IRS Tax News

  • 21 Nov 2011 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    The IRS reminds homeowners that they still have time this year to make energy-saving and green-energy home improvements and qualify for either of two home energy credits.

    The Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit is aimed at homeowners installing energy efficient improvements such as insulation, new windows and furnaces. The credit is more limited than in the past years, but can still provide substantial tax savings.

    • The 2011 credit rate is 10 percent of the cost of qualified energy efficiency improvements. Energy efficiency improvements include adding insulation, energy-efficient exterior windows and doors and certain roofs. The cost of installing these items does not count.

    • The credit can also be claimed for the cost of residential energy property, including labor costs for installation. Residential energy property includes certain high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters and stoves that burn biomass fuel.

    • The credit has a lifetime limit of $500, of which only $200 may be used for windows. If the total of nonbusiness energy property credits taken in prior years since 2005 is more than $500, the credit may not be claimed in 2011.

    • Qualifying improvements must be placed into service to the taxpayer’s principal residence located in the United States before January 1, 2012.

    Homeowners going green should also check out the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, designed to spur investment in alternative energy equipment.

    • The credit equals 30 percent of what a homeowner spends on qualifying property such as solar electric systems, solar hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines, and fuel cell property.
    • No cap exists on the amount of credit available except for fuel cell property.
    • Generally, labor costs are included when figuring this credit.

    Not all energy-efficient improvements qualify for these tax credits, so homeowners should check the manufacturer’s tax credit certification statement before they purchase. Taxpayers can normally rely on this certification statement which can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website or with the product packaging.
     
    Eligible homeowners can claim both of these credits on Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits when they file their 2011 federal income tax return. Because these are credits and not deductions, they reduce the amount of tax owed dollar for dollar. An eligible taxpayer can claim these credits regardless of whether he or she itemizes deductions on Schedule A.

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  • 11 Nov 2011 10:28 AM | Anonymous

    BALTIMORE - Victims of the earthquake that took place on Aug. 23, 2011 in parts of Virginia may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service.

    The President has declared Louisa County a federal disaster area. Individuals who reside or have a business in this county may qualify for tax relief.

    The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after Aug. 23, and on or before Oct. 31, have been postponed to Oct. 31, 2011. This includes previously obtained extensions to file 2010 returns and the estimated tax payment for the third quarter, normally due Sept. 15.  

    In addition, the IRS is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Aug. 23, and on or before Sept. 7, as long as the deposits are made by Sept. 7, 2011.

    If an affected taxpayer receives a penalty notice from the IRS, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply. Penalties or interest will be abated only for taxpayers who have an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, that falls within the postponement period.

    The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 1-866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.

    Covered Disaster Area

    The county listed above constitutes a covered disaster area for purposes of Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(2) and are entitled to the relief detailed below.

    Affected Taxpayers

    Taxpayers considered to be affected taxpayers eligible for the postponement of time to file returns, pay taxes and perform other time-sensitive acts are those taxpayers listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(1), and include individuals who live, and businesses whose principal place of business is located, in the covered disaster area. Taxpayers not in the covered disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a deadline listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c) are in the covered disaster area, are also entitled to relief. In addition, all relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization assisting in the relief activities in the covered disaster area and any individual visiting the covered disaster area who was killed or injured as a result of the disaster are entitled to relief.

    Grant of Relief

    Under section 7508A, the IRS gives affected taxpayers until Oct. 31 to file most tax returns (including individual, corporate, and estate and trust income tax returns; partnership returns, S corporation returns, and trust returns; estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax returns; and employment and certain excise tax returns), or to make tax payments, including estimated tax payments, that have either an original or extended due date occurring on or after Aug. 23 and on or before Oct. 31.

    The IRS also gives affected taxpayers until Oct. 31 to perform other time-sensitive actions described in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c)(1) and Rev. Proc. 2007-56, 2007-34 I.R.B. 388 (Aug. 20, 2007), that are due to be performed on or after Aug. 23 and on or before Oct. 31.

    This relief also includes the filing of Form 5500 series returns, in the manner described in section 8 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56. The relief described in section 17 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56, pertaining to like-kind exchanges of property, also applies to certain taxpayers who are not otherwise affected taxpayers and may include acts required to be performed before or after the period above.

    The postponement of time to file and pay does not apply to information returns in the W-2, 1098, 1099 series, or to Forms 1042-S or 8027. Penalties for failure to timely file information returns can be waived under existing procedures for reasonable cause. Likewise, the postponement does not apply to employment and excise tax deposits. The IRS, however, will abate penalties for failure to make timely employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Aug. 23 and on or before Sept. 7 provided the taxpayer makes these deposits by Sept. 7.

    Casualty Losses

    Affected taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either this year or last year. Claiming the loss on an original or amended return for last year will get the taxpayer an earlier refund, but waiting to claim the loss on this year’s return could result in a greater tax saving, depending on other income factors.

    Individuals may deduct personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements. For details, see Form 4684 and its instructions.

    Affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on last year’s return should put the Disaster Designation “Virginia/Earthquake” at the top of the form so that the IRS can expedite the processing of the refund.

    Other Relief

    The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected taxpayers. Taxpayers should put the assigned Disaster Designation in red ink at the top of Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, as appropriate, and submit it to the IRS.

    Affected taxpayers who are contacted by the IRS on a collection or examination matter should explain how the disaster impacts them so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case.

    Taxpayers may download forms and publications from the official IRS website, irs.gov, or order them by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 1-800-829-1040.

    Related Information

  • 11 Nov 2011 10:13 AM | Anonymous

    The Virtual Small Business Workshop is available on CD and online if you are unable to attend a workshop in person.

    Small business workshops are designed to help the small business owner understand and fulfill their Federal Tax responsibilities. Workshops are sponsored and presented by IRS partners who are Federal Tax specialists. Workshop topics vary from a general overview of taxes to more specific topics such as recordkeeping and retirement plans. Although most are free, some workshops have fees associated with them. Any fees charged for a workshop are paid to the sponsoring organization, not the IRS.

    Small Business Webinars

    Workshops in Spanish ( Talleres en español)

    Small Business Tax Workshops

    If you live near a state line, please look for workshops in nearby cities of the bordering state.

    References/Related Topics

    • IRS Video Portal
      Contains video and audio presentations on topics of interest to small businesses, individuals and tax professionals. You will find video clips of tax topics, archived versions of live panel discussions and webinars.

    Rate the Small Business and Self-Employed Web Site

  • 08 Nov 2011 10:40 AM | Anonymous
    The EITC due diligence penalty jumps from $100 to $500, per failure to comply, on returns filed after December 31, 2011. Learn your how to meet your requirements and how to avoid penalties with the online EITC Due Diligence training module.
  • 02 Nov 2011 3:47 PM | Anonymous

    The Internal Revenue Service is providing special transitional relief to banks and other payment settlement entities required to begin reporting payment card and third-party network transactions to the IRS on new Form 1099-K.

    By law, reporting is scheduled to begin in early 2012 for payment card and third-party network transactions that occurred in 2011. Details on the special transitional relief and reporting requirements are in these FAQs, and more information on this relief is in Notice 2011-88 and Notice 2011-89.

  • 21 Oct 2011 6:47 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service today announced that the nation’s 738,000 tax return preparers who have Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) can now renew their PTINs for the 2012 filing season.

    Preparers are required to renew their PTINs on an annual basis and need to do so before the next year begins. For example, a preparer’s PTIN for 2012 must be renewed by Dec. 31, 2011.

    Anyone who for compensation prepares, or helps prepare, all or substantially all of tax returns or claims for refunds must have a PTIN. Paid return preparers must have valid, current PTINs to prepare tax returns in 2012.

    The PTIN renewal fee for 2012 is $63. The initial application fee for a PTIN remains at $64.25. Return preparers who obtained their PTINs by creating an online account should renew their PTINs at www.irs.gov/ptin.

    Preparers who used paper applications to receive their 2011 PTINs will receive an activation code in the mail from the IRS which they can use to create an online account and convert to an electronic renewal for 2012.  Individuals can also renew using a paper Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number Application, but renewing electronically avoids a four to six week wait for processing the renewal request.

    Return preparers who are applying for a PTIN for the first time must go through a strict authentication procedure and should follow directions carefully. Return preparers who prepared, or helped prepare, returns for compensation in 2011 without PTINs must obtain 2011 PTINs and then renew their PTINs for 2012, paying fees for each year if they intend to practice next year. Penalties may apply for paid tax return preparers who prepared, or helped prepare returns in 2011 without valid PTINs.

    Some changes to the PTIN application and renewal process include:

    • Return preparers must self-identify if they are supervised preparers or non-1040 preparers.

    • Supervised preparers will need to provide a supervisor’s PTIN when applying for or renewing their PTINs.

    • Credentialed preparers (Certified Public Accountants, attorneys and Enrolled Agents) must provide the expiration date for their licenses when they apply for or renew their PTINs.

    Supervised preparers are individuals who don’t sign the returns they prepare or help prepare; work at a firm at least 80 percent owned by a Certified Public Accountant, an attorney or an Enrolled Agent; and prepare returns that are signed by a supervisor who is a CPA, attorney or Enrolled Agent.  

    Non-1040 preparers are people who do not prepare any individual income tax returns for compensation. For this purpose, preparers of Form 1040-PR and Form 1040-SS are considered non-1040 preparers.

    Supervised preparers and non-1040 preparers must identify themselves when they apply for or renew their PTINs to be exempted from testing and continuing education requirements; Certified Public Accountants, attorneys and Enrolled Agents are also exempt from testing and continuing education requirements.

    Taxpayers who use a paid return preparer are urged to choose a return preparer with a valid PTIN.  Return preparers should also sign the returns they prepare for taxpayers and enter their PTINs on the returns.  For more information on choosing a return preparer, go to Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer.

    For more information on the PTIN requirements or on becoming a Registered Tax Return Preparer, go to www.irs.gov/taxpros.

  • 20 Oct 2011 11:29 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON -  For tax year 2012, personal exemptions and standard deductions will rise and tax brackets will widen due to inflation, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

    By law, the dollar amounts for a variety of tax provisions, affecting virtually every taxpayer, must be revised each year to keep pace with inflation. New dollar amounts affecting 2012 returns, filed by most taxpayers in early 2013, include the following:

    • The value of each personal and dependent exemption, available to most taxpayers, is $3,800, up $100 from 2011.

    • The new standard deduction is $11,900 for married couples filing a joint return, up $300, $5,950 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up $150, and $8,700 for heads of household, up $200. Nearly two out of three taxpayers take the standard deduction, rather than itemizing deductions, such as mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes.

    • Tax-bracket thresholds increase for each filing status. For a married couple filing a joint return, for example, the taxable-income threshold separating the 15-percent bracket from the 25-percent bracket is $70,700, up from $69,000 in 2011.

    Credits, deductions, and related phase outs.

    • For tax year 2012, the maximum earned income tax credit (EITC) for low- and moderate- income workers and working families rises to $5,891, up from $5,751 in 2011. The maximum income limit for the EITC rises to $50,270, up from $49,078 in 2011.The credit varies by family size, filing status and other factors, with the maximum credit going to joint filers with three or more qualifying children.

    • The foreign earned income deduction rises to $95,100, an increase of $2,200 from the maximum deduction for tax year 2011.

    • The modified adjusted gross income threshold at which the lifetime learning credit begins to phase out is $104,000 for joint filers, up from $102,000, and $52,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $51,000.

    • For 2012, annual deductible amounts for Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) increased  from the tax year 2011 amounts; please see the table below.
     Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs)  Self-Only Coverage  Family Coverage
     Minimum annual deductible  $2,100  $4,200
     Maximum annual deductible  $3,150  $6,300
     Maximum annual out-of-pocket expenses  $4,200  $7,650

    The $2,500 maximum deduction for interest paid on student loans begins to phase out for a married taxpayers filing a joint returns at $125,000 and phases out completely at $155,000, an increase of $5,000 from the phase out limits for tax year 2011. For single taxpayers, the phase out ranges remain at the 2011 levels.

    Estate and Gift

    For an estate of any decedent dying during calendar year 2012, the basic exclusion from estate tax amount is $5,120,000, up from $5,000,000 for calendar year 2011. Also, if the executor chooses to use the special use valuation method for qualified real property, the aggregate decrease in the value of the property resulting from the choice cannot exceed $1,040,000, up from $1,020,000 for 2011.

    The annual exclusion for gifts remains at $13,000.

    Other Items

    • The monthly limit on the value of qualified transportation benefits exclusion for qualified parking provided by an employer to its employees for 2012 rises to $240, up $10 from the limit in 2011. However, the temporary increase in the monthly limit on the value of the qualified transportation benefits exclusion for transportation in a commuter highway vehicle and transit pass provided by an employer to its employees expires and reverts to $125 for 2012.

    • Several tax benefits are unchanged in 2012. For example, the additional standard deduction for blind people and senior citizens remains $1,150 for married individuals and $1,450 for singles and heads of household.

    Details on these inflation adjustments can be found in Revenue Procedure 2011-52, which will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2011-45 on November 7, 2011.

  • 20 Oct 2011 11:24 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for Tax Year 2012. In general, many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2012 because the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. However, other limitations will remain unchanged.  Highlights include:

    • The elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $16,500 to $17,000.

    • The catch-up contribution limit for those aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $5,500.

    • The deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for singles and heads of household who are covered by a workplace retirement plan and have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) between $58,000 and $68,000, up from $56,000 and $66,000 in 2011.  For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range is $92,000 to $112,000, up from $90,000 to $110,000.  For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $173,000 and $183,000, up from $169,000 and $179,000.

    • The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $173,000 to $183,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $169,000 to $179,000 in 2011.  For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $110,000 to $125,000, up from $107,000 to $122,000.  For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-out range remains $0 to $10,000.

    • The AGI limit for the saver’s credit (also known as the retirement savings contributions credit) for low-and moderate-income workers is $57,500 for married couples filing jointly, up from $56,500 in 2011; $43,125 for heads of household, up from $42,375; and $28,750 for married individuals filing separately and for singles, up from $28,250.

    Below are details on both the unchanged and adjusted limitations.

    Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans.  Section 415(d) requires that the Commissioner annually adjust these limits for cost of living increases.  Other limitations applicable to deferred compensation plans are also affected by these adjustments under Section 415.  Under Section 415(d), the adjustments are to be made pursuant to adjustment procedures which are similar to those used to adjust benefit amounts under Section 215(i)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act.

    The limitations that are adjusted by reference to Section 415(d) generally will change for 2012 because the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment.  For example, the limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) will increase from $16,500 to $17,000 for 2012.  This limitation affects elective deferrals to Section 401(k) plans, Section 403(b) plans, and the Federal Government’s Thrift Savings Plan.

    Effective January 1, 2012, the limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under section 415(b)(1)(A) is increased from $195,000 to $200,000.

    Under section 1.415(d)-1(a)(2)(ii) of the Income Tax Regulations, the adjustment to the limitation under a defined benefit plan under section 415(b)(1)(B) is determined using a special rule.  This special rule takes into account the following recent history of changes in the cost-of-living indexes:  (1) the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, was less than the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended September 30, 2008; (2) the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended September 30, 2010, was greater than the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, but less than the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended September 30, 2008; and (3) the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended September 30, 2011, was greater than the cost-of-living indexes for all prior periods.

    For a participant who separated from service before January 1, 2010, the limitation under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(B) for 2012 is computed by multiplying the participant's 2011 compensation limitation by 1.0327 in order to reflect changes in the cost-of-living index from the quarter ended September 30, 2008, to the quarter ended September 30, 2011.  For a participant who separated from service during 2010 or 2011, the limitation under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(B) for 2012 is computed by multiplying the participant's 2011 compensation limitation by 1.0376 in order to reflect changes in the cost-of-living index from the quarter ended September 30, 2010, to the quarter ended September 30, 2011.

    The limitation for defined contribution plans under Section 415(c)(1)(A) is increased in 2012 from $49,000 to $50,000.

    The Code provides that various other dollar amounts are to be adjusted at the same time and in the same manner as the dollar limitation of Section 415(b)(1)(A).  After taking into account the applicable rounding rules, the amounts for 2012 are as follows:

    The limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) is increased from $16,500 to $17,000.

    The annual compensation limit under Sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C), and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii) is increased from $245,000 to $250,000.

    The dollar limitation under Section 416(i)(1)(A)(i) concerning the definition of key employee in a top-heavy plan is increased from $160,000 to $165,000.

    The dollar amount under Section 409(o)(1)(C)(ii) for determining the maximum account balance in an employee stock ownership plan subject to a 5 year distribution period is increased from $985,000 to $1,015,000, while the dollar amount used to determine the lengthening of the 5 year distribution period is increased from $195,000 to $200,000.

    The limitation used in the definition of highly compensated employee under Section 414(q)(1)(B) is increased from $110,000 to $115,000.

    The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(i) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan other than a plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $5,500.  The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(ii) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $2,500.

    The annual compensation limitation under Section 401(a)(17) for eligible participants in certain governmental plans that, under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, allowed cost of living adjustments to the compensation limitation under the plan under Section 401(a)(17) to be taken into account, is increased from $360,000 to $375,000.

    The compensation amount under Section 408(k)(2)(C) regarding simplified employee pensions (SEPs) remains unchanged at $550.

    The limitation under Section 408(p)(2)(E) regarding SIMPLE retirement accounts remains unchanged at $11,500.

    The limitation on deferrals under Section 457(e)(15) concerning deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations is increased from $16,500 to $17,000.

    The compensation amounts under Section 1.61 21(f)(5)(i) of the Income Tax Regulations concerning the definition of “control employee” for fringe benefit valuation purposes is increased from $95,000 to $100,000.  The compensation amount under Section 1.61 21(f)(5)(iii) is increased from $195,000 to $205,000.

    The Code also provides that several pension-related amounts are to be adjusted using the cost-of-living adjustment under Section 1(f)(3).  After taking the applicable rounding rules into account, the amounts for 2012 are as follows:

    The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for married taxpayers filing a joint return is increased from $34,000 to $34,500; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $36,500 to $37,500; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $56,500 to $57,500.

    The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for taxpayers filing as head of household is increased from $25,500 to $25,875; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $27,375 to $28,125; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $42,375 to $43,125.

    The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for all other taxpayers is increased from $17,000 to $17,250; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $18,250 to $18,750; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $28,250 to $28,750.

    The deductible amount under § 219(b)(5)(A) for an individual making qualified retirement contributions remains unchanged at $5,000.

    The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(i) for determining the deductible amount of an IRA contribution for taxpayers who are active participants filing a joint return or as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $90,000 to $92,000.  The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(ii) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $56,000 to $58,000.  The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(7)(A) for a taxpayer who is not an active participant but whose spouse is an active participant is increased from $169,000 to $173,000.

    The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(C)(ii)(I) for determining the maximum Roth IRA contribution for married taxpayers filing a joint return or for taxpayers filing as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $169,000 to $173,000.  The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(C)(ii)(II) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $107,000 to $110,000.

    The dollar amount under Section 430(c)(7)(D)(i)(II) used to determine excess employee compensation with respect to a single-employer defined benefit pension plan for which the special election under section 430(c)(2)(D) has been made is increases from $1,014,000 to $1,039,000.

  • 17 Oct 2011 1:28 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON undefined The Internal Revenue Service today advised tax professionals and tax firms that do not have Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) to start the process to obtain EFINs now so they can meet new e-file requirements for 2012.

    Starting in January 2012, any paid preparer or firm that reasonably anticipates preparing and filing 11 or more Form 1040 series returns, Form 1041 returns, or a combination of Form 1040 series returns and Form 1041 returns generally must use IRS e-file. Their clients who file these forms, however, may independently choose to file by paper.

    To become Authorized IRS e-file Providers, preparers must create an e-Services account, submit an EFIN application and pass a suitability check. The approval process can take 45 days or more. For a firm or an individual, only one EFIN is needed.

    The 2012 requirement will mark the second and final phase of implementing a law that was intended to boost the electronic filing rate of income tax returns for individuals, trusts and estates. In 2011, the e-file mandate pertained to any paid preparer or firm that anticipated preparing and filing 100 or more returns. The e-file rate by paid preparers increased 12 percent in 2011.

    Currently, nearly 80 percent of individual tax returns are filed electronically. The IRS has processed more than 1 billion individual tax returns safely and securely since the nationwide debut of electronic filing in 1990.

    Preparers can review the process on IRS.gov at Become an Authorized e-file Provider or find additional guidance at the Frequently Asked Questions section.

    If the requirement will cause undue hardship, preparers may seek a one-year waiver by submitting Form 8944, Preparer e-file Hardship Waiver Request. If a client wants to file a paper return, the preparer should include Form 8948, Preparer Explanation for Not Filing Electronically, with the return. A taxpayer choice statement should be obtained and kept with the preparer’s records.

    Form 8948 does not have to be submitted with returns that are not currently accepted electronically by the IRS or the IRS has instructed taxpayers not to file them electronically. These returns are exempt from the federal e-file requirement. Other limited exemptions may apply.

  • 17 Oct 2011 1:27 PM | Anonymous

    Employers must make federal tax deposits electronically. All payments sent to the federal tax deposit mailbox in 

    St. Louis will be returned.

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