Update on on-line CE Provider System
The new on-line Continuing Education Provider System is at last up and running. If you have not registered with the IRS as a We apologize for the extended delay. continuing education (CE) provider, you can do so quickly online. https://www.ceprovider.us/
2017 Tax Filing Season Begins Jan. 23 for Nation’s Taxpayers, Tax Returns due April 18
The Internal Revenue Service announced that the nation’s tax season will begin Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 and reminded taxpayers claiming certain tax credits to expect a longer wait for refunds.
The IRS will begin accepting electronic tax returns that day, with more than 153 million individual tax returns expected to be filed in 2017. The IRS again expects more than four out of five tax returns will be prepared electronically using tax return preparation software.
Many software companies and tax professionals will be accepting tax returns before Jan. 23 and then will submit the returns when IRS systems open. The IRS will begin processing paper tax returns at the same time. There is no advantage to filing tax returns on paper in early January instead of waiting for the IRS to begin accepting e-filed returns.
The IRS reminds taxpayers that a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15. In addition, the IRS wants taxpayers to be aware it will take several days for these refunds to be released and processed through financial institutions. Factoring in weekends and the President’s Day holiday, the IRS cautions that many affected taxpayers may not have actual access to their refunds until the week of Feb. 27.
“For this tax season, it’s more important than ever for taxpayers to plan ahead,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “People should make sure they have their year-end tax statements in hand, and we encourage people to file as they normally would, including those claiming the credits affected by the refund delay. Even with these significant changes, IRS employees and the entire tax community will be working hard to make this a smooth filing season for taxpayers.”
The IRS also reminds taxpayers that they should keep copies of their prior-year tax returns for at least three years. Taxpayers who are changing tax software products this filing season will need their adjusted gross income from their 2015 tax return in order to file electronically. The Electronic Filing Pin is no longer an option. Taxpayers can visit IRS.Gov/GetReady for more tips on preparing to file their 2016 tax return.
April 18 Filing Deadline
The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017, rather than the traditional April 15 date. In 2017, April 15 falls on a Saturday, and this would usually move the filing deadline to the following Monday – April 17. However, Emancipation Day – a legal holiday in the District of Columbia – will be observed on that Monday, which pushes the nation’s filing deadline to Tuesday,
April 18, 2017. Under the tax law, legal holidays in the District of Columbia affect the filing deadline across the nation.
“The opening of filing season reflects months and months of work by IRS employees,” Koskinen said. “This year, we had a number of important legislative changes to program into our systems, including the EITC refund date, as well as dealing with resource limitations. Our systems require extensive programming and testing beforehand to ensure we’re ready to accept and process more than 150 million returns.”
The IRS also has been working with the tax industry and state revenue departments as part of the Security Summit initiative to continue strengthening processing systems to protect taxpayers from identity theft and refund fraud. A number of new provisions are being added in 2017 to expand progress made during the past year.
Refunds in 2017
The IRS still anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, but there are some important factors to keep in mind for taxpayers.
Beginning in 2017, a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid-February. Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC — until at least Feb. 15. This change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent fraud.
As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns once the filing season begins. All taxpayers should file as usual, and tax return preparers should also submit returns as they normally do – including returns claiming EITC and ACTC.
The IRS will begin releasing EITC and ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15. However, the IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely won’t arrive in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27 (assuming there are no processing issues with the tax return and the taxpayer chose direct deposit). This additional period is due to several factors, including banking and financial systems needing time to process deposits.
After refunds leave the IRS, it takes additional time for them to be processed and for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds to bank accounts and products. The IRS reminds taxpayers many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the three-day holiday weekend involving President’s Day may affect their refund timing.
Where’s My Refund? on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go phone app will be updated with projected deposit dates for early EITC and ACTC refund filers a few days after Feb. 15. Taxpayers will not see a refund date on Where’s My Refund? or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so Where’s My Refund? remains the best way to check the status of a refund.
Help for Taxpayers
The IRS reminds taxpayers they have a variety of options to get help filing and preparing their tax return on IRS.gov. Taxpayers can also, if eligible, locate help from a community volunteer. Go to IRS.gov and click on the Filing tab for more information.
Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. Commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $64,000 or less.
Online fillable forms provides electronic versions of IRS paper forms to all taxpayers regardless of income that can be prepared and filed by people comfortable with completing their own returns.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offer free tax help to people who qualify. Go to irs.gov and enter “free tax prep” in the search box to learn more and find a nearby VITA or TCE site, or download the IRS2Go smartphone app to find a free tax prep provider.
The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can provide helpful information and advice about the ever-changing tax code. Tips for choosing a return preparer and details about national tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.
Renewal Reminder for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINS) ITINs are used by people who have tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but are not eligible for a Social Security number. Under a recent change in law, any ITIN not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years will expire on 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 and a need to file a tax return in the upcoming filing season should file a renewal application in the next few weeks to avoid lengthy refund and processing delays. Failure to renew early could result in refund delays and denial of some tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed.
An ITIN renewal application filed now will be processed before one submitted at the height of tax season from mid-January to February. Currently, a complete and accurate renewal application can be processed in as little as seven weeks. But this timeframe is expected to expand to as much as 11 weeks during tax season, which runs from mid-January through April.
Several common errors are currently slowing down or holding up ITIN renewal applications. The mistakes generally center on missing information, and/or insufficient supporting documentation. ITIN renewal applicants should be sure to use the latest version of Form W-7, revised September 2016. The most current version of the form, along with its instructions, are posted on IRS.gov.
IRS Proposes Revised Fees for Installment Agreements
The Internal Revenue Service is proposing a revised schedule of user fees that would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017, and apply to any taxpayer who enters into an installment agreement.
The proposal, one of several user fee changes made this year, reflects the law that federal agencies are required to charge a user fee to recover the cost of providing certain services to the public that confer a special benefit to the recipient. Although some installment agreement fees are increasing, the IRS will continue providing reduced-fee or no-cost services to low-income taxpayers.
Installment Agreement Fees
The revised installment agreement fees of up to $225 would be higher for some taxpayers than those currently in effect, which can be up to $120. However, under the revised schedule any affected taxpayer could qualify for a reduced fee by making their request online using the Online Payment Agreement application on IRS.gov. Moreover, there would be no change to the current $43 rate that applies to the approximately one in three taxpayer requests that qualify under low-income guidelines. These guidelines, which change with family size, would enable a family of four with total income of around $60,000 or less to qualify for the lower fee. Also, for the first time, any taxpayer regardless of income would qualify for a new low $31 rate by requesting an installment agreement online and choosing to pay what they owe through direct debit.
The top rate of $225 applies to taxpayers who enter into an installment agreement in person, over the phone, by mail or by filing Form 9465 with the IRS. But a taxpayer who establishes an agreement in this manner can substantially cut the fee to just $107 by choosing to make their monthly payments by direct debit from their bank account.
Alternatively, a taxpayer who chooses to set up an installment agreement using the agency’s Online Payment Agreement application will pay a fee of $149. Similarly, they can cut this amount to just $31 by also choosing direct debit.
Here is the proposed schedule of user fees:
Further details on these proposed changes can be found in proposed regulations (REG-108792-16), now available in the Federal Register. The IRS welcomes comment on these changes, and a public hearing on the regulations will take place in Washington, D.C. See the proposed regulations for details on submitting comments.
By law, federal agencies are required to charge a user fee to recover the cost of providing certain services to the public that confer a special benefit to the recipient. Installment agreements are an example of a service that confers a special benefit to eligible taxpayers. Agencies must review these fees every two years to determine whether they are recovering the costs of providing these services.
In the past, the IRS often charged less than the full cost for many services in an effort to make them accessible to a broader range of taxpayers. But given current constraints on agency resources, the IRS can no longer continue this practice in most cases.
Nevertheless, the IRS intends to continue providing reduced-fee or no-cost services to low-income taxpayers. For that reason, the IRS will continue subsidizing part of the cost of providing installment agreements to low-income taxpayers.
More information about the IRS User Fee Program is available on IRS.gov.
Questions on LTR 12C
Clients received LTR 12C stating that responses should be directed to the ICO Reject Team. Preparer is trying to figure out why it was generated and if we can
Regular installment agreement
Regular direct debit installment agreement
Online payment agreement
Direct debit online payment agreement
Restructured or reinstated installment agreement
IRS Health Care take steps to avoid it in the future. The following information is Tax Tip 2016-43 ;
What to Do if You Get a Letter about the Premium Tax Credit
IRS Health Care Tax Tip 2016-43, April 12, 2016
Some taxpayers will be receiving an IRS letter about the premium tax credit; this letter is also known as a 12C letter. Be sure to read your letter carefully and respond timely. Here are answers to questions you may have about this letter.
Why am I getting this letter?
• The IRS sent you this letter because the Marketplace notified us that they made advance payments of the premium tax credit on your behalf to your or your family’s insurance company last year.
• You also received this letter because – when you filed your individual 2015 tax return – you didn’t reconcile the advance payments of the premium tax credit. To reconcile, you use Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit, to compare the advance payments with the amount of your credit. Filing your tax return without including Form 8962 will delay your refund and prevent you from receiving advance credit payments in future years.
What do I need to do now?
• You must respond to the letter, even if you disagree with the information in it. If you disagree, send the IRS a letter explaining what you think is in error.
• If you received this letter, but didn’t enroll in health insurance through the Marketplace, you must let the IRS know.
• The letter outlines the information you should provide in your response, which includes:
o A copy of the Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, that your Marketplace sent earlier this year
o A completed Form 8962
o The second page of your tax return, which includes the “Tax and Credits” and “Payments” sections, showing the necessary corrections and your signature. You must complete either the line for “excess advance premium tax credit repayment” or the line for “net premium tax credit.”
• If you originally filed a Form 1040EZ tax return, you must transfer the information from your Form 1040EZ to a Form 1040A and include it with your response to the 12C letter.
Is there anything else I need to know?
• If you need your Form 1095-A, you should contact your Marketplace directly. The IRS does not issue and cannot provide that information to you.
• Do not file a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Once you respond to the letter, the IRS uses the information you provide to process your tax return.
• You can mail or fax your response. Be sure to include a copy of the letter with your response. Use the mailing address and fax number in the letter to respond.
• For more information about the health care law and the premium tax credit, visit IRS.gov/aca for more information.
CP2057 Notice- Automated Underreporting Soft Notices (CP 2057) The primary goal of the Automated Underreporting (AUR) Soft Notice program is to correct taxpayer behavior on future tax returns. The secondary goal is the collection of any additional tax due on the current tax return. Our recommendations provide suggestions for redesigning the soft notice by improving its readability and usefulness to both the taxpayer and tax practitioner. The Subgroup also suggests that the notice include an educational component for the taxpayer, and that the IRS develops a procedure to inform the tax practitioner community of the soft notice program. Read the full report at https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/internal-revenue-service-advisory-council-wage-and-investment-subgroup-report
Disputing a Penalty-Practitioner’s client was assessed a small penalty (approx. $500) that the preparer thinks was unjustified. The preparer was unable to work the issue over the phone and was told the only option was to go to appeals. Practitioner feels there should be a more economical way for both the practitioner and the IRS to handle small dollar penalty disputes.