Latest IRS Updates and News Releases
Free IRS Webinar: Payment Alternatives When You Owe the IRS
March 25 - 11 a.m. - noon
This FREE one-hour webinar is for tax professionals, small businesses, individuals and organizations
- 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
Washington State Dept of Labor & Industries - Free Contractor Training Days
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.
March 27 - Wenatchee Valley Community College (www.wvc.edu).
Better Business Bureau Offers Secure Your ID Day
Gather unneeded and outdated personal documents and old cellular phones for Better Business Bureau’s semi-annual Secure your ID Day! Take advantage of free document shredding and cell phone recycling.
April 18 -- 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Better Business Bureau parking lot - 1000 Station Drive, DuPont, WA
Click here for full event details.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
SCORE offers workshops designed to give you the skills necessary to start your own successful business.
Apr 1 -- Starting a New Business
June 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
Apr 1, May 6, June 3 -- 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.
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
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.
Notice 2015-27 invites public comments to the Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service on recommendations for items that should be included on the 2015 - 2016 Guidance Priority List. It will appear in IRB 2015-13 dated March 30, 2015.
Tax Time Guide: Online Tools Help Taxpayers Choose a Qualified Tax Preparer
Taxpayers can go to IRS.gov to get information and tips about selecting qualified tax professionals. Taxpayers can use the IRS.gov/chooseataxpro website that includes a list of consumer tips for selecting a tax professional. Earlier this year the IRS launched a Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications on the IRS website to help taxpayers verify credentials and qualifications of tax professionals. The directory is a searchable, sortable database with the name, city, state and zip code of credentialed return preparers as well as those who have completed the requirements for the new IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP), which includes having a valid 2015 Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
Tax Time Guide: Automatic Tax-Filing Extensions Now Available; Use Free File to Get Six More Months to File
IRS YouTube Videos
Need More Time to File Your Tax Return?: English | Spanish | ASL
For taxpayers who are unable to complete their tax returns on time it’s easy to get more time to file their return. In fact, it can even be done online. Taxpayers who need more time to complete their tax return can request an automatic six-month extension. The fastest and easiest way to get the extra time is through the Free File link on IRS.gov. In a matter of minutes, anyone, regardless of income, can use this free service to electronically request an extension on Form 4868. Filing this form gives taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file a return. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and should also pay any amount due.
The IRS cautions taxpayers that a request for an extension will give extra time to file a tax return; not extra time to pay any taxes owed. Taxpayers should file even if they can’t pay the full amount of taxes they owe.
Tax Time Guide: Many Home-Based Businesses Can Use Simplified Method for Claiming Home Office Deduction; Taxpayers May Deduct up to $1,500 a Year
IRS YouTube Video
Simplified Home Office Deduction: English | Spanish | ASL
The Internal Revenue Service reminds people with home-based businesses filling out their 2014 federal income tax returns that they can choose a simplified method for claiming the deduction for business use of a home. Introduced in tax year 2013, the optional deduction is designed to reduce the paperwork and recordkeeping burden for small businesses. The optional deduction is capped at $1,500 per year, based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet.
Normally, home-based businesses are required to fill out a 43-line form (Form 8829) often with complex calculations of allocated expenses, depreciation and carryovers of unused deductions. Instead, taxpayers choosing the simplified method need only complete a short worksheet in the tax instructions and enter the result on their tax return.
IRS Releases Tax Time Guide: Get Free Tax Help with Free IRS Online Tools
The Internal Revenue Service encourages taxpayers working on their 2014 returns to take advantage of the numerous online tools and resources available on IRS.gov. IRS.gov and its online tools, such as the Interactive Tax Assistant, can answer most taxpayer questions — getting them the tax help they need, when they need it. The Interactive Tax Assistant can answer a wide range of tax questions, including newer areas of the tax law, like the Affordable Care Act.
The Interactive Tax Assistant takes taxpayers through a series of questions and provides them with responses to tax law questions about tax credits, deductions and general filing questions. Taxpayers get the same answers as if they’d called and spoken with an IRS representative on the phone line, and they can print out the answers for their records.
Taxpayers can look at the Online Services and Tax Information for individuals section for information needed to file, pay and manage their taxes, including forms, instructions and electronic filing options. Also visit the Tools page for a list of the many features and applications offered by IRS.gov.
Visits to IRS Website Increase as Taxpayers Turn to IRS.gov for Answers During Filing Season
Americans have turned to IRS.gov nearly 200 million times so far this tax filing season where they can find answers on topics ranging from tax preparation to checking their refund status. This is a 10% increase in comparison to the same time last year, according to IRS statistics released today. In addition to various interactive tools, IRS.gov is the gateway to many more resources and answers about many tax matters. Try Interactive Tax Assistant, Tax Topics, Tax Trails, Frequently Asked Questions, and the IRS Tax Map. Even after taxpayers file, there are more online tools that can provide them with valuable assistance long after tax season ends. One of the most popular is the Where’s My Refund? tool available on IRS.gov or IRS2Go that enables taxpayers to track the status of their refund. Initial information will normally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives the taxpayer’s e-filed return or four weeks after the taxpayer mails a paper return to the IRS. The system updates every 24 hours, so there’s no need to check more often. See the full article for filing season statistics.
IRS Has Refunds Totaling $1 Billion for People Who Have Not Filed a 2011 Federal Income Tax Return
Federal income tax refunds totaling $1 billion may be waiting for an estimated one million taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2011. To collect the money, these taxpayers must file a 2011 tax return with the IRS no later than Wednesday, April 15, 2015. In cases where a tax return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. For 2011 tax returns, the window closes on April 15, 2015. If no return is filed to claim a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.
IRS Seeks Volunteers for Taxpayer Advocacy Panel
The Internal Revenue Service seeks civic-minded volunteers to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a federal advisory committee that listens to taxpayers, identifies major taxpayer concerns and makes recommendations for improving IRS service. The TAP provides a forum for taxpayers to raise concerns about IRS service and offer suggestions for improvement. The TAP reports annually to the Secretary of the Treasury, IRS Commissioner and National Taxpayer Advocate. The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate is an independent organization within the IRS that provides support for and oversight of the TAP. The TAP includes members from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, in addition to one member abroad representing international taxpayers. Each member is appointed to represent the interests of taxpayers in his or her geographic location as well as taxpayers as a whole.
To be a member of the TAP, a person must be a U.S. citizen, be current with your federal tax obligations, be able to commit 200 to 300 volunteer hours during the year, and pass a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background check. New TAP members will serve a three-year term starting in December 2015. Applicants chosen as alternate members will be considered to fill any vacancies that open in their areas during the next three years.
The TAP is seeking members in the following locations: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. The panel needs alternates in the following locations: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
IRS Issues Revised Publications
For taxpayers still working on their taxes, the Internal Revenue Service added three revised publications to IRS.gov just this week.
- Publication 946, How to Depreciate Property explains how you can recover the cost of business or income-producing property through deductions for depreciation. The publication was updated to reflect the extension of expiring tax provisions in legislation signed into law on Dec. 19.
The IRS constantly adds revised tax forms, publications, instructions and tax information to IRS.gov. The IRS encourages taxpayers to frequently visit IRS.gov, including the forms and pubs page for all current forms and publications, updates and changes, and additional information.
IRS’s Top Ten Identity Theft Prosecutions; Part of Ongoing Efforts to Protect Taxpayers, Prevent Refund Fraud
IRS YouTube Videos
ID Theft: IRS Efforts on Identity Theft: English | Spanish | ASL
IRS Identity Theft FAQ: First Steps for Victims: English | ASL
Continuing its enforcement push against refund fraud and identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service announced the Top Ten Identity Theft Prosecutions for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14). The ongoing efforts to bring identity thieves to justice remains a significant priority as part of the IRS’s comprehensive identity theft strategy focusing on preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as possible. Learn more about identity theft and what the IRS is doing to combat it at IRS.gov/identitytheft. You can also read IRS Fact Sheet 2015-1, IRS Combats Identity Theft and Refund Fraud on Many Fronts, and IRS Fact Sheet 2015-2, Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers and Victims. See the full article for a summary of the top 10 identity theft cases.
Visit this page for the latest IRS tax tips. Here is a sample of the tips available:
Are You Self Employed? Check Out These IRS Tax Tips
Employers: Don’t Overlook the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
Don't Miss Out on IRS Free File
Health Coverage Exemptions: What Are They, How to Obtain Them, and How to Claim Them
Taxpayer Bill of Rights: #6, The Right to Finality
Taxpayer Bill of Rights: #7, The Right to Privacy
Taxpayer Bill of Rights: #8, The Right to Confidentiality
Health Care Tax Tips
Check out the tax tips for your health care questions on this page.
Affordable Care Act Consumer Alert: Choose Your Tax Preparer Wisely
The Health Care Law and Taxes: Reporting Coverage, Exemptions and Payments
Calculating an Individual Shared Responsibility Payment
How You Can Benefit from the Premium Tax Credit
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. 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