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News & Press: Federal Tax News

IRS News Releases and Headliners - 7/10/2017

Monday, July 10, 2017  
Posted by: Linda Keast
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Submitted by Brian Wozniak, IRS Stakeholder Liaison

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Free IRS Webinars

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/webinars-for-small-businesses-1

IRS will offer several free webinars for small businesses and tax professionals in July, August and September.

Two 60-minute sessions are available for each topic. Closed captioning will be offered for Session 2 web conferences ONLY (12 p.m. Mountain; 11 a.m. Pacific).
Session 1 – 9 a.m. Mountain; 8 a.m. Pacific
Session 2 – 12 p.m. Mountain; 11 a.m. Pacific

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Security Summit Launches “Don’t Take the Bait” Campaign

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/security-summit-launches-education-campaign-aimed-at-tax-pros-warns-against-phishing-epidemic-with-don-t-take-the-bait-series

The IRS warns tax professionals to increase their computer security and to beware of their inbox – specifically the successful email scams dubbed spear phishing that are disguised to look as if they come from a friend, a customer or a company.

The 10-week campaign begins July 11, coinciding with the opening of the first IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in Orlando, Fla., and ends Sept. 12 with the final Nationwide Tax Forum in San Diego.

National Taxpayer Advocate Reviews Filing Season and Identifies Priority Areas and Challenges in Mid Year Report to Congress

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/advocate-reviews-filing-season-and-identifies-priority-areas-and-challenges

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson has released her statutorily mandated mid-year report to Congress that presents a review of the 2017 Filing Season, identifies the priority issues the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will address during the upcoming fiscal year, and contains the IRS’s responses to each of the 93 administrative recommendations the Advocate made in her 2016 Annual Report to Congress.

In her preface to the report, Ms. Olson praises the IRS for running a generally successful filing season, including reducing the incidence of identity theft, implementing new accelerated Form W‑2 reporting requirements, and matching Forms W‑2 against tax returns claiming refunds.  But Ms. Olson says taxpayers who require assistance from the IRS are continuing to face significant challenges obtaining it.  She attributes part of the problem to resource constraints, saying that IRS funding has been reduced by nearly 20 percent since fiscal year (FY) 2010, after adjusting for inflation.

While taxpayer services and enforcement activities are both essential for effective tax administration, Ms. Olson says taxpayer services require more emphasis than they are currently receiving.  She points out that more than 60 percent of the IRS budget is allocated to enforcement activities while only about 4 percent is allocated for taxpayer outreach and education.  The report elaborates on taxpayer service limitations, particularly involving outreach and education:

As of September 30, 2016, the IRS dedicated only 98 employees to conducting education and outreach to the 62 million small business and self-employed taxpayers, and only 365 employees to conducting education and outreach to the nearly 125 million individual taxpayers.  There are 14 states that have no Stakeholder Liaison employees who conduct outreach to small business and self-employed taxpayers.  The number of Taxpayer Assistance Centers [TACs] is declining each year, and because of the IRS’s new appointment-only system, taxpayers who show up without an appointment are routinely turned away.  The TACs have completely stopped offering free tax preparation for low income, elderly, and disabled taxpayers and they will not answer “out-of-scope” tax law questions during the filing season and will not answer any tax law questions outside the filing season.

Ms. Olson recommends that the IRS expand its outreach and education activities and improve its telephone service and that Congress provide the IRS with sufficient funding to do so.

 

IRS Cautions Taxpayers to Watch for Summertime Scams

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-cautions-taxpayers-to-watch-for-summertime-scams

The Internal Revenue Service today issued a warning that tax-related scams continue across the nation even though the tax filing season has ended for most taxpayers. People should remain on alert to new and emerging schemes involving the tax system that continue to claim victims. (Read the news release in Spanish: Español)

IRS YouTube Videos:
Tax Scams:
English  | Spanish  | ASL

Private Collection of Overdue Taxes: English  | Spanish

 

IRS Warns of New Phone Scam Involving Bogus Certified Letters; Reminds People to Remain Vigilant Against Scams, Schemes this Summer

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-warns-of-new-phone-scam-involving-bogus-certified-letters-reminds-people-to-remain-vigilant-against-scams-schemes-this-summer

The Internal Revenue Service warned people to beware of a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), where fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. This scam is being reported across the country, so taxpayers should be alert to the details.  In the latest twist, the scammer claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters purportedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens arrest if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that the card is linked to the EFTPS system when, in fact, it is entirely controlled by the scammer. The victim is also warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney or their local IRS office until after the tax payment is made.

 

IRS Continues to Expand Taxpayer Services; Adds New Features to Taxpayers Online Account

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-continues-to-expand-taxpayer-services-adds-new-features-to-taxpayers-online-account

The Internal Revenue Service announced today the addition of several new features to the online account tool first introduced late last year as part of the IRS’s commitment to improve and expand taxpayer services.

The online account allows individual taxpayers to access the latest information available about their federal tax account through a secure and convenient tool on IRS.gov. When it first launched in December 2016, the tool assisted taxpayers with basic account inquiries such as information about their balance due and access to the various IRS payment options. Since then, the IRS has added new features allowing taxpayers to:

  • View up to 18 months of tax payment history
  • View payoff amounts and tax balance due for each tax year
  • Obtain online transcripts of various Form 1040-series through Get Transcript
  • Give feedback on their experience with their online account and make suggestions for improvements

 

IRS Approves First Group of Certified Professional Employer Organizations; More Expected in Coming Months

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-approves-first-group-of-certified-professional-employer-organizations-more-expected-in-coming-months

The Internal Revenue Service has issued notices of certification to 84 organizations that applied for voluntary certification as a Certified Professional Employer Organization (CPEO).  After the IRS receives the required surety bond from an approved CPEO applicant, the IRS will publish that CPEO’s name, address, and effective date of certification on IRS.gov. Under legislation enacted in late 2014, the IRS established a voluntary certification program for professional employer organizations (PEOs). These organizations typically handle various payroll administration and tax reporting responsibilities for their business clients. To become and remain certified under the new program, CPEOs must meet tax compliance, background, experience, business location, financial reporting, bonding, and other requirements.

 

Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee Issues 2017 Annual Report

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/electronic-tax-administration-advisory-committee-issues-2017-annual-report

The Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC) held its annual public meeting and released its annual report to the IRS and the Congress, which includes numerous recommendations on improving electronic security in the tax system and fighting tax fraud related to identity theft. The report marks the first year during which the ETAAC has turned its attention to efforts undertaken by the Security Summit -- an unprecedented undertaking by the IRS and its partners in state tax administration and the private sector.  ETAAC members represent various segments of the tax community including tax practitioners and preparers, consumer advocates, state governments and tax software developers.  The 2017 Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee Report is available on IRS.gov.

Tax Tips

https://www.irs.gov/uac/irs-tax-tips

IRS Face-To-Face Help Is Now By Appointment


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