How to Spot an IRS Scam

The IRS regularly warns the public about telephone scams and provides tell-tale warning signs to tip you off if you get such a call. These callers claim to be with the IRS. Scammers usually demand you send money to pay your taxes immediately. Some may try to con you by saying that you’re due a refund. The refund is a fake lure so you’ll give them your banking or other private financial information.

These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may even know quote a bit about you. The are able to alter the caller ID so it looks like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback requests.

The IRS respects taxpayer rights when working out payment of your taxes. So, it’s pretty easy to tell when a supposed IRS caller is bogus. Any one of these things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS does not: [Read more…]

Set up your own “my Social Security” account!

Setting up a my Social Security account is quick, easy and secure; plus it’s a great way to do business with the Social Security Administration. You can use this account to do many things, including:

  • Request a new social security card
  • Get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S
  • Replace your Medicare Card
  • Change your address or phone number
  • Check your earnings and get your benefit estimates
  • Receive a benefit verification letter

By using these services, you can avoid a trip to your local social security office and waiting in line. There is no fee to create a my Social Security account, but you must have an email address. [Read more…]

Where’s My Amended Return? (Tracking the 1040X)

You can now track the status of your 1040X (Amended Tax Return) for up to 4 tax years! Use the IRS’ Where’s My Amended Return? tool or call toll-free 1-866-464-2050 to check the status of your amended return.

Amended returns you cannot check using this system…

  • Form 843 claims
  • Injured Spouse claims
  • Business amended returns
  • Carrybacks (applications and claims)
  • Amended returns with foreign addresses
  • Form 1040 marked as an amended or corrected returns
  • Amended returns routed/received outside of the processing operations in a specialized function

Your amended return is usually processed within 16 weeks from the date the IRS received it. It can take up to 3 weeks from the mailing date to show up in their system.

Gathering Health Coverage Documents to File With Your Taxes

The health care law has brought some changes to the 2015 federal income tax return that you’ll file this year. This is the first time that you may receive multiple information forms needed to complete your tax return.

  • Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement: If you enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace, you’ll receive this form showing coverage details, such as the effective date, amount of the premium, and the advance payments of the premium tax credit or subsidy.
  • Form 1095-B, Health Coverage: Health insurance providers will send this form to you with information about who was covered and when. I’ll use the information on this form to determine whether you and your family members had health coverage that satisfies the individual shared responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage: Certain employers send this form to certain employees, with information about what coverage the employer offered. Employers that offer health coverage referred to as “self-insured coverage” send this form to individuals it covers, with information about who was covered and when.

I’ll use Form 1095-C to help determine your eligibility for the premium tax credit. In addition, I’ll use Form 1095-C for information on whether you or any family members enrolled in certain kinds of coverage offered by your employer.

Important Tax Dates

  • First quarter individual estimated tax payments are due April 18.
  • The deadline for filing Form 1040 or an extension and paying any tax due is April 18.

Social Security Retirement Age

Traditionally, the full retirement benefit age was 65. While early retirement was available at 62 (80% of full benefit amount). Currently, the full benefit age is 66 for people born in 1943-1954, and will gradually rise to 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

Early retirement benefits will continue to be available at age 62, but will be reduced more. When the full-benefit age reaches 67, benefits taken at age 62 will be reduced to 70% of the full benefit and Social Security Retirement Benefits first taken at age 65 will be reduced to 86.7% of the full benefit.

IRS Raises Threshold for Tangible Property Expensing

The IRS has simplified record-keeping/paperwork requirements for small businesses by raising the threshold for deducting certain capital items from $500 to $2,500. This change affects businesses that do not maintain an applicable financial statement (audited financial statement). It applies to amounts spent to acquire, produce or improve tangible property that would normally qualify as capital items.

The new threshold takes effect starting with the 2016 tax year. As a result, small businesses will be able to immediately deduct many expenditures that would otherwise need to be spread over a period of years through annual depreciation deductions. The new $2,500 threshold applies to any such item substantiated by an invoice. In addition, the IRS will provide audit protection to eligible businesses by not challenging use of the new threshold in tax years prior to 2016.

For taxpayers with an applicable financial statement, the small-dollar threshold is still $5,000.

New Bill Modifies Tax Code to Allow Passport Revocation

The IRS may be able revoke, deny or limit the use of your passport if they consider you as having a seriously delinquent tax debt of $50,000 or more.

Think of it like a federal parking ticket… failure to pay might result in suspension, requiring you to pay the debt for reinstatement/renewal.

Unlike bills which have yet to pass Congress, this one is about to become law as part of H.R.22 (Page 418; Section 32101), which has already passed the House and Senate. If it passes Congress (as expected), it will add section 7345 “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies” to the tax code.

Sedona Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax Simplification (AZ TPT)

The following information was provided by Karen Daines, Assistant City Manager.

City of SedonaThe State of Arizona and its Cities and Towns continue to work together to achieve the goal of simplifying the manner in which taxpayers report and pay their Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT). We want to ensure that there is a smooth transition in reporting and paying all TPT transactions, directly to the State of Arizona. Working toward this end, the Arizona Department of Revenue is requiring all State TPT taxpayers to renew their licenses with the Department and continue to renew their licenses with the appropriate City. Both the State and the Cities are committed to making this transition as easy as possible. We are confident these changes will make it easier for Arizona businesses to report their State, County and City TPT taxes. [Read more…]

2015 Standard Mileage Rates for Cars, Vans, Pickups and Panel Trucks

Standard mileage rates are used for calculating deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical and moving purposes.

Effective January 1, 2015

  • 0.575 per mile for business miles driven
  • 0.23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 0.14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

You can always calculate the actual costs of using your vehicle rather than using standard mileage rates outlined above.

IRS Early Interaction Initiative for Payroll Tax Deposits

It is in your best interest to stay on top of payroll taxes now more than ever. The Internal Revenue Service will start notifying business by by mail when noticeable declines in deposit frequency occur. These notifications will request explanations about decreases in your business’ deposit activity. The IRS will also be pursuing collections against businesses that have completely missed deposits. Businesses with previous delinquencies and complicated cases will continue to be handled by fields agents.