Harless Tax Blog

Harless Tax Blog

IRS urges taxpayers to prepare for natural disasters

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON — Because a natural disaster can strike any time, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding individuals and businesses to take time now and create or update their emergency preparedness plan.

During 2018, the IRS has offered tax relief and assistance to millions of victims of natural disasters, including hurricanes, severe storms, flooding, tornados, wildfires, high winds, tropical storms, an earthquake and a volcano. See More

Tax reform changes affecting small business and self-employed taxpayers; third quarter estimated tax payment deadline is Sept. 17

Monday, September 10, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON – With the last third of the year now in full view, the IRS today reminded small business and self-employed taxpayers of the importance of meeting their tax obligations. Part of those obligations normally include making quarterly estimated tax payments.

This news release is part of an ongoing campaign aimed at helping small businesses understand tax reform changes that affect their bottom line.  See More

Options Available For U.S. Taxpayers with Undisclosed Foreign Financial Assets

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Source from irs.gov
The implementation of FATCA and the ongoing efforts of the IRS and the Department of Justice to ensure compliance by those with U.S. tax obligations have raised awareness of U.S. tax and information reporting obligations with respect to non-U.S. investments. Because the circumstances of taxpayers with non-U.S. investments vary widely, the IRS offers the following options for addressing previous failures to comply with U.S. tax and information return obligations with respect to those investments:

1)  Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program; Note: The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) is closing. Refer to the OVDP FAQs for an outline of the sunset provisions.

2)  Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures;  See More

Taxpayers should check out these helpful tax tools

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Source from irs.gov
Questions about taxes could come up any time of the year. Whether it’s about tracking a refund or paying a bill, taxpayers can find answers to their questions on IRS.gov. Here are some of the most popular IRS tools:

·  IRS Free File. Taxpayers who filed an extension can use IRS Free File to prepare and e-file a federal tax return. Free File is available at no cost for anyone with income below $66,000. Free File is available through Oct. 15 to file a 2017 tax return. IRS Free File is available through IRS.gov or the IRS2Go mobile app.

·  Direct Deposit. Direct Deposit is the best and fastest way for taxpayers to get their tax refund electronically deposited for free into their financial account. Combining direct deposit with electronic filing is the fastest way for a taxpayer to receive their refund.  See More

Avoid penalty for underpayment of taxesAvoid penalty for underpayment of taxes

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON ― With nearly 10 million U.S. taxpayers facing a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax last year, the Internal Revenue Service urges taxpayers to plan ahead, understand their options and avoid the penalty when they file in early 2019.

To help taxpayers avoid this common situation, the IRS is focusing four news releases this week on key areas to help taxpayers pay the right amount of tax and avoid an estimated tax penalty. The IRS is highlighting a variety of resources and tools – including the online Withholding Calculator – to help taxpayers determine if they need to make an additional tax payment to avoid an unwelcome surprise at tax time.  See More

IRS keeps closing Taxpayer Assistance Centers

Friday, August 17, 2018

Source from accountantsworld.com
The Internal Revenue Service is continuing to close Taxpayer Assistance Centers around the country, despite recommendations to the contrary from the National Taxpayer Advocate and the Senate Appropriations Committee.

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson wrote a blog post last week pointing out that the IRS has closed nine of its walk-in centers since her report to Congress last December, in which she criticized the closure of such facilities, where taxpayers can talk face-to-face with IRS employees about their tax concerns. In December, she noted, the IRS operated 371 Taxpayer Assistance Centers, but today there are only 362.  See More

Spouses Need To Think Carefully About When To Take Social Security Benefits

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Source from fa-mag.com
When a spouse starts receiving his Social Security benefits can determine the lifetime income his or her surviving partner will get, according to Diane Pearson, a wealth advisor and shareholder at Legend Financial Advisors in Pittsburgh.

Social Security makes up an average of 40 percent of people’s retirement income and “is more valuable than most people think,” said Pearson during a webinar Wednesday sponsored by Legend Financial entitled “Social Security Planning: What You Need To Know To Maximize Retirement Income.”  See More

Classic Lesson From The Tax Court

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Source from accountantsworld.com
Timing is at least as important in tax as it is in comedy. Although less common than it used to be before the age of direct deposit and mobile banking apps, the question sometimes arises about when must a taxpayer report as gross income a check received on December 31st but not cashed until January. The flip side is when may a taxpayer take a deduction for a check sent out on December 31st but not cashed until January.

Taxpayers tend to want to push off reporting income into a later year and tend to want to pull back deductions into the current year. Specifically taxpayers who receive a check on the last day of the year would like to say they don’t have income until they cash the check in January. But at the same time, taxpayers who write a check for a deductible expense on the last day of the year want to deduct that expense in that year and not the next.  See More

IRS issues guidance on small business accounting

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance today on new tax law changes that allow small business taxpayers with average annual gross receipts of $25 million or less in the prior three-year period to use the cash method of accounting.

The Revenue Procedure outlines the process that eligible small business taxpayers may use to obtain automatic consent to change accounting methods that are now permitted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA.  See More

Tax Reform 2.0 Features Tax Incentives for New Retirement Savings Vehicles

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Source from fa-mag.com
New retirement and savings vehicles figure prominently in the Tax Reform 2.0 framework that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released on Tuesday, just in time to give Republican lawmakers a strong pro-growth, pro-savings message to take home to constituents over August recess.

While the overall package, especially the section to make individual and corporate tax cuts permanent, is unlikely to garner enough support in the Senate to pass, chances for enacting potentially meaningful retirement and savings vehicles look much more promising.  See More