IRS News Releases and Headliners - 02/12/17
Monday, February 13, 2017
Posted by: Linda Keast
IRS NEWS RELEASES AND HEADLINERS
Submitted on Feb 12, 2017 by Brian Wozniak, IRS SB/SE CSO, Brian.Wozniak@irs.gov
2017 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums – Dates and Locations
July 11-13: Orlando, FL – Hilton Orlando
July 25-27: Dallas, TX – Hilton Anatole
Aug 22-24: National Harbor, DC – Gaylord National Resort
Aug 29-31: Las Vegas, NV – Rio All-Suites Hotel
Sept 12-14: San Diego, CA – Town & Country Resort
Don't Fall Prey to the Dirty Dozen
Compiled annually, the Dirty Dozen is a list of common scams that taxpayers and tax professionals may encounter anytime of the year. But many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or hire someone to help with their taxes. Learn more about the Dirty Dozen in this video.
Phishing Schemes Lead the IRS "Dirty Dozen" List of Tax Scams for 2017; Remain Tax-Time Threat
The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to watch out for fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. These "phishing" schemes continue to be on the annual IRS list of "Dirty Dozen" tax scams for the 2017 filing season.
The IRS saw a big spike in phishing and malware incidents during the 2016 tax season. New and evolving phishing schemes have already been seen this month as scam artists work to confuse taxpayers during filing season. The IRS has already seen email schemes in recent weeks targeting tax professionals, payroll professionals, human resources personnel, schools as well as average taxpayers.
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Alert to Return Preparers: Letters 4858 and 5364
IRS is sending Letter 4858 to tax preparers who completed 2016 returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit but who may not have met the required due diligence requirements. Disregarding due diligence requirements could result in penalties and other consequences for preparers and their clients.
IRS is also sending Letter 5364 to tax preparers who completed two or more 2016 paper returns claiming Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), or Child Tax Credit/Additional Child Tax Credit (CTC/ACTC) without including Form 8867, Paid Preparer's Due Diligence Checklist.
Refundable Credit Due Diligence Training Now Available
EITC due diligence requirements recently expanded to include two additional refundable credits – the Child Tax Credit/Additional Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit. A free IRS training course is now available in English and in Spanish to help tax preparers understand and accurately complete their due diligence requirements when applying these credits.
What to Do If You Suffer a Data Breach or Other Security Incident
Tax professionals are increasingly targets of cybercriminals seeking access to client data. Criminals use the stolen information to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds. Be prepared to protect your clients and yourself by taking a few critical steps.
Should you experience a data compromise, there are certain basic steps you should take. For a comprehensive list of security actions, consult a security professional.
IRS Releases Updated Form 990-EZ
The updated Form 990-EZ includes 29 "help" icons describing key information needed to complete many of the fields within the form. The icons also provide links to additional helpful information available on IRS.gov. These "pop-up" boxes share information to help small and mid-size exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filling out the form and filing their return.
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Don't Fall for Scam Calls and Emails Posing as IRS
Scams continue to use the IRS as a lure. These tax scams take many different forms. The most common scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. Scammers use the IRS name, logo or a fake website to try and steal money from taxpayers. Identity theft can also happen with these scams.
More information on how to report phishing or phone scams is available on IRS.gov https://www.irs.gov/uac/report-phishing
IR-2017-20, Dangerous W-2 Phishing Scam Evolving; Targeting Schools, Restaurants, Hospitals, Tribal Groups and Others
The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry issued an urgent alert today to all employers that the Form W-2 email phishing scam has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits. In a related development, the W-2 scammers are coupling their efforts to steal employee W-2 information with an older scheme on wire transfers that is victimizing some organizations twice.
The W-2 scam, which first appeared last year, is circulating earlier in the tax season and to a broader cross-section of organizations, including school districts, tribal casinos, chain restaurants, temporary staffing agencies, healthcare and shipping and freight. Those businesses that received the scam email last year also are reportedly receiving it again this year.
Organizations receiving a W-2 scam email should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and place "W2 Scam" in the subject line. Organizations that receive the scams or fall victim to them should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3,) operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Practitioner Annual Filing Season Program
More than 48,000 tax return preparers have participated in the 2017 IRS Annual Filing Season Program and obtained an official Record of Completion. Another 37,000 non-credentialed return preparers have completed enough CE and been invited to participate, but still need to consent to the Circular 230 requirements in order to receive a Record of Completion and officially be part of the program. The deadline for preparers to consent to the Circular 230 requirements and participate is April 18, 2017. A video tutorial of the process is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6n_dAnQCn8
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EITC Due Diligence Requirements
Tax Preparers who are paid to complete returns claiming the earned income tax credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit and the refundable portion, the additional child tax credit (CTC/ACTC) and the American opportunity tax credit (AOTC) must meet due diligence requirements.
Know the Questions to Ask about Refundable Credits
Know the questions to ask to help your client's get the most out of education and child-related tax benefits. And, ask each client all the questions every year. Family dynamics change and just because they qualified last year, doesn't mean they will this year. Or, things could have changed and this year they qualify. So don't miss any tax savings or refundable credits for your client.
Employers Face New Jan. 31 W-2 Filing Deadline; Some Refunds Delayed Until Feb. 15
The Internal Revenue Service today reminds employers and small businesses of a new Jan. 31 filing deadline for Forms W-2. The IRS must also hold some refunds until Feb. 15.
Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions
Under the Affordable Care Act's employer shared responsibility provisions, certain employers (called applicable large employers or ALEs) must either offer minimum essential coverage that is "affordable" and that provides "minimum value" to their full-time employees (and their dependents), or potentially make an employer shared responsibility payment to the IRS. The employer shared responsibility provisions are sometimes referred to as "the employer mandate" or "the pay or play provisions." The vast majority of employers will fall below the ALE threshold number of employees and, therefore, will not be subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions.
Use IRS Free File Software on Smart Phones or Tablets
The IRS and its private-sector partners who offer their brand-name software products for free now support a new design that allows for the use of desktops, laptops, mobile phones and tablets. You may access the products using mobile devices in two ways: (1) Use the IRS app, IRS2Go, which has a link to the Free File Software Lookup Tool or (2) use the device's browser to go to www.IRS.gov/freefile and select the "Free File Software Lookup Tool" or "Start Free File Now" to find the software product that matches your situation. The IRS2Go app is available for Android and iOS devices.
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