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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.

 

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.

March 5, April 2, May 7 -- 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

March 5 -- 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.

Mar 28 – Bellingham -- Bellingham Technical College

May 9 – Renton -- Renton Technical 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.

Mar 27 – Bremerton             9:00a to 12:00p

Apr 2 -- Tukwila                    9:00a to 12:00p

Apr 10 – Tacoma                 9:00a to 12:00p

 

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 Releases the “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2014; Identity Theft, Phone Scams Lead List

The IRS issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud. The Dirty Dozen listing, compiled by the IRS each year, lists a variety of common scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year. But many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns. Tax fraud through the use of identity theft tops this year’s Dirty Dozen list. The IRS has a special section on IRS.gov dedicated to identity theft issues, including YouTube videos, tips for taxpayers and an assistance guide. For victims, the information includes how to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit. For other taxpayers, there are tips on how taxpayers can protect themselves against identity theft.  Taxpayers who believe they are at risk of identity theft due to lost or stolen personal information should contact the IRS immediately so the agency can take action to secure their tax account. Taxpayers can call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. More information can be found on the special identity protection page.

 

See the full article for more information and the complete list of Dirty Dozen tax scams for 2014.

 

IRS Warns of Heavy Call Volume, Offers Tips for Faster Answers
The IRS reminded taxpayers the Presidents Day holiday period typically marks one of the busiest weeks of the tax filing season for its phone lines and offers other alternatives to help taxpayers find answers to commonly asked tax questions. The Internal Revenue Service has several easy-to-use, online tools on IRS.gov. Taxpayers can check the status of their refund, request a copy of their tax transcript or get an answer to their tax questions around the clock.  Due to limited resources, the IRS has changed the services provided at the toll-free telephone number and IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers. To save time and find answers faster, taxpayers should make IRS.gov their first stop. A good place to start is 1040 Central for a quick overview. The IRS Services Guide also provides a list of resources.

 

Some IRS Assistance and Taxpayer Services Shift to Automated Resources
Given available resources and shifting taxpayer demands, the IRS will be making a number of taxpayer service changes for the 2014 filing season.

The changes, which were made following input from stakeholders in the tax community, reflect the need for increased use of automated self-service options. With limited resources to support person-to-person services on the phone or at Taxpayer Assistance Centers, the IRS is emphasizing services, such as those found on IRS.gov, to help meet a number of taxpayer needs. This approach will free up IRS assistors on the phone or in person to help with issues that cannot be resolved through other avenues, such as issues involving identity theft.

 

Each year, the IRS balances anticipated customer service needs against available resources to determine the right mix of technology, employees and IRS partner-provided assistance  to meet these needs in the most effective and efficient way. The changes for filing season 2014 affect these areas:

  • Tax Return Preparation
  • Transcript delivery
  • Tax Law Assistance
  • Tax Refund Inquiries
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Practitioner Priority Service

 

Taxpayers should find these automated services easy to use and convenient. Many are available 24 hours and seven days a week.  See the full article for details.

 

IRS Offers Advice on How to Choose a Tax Preparer
Many people hire a professional when it’s time to file their tax return. If you pay someone to prepare your federal income tax return, the IRS urges you to choose that person wisely. Even if you don’t prepare your own return, you’re still legally responsible for what is on it. See the full article for 10 tips to keep in mind when choosing a tax preparer.

 

Filing Season Update
Latest issues, information on tax season and refunds.

 

Updated IRS Smartphone App IRS2Go Version 4.0 Now Available
The IRS has released IRS2Go 4.0, an update to its smartphone application featuring new, added features available in both English and Spanish.

 

IRS Kicks Off 2014 Tax Season; Individual Returns Can Be Filed Now; Free Online Services Available to Help With Filing, Refunds, EITC
The IRS opened the 2014 filing season by highlighting a growing array of online services and encouraging taxpayers to check out a variety of tax benefits, such as the often-overlooked Earned Income Tax Credit.

 

 

Tax Tips

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

IRS Small Business Tax Center Has Everything You Need

Top Ten Tips to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer
Four Ways to Get IRS Forms and Publications
IRS Tips about Taxable and Nontaxable Income
What You Should Know about AMT

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

 

Payment alternatives when you owe the IRS

The recent Payment Alternatives webinar explains available options, including installment payment agreements and offers in compromise.

 

Want to file Forms 941 instead of Form 944?

You must file Form 944 if the IRS has notified you to do so, unless you contact the IRS before April 1 to request and receive written notice to file quarterly Form 941 instead.

IRS.gov has more information for employers who want to opt in or opt out of filing the annual Form 944 vs. the quarterly Form 941.

 

IRS.gov in Spanish

Spanish-speaking IRS offers great resources in Spanish at http://www.irs.gov/Spanish