IR-2013-88: Fast Track Settlement Program Now Available Nationwide; Time-Saving Option Helps Small Businesses Under Audit

IR-2013-88, Nov. 6, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced the nationwide rollout of a streamlined program designed to enable small businesses under audit to more quickly settle their differences with the IRS.

The Fast Track Settlement (FTS) program is designed to help small businesses and self-employed individuals who are under examination by the Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE) Division of the IRS. Modeled on a similar program long available to large and mid-size businesses (those with more than $10 million in assets), FTS uses alternative dispute resolution techniques to help taxpayers save time and avoid a formal administrative appeal or lengthy litigation. As a result, audit issues can usually be resolved within 60 days, rather than months or years. Plus, taxpayers choosing this option lose none of their rights because they still have the right to appeal even if the FTS process is unsuccessful.

Jointly administered by SB/SE and the IRS Appeals office, FTS is designed to expedite case resolution. Under FTS, taxpayers under examination with issues in dispute work directly with IRS representatives from SB/SE’s Examination Division and Appeals to resolve those issues, with the Appeals representative typically serving as mediator.

The taxpayer or the IRS examination representative may initiate Fast Track for eligible cases, usually before a 30-day letter is issued. The goal is to complete cases within 60 days of acceptance of the application in Appeals.

SB/SE originally launched FTS as a pilot program in September 2006. For more information on taking advantage of the Fast Track Settlement program, please view the short FTS video. Additional background is available on IRS.gov on the Alternative Dispute Resolution webpage and in IRSAnnouncement 2011-05.

Proposition 30 California Tax Increase –Tax Penalty Waiver.

The Franchise Tax Board has announced that taxpayers affected by the retroactive personal income tax increase (Proposition 30), may pay the amount due with their 2012 tax return.   Taxpayers subject to underpayment of estimated tax penalties may request relief by completing Form 5808 Underpayment of Estimated Taxes by Individual and Fiduciaries and completing Part 1, question 1 with the explanation that the underpayment is due to Proposition 30.

The IRS on Your IPhone – Really-Really? When Did They Find The Time?

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

By Stacie Clifford Kitts, CPA

I’ll say it.  The IRS on your IPhone – Really – Really?  Everybody’s got an app so I shouldn’t be surprised about the IRS’s latest announcement of their new app IRS2Go.

But really, Schedule A filers must wait until Feb 14 to file their returns because the IRS’s computer programmers wont have the software ready until then.

But no worries, they have their priorities straight – they found the time and resources to create an IPhone app which is released 20 days before many taxpayers can file their returns.  Really?????

Can I have Doug Shulman’s job?  Pleeeeeeeeez

Video: IRS2Go: English

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today unveiled IRS2Go, its first smartphone application that lets taxpayers check on their status of their tax refund and obtain helpful tax information.

“This new smart phone app reflects our commitment to modernizing the agency and engaging taxpayers where they want when they want it,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “As technology evolves and younger taxpayers get their information in new ways, we will keep innovating to make it easy for all taxpayers to access helpful information.”

The IRS2Go phone app gives people a convenient way of checking on their federal refund. It also gives people a quick way of obtaining easy-to-understand tax tips.

Apple users can download the free IRS2Go application by visiting the Apple App Store. Android users can visit the Android Marketplace to download the free IRS2Go app.

“This phone app is a first step for us,” Shulman said. “We will look for additional ways to expand and refine our use of smartphones and other new technologies to help meet the needs of taxpayers.”

The mobile app, among a handful in the federal government, offers a number of safe and secure ways to help taxpayers. Features of the first release of the IRS2Go app include:

Get Your Refund Status

Taxpayers can check the status of their federal refund through the new phone app with a few basic pieces of information. First, taxpayers enter a Social Security number, which is masked and encrypted for security purposes. Next, taxpayers pick the filing status they used on their tax return. Finally, taxpayers enter the amount of the refund they expect from their 2010 tax return.

For people who e-file, the refund function of the phone app will work within about 72 hours after taxpayers receive an e-mail acknowledgement saying the IRS received their tax return.

For people filing paper tax returns, longer processing times mean they will need to wait three to four weeks before they can check their refund status.

About 70 percent of the 142 million individual tax returns were filed electronically last year.

Get Tax Updates

Phone app users enter their e-mail address to automatically get daily tax tips. Tax Tips are simple, straightforward tips and reminders to help with tax planning and preparation. Tax Tips are issued daily during the tax filing season and periodically during the rest of the year. The plain English updates cover topics such as free tax help, child tax credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit, education credits and other topics.

Follow the IRS

Taxpayers can sign up to follow the IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews. IRSnews provides the latest federal tax news and information for taxpayers. The IRSnews tweets provide easy-to-use information, including tax law changes and important IRS programs.

IRS2Go is the latest IRS effort to provide information to taxpayers beyond traditional channels. The IRS also uses tools such as YouTube and Twitter to share the latest information on tax changes, initiatives, products and services through social media channels. For more information on IRS2Go and other new media products, visit www.IRS.gov.

Related Item: IRS Goes Mobile With IRS2Go

Some Tax Payers Will Need to File Their 1040 Later Rather Than Sooner This Coming Filing Season

the taxman!

Image by vj_pdx via Flickr

By Stacie Clifford Kitts, CPA

Heads up for all taxpayers eager to file your 2010 tax return.  The IRS has announced that last weeks changes in the tax law ie the  Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, extended three provisions that will need to be reprogrammed in the IRS’s processing system.  This means that the IRS will not be ready to process some individual returns Form 1040 until mid to late February 2011.

Who is affected:

  • People who itemize deductions on Schedule A
  • People who claim sales tax deduction, higher education deduction, educator expense deduction

Read on for more detailed information regarding your 2011 tax return filing:

WASHINGTON — Following last week’s tax law changes, the Internal Revenue Service announced today the upcoming tax season will start on time for most people, but taxpayers affected by three recently reinstated deductions need to wait until mid- to late February to file their individual tax returns. In addition, taxpayers who itemize deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A will need to wait until mid- to late February to file as well.

The start of the 2011 filing season will begin in January for the majority of taxpayers. However, last week’s changes in the law mean that the IRS will need to reprogram its processing systems for three provisions that were extended in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 that became law on Dec. 17.

People claiming any of these three items — involving the state and local sales tax deduction, higher education tuition and fees deduction and educator expenses deduction as well as those taxpayers who itemize deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A — will need to wait to file their tax returns until tax processing systems are ready, which the IRS estimates will be in mid- to late February.

“The majority of taxpayers will be able to fill out their tax returns and file them as they normally do,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We will do everything we can to minimize the impact of recent tax law changes on other taxpayers. The IRS will work through the holidays and into the New Year to get our systems reprogrammed and ensure taxpayers have a smooth tax season.”

The IRS will announce a specific date in the near future when it can start processing tax returns impacted by the late tax law changes. In the interim, people in the affected categories can start working on their tax returns, but they should not submit their returns until IRS systems are ready to process the new tax law changes.

The IRS urged taxpayers to use e-file instead of paper tax forms to minimize confusion over the recent tax changes and ensure accurate tax returns.

Taxpayers will need to wait to file if they are within any of the following three categories:

  • Taxpayers claiming itemized deductions on Schedule A. Itemized deductions include mortgage interest, charitable deductions, medical and dental expenses as well as state and local taxes. In addition, itemized deductions include the state and local general sales tax deduction extended in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 enacted Dec. 17, which primarily benefits people living in areas without state and local income taxes and is claimed on Schedule A, Line 5. Because of late Congressional action to enact tax law changes, anyone who itemizes and files a Schedule A will need to wait to file until mid- to late February.
  • Taxpayers claiming the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction. This deduction for parents and students — covering up to $4,000 of tuition and fees paid to a post-secondary institution — is claimed on Form 8917. However, the IRS emphasized that there will be no delays for millions of parents and students who claim other education credits, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit.
  • Taxpayers claiming the Educator Expense Deduction. This deduction is for kindergarten through grade 12 educators with out-of-pocket classroom expenses of up to $250. The educator expense deduction is claimed on Form 1040, Line 23, and Form 1040A, Line 16.

For those falling into any of these three categories, the delay affects both paper filers and electronic filers.

The IRS emphasized that e-file is the fastest, best way for those affected by the delay to get their refunds. Those who use tax-preparation software can easily download updates from their software provider. The IRS Free File program also will be updated.

As part of this effort, the IRS will be working closely with the tax software industry and tax professional community to minimize delays and ensure a smooth tax season.

Updated information will be posted on IRS.gov. This will include an updated copy of Schedule A as well as updated state and local sales tax tables. Several other forms used by relatively few taxpayers are also affected by the recent changes, and more details are available on IRS.gov.

In addition, the IRS reminds employers about the new withholding tables released Friday for 2011. Employers should implement the 2011 withholding tables as soon as possible, but not later than Jan. 31, 2011. The IRS also reminds employers that Publication 15, (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide, containing the extensive wage bracket tables that some employers use, will be available on IRS.gov before year’s end.

Related Item: Forms Affected By the Extender Provisions

IRS Patrol:IRS to Hold Special Open House Saturday, Sept. 25 for Veterans and Persons with Disabilities

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WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service will host a special nationwide open house on Saturday, Sept. 25 to help taxpayers –– especially veterans and people with disabilities –– solve tax problems and respond to IRS notices.

One hundred offices, at least one in every state, will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. IRS staff will be available on site or by telephone to help taxpayers work through issues and leave with solutions.

In many locations, the IRS will partner with organizations that serve veterans and the disabled to offer additional help and information to people in these communities. Partner organizations include the National Disability Institute (NDI), Vets First, Department of Veterans Affairs, National Council on Independent Living and the American Legion.

“Taxpayers have tremendous success solving their tax issues at our open houses,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “I want to encourage veterans and people with disabilities to come in on Sept. 25. Just like we reached out earlier this year to small businesses and victims of the Gulf Oil Spill, we want to help other taxpayers put their toughest problems behind them.”

IRS locations will be equipped to handle issues involving notices and payments, return preparation, audits and a variety of other issues. At a previous IRS open house on June 5, over 6,700 taxpayers sought and received assistance and 96 percent had their issues resolved the same day.

At the Sept. 25 open house, anyone who has a tax question or has received a notice can speak with an IRS employee to get an answer to their question or a clear explanation of what is necessary to satisfy the request. A taxpayer who cannot pay a balance due can find out whether an installment agreement is appropriate and, if so, fill out the paperwork then and there. Assistance with offers-in-compromise — an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s debt for less than the full amount owed — will also be available. Likewise, a taxpayer struggling to complete a certain IRS form or schedule can work directly with IRS staff to get the job done.

Taxpayers requiring special services, such as interpretation for the deaf or hard of hearing, should check local listings and call the local IRS Office/Taxpayer Assistance Center ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

The open house on Sept. 25 is the third of three events scheduled after this year’s tax season. Plans are underway for similar events next year. Details will be available at a later date.

Reminder for Small Tax-Exempt Organizations

The IRS also encourages representatives of small tax-exempt charitable community organizations, many of which serve people with disabilities and veterans, to file Form 990-N before the Oct. 15 deadline. Community organizations that fail to file a Form 990-N by this date risk losing their tax exempt status. As of June 30, more than 320,000 organizations were at risk of losing their exempt status.

IRS Presents: Six Tax Tips for New Business Owners

Are you opening a new business this summer? The IRS has many resources available for individuals that are opening a new business. Here are six tax tips the IRS wants new business owners to know.

  1. First, you must decide what type of business entity you are going to establish. The type of business entity will determine which tax form you have to file. The most common types of business are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and S corporation.
  2. The type of business you operate determines what taxes you must pay and how you pay them. The four general types of business taxes are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax.
  3. An Employer Identification Number is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN. Visit IRS.gov for more information about whether you will need an EIN. You can also apply for an EIN online at IRS.gov.
  4. Good records will help you ensure successful operation of your new business. You may choose any recordkeeping system suited to your business that clearly shows your income and expenses. Except in a few cases, the law does not require any special kind of records. However, the business you are in affects the type of records you need to keep for federal tax purposes.
  5. Every business taxpayer must figure taxable income on an annual accounting period called a tax year. The calendar year and the fiscal year are the most common tax years used.
  6. Each taxpayer must also use a consistent accounting method, which is a set of rules for determining when to report income and expenses. The most commonly used accounting methods are the cash method and an accrual method. Under the cash method, you generally report income in the tax year you receive it and deduct expenses in the tax year you pay them. Under an accrual method, you generally report income in the tax year you earn it and deduct expenses in the tax year you incur them.

IRS Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records, provides basic federal tax information for people who are starting a business. This publication is available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).  Visit the Business section of IRS.gov for resources to assist entrepreneurs with starting and operating a new business.

IRS Presents: Five Facts about the Making Work Pay Tax Credit

1. This credit – still available for 2010 – equals 6.2 percent of a taxpayer’s earned income. The maximum credit for a married couple filing a joint return is $800 and $400 for other taxpayers.

2. Eligible self-employed taxpayers can benefit from the credit by evaluating their expected income tax liability and, if they are eligible, by making the appropriate adjustments to the amounts of their estimated tax payments.

3. Taxpayers who fall into any of the following groups during 2010 should review their tax withholding to ensure enough tax is being withheld. Those who should pay particular attention to their withholding include:

  • Married couples with two incomes
  • Individuals with multiple jobs
  • Dependents
  • Pensioners
  • Workers without valid Social Security numbers

Having too little tax withheld could result in potentially smaller refunds or – in limited instances –small balance due rather than an expected refund.

4. The Making Work Pay tax credit is reduced or unavailable for higher-income taxpayers. The reduction in the credit begins at $75,000 of income for single taxpayers and $150,000 for couples filing a joint return.

5. A quick withholding check using the IRS Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov may be helpful for anyone who believes their current withholding may not be right. Taxpayers can also check their withholding by using the worksheets in IRS Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?. Adjustments can be made by filing a revised Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Pensioners can adjust their withholding by filing Form W-4P, Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments.

For more information about this and other key tax provisions of the Recovery Act, visit IRS.gov/recovery.
Links:

YouTube Videos:

IRS Patrol: Tax Assistance in Disaster Situations: July 17 is Gulf Oil Assistance Day

WASHINGTON –– The Internal Revenue Service [recently] provided guidance to individuals and businesses affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and announced a number of new efforts to help affected taxpayers, including a special Gulf Coast Assistance Day on July 17.

“This is a very difficult time for many people affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As residents of the region cope with the evolving situation, I want to assure them that the IRS will be doing everything it can to provide tax help to those who need it,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “We encourage anyone who has an issue with the IRS to contact us and explain their hardship, and we will work with them to find a solution. We’ll do everything we can under current law to help taxpayers.”

The guidance released today is based on current law, and it explains how recipients of payments from BP should treat the payments for tax purposes. According to the current law, BP payments for lost income are taxable in the same way that the wages or business income these payments are replacing would have been. The law treats compensation for lost wages or income differently for tax purposes than compensation for physical injuries or property loss, which generally are nontaxable.

Every person can have unique financial circumstances, so the IRS encourages taxpayers to review their tax situation or talk with their tax preparers about the implications of payments or compensation from the oil spill.

The new information is available in a question-and-answer format on a special section of the IRS website, IRS.gov. The IRS is closely monitoring the situation in the Gulf, and additional information will be added to IRS.gov as it becomes available.

To help people in the Gulf Coast area dealing with tax issues, the IRS also announced a special assistance day on July 17 in seven cities. Taxpayers and tax preparers will be able to work directly with IRS employees to resolve tax issues, including specific topics related to the oil spill. The IRS will hold the Gulf Coast Assistance Day in four states:

  • Alabama: Mobile.
  • Florida: Panama City and Pensacola.
  • Louisiana: New Orleans, Houma and Baton Rouge.
  • Mississippi: Gulfport.

Times and specific locations will soon be announced and will be available on IRS.gov.

In addition, taxpayers with problems related to the Gulf spill will soon be able to reach IRS personnel through an IRS toll-free telephone line. Specially trained IRS personnel will be available to help people with tax questions related to the oil spill. More information will be available soon about this telephone line.

The IRS encourages taxpayers in the Gulf struggling with payment or collection issues to contact the agency. The IRS continues to have a number of ways to help taxpayers dealing with oil spill issues or other economic hardship issues, including:

  • Assistance of the Taxpayer Advocate Service for those taxpayers experiencing particular hardship navigating the IRS.
  • Postponement of collection actions in certain hardship cases.
  • Added flexibility for missed payments on installment agreements and offers in compromise for previously compliant individuals having difficulty paying.
  • IRS employees will be permitted to consider a taxpayer’s current income and potential for future income when negotiating an offer in compromise.
  • Accelerated levy releases for taxpayers facing economic hardship.

Related Information:

IRS Presents: Tanning Tax Is Here

Stacie says: July 1st kicked off the new tanning tax provision of the Affordable Care Act that we debated last year.

You can catch up with the debate by reading these posts:

An Interesting Rewrite for the Vanity Tax H.R. 3590 Looks As if Congress Found a Vanity Product with Enough Sin to Justify a Tax

Vanity Tax = Tax the Other Guy Legislation HR 3590

Babbling Incisively on About Fuller Lips, Larger Breasts, Slimmer Thighs and H.R.3590

Still Talking About Fuller Lips, Larger Breasts, Slimmer Thighs, And H.R. 3590

Let’s Talk Fuller Lips, Larger Breasts, Slimmer Thighs, and H.R. 3590 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.)

The IRS Presents the following information:

Starting July 1, 2010, many businesses offering tanning services must collect a 10 percent excise tax on the tanning services they provide. This excise tax requirement is part of the Affordable Care Act that was enacted in March 2010.

Here are nine tips on the tanning excise tax that providers must collect.

  1. Businesses providing ultraviolet tanning services must collect the 10 percent excise tax at the time the customer pays for the tanning services.
  2. If the customer fails to pay the excise tax, the tanning service provider is liable for the tax.
  3. The tax does not apply to phototherapy services performed by a licensed medical professional on his or her premises.
  4. The tax does not apply to spray-on tanning services.
  5. If a payment covers charges for tanning services along with other goods and services, the other goods and services may be excluded from the tax if they are separately stated and the charges do not exceed the fair market value for those other goods and services.
  6. If the customer purchases bundled services and the charges are not separately stated, the tax applies to the portion of the payment that can be reasonably attributed to the indoor tanning services.
  7. The tax does not have to be paid on membership fees for certain qualified physical fitness facilities that offer indoor tanning services as an incidental service to members without a separately identifiable fee.
  8. Tanning service providers must report and pay the excise tax on a quarterly basis.
  9. To pay the tax, businesses must file IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return using an Employer Identification Number assigned by the IRS. Businesses that don’t already have one can apply for an EIN online at IRS.gov.

Find more information about the excise tax on tanning services, IRS Form 720 and other tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act at IRS.gov.

Links:

YouTube Video:

Tanning Services Excise Tax: English | ASL

IRS Patrol: IRS Requests Public Input on Expanded Information Reporting Requirement

Stacie says: You have until September 29, 2010 to tell the IRS your thoughts  on expanded reporting requirements for Form 1099 recipients.  Check out the ways to submit your comments below:

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service invited public comment on how to most effectively carry out a law change that, starting in 2012, will require businesses to report a wider range of payments to contractors, vendors and others, usually on Form 1099. These comments will help the IRS issue guidance that implements this provision in a manner that minimizes burden and avoids duplicate reporting.

Under a proposed regulation, many business purchases made with credit or debit cards would be exempt from the new reporting requirement because they are already reported by banks and other payment processors. The IRS seeks comments on additional circumstances in which duplicate reporting might otherwise occur and on rules that would prevent such duplicate reporting.

The change, enacted in March but not effective until 2012, expanded existing reporting requirements to include a business’s payments related to goods and other property, and payments to most corporations. With some exceptions, payments to corporations are currently exempt from this requirement.

There are three ways to submit comments.E-mail to:

  • Notice.Comments@irscounsel.treas.gov. Include “Notice 2010-51” in the subject line.
  • Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, CC:PA:LPD:PR ( Notice 2010-51), Room 5203, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044.
  • Hand deliver to: CC:PA:LPD:PR ( Notice 2010-51), Courier’s Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The deadline is Sept. 29, 2010. Further details are in Notice 2010-51, posted today on IRS.gov.

Notice 2010-51 invites public comments regarding guidance to be provided to payors and other affected persons concerning new requirements with respect to the reporting of payments made in the course of the payor’s trade or business.  Section 6041 of the Internal Revenue Code generally requires information returns to be made by every person who makes payments, as defined in section 6041(a), aggregating $600 or more in any taxable year to a single payee in the course of the payor’s trade or business; new amendments to section 6041 expand reporting to payments of gross proceeds and payments to corporations.

Notice 2010-51 will appear in IRB 2010-29, dated July 19, 2010.

IRS Patrol: Home Buyer Credit – Closing Deadline Extended

Well, I’m a bit late in my reporting of this extension.  Sorry about that.  We’ve just returned from a really great vacation visiting the grand-baby.

So here it is:

The deadline for the completion of qualifying First-Time Homebuyer Credit purchases has been extended. Taxpayers who entered into a binding contract before the end of April now have until September 30, 2010 to close on the home.

The Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010, enacted on July 2, 2010, extended the closing deadline from June 30 to Sept. 30 for eligible homebuyers who entered into a binding purchase contract on or before April 30 to close on the purchase of the home on or before June 30, 2010.

Here are five facts from the IRS about the First-Time Homebuyer Credit and how to claim it.

  1. If you entered into a binding contract on or before April 30, 2010  to buy a principal residence located in the United States you must close on the home on or before September 30, 2010.
  2. To be considered a first-time homebuyer, you and your spouse – if you are married – must not have jointly or separately owned another principal residence during the three years prior to the date of purchase.
  3. To be considered a long-time resident homebuyer, your settlement date must be after November 6, 2009 and you and your spouse – if you are married – must have lived in the same principal residence for any consecutive five-year period during the eight-year period that ended on the date the new home is purchased.
  4. The maximum credit for a first-time homebuyer is $8,000. The maximum credit for a long-time resident homebuyer is $6,500.
  5. To claim the credit you must file a paper return and attach Form 5405, First Time Homebuyer Credit, along with all required documentation, including a copy of the binding contract. New homebuyers must attach a copy of the properly executed settlement statement used to complete the purchase. Long-time residents are encouraged to attach documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period such as Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statements, property tax records or homeowner’s insurance records.

For more information about the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and the documentation requirements, visit IRS.gov/recovery.

IRS Issues Regulations on 10-Percent Tax on Tanning Services Effective July 1

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued regulations outlining the administration of a 10-percent excise tax on indoor tanning services that goes into effect on July 1.

The regulations were published today in the Federal Register.

In general, providers of indoor tanning services will collect the tax at the time the purchaser pays for the tanning services.  The provider then pays over these amounts to the government, quarterly, along with IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return.

The tax does not apply to phototherapy services performed by a licensed medical professional on his or her premises.  The regulations also provide an exception for certain physical fitness facilities that offer tanning as an incidental service to members without a separately identifiable fee.

The IRS and Treasury Department invite comments.

Send submissions to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-112841-10), Room 5203, Internal Revenue Service, PO Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044.

Submissions may be hand-delivered to: CC:PA:LPD:PR Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-112841-10), Courier’s Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW;  Washington, DC,

Submissions may be sent electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (REG-112841-10).

IRs Presents: What You Should Know About the Taxpayer Advocate

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service whose employees assist taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help in resolving problems with the IRS, or who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. Here are seven things every taxpayer should know about TAS.

  1. TAS is your voice at the IRS.
  2. TAS service is free, confidential, and tailored to meet your needs.
  3. You may be eligible for TAS help if you’ve tried to resolve your tax problem through normal IRS channels and have gotten nowhere, or you think an IRS procedure just isn’t working as it should.
  4. TAS helps taxpayers whose problems are causing financial difficulty or significant cost, including the cost of professional representation. This includes businesses as well as individuals.
  5. TAS employees know the IRS and how to navigate it.  They will listen to your problem, help you understand what needs to be done to resolve it, and stay with you every step of the way until your problem is resolved.
  6. TAS has at least one local taxpayer advocate in each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.  You can call your local advocate, whose number is in your phone book, in Pub. 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service — Your Voice at the IRS, and at www.irs.gov/advocate.  You can also call our toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059.
  7. You can learn about your rights and responsibilities as a taxpayer by visiting the TAS online tax toolkit at www.taxtoolkit.irs.gov.  You can also check out the TAS YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/tasnta.

Links:

IRS Patrol: Haiti Relief Workers Qualify for Combat Zone Extension; Military Personnel and Designated Civilians Have at Least 180 Days to File and Pay

WASHINGTON — Members of the military and certain civilians providing earthquake relief in Haiti have additional time to file their 2009 returns and pay any taxes due, the Internal Revenue Service announced [in April].

Deadlines for taking care of a variety of federal tax matters are automatically extended for persons serving in a combat zone or a contingency operation. Operation Unified Response is a contingency operation, thus giving designated persons providing earthquake relief in Haiti the same extensions that are available to military and support personnel serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat zone localities.

This relief applies to members of the military, Red Cross personnel, accredited correspondents, and civilian support personnel acting under the direction of the Armed Forces.  In most cases, the relief also applies to spouses.

Normally, eligible taxpayers have at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone or contingency operation area to take care of various tax-related matters.  For Operation Unified Response and the Haiti earthquake, these tax-related matters include:

  • Filing a 2009 federal income tax return,
  • Paying tax due for 2009,
  • Making a 2009 IRA contribution, and
  • Making a quarterly estimated tax payment for 2010

The exact deadline depends on when an eligible taxpayer went to Haiti, when he or she left Haiti, and the tax matter involved. These extensions are penalty-free and interest-free.  No form needs to be filed to get this relief.

Questions and answers on combat zone extensions can be found on IRS.gov. Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide, also available on the IRS Web site, describes this and other special tax provisions for members of the military.

IRS Presents: Got a Tax Notice? Number 1 – Don’t Panic

The Internal Revenue Service sends millions of letters and notices to taxpayers every year. Here are eight things taxpayers should know about IRS notices – just in case one shows up in your mailbox.

  1. Don’t panic. Many of these letters can be dealt with simply and painlessly.
  2. There are a number of reasons why the IRS might send you a notice. Notices may request payment of taxes, notify you of changes to your account, or request additional information. The notice you receive normally covers a very specific issue about your account or tax return.
  3. Each letter and notice offers specific instructions on what you are asked to do to satisfy the inquiry.
  4. If you receive a correction notice, you should review the correspondence and compare it with the information on your return.
  5. If you agree with the correction to your account, then usually no reply is necessary unless a payment is due or the notice directs otherwise.
  6. If you do not agree with the correction the IRS made, it is important that you respond as requested. You should send a written explanation of why you disagree and include any documents and information you want the IRS to consider, along with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Mail the information to the IRS address shown in the upper left-hand corner of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response.
  7. Most correspondence can be handled without calling or visiting an IRS office. However, if you have questions, call the telephone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available when you call to help us respond to your inquiry.
  8. It’s important that you keep copies of any correspondence with your records.

For more information about IRS notices and bills, see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. Information about penalties and interest is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals. Both publications are available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Links:

  • Publication 594, Understanding the Collection Process (PDF 129K)
  • Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax (PDF 2,072K)
  • Tax Topic 651, Notices — What to Do

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