Latest IRS Updates and News Releases
SHOP Marketplace Webinar Series
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS, is offering a webinar series for small business employers, agents, brokers and other interested stakeholders, about important changes in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). The webinar will be offered every Tuesday, 2-3 pm ET through February 24, 2015.
Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Business
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
SCORE offers workshops designed to give you the skills necessary to start your own successful business.
Feb 4 -- Starting a New Business
Feb 17 – Understanding Financial Statements
4th & Battery Building - 2401 Fourth Avenue, Suite 450, Seattle
Spokane SCORE Workshops
Spokane Regional Business Center (SRBC), 801 W. Riverside Avenue, Suite 444, Spokane
Feb 4, Mar 4 -- Starting a New Business
Check website for other workshop topics and registration information.
Employer's Introduction to L&I Workshops
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.
Feb 4 – Tukwila -- 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Feb 19 – Bellingham -- 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Feb 24 -- Yakima -- 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
New Business Tax Workshops – Washington State Department of Revenue
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.
Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers and Victims
Identity theft presents a challenge to businesses, organizations and governments, including the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS meets the challenge of tax-related identity theft and is making progress against it with an aggressive strategy of prevention, detection and victim assistance. Tax-related identity theft remains a top priority for the IRS in 2015. This year, the IRS continues to take new steps and strong actions to protect taxpayers and help victims of identity theft and refund fraud.
IRS Combats Identity Theft and Refund Fraud on Many Fronts
IRS YouTube Videos:
ID Theft: IRS Efforts on Identity Theft: English | Spanish | ASL
IRS Identity Theft FAQ: First Steps for Victims: English | ASL
Free File Launches
The Internal Revenue Service and the Free File Alliance have announced the launch of Free File, which makes brand-name tax software products and electronic filing available to most taxpayers for free. Free File software can help taxpayers with tax preparation, including the health care law that will affect almost everyone. Free File is available only at IRS.gov/FreeFile. Since 2003, more than 43 million people have used Free File, saving $1.3 billion based on a conservative $30-fee estimate. If you earned $60,000 or less last year, you are eligible to choose from among 14 software products. If you earned more, you are still eligible for Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. More than 70% of all taxpayers — 100 million people — are eligible for the software products.
IRS Starts 2015 Tax Season; Expanded Online Services Enable People to Learn About New Health Care Provisions
IRS YouTube Videos
Help for Taxpayers: English | ASL
When Will I Get My Refund: English | Spanish
Welcome to Free File: English
IRS Tax Payment Options: English | Spanish
Do I Have To File A Tax Return: English | Spanish
The Internal Revenue Service announced the on-time opening of the nation’s 2015 filing season and highlighted a growing array of online services, including features that help taxpayers understand how the Affordable Care Act will affect them at tax time, along with the availability of the Free File program. Taxpayers have until Wednesday, April 15, 2015 to file their 2014 tax returns and pay any tax due. The IRS expects to receive about 150 million individual income tax returns this year. Like each of the past three years, more than four out of five returns are expected to be filed electronically. IRS will begin accepting and processing all tax returns on Tuesday, Jan. 20. This year’s return will include new questions to incorporate provisions of the Affordable Care Act (or ACA). The majority of taxpayers - more than three out of four – will simply need to check a box to verify they have health insurance coverage. For the minority of taxpayers who will have to do more, IRS.gov/aca features useful information and tips regarding the premium tax credit, the individual shared responsibility requirement and other tax features of the ACA.
National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers Annual Report to Congress; Focuses on Taxpayer Service and Taxpayer Bill of Rights
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her 2014 annual report to Congress, which expresses concern that taxpayers this year are likely to receive the worst levels of taxpayer service since at least 2001 when the IRS implemented its current performance measures. The report recommends that Congress enact a principles-based Taxpayer Bill of Rights, adopt additional safeguards to make those rights meaningful, and provide sufficient funding to make the “Right to Quality Service” a reality.
In the preface to the report, Olson emphasizes four points:
- “First, the budget environment of the last five years has brought about a devastating erosion of taxpayer service, harming taxpayers individually and collectively;
- “Second, the lack of effective administrative and congressional oversight, in conjunction with the failure to pass taxpayer rights legislation, has eroded taxpayer protections enacted 16 or more years ago;
- “Third, the combined effect of these trends is reshaping U.S. tax administration in ways that are not positive for future tax compliance or for public trust in the fairness of the tax system; and
- “Fourth, this downward slide can be addressed if Congress makes an investment in the IRS and holds it accountable for how it applies that investment.”
The report also urges Congress to enact comprehensive tax reform, pointing out that simplification would ease burdens on taxpayers and the IRS alike. Please visit http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/2014AnnualReport for more information about this report, including an Executive Summary and downloadable graphics about features from the report.
IRS, National Tax Groups Offer Help Selecting a Tax Preparer; Tips, New Web Page Unveiled
Internal Revenue Service has joined with national tax organizations to provide people with new options to get information and tips on selecting tax professionals and avoiding unscrupulous preparers. The effort includes new information available at IRS.gov/chooseataxpro, including a list of consumer tips for selecting a tax professional. There will also be a new gateway page with links to national non-profit tax professional groups, which can help provide additional information for taxpayers seeking the right type of qualified help.
There are some basic tips taxpayers can keep in mind when selecting a tax professional. These include:
- Select an ethical preparer. Taxpayers entrust some of their most vital personal data with the person preparing their tax return, including income, investments and Social Security numbers.
- Make sure the preparer signs the return and includes their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid prepares are required to have a valid PTIN.
- Review your tax return and ask questions before signing. The taxpayer is ultimately legally responsible for what’s on their tax return, regardless of whether someone else prepared it.
- Never sign a blank tax return. This is a clear red flag when a taxpayer is asked to sign a blank tax return. The preparer can put anything they want on the return – even their own bank account for the tax refund.
Tax Season Opens As Planned Following Extenders Legislation
Following the passage of the extenders legislation, the Internal Revenue Service anticipates opening the 2015 filing season as scheduled. The IRS will begin accepting tax returns electronically on Jan. 20. Paper tax returns will begin processing at the same time. The decision follows Congress renewing a number of "extender" provisions of the tax law that expired at the end of 2013. These provisions were renewed by Congress through the end of 2014. The final legislation was signed into law Dec 19, 2014. You can find a list of the provisions here: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Increase-Prevention-Act-of-2014:-Extenders, or the full text of the law here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/5771.
IRS Launches International Data Exchange Service; Supports Reporting under FATCA and Intergovernmental Agreements
The Internal Revenue Service announces the opening of the International Data Exchange Service (IDES) for enrollment. Financial institutions and host country tax authorities will use IDES to securely send their information reports on financial accounts held by U.S. persons to the IRS under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) or pursuant to the terms of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA), as applicable. More than 145,000 financial institutions have registered through the IRS FATCA Registration System. The U.S. has more than 110 IGAs, either signed or agreed in substance. Financial institutions and host country tax authorities will use IDES to provide the IRS information reports on financial accounts held by U.S. persons.
“The opening of the International Data Exchange Service is a milestone in the implementation of FATCA,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “With it, comes the start of a secure system of automated, standardized information exchanges among government tax authorities. This will enhance our ability to detect hidden accounts and help ensure fairness in the tax system.”
The Affordable Care Act’s Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions
Employers that are considered “applicable large employers” are subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In general, an applicable large employer is an employer with at least 50 full-time employees or an employer with both full-time and part-time employees whose hours add up to the equivalent of at least 50 full-time employees. In general, an applicable large employer either must offer affordable health insurance coverage that provides a minimum level of coverage to its full-time employees and their dependents or make a payment to the IRS, if at least one of its full-time employees receives a premium tax credit in connection with purchasing health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Top Five Reasons to E-file
Are you still using the old school method of doing your taxes? Do you still mail paper forms to the IRS? If so, make this the year you switch to a much faster and safer way of filing your taxes. Join the nearly 126 million taxpayers who used IRS e-file to file their taxes last year. Here are the top five reasons why you should file electronically.
Health Care Tax Tips
Check out the tax tips for your health care questions on this page.
The Health Care Law - Getting Ready to File Your Tax Return
Here are five things you should know about the health care law that will help you get ready to file your tax return.
Health Care Law Brings Changes to IRS Tax Forms
This year, there are some changes to tax forms related to the Affordable Care Act. Along with a few new lines on existing forms, there will also be two new forms that will need to be included with some tax returns.
New IRS Publication helps you understand the Health Care Law
IRS Publication 5187, Health Care Law: What’s New for Individuals and Families, is now available on IRS.gov/aca . This publication breaks down what’s new for the 2014 federal tax return you will be filing in 2015.
For More Tips on Enrollment and Reporting Changes in Circumstances: The Health Insurance Marketplace
The Health Insurance Marketplace — also known as the Health Insurance Exchange — is the place where people without health care insurance can find information about health insurance options and also purchase health care insurance. Each year the Health Insurance Marketplace has an open enrollment period. The open enrollment period to purchase health care insurance for 2015 runs from Nov. 15, 2014, through Feb. 15, 2015. Contact the Marketplace at HealthCare.gov to enroll AND for more information about reporting changes in circumstances (which can affect your 2014 tax return!) and special enrollment.
Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace
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. The SHOP Marketplace allows you to offer health and dental coverage that meets the needs of your business and your employees. SHOP offers flexibility, choice, and online application and account management. You can enroll in SHOP any time of year. There’s no restricted enrollment period when you can start offering a SHOP plan. For more information, visit HealthCare.gov.
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.