Latest IRS Updates and News Releases

Announcements & Upcoming Events: (updated - 02/25/2014)


Tax filing questions or need to check on a tax account issue?

Call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number, 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).  You can find a complete list of IRS toll free numbers here. And yes, during the tax season there will be long hold times on that line!

 

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

 

Biz Fair 2014 - Saturday, September 27 -  One Day, One Place 

One day, one place - learn from the experts how to form and run a small business at the 18th annual Washington Small Business Fair.   Connect with government agencies and business organizations to get the information you need.  Biz Fair 2014 happens Saturday, September 27, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Renton Technical College, 3000 NE 4th Street, in Renton.

 

  • Sharpen your skills - attend seminars that cover important, up-to-date topics for all stages of business ownership. Savvy business experts share their knowledge and real-life experiences with you.
  • Save valuable time - connect with 30 federal, state and local government agencies, and business and trade associations to get the information you need.

 

The fair is free, with plenty of free parking and no advance registration. Visit www.bizfair.org for more information. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bizfair.

 

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Business

http://www.sba.gov/healthcare

The SBA and Small Business Majority are holding weekly Affordable Care Act 101 webinars. During the presentation, small business owners can learn about the law and what it means for their company and employees.  Visit the web page above for a complete schedule, but webinars are generally held every Thursday at 11:00 am Pacific Time.

 

Small Business Workshops – Seattle SBA Education and Training Center
Small Business Taxes & Bookkeeping for the Small Business Owner - 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month - 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Learn about important information regarding your tax responsibilities as a small business owner. Topics covered:

  • What taxes to pay and when they are due
  • How to choose the right accountant and the right accounting software
  • How to document expenses and activities
  • How to take care of employee and contractor payroll taxes
  • The difference between city, county, state, and federal taxation
  • What the tax advantages are for the sole proprietor or for business entities in general

 

Workshops are held at the 4th & Battery Building - 2401 Fourth Avenue, Suite 450, Seattle

Please pre-register by calling 206-553-2664 or e-mail workshops@sba.gov.

SBA and SCORE also offer a variety of other workshops for small business owners – find out more here: http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/2/3157

 

Seattle SCORE Workshops

http://seattle.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE offers workshops designed to give you the skills necessary to start your own successful business.

June 25, July 9, Aug 6 -- Starting a New Business

June 20, July 11 – Understanding Financial Statements

Aug 8 -- Legal Issues in Starting a New Business

4th & Battery Building - 2401 Fourth Avenue, Suite 450, Seattle

 

Spokane SCORE Workshops

http://www.scorespokane.org/workshops

Spokane Regional Business Center (SRBC), 801 W. Riverside Avenue, Suite 444, Spokane

July 2, Aug 6 -- Starting a New Business

Check website for current listings and registration information.

 

Washington State Dept of Labor & Industries - Free Contractor Training Days

http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Contractors/Workshops/Contractor/

More than 25 different classes are offered on subjects including: safety, managing your claims to control your workers' compensation costs, public works contracting, business planning, risk management, marketing and more.  See the link above for registration information.

June 27 – Lakewood -- Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

July 25 – Yakima -- Yakima Convention Center

Sept 5 – Edmonds -- Edmonds Community College

 

Employer's Introduction to L&I Workshops

http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/TrainTools/Workshops/Available/EmpOrien/default.asp

This workshop is designed for new businesses or businesses that plan to hire workers for the first time. It explains an employer’s rights and responsibilities and provides an overview of the services and resources available at Labor and Industries.

Jul 29 – Tumwater -- 9:00a to 12:00p

Jul 31 – Vancouver -- 9:00a to 12:00p

Jul 31 -- Bremerton -- 9:00a to 11:30a

Aug 5 -- Spokane Valley -- 9:00a to 12:00p

Aug 6 -- Tukwila -- 9:00a to 12:00p

Aug 14 -- Tacoma -- 9:00a to 11:30a

 

New Business Tax Workshops – Washington State Department of Revenue

https://fortress.wa.gov/dor/efile/SecureForms/Content/WorkshopsAndEducation/AttendAWorkshop/RegisterForWorkShop.aspx?ID=213

Learn the basics of Washington State taxes. This free workshop will help you understand your tax reporting responsibilities. Tax reporting classifications, deductions, sales tax collection, and recordkeeping requirements will be discussed. You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions regarding taxes that apply specifically to your business. To find out when the next workshop will be held in your area, and to register, see the link above.  Can’t attend a workshop in person? Watch an online workshop or tutorial.

 

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

 

Scammers Continuing to Pose as IRS Agents

The Federal Trade Commission says that although tax season may be over, scammers posing as IRS officials continue to call, saying people owe taxes and better pay up. They threaten to arrest or deport people, revoke a license, or even shut down a business. How do they do it? By rigging caller ID information to appear as if the IRS is calling, and sometimes even making a follow-up call claiming to be the police or the DMV.

 

If you get a call or email like this, report it. Here’s how:

  • Report the incident to TIGTA online or at 800-366-4484.
  • File a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint. From the complaint homepage, select “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” In the notes, please include “IRS Telephone Scam.”
  • If it’s an email, forward it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov. Don’t open any attachments or click on any links in those emails.
  • If you owe — or think you owe — federal taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 or go to irs.gov. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.

 

The IRS doesn’t ask people to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, and doesn’t ask for credit card numbers over the phone. When the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they do it by postal mail, not by phone. Read Government Imposter Scams for more tips on avoiding a scam.  Hang up the phone. Don't press 1 to speak to a live operator and don't press any other number to get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.

Also see the IRS news release here: IRS Reiterates Warning of Pervasive Telephone Scam

IRS Adopts "Taxpayer Bill of Rights;" 10 Provisions to be Highlighted on IRS.gov, in Publication 1
The IRS announced the adoption of a "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" that will become a cornerstone document to provide the nation's taxpayers with a better understanding of their rights.

The tax code includes numerous taxpayer rights, but they are scattered throughout the code, making it difficult for people to track and understand. Similar to the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights contains 10 provisions. They are:

  1. The Right to Be Informed
  2. The Right to Quality Service
  3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
  4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard
  5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
  6. The Right to Finality
  7. The Right to Privacy
  8. The Right to Confidentiality
  9. The Right to Retain Representation
  10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System

See the full news release and http://www.irs.gov/Taxpayer-Bill-of-Rights for more details.

More than 150,000 Individuals Pay Their Taxes with IRS Direct Pay

The Internal Revenue Service announced the successful start of its new web-based system — IRS Direct Pay — on IRS.gov, which lets taxpayers pay their tax bills or make estimated tax payments directly from checking or savings accounts without any fees or pre-registration. With IRS Direct Pay, taxpayers receive instant confirmation that the payment has been submitted, and the system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Bank account information is not retained in IRS systems after payments are made.

 

Owe employment taxes?

Small businesses with unpaid employment taxes may qualify for an In-Business Trust Fund Express installment agreement.

Related link: Online Payment Agreement 

 

Penalty relief for small retirement plans

The IRS will begin a one-year pilot program in June to help small businesses with retirement plans that owe penalties for not filing reporting documents.

 

Prepare for Hurricanes, Natural Disasters by Safeguarding Tax Records

The IRS encourages individuals and businesses to safeguard their records against natural disasters by taking a few simple steps.

These include:

  • keeping a set of backup records in a safe place - stored away from the original set
  • photographing or videotaping the contents of your home, especially items of higher value
  • employers who use payroll service providers should ask the provider if it has a fiduciary bond in place - the bond could protect the employer in the event of default by the payroll service provider

More details are in the full article and here: Tax Relief in Disaster Situations

Small Business Week Webinars Posted to IRS Video Portal

Payments to Independent Contractors - Webinar (May 13, 2014)

http://www.irsvideos.gov/PaymentsToIndependentContractorsWebinar/

You don't need to be a tax expert when running a business, but knowing the basics helps you stay tax compliant so your business can thrive.

 

Avoiding the Biggest Tax Mistakes - Webinar (May 15, 2014)

http://www.irsvideos.gov/AvoidingTheBiggestTaxMistakes/

Learn about the tax benefits available to you and how best to avoid common mistakes small business owners may make. IRS representatives will also be available for a question and answer session directly after the presentation.

 

Employer Health Care Arrangements

Information on consequences to the employer if the employer does not establish a health insurance plan for its own employees, but reimburses those employees for premiums they pay for health insurance.

 

Spring 2014 Statistics of Income Bulletin Now Available
The spring 2014 issue of the Statistics of Income Bulletin is now available. The Bulletin features information on high-income individual income tax returns filed for tax year 2011.

Changes Coming in Certain Social Security Administration Services

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10544.pdf

Beginning August 1, 2014, Social Security will no longer issue Social Security number (SSN) verification printouts in their field offices. Individuals who need proof of their SSN and cannot locate their card will need to apply for a replacement card, which takes 7-10 business days. To get a replacement card, the individual must complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) with the necessary associated documentation and either mail it to SSA or go in person to an SSA field office.  The replacement card will be mailed to their home. Beginning October 1, 2014, Social Security field offices will stop providing benefit verification letters. Instead, SSA would like individuals to get their benefits documentation online by registering for a my Social Security account or through their national toll-free number 1(800)772-1213.

 

Tax Tips

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Tax-Tips

Keep Your Records Safe in Case Disaster Strikes

Five Tips to Help You Pay Your Tax Bill

Health Care Tax Tips

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Health-Care-Tax-Tips2

Check out the tax tips for your health care questions on this page.