The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released its annual inflation adjustments for many tax benefits applicable for tax year 2018 (returns filed in 2019). The standard deduction for taxpayers who are married filing jointly will increase slightly to $13,000; for single and separately filing married taxpayers, the standard deduction will also increase slightly, to $6,500. For tax year 2018, the foreign earned income exclusion is $104,100, up from $102,100 for tax year 2017. The annual exclusion for gifts increased to $15,000, an increase of $1,000 from the exclusion for tax year 2017.
On October 6, 2017, Shiv D. Kumar, the sole shareholder of a California transportation company that serves disabled individuals, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for filing false corporate returns. The Department of Justice found that Kumar provided his accountant with false books and records, leading to the underreporting of the business' income to the IRS by over $2 million per year in 2009 and 2010.
Pursuant to IRS Revenue Procedure 2017-52, the IRS has introduced a pilot program to resume offering private letter rulings on the tax consequences of certain distributions of stock or securities of a controlled corporation under I.R.C. Sec. 355. From September 21, 2017, through March 21, 2019, taxpayers may request a transactional ruling concerning plans to create tax-free spin-offs. For more information, click here.
Sometimes when a taxpayer does not file a tax return, the IRS will estimate the amount owed and prepare a Substitute for Return (SFR). More specifically, IRS computers prepare the SFRs based on information the IRS receives from third parties, such as Forms W-2 and 1099. The IRS would then issue a letter to the taxpayer regarding the proposed deficiency with penalties added for late filing and late payment. Taxpayers could respond with information about deductions, credits, or errors and discuss the proposed deficiency with an IRS employee.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently audited the Sustaining Infrastructure Program of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and found that, since 2013, the percentage of information technology hardware the IRS is using that is beyond its useful life has increased from 40% to its current rate of 64%. Aged hardware is more likely to fail, negatively impacting employee productivity, information security, and customer service.
Certain partnerships that failed to file their required federal tax returns by the new, April 15th due date for tax years beginning with 2016 may be provided penalty relief, according to Internal Revenue Service Notice 2017-47. The calendar-year partnership due date was moved up from April 18th by the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. If your partnership filed its returns with the IRS and provided appropriate copies to receipients by the historical due date, or requested an extension by that time, you may qualify for penalty relief. For more information, click here.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a warning about possible fake charity scams related to the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Taxpayers should be sure the charities they want to support are recognized by the government to accept donations. Don't let your compassion get the best of you - be careful who you send your money and information. The IRS offers the following tips to help you protect your interests while also supporting causes you care about:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has just obtained specialized software for identifying users of bitcoins and other virtual currency. According to a work contract obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The Daily Beast, the IRS hopes to use this software "to identify and obtain evidence on individuals using bitcoin to either laundry money or conceal income as part of tax fraud or other Federal crimes."
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is launching a pilot program to offer a web-based virtual conference option for taxpayers and their representatives in Appeals cases. The Office of Appeals hears over 100,000 cases each year for taxpayers who would like to resolve their tax disputes outside the Tax Court, and is hoping this new program will be a convenient, efficient, and flexible way to address the needs of taxpayers, particularly those who live far from an IRS Appeals office.
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson recently released her FY 2018 Objectives Report to Congress summarizing the recent filing season and future goals to improve Internal Revenue Service (IRS) interactions with US taxpayers.