IRS Tax News

  • 01 Sep 2017 8:05 AM | Anonymous

    Important Information About your e-Services Account

     

    New e-Services platform launch next week

    Please don’t confuse this with the routine outage that takes place during the Labor Day holiday. Starting Thursday, September 7, will begin moving e-Services to a new platform that will complete a multi-year upgrade and some products will be unavailable.

    ·         6 a.m. ET, Thursday, September 7: E-Services registration and the ability to apply for ACA, e-file, TIN Matching and IVES, will be unavailable. A redesigned e-Services landing page will launch. If you go to the old landing page, you will be automatically redirected to the new page.

    ·         10 p.m. ET, Friday, September 8: Transcript Delivery System and TIN Matching will go offline.

    ·         6 a.m. ET, Monday, September 11: Transcript Delivery System and TIN Matching will be back online.

    ·         6 a.m. ET, Tuesday, September 12: Applications for ACA, e-File, TIN Matching and IVES will be available, including ACA Information Return users filing applications for Transmitter Control Codes.

    ·         State users only will not be able to submit new or change existing e-File/TDS applications from September 7 through late October.

    New e-Services User Agreement

    In late October, we will roll out a new user agreement. All registered users must accept its terms to have access to e-Services and its products. Please read and sign it when it comes out.

    It also addresses an emerging industry we’re calling Intermediate Service Providers. Intermediate Service Providers are privately owned companies offering software and/or services to e-Services users, including helping users access taxpayer transcripts.

    The new user agreement requires tax professionals using Intermediate Services Providers to ensure that the company is not storing their username, password or PIN, and they must notify their clients that they are using an Intermediate Service Provider to access tax information.

    Registration through Secure Access

    Starting in late October, all e-Services users must register through Secure Access, a rigorous authentication process, to validate their identity and meet a new two-factor authentication requirement.

    It is called two-factor authentication because all returning users must first enter their credentials (username and password) and then enter a security code sent to the user. To assist users who either cannot use a cell or lack cell service, the IRS is adding a new feature to its IRS2Go app. This app can be used on many types of mobile devices, including smart phones and tablets.

    For existing e-Services users who cannot authenticate through Secure Access, we will have an exception process through our help desk. However, even if you validate your identity through the help desk, you will still need a mobile phone or the IRS2Go app to obtain a security code each time you login to e-Services.

    You can read more about these changes at Important Information about Your e-Services Account. Read about the current Secure Access process at www.irs.gov/secureaccess. This page will update with information about the IRS2Go app when it becomes available. 

    We also have FAQs about Secure Access and e-Services Users and Tips for Successfully Authenticating Your Identity through Secure Access.

    Additionally, we will be scheduling some webinars that will demonstrate the registration process for users and we will have experts on hand to answer technical questions. More to come on the Webinars and information about the IRS2Go app.

  • 29 Aug 2017 8:45 AM | Anonymous

    IRS YouTube Videos:

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today warned people to avoid a new phishing scheme that impersonates the IRS and the FBI as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage.

    The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It tries to entice users to select a “here” link to download a fake FBI questionnaire. Instead, the link downloads a certain type of malware called ransomware that prevents users from accessing data stored on their device unless they pay money to the scammers.

    “This is a new twist on an old scheme,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “People should stay vigilant against email scams that try to impersonate the IRS and other agencies that try to lure you into clicking a link or opening an attachment. People with a tax issue won’t get their first contact from the IRS with a threatening email or phone call."

    The IRS, state tax agencies and tax industries – working in partnership as the Security Summit – currently are conducting an awareness campaign called Don’t Take the Bait, that includes warning tax professionals about the various types of phishing scams, including ransomware. The IRS highlighted this issue in an Aug. 1 news release IR-2017-125 Don’t Take the Bait, Step 4: Defend against Ransomware.

    Victims should not pay a ransom. Paying it further encourages the criminals, and frequently the scammers won’t provide the decryption key even after a ransom is paid.

    Victims should immediately report any ransomware attempt or attack to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.IC3.gov. Forward any IRS-themed scams to phishing@irs.gov.

    The IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. For more information, visit the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on IRS.gov. Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube videos.

    If you are a tax professional and registered e-Services user who disclosed any credential information, contact the e-Services Help Desk to reset your e-Services password. If you disclosed information and taxpayer data was stolen, contact your local stakeholder liaison

  • 07 Aug 2017 8:52 AM | Anonymous

    Just in time for those who need to file the FBAR by the Oct. 15 extended due date, the IRS offers this webinar on Aug. 30 at 2 p.m. ET.

    Topics include:
    • Identifying who must file the FBAR
    • Determining what accounts must be reported on the FBAR
    • Knowing when to file the FBAR
    • Explaining how to file the FBAR
    • Sharing answers to frequently asked questions

    The webinar will feature a live question and answer session at the end of the presentation.

  • 07 Aug 2017 8:52 AM | Anonymous

    Ransomware attacks are on the rise worldwide as bad actors here and abroad infiltrate computer systems and hold sensitive data hostage.

  • 07 Aug 2017 8:51 AM | Anonymous

    Time is running out to register for the National Harbor (Washington, D.C.) and Las Vegas Nationwide Tax Forums. The standard rate of $255 expires two weeks before each Forum – Aug. 8 for National Harbor and Aug. 15 for Las Vegas. Registration after those dates will still be available but at a higher rate of $370. The National Harbor Forum is scheduled for Aug. 22-24, while the Las Vegas Forum takes place Aug. 29-31.

    Each IRS Nationwide Tax Forum offer practitioners continuing education seminars, case resolution and an exhibition featuring dozens of vendors and service providers. To register, visit irstaxforum.com.

  • 07 Aug 2017 8:50 AM | Anonymous

    The IRS is in the final stages of a technology upgrade for e-Services. Please plan ahead as there will be some temporary use issues that will occur as we make this transition:

    1. There will be a complete outage of all e-Services tools, including Registration, Transcript Delivery System (TDS), and TIN Matching, from 6 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Aug. 17, until 6 a.m. EDT, Monday, Aug. 21. Applications also will be offline and resume Aug. 22, except for state users. E-Services must be taken offline to complete the platform transition and to perform testing. This outage will affect all users, including bulk users such as IVES and TIN Matching.

    2. All State tax agency users will be unable to submit new e-file and TDS applications for state coordinators or change existing e-file and TDS applications for state coordinators from Aug. 17 until late October. This temporary issue will not affect state access to transcripts. If there is a critical need to add or remove an individual from a state application, states may contact their IRS government liaison representative who will notify appropriate IRS personnel.

    3. Affordable Care Act Information Return (AIR) filers may resume submission of applications for Transmitter Control Codes starting on Aug. 22. The application process for AIR users has been offline since July because of the e-Services platform transition.

    4. A redesigned e-Services landing page will launch Aug. 21.

  • 04 Aug 2017 2:00 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating tax software providers and attempting to steal usernames and passwords.

    This sophisticated scam yet again displays cybercriminals’ tax savvy and underscores the need for tax professionals to take strong security measures to protect their clients and protect their business. This is the time of year when many software providers issue software upgrades and when tax professionals are working to meet the Oct. 15 deadline for extension filers.

    These types of phishing scams are why the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, acting as the Security Summit, launched the 10-week Don’t Take the Bait campaign currently underway. This awareness effort highlights the many tactics of cybercriminals as well as the steps tax professionals can take to protect their clients and themselves.

    This latest scam email variation comes with a subject line of “Software Support Update” and highlights an “Important Software System Upgrade.” It thanks recipients for continuing to trust the software provider to serve their tax preparation needs and mimics the software providers’ email templates.

    The e-mail informs the recipients that due to a recent software upgrade, the preparer must revalidate their login credentials. It provides a link to a fictitious website that mirrors the software provider’s actual login page.

    Instead of upgrading software, the tax professionals are providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers’ accounts and to steal client information.

    The Security Summit reminds tax professionals that software providers do not embed links into emails asking them to validate passwords. Also, tax professionals and taxpayers should never open a link or an attachment from a suspicious email.

    Tax professionals can review additional tips to protect clients and themselves at Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself on IRS.gov.

    Tax professionals who receive emails purportedly from their tax software providers seeking login credentials should send those scam emails to their tax software provider. 

    For Windows users, follow this process to help the investigation of these scam emails:

    1. Use “Save As” to save the scam. Under “save as type” in the drop-down menu, select “plain text” and save to the desktop. Do not click on any links.
    2. Open a new email and attach this saved email as a file.
    3. Send a new email containing the attachment to the tax software provider, as well as a copy to Phishing@IRS.gov.
  • 24 Jul 2017 2:54 PM | Anonymous

    IR-2017-122, July 24, 2017

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service Office of Appeals will soon pilot a new web-based virtual conference option for taxpayers and their representatives. This virtual face-to-face option will provide an additional option for taxpayer conferences. The IRS expects it to be especially useful for taxpayers located far from an IRS Appeals office.

    Each year, the Office of Appeals hears appeals of more than 100,000 taxpayers attempting to resolve their tax disputes without going to court. Currently, taxpayers involved in the appeals process can meet with an Appeals Officer by phone, in person or virtually through videoconference technology available only at a limited number of IRS offices.

    While a phone call works well for most taxpayers, others prefer face-to-face interaction. Appeals’ pilot program will use a secure, web-based screen-sharing platform to connect with taxpayers face-to-face from anywhere they have internet access. Similar to popular screen-sharing programs used on phones and home computers, this technology may also be a way for the IRS to provide greater access, efficiency and flexibility to taxpayers. This web-based model is more convenient and has more features than the existing video-conferencing technology.

    “Taxpayers who choose the web-based option will be able to get face-to-face service remotely,” said IRS Chief, Appeals Donna Hansberry. “In the future, the technology may give taxpayers greater options in engaging with Appeals and could allow us the flexibility to serve taxpayers virtually from any location using mobile devices or computers.

    “We hope this is one more option to enable IRS employees to provide timely, efficient and effective service to taxpayers,” said Hansberry.

    Appeals plans to start the pilot Aug. 1, 2017 and will assess the results, including taxpayer satisfaction with the technology.  

    The IRS reminds taxpayers that their right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum is one of 10 key rights guaranteed to taxpayers under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Other rights especially relevant to the appeals process include the right to quality service, the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax, the right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard and the right to retain representation. For a complete list of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, see Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, available on IRS.gov. 

  • 21 Jun 2017 1:52 PM | Anonymous

    The Internal Revenue Service reopened its Preparer Tax Identification Number system Wednesday after closing it earlier this month because it lost a lawsuit over registration and renewal fees. 

    On June 1, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the IRS’s authority to require the use of a PTIN by tax preparers, but told the IRS it couldn't charge a user fee for issuing and renewing PTINs.  As a result, the IRS suspended PTIN registration and renewal on June 2 (see IRS loses lawsuit over PTIN fees, suspends PTIN system, and may be forced to refund preparers).

    The IRS said Wednesday it is working with the Department of Justice and considering how to proceed, but meanwhile it will make PTINs available while deciding how to address the court order. 

    The IRS said it is resuming the issuance of PTINS, without charge, Wednesday. As more information becomes available, it will be posted on the IRS's Tax Pros page.

    IRS building sign

    Source: https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/irs-reopens-ptin-system 
    Obtained: Jun 21, 2017

  • 21 Jun 2017 1:49 PM | Anonymous

    On June 1, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the Internal Revenue Service’s authority to require the use of a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), but enjoined the IRS from charging a user fee for the issuance and renewal of PTINs. As a result of this order, PTIN registration and renewal was suspended.

    Breaking News: As of 8am ET this morning, the IRS will re-open the PTIN registration system. Tax Pros can apply for a PTIN at no charge.

    Learn more at IRS Reopening PTIN System (FAQs) 


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