remember that the official IRS website is IRS.gov – if it doesn’t have .gov at the end, get out of there quick!

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

 

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Lighten Your Tax Load:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on June 1, 2014 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , ,

5 Credits to Reduce What You Owe

TaxTime_lgIf you’ve been around for a couple of decades, you probably owe lots of people lots of different things. Some debts can be measured in dollars, while others can’t even be put into words, and many will never be paid off. We all keep moving down this uncertain river as best we can, trying to keep our feet from getting too wet. But owed taxes are cut and dry: pay them, on time, so you don’t get swamped. Tax credits help take a load off the amount of taxes you owe. And with some credits you may still get a refund, even if you owe no tax.

Write The Earned Income Tax Credit in permanent marker on the back of your hand. Then start filing your 2013 tax return. You don’t want to miss this refundable credit for people who work without earning a lot of moolah. The EITC can boost your refund by as much as $6,044. Eligibility depends on your income, filing status, and the number of children in your family, but single workers with no dependents may also qualify for the EITC.

MH900435055Kids are lovely bundles of joy, but they’re also a lot of work. For each qualified child (under age 17 in 2013) you claim on your tax return, The Child Tax Credit can reduce the taxes you pay by up to $1,000. Then you can use that money saved to take everyone to Disneyland.

Speaking of work, a 9 to 5 job keeps rolling even when the little ones don’t have to go to school. (All this makes you wanna’ be a kid again, huh!?). The Child and Dependent Care Credit helps you offset the cost of daycare or day camp for children under age 13. But this credit isn’t just for kids – you might also be able to claim the costs of care for a disabled spouse or dependent.  

fat-piggy-bank-webThe Saver’s Credit is strictly for those individuals who have their sights set on the future. No, this is not a tax credit for fortune tellers: the Saver’s Credit actually helps workers save for retirement. If you made $59,000 or less in 2013 and contributed to an IRA or retirement plan at work, you could be eligible for this one.

MCj038257700001This credit’s been mentioned several times before, but important things bear repeating, and college students are especially important (just ask them). The American Opportunity Tax Credit helps you offset college costs and is available for four years of post-secondary education. It’s worth up to $2,500 per eligible student enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period. The only way you can get it is to file a tax return and complete Form 8863, Education Credits. What’s that noise? Oh it’s just the American Opportunity Tax Credit knocking – and it sounds like money.

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
www.sufenwang.com
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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Another One Bites the Dust:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on December 3, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , ,

taxesNo More Walk-In Free Tax Prep at IRS Field Offices

Help is no longer around the corner. The IRS is shutting the door on walk-in tax preparation assistance at its field offices in 2014. With only 60,000 returns prepared last year, and the budget not lookin’ too good, the IRS decided the free help would have to go.

MH900056119Unfortunately that means the elderly, disabled, and low-income taxpayers who the assistance was available to now also have to go spend money on tax preparation. IRS National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson called out the IRS on this change. “I seem to think that preparing taxes for our citizens is a core tax administration duty, and I don’t know of any [developed] country that is not doing it except the Internal Revenue Service of the United States.”


irs-tax-preparersThat’s a good point. But on the other hand, the U.S. has a voluntary compliance system, whereas in some countries, the government prepares the return and it’s nearly impossible to contest. And those affected by the service shut-down do still have a resource for free tax preparation: their local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs run by the IRS. While TIGTA reports that VITA-prepared tax returns are often chock-full of errors, at least this option is available if needed.

TaxBlocksCalculator_43_0Of course the best solution is to have a paid tax preparer complete the return. That’s their job, after all, and they’ll make sure things go off without a hitch. Tax preparation is going to be a little rougher this time around for elderly, disabled, and low-income taxpayers, but it won’t be impossible. If you know somebody in need who also needs help filing their taxes, take a few minutes to give them the rundown on the cut walk-in service and their current tax preparation options.

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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$1.6 Billion Down, Only $3.6 Billion to Go:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on November 25, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , ,

taxfraudTIGTA Reports on Fraudulent Tax Refunds
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently released some great news: the IRS issued $3.6 billion in fraudulent tax returns in 2011.

Um. I know, that’s a whopping amount of money that should not have been handed out. But it is a pleasant change of pace from the $5.2 billion reported for tax year 2010 to a $3.6 billion in 2011.

handmoneyDespite the “improvement,” the IRS needs to step up its game and fix lingering problems identified by TIGTA. For example, a handful of tax refunds depositing to the same bank account should be a bright red flag. Apparently the IRS is color blind. But $3.6 billion is a little bit harder to ignore.

identity_theftAnd the agency does seem to lose track of time when it comes to identify theft cases. TIGTA reported that it took the IRS about 312 days to resolve tax-related identity theft cases. That’s like an anniversary… So the million dollar – well, actually billion dollar – question is what will the IRS do about these numbers?

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (562) 806-5805

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2014 Tax Season Start Date Push Back…

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on November 18, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Early Birds Must Be Patient: Government Closure Pushes Back 2014 Tax Season Start

New Year's Eve ClockThe government shutdown will have a ripple effect into next year. The IRS announced a delay of about one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season. The agency needs the extra time to double-check its tax processing systems since the federal government was M.I.A. for 16 days.

Think government computers should be able to handle anything, no problem? Basically, fifty core IRS systems have to be able to process 150 million tax returns with no glitches. Updating these systems is a really confusing, year-round process with most of the work starting in the fall – in other words, right when the government stopped dead in its tracks.

Calendar 321About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown. Stir in the fact that this year there were already extra programming demands on IRS systems, to provide more refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for delay. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21. Now the IRS won’t start accepting 2013 individual tax returns until sometime between Jan. 28 and Feb. 4.

MH900339880Sending tax returns via snail mail won’t bypass the delay either: the IRS won’t process paper tax returns before the postponed start date. And there’s no point in doing that since taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit. Looking further down the road, the April 15 tax deadline is set by statute, so that won’t get pushed back even with the late start.

The IRS is up and running after the 16-day downtime and is putting in work to catch up on the 400,000 pieces of paperwork that piled up during the closure. Stir in the 1 million items already being processed before the shutdown, along with the heavy demand on phone lines and walk-in sites, and you’ve got yourself another recipe, this time for a headache. The IRS encourages taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent, and to use automated applications on IRS.gov. Don’t rush if you don’t have to: set your briefcase down and take a minute to smell the autumnal air before you continue on your busy day.

MH900237191Addendum: And that’s not all that was delayed folks. The PTIN renewal season was supposed to start on October 16, but nothing could happen because the IRS was closed. Luckily the agency got things back on track and the PTIN Renewal Season for 2014 officially began on October 30. That means about 690,000 federal tax return preparers have two months – from now until December 31 – to go online and renew their PTIN’s. Anyone who doesn’t and still wants to make money preparing federal returns, will be out of a job come New Year’s.  

Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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A Home Away from Home:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Culture on November 18, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

IRS Waives Low-Income Housing Limits for Colorado Disaster Victims

MH900437833When natural disaster strikes, the IRS strikes back with letting regulations slide. The landslides, severe storms, and flash floods that wracked the Colorado landscape in mid-September destroyed at least 1,500 houses and damaged 17,500 more. That left a lot of people with no place to call home.

It’d be plain silly to make someone who just waded through mud and muck wade through rules and paperwork for a warm bed. Accordingly, the IRS suspended certain limitations for projects financed with low-income housing tax credits or exempt facility bonds. In other words, any Colorado disaster victim, regardless of income, can temporarily stay in one of these residential rental projects. And not just in the immediate area – operators of these facilities anywhere in the nation can provide shelter for the storm victims.

MH900423029And FEMA also didn’t give victims a rain check on relief. FEMA approved a third extension to the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program. The TSA pays for eligible flood evacuees to stay in participating hotels and motels, with FEMA and the state picking up the bill. Victims whose homes are still uninhabitable or without utilities will continue to have a safe place to stay until November 17, replete with sticky remote and lumpy pillows. Let’s give these federal agencies a round of applause for giving the disaster victims one less thing to worry about. And if you want to lend a helping hand, then check out http://helpcoloradonow.com/.

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Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (562) 806-5805