Latest IRS Updates and News Releases

Free IRS Webinar: Payment Alternatives When You Owe the IRS

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Webinars-for-Tax-Practitioners-1#payment

March 25 - 11 a.m. - noon

This FREE one-hour webinar is for tax professionals, small businesses, individuals and organizations

 

Topics include:

  • Online Payment Agreements – expanded eligibility criteria
  • Prerequisites to Collection case resolution – why current and ongoing compliance is vital
  • Collection Information Statements - providing financial information to resolve the more complex Collection cases - when it is necessary and how the information is used
  • Selling or refinancing property when there is a tax lien - what you’ll need to make the process go smoothly
  • Plus a live Q&A session

 

Click here to register for the session http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=100098

 

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 and to register. Webinars are also offered in Spanish. See the page above for dates and to register.

 

Small Business Workshops – Seattle SBA Education and Training Center
Navigating Federal Business Taxes - 2nd Thursday of each month - 9:00 am to 10:00 am

What you need to know to start and sustain your company without being so focused on your tax return.  In this class you will learn the types of entity structures and their tax effects, important requirements for specific deductions like meals and entertainment and home office and how to choose your tax preparer.

 

Licensing and Registration:  What You Need To Know - 2nd Thursday of each month - 10:30 to 11:30 am

Once you've chosen your business entity (limited liability company, corporation, sole proprietor, etc.), then it's time to register and license your business. Hear what steps you need to take with the Secretary of State's Office and Business Licensing Services.        

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: https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/wa/seattle

 

Seattle SCORE Workshops

http://seattle.score.org/localworkshops

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

Mar 4 -- Starting a New Business

Mar 9 – Understanding Financial Statements

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

Mar 4 -- Starting a New Business

Check website for other workshop topics and registration information.

 

Employer's Introduction to L&I Workshops

http://lni.wa.gov/Safety/TrainingPrevention/workshops/WorkshopInfo.asp?WkshopID=78

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.

Mar 3 – Kennewick -- 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Mar 10 – East Wenatchee --  9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Mar 25 -- Tacoma -- 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Apr 1 – Tukwila -- 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Apr 22 – Bremerton – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Apr 23 – Vancouver -- 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Apr 23 – Spokane Valley -- 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

 

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.

 

IRS Launches Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers; Online Tool Offers New Option to Help Taxpayers

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Launches-Directory-of-Federal-Tax-Return-Preparers

The IRS has launched a new, online public directory of tax return preparers. This searchable directory on IRS.gov will help taxpayers find a tax professional with credentials and select qualifications to help them prepare their tax returns.  The directory is a searchable, sortable listing featuring:  the name, city, state and zip code of attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents and those who have completed the requirements for the voluntary IRS Annual Filing Season Program. All preparers listed also have valid 2015 Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN).  Taxpayers may search the directory using the preferred credentials or qualifications they seek in a preparer, or by a preparer’s location, including professionals who practice abroad.

 

IRS Makes it Easier for Small Businesses to Apply Repair Regulations to 2014 and Future Years

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Makes-it-Easier-for-Small-Businesses-to-Apply-Repair-Regulations-to-2014-and-Future-Years

The Internal Revenue Service has made it easier for small business owners to comply with the final tangible property regulations. Requested by many small businesses and tax professionals, the simplified procedure is available beginning with the 2014 return taxpayers are filling out this tax season. The new procedure allows small businesses to change a method of accounting under the final tangible property regulations on a prospective basis for the first taxable year beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014. Also, the IRS is waiving the requirement to complete and file a Form 3115 for small business taxpayers that choose to use this simplified procedure for 2014.

 

The new simplified procedure is generally available to small businesses, including sole proprietors, with assets totaling less than $10 million or average annual gross receipts totaling $10 million or less. Details are in Revenue Procedure 2015-20. The revenue procedure also requests comment on whether the $500 safe-harbor threshold should be raised for businesses that choose to deduct, rather than capitalize, certain capital expenses.

 

March 2 Tax Deadline Nears for Many Farmers and Fishermen; New IRS Direct Pay Tool Offers Easiest Way to E-Pay Your Taxes

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/March-2-Tax-Deadline-Nears-for-Many-Farmers-and-Fishermen

Farmers and fishermen who chose to forgo making quarterly estimated tax payments for 2014 generally must file their 2014 federal return and pay any tax due by Monday, March 2, 2015. (The normal March 1 deadline is pushed back a day because this date falls on a Sunday this year.) With next Monday’s tax deadline fast approaching for many farmers and fishermen, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding these and other individual filers that the new IRS Direct Pay tool offers taxpayers the fastest and easiest way to pay the taxes they owe. This free online tool allows individuals to securely pay their income tax directly from checking or savings accounts without any fees or pre-registration.

 

More Taxpayers Using IRS.gov in 2015

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/More-Taxpayers-Using-IRS.gov-in-2015

The Internal Revenue Service says more taxpayers are visiting its Web site this year to get tax help and information.

The number of visitors to IRS.gov is up almost 20 percent compared with last year. The IRS web site has been visited more than 100 million times so far this year compared with 85 million for the same time last year. IRS.gov contains a wealth of information and options, including tools that allow taxpayers to check the status of a refund,  access transcripts of their tax returns, request electronic filing personal identification numbers, find answers to tax law questions, and check the status of amended returns.

 

The IRS has issued 19.7 million refunds worth more than $66 billion, up slightly from last year’s totals. The average refund as of Feb. 6 is $3,366, slightly more than the average at this time last year. The vast majority of taxpayers are choosing to receive their refunds through direct deposit, which accounts for almost 95 percent of refunds so far this year. In total, the IRS has received 27.5 million tax returns, slightly more than at the same time last year. Of those returns, more than 96 percent were e-filed.

 

IRS Completes the "Dirty Dozen" Tax Scams for 2015

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Completes-the-Dirty-Dozen-Tax-Scams-for-2015

The Internal Revenue Service wrapped up the 2015 "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams today with a warning to taxpayers about aggressive telephone scams continuing coast-to-coast during the early weeks of this year's filing season.

The aggressive, threatening phone calls from scam artists continue to be seen on a daily basis in states across the nation. The IRS urged taxpayers not give out money or personal financial information as a result of these phone calls or from emails claiming to be from the IRS. Phone scams and email phishing schemes are among the "Dirty Dozen" tax scams the IRS highlighted, for the first time, on 12 straight business days from Jan. 22 to Feb. 6. The IRS has also set up a special section on IRS.gov highlighting these 12 schemes for taxpayers.

 

See the full article for a recap of this year's "Dirty Dozen" scams.  Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube http://www.youtube.com/irsvideos and Tumblr http://internalrevenueservice.tumblr.com, where people can search “scam” to find all the scam-related posts.

 

Updated IRS Smartphone App IRS2Go Version 5.0 Now Available

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Updated-IRS-Smartphone-App-IRS2Go-Version-50-Now-Available

The Internal Revenue Service today announced the release of IRS2Go 5.0, an update to the only official IRS smartphone application, compatible with both Apple and Android devices.  Download IRS2Go free of charge for Android devices from the Google Play Store or from the Apple App Store for Apple devices.  Use it to check your refund status, watch the IRS YouTube channel, find free tax preparation help, get IRS news as soon as it's released, subscribe to filing season updates or daily tax tips, and follow the IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews, to get the latest federal tax news, including information about tax law changes and important IRS programs.

 

IRS Begins Limited Test of Providing Appointments at 10 Walk-In Locations; Goal to Increase Efficiency, Help Taxpayers

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Link/IRS-Begins-Limited-Test-of-Providing-Appointments-at-10-Walk-In-Locations

The Internal Revenue Service has announced a limited test in 10 of its larger Tax Assistance Centers around the country to determine if an appointment-based service approach can help reduce taxpayer wait times during a time of severe budget cuts. The initial test locations available by appointment are: Atlanta, Ga. (Atlanta-Woodcock), Austin, Texas, Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Ill. (Dearborn), Denver, Colo., Fresno, Calif., Hartford, Conn., Plantation, Fla., San Antonio, Texas, and Seattle, Wash. The appointment-based test begins Feb. 23. Taxpayers should always check IRS.gov for days and hours of service as well as services offered at the location they plan to visit. For information on how to make an appointment, please visit the contact my local office page on IRS.gov.

 

IRS Warns Tax Preparers to Watch out for New Phishing Scam; Don’t Click on Strange Emails or Links Seeking Updated Information

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Warns-Tax-Preparers-to-Watch-out-for-New-Phishing-Scam

The Internal Revenue Service  warned return preparers and other tax professionals to be on guard against bogus emails making the rounds seeking updated personal or professional information that in reality are phishing schemes. Specifically, the bogus email asks tax professionals to update their IRS e-services portal information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs). The links that are provided in the bogus email to access IRS e-services appear to be a phishing scheme designed to capture your username and password. This email was not generated by the IRS e-services program. Disregard this email and do not click on the links provided.

 

Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Members Selected

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Taxpayer-Advocacy-Panel-Members-Selected-2015

The Internal Revenue Service recommended and the Department of Treasury approved the selection of 29 new members to serve on the nationwide Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP). The TAP is a federal advisory committee charged with providing taxpayer suggestions to improve IRS customer service. The new TAP members will join 46 returning members to round out the panel of 75 volunteers for 2015.

 

Tax Tips

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

Visit this page for the latest IRS tax tips.  Here is a sample of the tips available:

 

Taxable or Not – What You Need to Know about Income
Five Good Reasons Why You Should Choose Direct Deposit
What You Should Know if You Changed Your Name
Stay Vigilant Against Bogus IRS Phone Calls and Emails
Best Ways to Get IRS Tax Help 'en Español’
How to Get a Copy of Your Prior Year Tax Information
Visit the IRS Small Business Tax Center for All Your Tax Needs
IRS Can Help if W-2s Are Missing

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.

 

Changes to Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Health Care Law Affects 2014 Tax Returns - Tax Help Available

Maintaining Health Insurance Coverage Documentation for the Tax Filing Season

Get to Know the Health Insurance Marketplace

Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace

https://www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace helps small businesses provide health coverage to their employees. The SHOP Marketplace is open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). This includes non-profit organizations. You can enroll in SHOP any time of year - there’s no restricted enrollment period. For more information, visit HealthCare.gov.

 

There are guides, an archived webinar and other resources available here: https://marketplace.cms.gov/outreach-and-education/shop-resources.html

The Affordable Care Act and Employers
Information on Key Tax Provisions Affecting Employers

 

Tax Facts about the Affordable Care Act for Individuals and Families

Details on Key Provisions Affecting Individuals

 

IRS.gov has information about the health care law and its effect on your taxes
There is a lot of information in the news and online about the health care law and its effect on your taxes. For the most current answers to questions you may have, visit IRS.gov/aca.  From the individual shared responsibility provision to the definition of minimum essential coverage, the IRS website covers a wide range of health care topics and how they relate to your taxes.