Tag Archives: Tax Return

Beware of ‘ghost’ preparers who don’t sign tax returns

February 6, 2021

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers to avoid “ghost” tax return preparers whose refusal to sign returns can cause a frightening array of problems. It is important to file a valid, accurate tax return because the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for it.

Ghost preparers get their scary name because they don’t sign tax returns they prepare. Like a ghost, they try to be invisible to the fact they’ve prepared the return and will print the return and get the taxpayer to sign and mail it. For e-filed returns, the ghost preparer will prepare but refuse to digitally sign it as the paid preparer.

By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assists in preparing federal tax returns must have a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. Paid preparers must sign and include their PTIN on the return. Not signing a return is a red flag that the paid preparer may be looking to make a fast buck by promising a big refund or charging fees based on the size of the refund.

Unscrupulous tax return preparers may also:

  • Require payment in cash only and not provide a receipt.
  • Invent income to qualify their clients for tax credits.
  • Claim fake deductions to boost the size of the refund.
  • Direct refunds into their bank account, not the taxpayer’s account.

The IRS urges taxpayers to choose a tax return preparer wisely. The Choosing a Tax Professional page on IRS.gov has information about tax preparer credentials and qualifications. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help identify many preparers by type of credential or qualification.

No matter who prepares the return, the IRS urges taxpayers to review it carefully and ask questions about anything not clear before signing. Taxpayers should verify both their routing and bank account number on the completed tax return for any direct deposit refund. And taxpayers should watch out for preparers putting their bank account information onto the returns.

Taxpayers can report preparer misconduct to the IRS using IRS Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a taxpayer suspects a tax preparer filed or changed their tax return without their consent, they should file Form 14157-A, Tax Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit.

At Tax On Wheels, LLC, we proudly sign all our returns and we stand behind our work.  Please give us a call at 803 732-4288 if we can assist you with your tax filing needs.

IRS extends more tax deadlines to cover individuals, trusts, estates corporations and others

April 9, 2020

WASHINGTON — To help taxpayers, the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced today that Notice 2020-23 extends additional key tax deadlines for individuals and businesses.

Last month, the IRS announced that taxpayers generally have until July 15, 2020, to file and pay federal income taxes originally due on April 15. No late-filing penalty, late-payment penalty or interest will be due.

Today’s notice expands this relief to additional returns, tax payments and other actions. As a result, the extensions generally now apply to all taxpayers that have a filing or payment deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. Individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers qualify for the extra time. This means that anyone, including Americans who live and work abroad, can now wait until July 15 to file their 2019 federal income tax return and pay any tax due.

Extension of time to file beyond July 15

Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request an extension to Oct. 15, 2020, by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004. An extension to file is not an extension to pay any taxes owed. Taxpayers requesting additional time to file should estimate their tax liability and pay any taxes owed by the July 15, 2020, deadline to avoid additional interest and penalties.

Estimated Tax Payments

Besides the April 15 estimated tax payment previously extended, today’s notice also extends relief to estimated tax payments due June 15, 2020. This means that any individual or corporation that has a quarterly estimated tax payment due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, can wait until July 15 to make that payment, without penalty.

2016 unclaimed refunds – deadline extended to July 15

For 2016 tax returns, the normal April 15 deadline to claim a refund has also been extended to July 15, 2020. The law provides a three-year window of opportunity to claim a refund.  If taxpayers do not file a return within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. The law requires taxpayers to properly address, mail and ensure the tax return is postmarked by the July 15, 2020, date.

IRS.gov assistance 24/7

IRS live telephone assistance is currently unavailable due to COVID-19. Normal operations will resume when possible. Tax help is available 24 hours a day on IRS.gov.  The IRS website offers a variety of online tools to help taxpayers answer common tax questions. For example, taxpayers can search the Interactive Tax Assistant, Tax Topics, Frequently Asked Questions, and Tax Trails to get answers to common questions. Those who have already filed can check their refund status by visiting IRS.gov/Refunds.

Tax On Wheels, LLC is here to assist you. Please call us at 803 732-4288 if we can assist you in meeting your tax filing obligations.

Economic impact payments: What you need to know


IR-2020-61, March 30, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

Who is eligible for the economic impact payment?
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

How will the IRS know where to send my payment?
The vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible.

For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed.

The IRS does not have my direct deposit information. What can I do?
In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.

I am not typically required to file a tax return. Can I still receive my payment?
Yes. People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.

How can I file the tax return needed to receive my economic impact payment?
IRS.gov/coronavirus will soon provide information instructing people in these groups on how to file a 2019 tax return with simple, but necessary, information including their filing status, number of dependents and direct deposit bank account information.

I have not filed my tax return for 2018 or 2019. Can I still receive an economic impact payment?
Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.

I need to file a tax return. How long are the economic impact payments available?
For those concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return, these economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.

Where can I get more information?
The IRS will post all key information on IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as it becomes available.

The IRS has a reduced staff in many of its offices but remains committed to helping eligible individuals receive their payments expeditiously. Check for updated information on IRS.gov/coronavirus rather than calling IRS assistors who are helping process 2019 returns.

Please feel free to contact Tax On Wheels, LLC at 803 732-4288 if we can assist you with securing your economic stimulus payment.


 

Tax season is here

December 30 2018

Despite the ongoing government shutdown, tax season is essentially upon us.  If not resolved, the shutdown could delay the official start of tax season, as defined by the date the IRS begins accepting and processing tax returns.

But even though the government may allow themselves to ignore their responsibilities, that privilege does not apply to me and you my friends.  So in the interest of helping you make sure you timely fulfill your tax filing obligations I call your attention to this list of items to bring to your tax appointment. It’s an oldie but a goody.

Otherwise there is not much more you can do right now.  However, you need to be aware that the TCJA (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) has imposed substantial changes on the tax system.  Everything from the look of the tax forms to the way claiming your dependents impacts your refund has changed.  Almost everything will be different.  So if you are one of those people that just kind of copies everything from last years return onto the current years return, that won’t work this year.

We are here to help.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Tax On Wheels, LLC at 803 732-4288.  We will be glad to answer your questions free of charge.

IRS provides tax relief for victims of Hurricane Florence

September 15, 2018

WASHINGTON — Hurricane Florence victims in parts of North Carolina and elsewhere have until Jan. 31, 2019, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance. Currently, this only includes parts of North Carolina, but taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area, including those in other states, will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Sept. 7, 2018 in North Carolina. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Jan. 31, 2019, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period.

This includes quarterly estimated income tax payments due on Sept. 17, 2018, and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Sept. 30, 2018. Businesses with extensions also have the additional time including, among others, calendar-year partnerships whose 2017 extensions run out on Sept. 17, 2018. Taxpayers who had a valid extension to file their 2017 return due to run out on Oct. 15, 2018 will also have more time to file.

In addition, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after Sept. 7, 2018, and before Sept. 24, 2018, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by Sept. 24, 2018.

The IRS disaster relief page has details on other returns, payments and tax-related actions qualifying for the additional time.

The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Thus, taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.

In addition, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227. This also includes workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2018 return normally filed next year), or the return for the prior year (2017). See Publication 547 for details.

The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by severe storms and flooding and is based on local damage assessments by FEMA. For information on disaster recovery, visit disasterassistance.gov.

Please feel free to contact Tax On Wheels, LLC at 803 732-4288 if you need assistance in meeting your tax filing obligations.

IRS Offers Last-Minute Tips for Those Who Haven’t Filed

IRS YouTube Videos:

WASHINGTON –The federal income tax filing deadline has arrived and the IRS estimates it will receive approximately 12 million 2016 federal income tax returns and nearly 8.4 million extension requests in the final days of the filing season.

For those taxpayers who have yet to file, the IRS offers this advice:

  • E-file The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically. E-file vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. Free File partners make their brand-name software products available for free to taxpayers earning $64,000 or less. Taxpayers who earned more may use Free File Fillable Forms. For the first time, taxpayers also can prepare their taxes from their mobile phone or tablet as well as computer. Taxpayers who changed tax software products, either using Free File or other software products, this year may be asked for their Adjusted Gross Income to verify their identity. See Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return for details.
  • Refunds The fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to e-file and have it electronically deposited into their bank or other financial account. The IRS issues more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Taxpayers waiting to receive their refunds can use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov or check the status of their refund through the smartphone app, IRS2Go. The “Where’s My Refund?” tool is updated once daily, usually overnight, so there’s no reason to check more than once per day or call the IRS to get information about a refund. Taxpayers can check “Where’s My Refund?” within 24 hours after the IRS has received an e-filed return or four weeks after receipt of a mailed paper return. “Where’s My Refund?” has a tracker that displays progress through three stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund Sent.
  • Payment Options Many taxpayers who owe money often wait until the last minute to file. Taxpayers who owe have many payment options. They can pay online, by phone or with their mobile device using the IRS2Go app. Available payment options include Direct Pay; Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS); electronic funds withdrawal; same-day wire; debit or credit card; check or money order; or cash. Some of these options are free; others require a fee.
  • File an Extension Taxpayers who are not ready to file by the deadline should request an extension. An extension gives the taxpayer until Oct. 16 to file but does not extend the time to pay. Interest and penalties will be charged on all taxes not paid by the April 18 filing deadline. Although some people automatically get an extension – such as those in a federally declared disaster area – most people need to request one. One way to get an extension is through Free File on IRS.gov where some partners offer free electronic filing of the extension request. Extensions are free for everyone, regardless of income. Another option for taxpayers is to pay electronically to get an extension. IRS will automatically process an extension when taxpayers select Form 4868 and they are making a full or partial federal tax payment using Direct Pay, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or a debit or credit card by the April due date. There is no need to file a separate Form 4868 when making an electronic payment and indicating it is for a 4868 or extension. Electronic payment options are available at IRS.gov/payments. Taxpayers can also download, print and file a paper Form 4868 from IRS.gov/forms. The form must be mailed to the IRS with a postmark on or before midnight on April 18.
  • Penalties and Interest Taxpayers who are thinking of missing the filing deadline because they can’t pay all of the taxes they owe should consider filing and paying what they can to lessen interest and penalties. Penalties for those who owe tax and fail to file either a tax return or an extension request by April 18 can be higher than if they had filed and not paid the taxes they owed. That’s because the failure-to-file penalty is generally 5 percent per month and can be as much as 25 percent of the unpaid tax, depending on how late a taxpayer files. The failure-to-pay penalty, which is the penalty for any taxes not paid by the deadline, is ½ of 1 percent of the unpaid taxes per month. The failure-to-pay penalty continues to accrue on any unpaid tax balance and can be up to 25 percent of the unpaid amount. Taxpayers must also pay interest, currently at the annual rate of 4 percent, compounded daily, on taxes not paid by the filing deadline.
  • Installment Agreements Taxpayers who find they are unable to pay the entire amount of taxes due should consider filing the return and requesting a payment agreement. Most people can set up a payment plan with the IRS online in a matter of minutes. Those who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement application to set up a short-term payment plan of 120-days or less, or a monthly payment agreement for up to 72 months. With the Online Payment Agreement, no paperwork is required, there is no need to call, write or visit the IRS and qualified taxpayers can avoid the IRS filing a Notice of Federal Tax Lien unless it previously filed one. Alternatively, taxpayers can request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465. This form can be downloaded from IRS.gov and mailed along with a tax return, IRS bill or notice.

No matter how or when they file, taxpayers are reminded to keep a copy of their tax return and all supporting documents.

And if all of that is too much to bear, remember, Tax On Wheels, LLC will be glad to handle it all for you.  Just give us a call at 803 732-4288.

Changes ahead for 2017 tax filing season

November 18. 2016

Plan ahead for the coming tax filing season.

There are important changes you should know about before the 2017 filing season begins.  If you are a client of Tax On Wheels, LLC we will take care of everything for you.  If, on the other hand, you are the do it yourself type, there are a couple of things like refund delays and electronic filing procedures you should factor into your tax preparation regimen.

The IRS lays out all of the details on its website, IRS.gov/GetReady to help taxpayers understand the changes that may affect the processing of tax returns and release of refunds.  We encourage you to review this page now before tax season so that you will be ready for what is in place now.

As always, please feel free to contact Tax On Wheels, LLC at 803 732-4288 if we can be of assistance to you.   

Tax Deadline Approaching for extended tax returns

September 28, 2016

If you filed form 4868 to extend the tax filing deadline for your form 1040, the extended deadline for getting your tax return filed is fast approaching.  October 15, 2016 is the statutory deadline, but since that date falls on a Saturday, the date is moved to the next business day, in this case Monday October 17, 2016.

It amazes me that when the human brain is given a deadline, it somehow determines that the best possible date to begin trying to meet that deadline is the 24 hours immediately preceding the deadline.  While that may have worked for your 3rd grade spelling test, it tends to be problematic with tax returns.

Bottom line, time’s up.  If you work with a preparer he or she needs the remaining time between now and the deadline to make sure your return is correct.  If you are a do it yourselfer, you need the remaining time to make sure your return is correct.

Either way, it’s time to Get her done!

IRS Launches Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers

February 5, 2015

WASHINGTON—The Internal Revenue Service today announced the launch of a new, online public directory of tax return preparers. This searchable directory on IRS.gov will help taxpayers find a tax professional with credentials and select qualifications to help them prepare their tax returns.

“This new directory will be a practical tool for the millions of Americans who rely on the services of a paid return preparer,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers can also look to these tax professionals for help if they have questions about the new health care provisions on this year’s tax forms.”

The directory is a searchable, sortable listing featuring:  the name, city, state and zip code of attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents and those who have completed the requirements for the voluntary IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). All preparers listed also have valid 2015 Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN).

Taxpayers may search the directory using the preferred credentials or qualifications they seek in a preparer, or by a preparer’s location, including professionals who practice abroad. Tax return preparers with PTINs who are not attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents or AFSP participants are not included in the directory, nor are volunteer tax return preparers who offer free services.

The directory can also be a resource for taxpayers who may want to get help from tax professionals on the Affordable Care Act tax provisions that affect returns filed this year.

The vast majority of people will only have to check a box on their federal income tax returns to indicate they had health coverage. Others may have Marketplace coverage with tax credits, have exemptions or need them, or may have to make a payment because they could afford to buy health insurance but chose not to.

The IRS provides extensive information on IRS.gov/aca to help taxpayers better understand the details of the new health care law. Many tax professionals, including those listed on the new directory, will be able to help taxpayers understand these changes.

More than 140 million individual tax returns were filed last year, and more than half of them were prepared with the help of a paid return preparer. To help taxpayers navigate the different types of professional tax help available, last December, the IRS unveiled IRS.gov/chooseataxpro, a page that explains the different categories of professionals. Taxpayers can also use a new partner page available on IRS.gov that provides links to the web sites of national non-profit tax professional groups, which can help provide additional information for taxpayers seeking the right type of qualified help.

The IRS also offers free tax return preparation for eligible taxpayers. But whether using a paid tax professional, relying on the help of a volunteer or preparing their own returns, taxpayers should consider preparing and filing their returns electronically. Electronic filing is the easiest way to file a complete and accurate tax return. There are a variety of electronic filing options, including IRS Free File for qualified taxpayers, commercial software and professional assistance.

In 2010, the IRS launched the Tax Return Preparer Initiative that generally requires anyone who prepares federal tax returns for compensation to obtain a PTIN from the IRS. As of the start of the filing season, more than 666,000 tax return preparers have active PTINs for 2015. Currently, anyone with a valid PTIN can prepare federal tax returns for compensation. At a minimum, taxpayers should make sure their tax preparer has a valid PTIN and includes it on the tax return.

Yes, Tax On Wheels, LLC requires all preparers to be listed or eligible to be listed in the directory.  Please give us a call at 803 732-4288 if you have any questions.

Which Tax Form Should You File?

Which form should you use to file your federal income taxes? These days, most people use a computer to prepare and e-file their tax forms. It’s easy, because tax software selects the right form for you. If you file on paper, you’ll need to pick the right form to use.

If you still prefer paper and pen, here are some tips on how to choose the best form for your situation.

You can generally use the 1040EZ if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;
  • Your filing status is single or married filing jointly;
  • You are not claiming any dependents; and
  • Your interest income is $1,500 or less.

The 1040A may be best for you if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;
  • You have capital gain distributions;
  • You claim certain tax credits; and
  • You claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and student loan interest.

However, reasons you must use the 1040 include:

  • Your taxable income is $100,000 or more;
  • You claim itemized deductions;
  • You are reporting self-employment income; or
  • You are reporting income from sale of a property.

Read more about which form to use in IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax. The quickest way to get tax forms and instructions is to visit IRS.gov and click on the ‘Forms & Pubs’ tab. New tax forms often appear online well before the printed forms are available.

You can also have forms mailed to you by calling the IRS at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676), or you can pick them up at a local IRS office. Some libraries and post offices also have tax forms.

Tax On Wheels, LLC is here to assist you with all of your tax filing needs.  You can download many of the most commonly used forms here on our website.  You also can prepare and electronically file your tax return here as well.  Just click on that flashing blue button at the very top of the page to get started.  If are eligible to file 1040EZ your federal return is free.  Not everybody wants to prepare their own tax return, that’s why we are here.  We help you the way you want to be helped.  So give us a call at 803 732-4288