Latest IRS Updates and News Releases
Announcements & Upcoming Events:
Small Business Administration Workshops
SBA offers a variety of workshops, some online and others in person. Check the Events Calendar for a complete list.
Did you know the SBA Seattle District Office streams live webinars every second Thursday? Get your questions answered by business savvy experts from the comfort of your home or home office.
The following workshops are live webinars in Pacific Daylight Time:
Thursday, Nov 9
Small Business Owners Tax Workshop – 10:15 am
Choosing the Right Business Structure -- 12:30 pm
Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/o/sba-seattle-district-office-7828614365 to see the full lineup of Free Thursday Workshops through 2017.
Also check out the SBA Learning Center for a variety of free online courses, available anytime! Here is an example of one:
Financing Options for Small Businesses
This self-paced training exercise is an introduction to financing options for your business. Topics include determining your financial needs, loans, grants, venture capital, angel investors, crowd funding and other financial options available to small businesses. Duration: 30 minutes
SCORE offers workshops designed to give you the skills necessary to start your own successful business.
Nov 1, Dec 6 -- Starting a New Business
Nov 15, Dec 14, Jan 18, Feb 9 – Saving Taxes for Small Businesses
Nov 16 - Understanding Financial Statements
Nov 1 -- How to Start a New Business
Nov 29 – Cybersecurity for Small Business
There are also a number of online workshops available: https://seattle.score.org/onlineworkshops/tab-a
Washington Small Business Development Center
Vancouver Export Resources Forum
Nov 1 -- 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
The Vancouver Export Resources Event will bring together the small business and trade communities for a morning of discussion and networking with Washington’s local, state and federal resource partners.
Registration and more information: https://impactwashington.org/events/vancouver-export-resources-forum-vancouver-wa/
Business Export Assistance Resources
Nov 14 -- 12:00 - 1:30 pm
Bring your lunch and join the Washington Export Outreach Team (WEOT) to learn about resources and tools to help you start or grow your international sales.
Register here for this Washington Export Outreach Team event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/seattle-business-export-assistance-resources-tickets-35947546078?aff=es2
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.
Security Summit Partners Mark Progress in Identity Theft Battle; Prepare for 2018 Tax Season
The IRS, state tax agencies and private-sector industry leaders today detailed their continued progress against tax-related identity theft and prepared additional safeguards for the 2018 filing season to curb refund fraud. The latest IRS data continued to show significant improvements as fewer identity theft returns entered the tax system, fewer fraudulent refunds were issued and fewer taxpayers were reporting themselves as victims of identity theft.
IRS Issues Reminder to Taxpayers as Scams Continue Across the Nation
The Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers to remain vigilant to scams as they continue to be reported around the country. Phishing, phone scams and identity theft top the list of items normally reported. However, following hurricanes and other disasters, the IRS urged taxpayers to be on the lookout for schemes stemming from these recent events. While individuals and businesses deal with the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildland fires in the West, criminals may take advantage of this situation by creating fake charities to get money or personal information from sympathetic taxpayers. They may also attempt to con victims by impersonating a relief agency or charity that will provide relief. Such fraudulent scams and solicitations for donations may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in person. See full article for some of the more typical scams the IRS has seen.
Consumer Alert: IRS Warns Taxpayers, Tax Pros of New e-Services Scam
The IRS warned all e-Services users to beware of a new phishing scam that tries to trick tax professionals into “signing” a new e-Services user agreement. The phishing scam seeks to steal passwords and data. The scam email claims to be from “e-Services Registration” and uses “Important Update about Your e-Services Account” in the subject line. It states, in part, “We are rolling out a new user agreement and all registered users must accept its revised terms to have access to e-Services and its products.” It asks the individual to review and accept the agreement but takes them to a fake site instead.
All tax professionals should be aware that as e-Services begins its move later this month to Secure Access authentication and its two-factor protections, cybercriminals likely will make last-ditch efforts to steal passwords and data prior to the transition. As the IRS has warned over the past few years, these sophisticated schemes are adaptive in nature and everyone should be cautious before clicking on a link or entering sensitive personal information.
For those who may have clicked onto this link, perform a deep scan with security software, contact IT/cybersecurity personnel and the IRS e-Help Desk.
Fake Insurance Tax Form Scam Aims at Stealing Data from Tax Pros, Clients
The Internal Revenue Service has alerted tax professionals and their clients to a fake insurance tax form scam that is being used to access annuity and life insurance accounts. Cybercriminals currently are combining several tactics to create a complex scheme through which both tax professionals and taxpayers have been victimized.
There may be variations but here’s how one scam works: The cybercriminal, impersonating a legitimate cloud-based storage provider, entices a tax professional with a phishing email. The tax professional, thinking they are interacting with the legitimate cloud-based storage provider, provides their email credentials including username and password.
With access to the tax professional’s account, the cybercriminal steals client email addresses. The cybercriminal then impersonates the tax professional and sends emails to their clients, attaching a fake IRS insurance form and requesting that the form be completed and returned. The cybercriminal receives replies by fax and/or by an email very similar to the tax professional’s email – using a different email service provider or a slight variation to the tax pro’s address.
In 2018, Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due to Inflation Adjustments, Others Unchanged
The Internal Revenue Service today announced the tax year 2018 annual inflation adjustments for more than 50 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules and other tax changes. Revenue Procedure 2017-58 provides details about these annual adjustments. The tax year 2018 adjustments generally are used on tax returns filed in 2019.
IRS Announces 2018 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Increases to $18,500 for 2018
The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2018. The IRS today issued technical guidance detailing these items in Notice 2017-64.
Drought-Stricken Farmers and Ranchers Have More Time to Replace Livestock Under IRS Relief
Farmers and ranchers who previously were forced to sell livestock due to drought in an applicable region now have an additional year to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales, according to the Internal Revenue Service. An applicable region is a county designated as eligible for federal assistance plus counties contiguous to that county. The one-year extension gives eligible farmers and ranchers until the end of the tax year after the first drought-free year to replace the sold livestock. Details, including an example of how this provision works, can be found in Notice 2006-82, available on IRS.gov.
Low-Income Housing Units Nationwide May be Offered to Displaced Victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Other Recent Disasters
The Internal Revenue Service has provided temporary relief from certain requirements of the Internal Revenue Code to allow owners and operators of low-income housing projects located anywhere in the United States and its possessions to provide temporary emergency housing to individuals who are displaced by a major disaster from their principal residences, regardless of income. This special relief detailed in Revenue Procedure 2014-49 and Revenue Procedure 2014-50 authorizes owners and operators, in conjunction with agencies and issuers, to disregard the income limits, transience rules and certain other restrictions that normally apply to low-income housing units when providing temporary emergency housing to displaced individuals.