The Internal Revenue Service is warning the public about a new phone scam. A twist on the IRS impersonation phone scam, criminals fake calls from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS. Similar to other IRS impersonation scams, thieves make unsolicited phone calls to their intended victims fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS. In this most recent scam variation, callers “spoof” the telephone number of the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service office in Houston or Brooklyn. Calls may be ‘robo-calls’ that request a call back. Once the taxpayer returns the call, the con artist requests personal information, including Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). TAS can help protect your taxpayer rights. TAS can help if you need assistance resolving an IRS problem, if your problem is causing financial difficulty, or if you believe an IRS system or procedure isn’t working as it should. TAS does not initiate calls to taxpayers “out of the blue.” Typically, a taxpayer would contact TAS for help first, and only then would TAS reach out to the taxpayer. In other variations of the IRS impersonation phone scam, fraudsters demand immediate payment of taxes by a prepaid debit card … Read More
IRS Memo on FOIA Obligations and Transparency The IRS has issued a memo on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding the obligations and transparency requirements of the Service’s employees. FOIA Requests The FOIA obligates federal agencies like the IRS to timely respond to information requests within 20 days. The IRS is also required to make any appropriate information public without waiting for specific requests in certain cases. These include open compliance files, final statements, manuals and opinions that concern agency policy and affect the public. Further, records released under the FOIA that are likely to follow subsequent requests also do not need specific formal FOIA requests for their disclosure. Federal agencies are also instructed to exercise discretion in making a broader range of records available beyond the minimum required under the FOIA. Freedom of Information Act Obligations and Transparency,(Mar. 21, 2019) 2019ARD 056-1 Internal Revenue Service: Memorandum: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE WASHINGTON, D.C. 20224 CHIEF PRIVACY OFFICER March 7, 2019 MEMORANDUM FOR DISTRIBUTION FROM: Edward T. Killen SUBJECT: Freedom of Information Act Obligations and Transparency The IRS is committed to openness in government and this memorandum describes every employee’s responsibility to … Read More
The Internal Revenue Service has provided additional expanded penalty relief to taxpayers whose 2018 federal income tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year. The IRS is lowering to 80 percent the threshold required to qualify for this relief. Under the relief originally announced January 16, the threshold was 85 percent. The usual percentage threshold is 90 percent to avoid a penalty. “We heard the concerns from taxpayers and others in the tax community, and we made this adjustment in an effort to be responsive to a unique scenario this year,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The expanded penalty waiver will help many taxpayers who didn’t have enough tax withheld. We continue to urge people to check their withholding again this year to make sure they are having the right amount of tax withheld for 2019.” This means that the IRS is now waiving the estimated tax penalty for any taxpayer who paid at least 80 percent of their total tax liability during the year through federal income tax withholding, quarterly estimated tax payments or a combination of the two. Today’s revised waiver computation will be integrated into commercially-available tax software and … Read More
Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Tullahoma’s Finest Awards. Among those taking home awards from our inaugural banquet are: Finest Tobacco/Vapor Store Electric Smoke Vapor House; Finest Shoe Store Clayton’s Shoe Store; and Finest Tax Services Mary W. Beard, C.P.A. Mary is the owner of Mary Warner Beard CPA, and has over 30 years experience in public accounting. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University. Mary specializes in tax and accounting services, and is a member of National Society of Tax Professionals.
It is not too late to contribute to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) and still claim it on a 2018 tax return. Anyone with a traditional IRA may be eligible for a tax credit or deduction on their 2018 tax return if they make contributions by April 15, 2019. An IRA is designed to enable employees and the self-employed to save for retirement. Most taxpayers who work are eligible to start a traditional or Roth IRA or add money to an existing account. Contributions to a traditional IRA are usually tax deductible, and distributions are generally taxable. To count for a 2018 tax return, contributions must be made by April 15, 2019 (April 17, 2019 for residents of Maine and Massachusetts). Taxpayers can file their return claiming a traditional IRA contribution before the contribution is actually made. The contribution must then be made by the April due date of the return. While contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax deductible, qualified distributions are tax-free. In addition, low- and moderate-income taxpayers making these contributions may also qualify for the Saver’s Credit. Generally, eligible taxpayers can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA for 2018. For someone who was 50 years … Read More
Members of the military and their families are encouraged to learn more about the special tax breaks available to them as the April 15 tax filing season deadline approaches. Most military bases offer free tax preparation and filing assistance during the tax filing season. Some also offer free tax help after the April tax filing deadline. Service members who prepare their own return qualify to e-file their federal tax return for free using IRS Free File. “The IRS appreciates the women and men who are serving in the United States military, both at home and abroad,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We encourage military families to review the resources available at IRS.gov since there are special circumstances that can affect tax payment and return filing deadlines for military personnel. Lastly, we extend our personal appreciation to each and every member of the military, their families and veterans for your service to our country. We are extremely proud of the many veterans now employed by the IRS, and all of our employees are pleased to serve the members of the military family.” IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide, is a free booklet filled with valuable information and tips designed to … Read More