Latest IRS Updates and News Releases
Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week Events - January 30 to February 3
IRS/FTC Webinar: Protecting Sensitive Business and Customer Information
Presented by the Federal Trade Commission & Internal Revenue Service
Wednesday, February 1
12:00—1:00 pm Alaska | 1:00—2:00 pm Pacific | 2:00—3:00 pm Mountain
Learn about identity theft, new imposter scams targeting businesses, cybersecurity practices to reduce your risk, data breach avoidance and response, and free resources to help you protect your business, employees, and customers.
Speakers from the FTC and IRS will discuss:
- How businesses can avoid being victims of ID theft
- How businesses can protect themselves and their customers
- Who to contact/what to do if they suspect they are a victim of ID theft
- Ways IRS and FTC are combating ID theft
- Lessons from FTC cases about good data security practices for businesses
- Where to find ID theft resources on the FTC and IRS websites
To register, click here: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1147/19383
Before registering, be sure your spam filter is set to accept email from our webinar provider – confirmation and reminder emails will appear with the name “Northwest” and will be from the email address email@example.com. If you have any problems registering, contact us directly at SL.firstname.lastname@example.org
Federal Trade Commission Events
- Tuesday, Jan. 31, 3 p.m. EST: The FTC and the Identity Theft Resource Center invite consumers to join a Twitter chat focused on tax identity theft, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you become a victim.
- Wednesday, Feb. 1, 1 p.m. EST: The FTC, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration discuss tax identity theft, IRS imposter scams, how to lower your risk, and what to do if you become a victim, during a webinar for veterans, their families, and those who serve them.
IRS Webinar: Understanding the Sharing Economy
The presentation will focus on defining the Sharing Economy, tax implications for individuals performing services, determining employee/independent contractor, rules for home rentals, business expenses, and employer/payer employment tax obligations.
The webinar will be presented twice on February 16:
8:00 a.m. (Pacific) – register here: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1148/18972
11:00 a.m. (Pacific) – register here: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1148/18986
Small Business Administration Workshops
SBA offers a variety of workshops, some online and others in person.
SCORE offers workshops designed to give you the skills necessary to start your own successful business.
Feb 1, Mar 1, Apr 5 -- Starting a New Business
Feb 24, Mar 17 – Taxes on Small Business
Feb 16, Mar 16, Apr 20 -- Understanding Financial Statements
Feb 1, Mar 1 -- Starting a New Business
There are also a number of online workshops available: https://seattle.score.org/onlineworkshops/tab-a
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 and Partners Look to Start of 2017 Tax Season; Encourage use of IRS.gov and e-File; Warn of Refund Delays
The Internal Revenue Service and partners from the states and tax industry today reminded taxpayers that the nation’s 2017 individual income tax filing season opens Jan. 23. The IRS expects more than 153 million tax returns to be filed this year and taxpayers have until Tuesday, April 18, 2017, to file their 2016 tax returns and pay any tax due. The deadline is extended because the Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C., will be observed on Monday, April 17, pushing the nation’s filing deadline to April 18.
Free File Opens; Offers Brand-Name Free Federal and Free State Tax Software
The Internal Revenue Service and its private-sector partners announced the 2017 opening of Free File, the free tax software preparation program that gives eligible taxpayers a dozen options for brand-name products. Taxpayers can get a jump now on preparing their returns, and the companies will hold the returns until January 23 when the filing season officially begins. Taxpayers also should remember that, by law, the IRS must hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until February 15.
Anyone whose adjusted gross income in 2016 was $64,000 or less – that’s more than 70 percent of taxpayers – will be eligible for Free File software. People who earned more than $64,000 may use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, which will be available for preparing taxes on January 23.
Free File is available exclusively at IRS.gov/FreeFile. Since 2003, more than 49 million people have used Free File.
IRS Offers Free Tax Help
As tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers free tax help is available online, by phone and in-person. The IRS encourages taxpayers to take advantage of the online tools and resources at IRS.gov. Many taxpayers, who don’t want to wait, can get answers to tax questions right away at IRS.gov.
IRS.gov has services that include:
Taxpayers who can’t find an answer on IRS.gov can call the IRS at 800-829-1040 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Telephone assistance is also available for individuals with TTY equipment at 800-829-4059.
Who Will Prepare Your Tax Return?
As the start of tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers to start thinking about who will prepare their 2016 federal tax return. The IRS will begin processing tax returns on Monday, January 23. Many software companies and tax professionals will accept and submit tax returns before the IRS systems open on January 23. In 2016, more than 131 million individual and family tax returns were e-filed, the most accurate, safest and easiest way to file. The rest of the returns received by the IRS, numbering over 19 million, were either prepared on a computer and printed or prepared by hand then mailed. The IRS stresses that no matter who prepares it, by signing the return, the taxpayer becomes legally responsible for the accuracy of all information included.
National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers Annual Report to Congress; Urges IRS Reform and Tax Reform
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson has released her 2016 annual report to Congress, recommending that the IRS revamp its “Future State” plan to adopt a taxpayer-centric focus and urging Congress to emphasize simplification when it considers tax reform later this year.
2017 Standard Mileage Rates for Business, Medical and Moving Announced
The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
- 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
- 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.
Tax Preparedness Series: IRS Face-To-Face Help Now By Appointment
The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers that an appointment is required for in-person tax help at all IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC). IRS TACs continue to be a vital part of the service IRS provides when a tax issue cannot be resolved on-line or by phone. All IRS TACs now provide face-to-face service by-appointment. Instead of taxpayers going directly to their local TAC, they can call 844-545-5640 to reach an IRS representative, who is trained to either help them resolve their issue or schedule an appointment for them to get the help they need.
Many ITINs Expire Jan. 1; Renew Now to Avoid Refund Delays, IRS Says
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is used by anyone who has tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but is not eligible for a Social Security number. Under a recent law change by Congress, any ITIN not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years will expire on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. In addition, any ITIN with middle digits of either 78 or 79 (9NN-78-NNNN or 9NN-79-NNNN) will also expire on that date.
This means that anyone with an expiring ITIN should act now to make sure they have a renewed ITIN in time to file a return during the upcoming tax season. Failure to do so will result in refund delays and possible loss of eligibility for some tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed.
The IRS said that an ITIN renewal application filed now will be processed before one submitted in January or February at the height of tax season. Currently, a complete and accurate renewal application can be processed in as little as seven weeks. But this timeframe is expected to lengthen to 11 weeks during tax season.
Tax Professionals Provide Insights on IRS Future State; Feedback Efforts Continue in 2017 as Online Account Shows Strong Early Use
As part of ongoing efforts to receive feedback from the tax community and partner groups, the Internal Revenue Service said tax professionals attending the Nationwide Tax Forums this year highlighted a number of areas to help the agency shape Future State efforts to improve taxpayer service. The IRS has been developing a “Future State” plan that envisions the taxpayer experience over the next five years and beyond. The initiative is designed to improve the IRS’s ability to fulfill its mission in the years to come. A central component of the plan is the creation of online taxpayer accounts as a new option through which taxpayers will be able to obtain information from and interact with the IRS.
"Taxes. Security. Together." Tax Tip Series
IRS, States, Industry Urge Taxpayers to Learn Signs of Identity Theft
IRS, Partners Move to Strengthen Anti-Fraud Effort with Form W-2 Verification Code
Security Awareness for Taxpayers: The Tax Community Needs Your Help
What to Do If You Suffer a Data Breach or Other Security Incident
How the IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights Works
Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – Secure Your Office
Health Care Tax Tips
Affordable Care Act: What Employers with Fewer than 50 Employees Need to Know
If/Then Chart Explains How the Health Care Law Affects You
What to Know About Health Coverage Information Statements You May Receive in 2017
Employers and Coverage Providers: 11 Facts About Health Care Information Forms
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.
The Affordable Care Act and Employers
Information on Key Tax Provisions Affecting Employers