IRS Tax News

  • 20 Mar 2017 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned both tax professionals and taxpayers of last-minute phishing email scams, especially those requesting last-minute deposit changes for refunds or account updates.

    As the 2017 tax filing season winds down to the April 18 deadline, tax-related scams of various sorts are at their peak. The IRS urged both tax professionals and taxpayers to be on guard against suspicious activity.

    The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, acting as the Security Summit, enacted many safeguards against identity theft for 2017, but cybercriminals are ever evolving and make use of sophisticated scams to trick people into divulging sensitive data.

    For example, one new scam poses as taxpayers asking their tax preparer to make a last-minute change to their refund destination, often to a prepaid debit card. The IRS urges tax preparers to verbally reconfirm information with the client should they receive last-minute email request to change an address or direct deposit account for refunds.

    The IRS also suggests that tax professionals change and strengthen their own email passwords to better protect their email accounts used to exchange sensitive data with clients.

    This is also the time of year when taxpayers may see scam emails from their tax software provider or others asking them to update online accounts. Taxpayers should learn to recognize phishing emails, calls or texts that pose as familiar organizations such as banks, credit card companies, tax software providers or even the IRS. These ruses generally urge taxpayers to give up sensitive data such as passwords, Social Security numbers and bank account or credit card numbers.

    Taxpayers who receive suspicious emails purporting to be from a tax software provider or from the IRS should forward them to phishing@irs.gov. Remember: never open an attachment or link from an unknown or suspicious source. It may infect your computer with malware or steal information. Also, the IRS does not send unsolicited emails or request sensitive data via email.

    The Security Summit maintains a public awareness campaign for taxpayers – Taxes. Security. Together. – and an awareness campaign for tax professionals – Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself – as part of its effort to combat identity theft.

  • 16 Mar 2017 9:43 AM | Anonymous

    The IRS has granted many businesses directly affected by this week’s severe winter storm additional time to request a six-month extension to file their 2016 federal income tax returns.  In an effort to provide relief to tax professionals and business taxpayers in portions of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic who were unable to file their tax return by yesterday's due date (March 15, 2017), the IRS will allow those affected to request an automatic extension by filing Form 7004, on or before March 20, 2017.  Form 7004 provides a six-month extension for returns filed by partnerships (Forms 1065 and 1065B) and S corporations (Forms 1120S).

  • 17 Feb 2017 5:30 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 software providers.

    The scam email comes with the subject line, “Access Locked.” It tells recipients that access to their tax prep software accounts has been “suspended due to errors in your security details.” The scam email asks the tax professional to address the issue by using an “unlock” link provided in the email.

    However, the link will take the tax professional to a fake web page, where they are asked to enter their user name and password. Instead of unlocking accounts, the tax professionals actually are inadvertently providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers’ accounts and to steal client information.

    The Security Summit partners, which includes the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax community, remind tax professionals and taxpayers to never open a link or an attachment from a suspicious email. These scams can increase during the tax season.

    Tax professionals can review additional tips to protect clients and themselves at the Security Summit’s awareness campaign, Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself, on IRS.gov.

    For tax professionals who receive emails purportedly from their tax software providers suggesting their accounts have been suspended, they should send those scam emails to their tax software provider.  For Windows users, please 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 your desk top. Do not click on any links.
    2. Open a new email and attach this saved email as a file
    3. Send your new email containing the attachment your tax software provider, as well as copy Phishing@IRS.gov
  • 16 Feb 2017 5:02 PM | Anonymous

    Be aware if you received an e-mail that was sent out to tax practitioners today. At the top you will see:

    From: IRS e-Service [mailto:nancyschieda@verizon.net]
    Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2017 1:29 PM
    To: Undisclosed recipients:
    Subject: E-Service Account Closure!

    Dear Tax Pro,


    We noticed you have not updated your EFIN details for 2017 Tax season. Please follow the link below to securely update your E-Service account renewal details.

    Update now

    Any Tax Preparer who fails to renew and follow this update Your Account will be suspended within 12 to 24 hours.

    Sincerely,
    IRS.gov e-service

    First, notice the e-mail did not originate from IRS. You will also see the Update now which will take you to the scam artist (this Update now is a sample of the link, not the actual link). Below are links with information on IRS.gov to advise you of how IRS will contact those who need to update their accounts.

    https://www.irs.gov/individuals/important-update-about-your-eservices-account

    EFINs

    https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/e-file-providers-partners/faqs-about-electronic-filing-indentification-numbers-efin

    How do I know when my EFIN has been compromised?

    Check the EFIN status of your application to make sure the volume of returns e-filed matches your records. You can also review your acknowledgement report totals. If your records do not agree, your EFIN may have been compromised. 

    Who do I contact if I have a concern or question associated with my EFIN?

    Contact the e-help desk at 866-255-0654 (6:30 AM to 6 PM CT) to find out additional information or visit Information for IRS e-file Providers on IRS.gov if you have questions or concerns in regards to your EFIN. A few examples may be:

    ·         Report a possible compromised EFIN

    ·         You haven’t used your EFIN in the last 2 years

    ·         You are having trouble or have questions about changes to your e-file application­

  • 16 Feb 2017 4:55 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – As the IRS begins releasing refunds for taxpayers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit, the tax agency reminded taxpayers that they should not expect refunds to be available in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27. The additional time is due to several factors, including weekends, the Presidents Day holiday and the time banks often need to process direct deposits.

    Many of these refunds had been held since the filing season started in late January due to new requirements of the 2015 Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act.

    The IRS reminds taxpayers that the most common question taxpayers have about the status of their refund can easily be answered on IRS.gov by visiting the “Where’s My Refund?” tool.  “Where’s My Refund?” will be updated Feb. 18 for the vast majority of early filers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. Before Feb. 18, some taxpayers may see a projected date or a message that indicates the IRS is processing their return. The IRS added that taxpayers should keep in mind that “Where’s My Refund?” is only updated once daily, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check it multiple times per day.

    Here are a few important things to know about tax refunds:

    • The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.
    • The filing season started later this year -- on Jan. 23. Although taxpayers could submit returns with a software provider or tax preparer in early January, the return was not filed with the IRS until the filing season opened on Jan. 23.
    • IRS customer service representatives cannot provide refund information until 21 days have passed since the return was filed. “Where’s My Refund?” provides the most up-to-date information.
    • “Where’s my Refund?” can also be accessed through the mobile app, IRS2Go.
    • “Where’s My Refund?” is updated once daily. Checking the tool multiple times each day will not produce new information or different results.
    • The Get Transcript tool will not reveal a tax refund status, despite the social media myth to the contrary.

    This tip is part of the IRS Avoid the Rush news release series designed to provide taxpayers with the information they need, when they need it. More details on this series, including information on additional online resources, are available on IRS.gov.

  • 14 Feb 2017 5:02 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service said mid-February marks the agency’s busiest time of the year for telephone calls. The IRS is reminding taxpayers who have questions about their tax accounts to be prepared to validate their identity when speaking with an IRS assistor. This will help avoid the need for a repeat call.

    The IRS recognizes the importance of protecting taxpayers’ identities. That’s why IRS call center assistors take great care to make certain that they only discuss personal information with the taxpayer or someone authorized to speak on the taxpayer’s behalf.

    Customer service representatives can answer refund questions beginning 21 days after the return was filed. Taxpayers should use “Where’s My Refund?” to track the status of their refund. Taxpayers who are e-filing their return and need their prior year adjusted gross income should use the Get Transcript tool on IRS.gov. IRS telephone assistors cannot provide prior-year adjusted gross income over the phone for filing purposes.

    Where’s My Refund?” will be updated Feb. 18 for the vast majority of early filers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. Before Feb. 18, some taxpayers may see a projected date or a message that the IRS is processing their return.

    By law, the IRS is required to hold EITC and ACTC refunds until Feb. 15. However, taxpayers may not see those refunds until the week of Feb. 27. Due to differing timeframes with financial institutions, weekends and the Presidents Day holiday, these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27 -- if there are no processing issues with the tax return and the taxpayer chose direct deposit.

    The IRS phone assistors do not have additional information on refund dates beyond what taxpayers have access to on "Where's My Refund?”. Given high call volumes, taxpayers should not call unless directed to do so by the refund tool. In addition, a common myth is that people can get their refund date earlier by ordering a tax transcript. There is no such "secret" option to find a refund date by calling the IRS or ordering a transcript; just check "Where's My Refund?" once a day.

    If Calling About a Personal Tax Account

    Before calling about a personal tax account, have the following information handy:

    • Social Security numbers and birth dates for those listed on the tax return
    • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for those without a Social Security number (SSN)
    • Filing status – Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate
    • Prior-year tax return. The IRS may need to verify identity before answering certain questions
    • A copy of the tax return in question
    • Any letters or notices received from the IRS.

    If Calling About a Letter 4883C

    At this time of year, the IRS begins sending letters to taxpayers inquiring about suspicious tax returns it has identified. It’s important for the IRS and the taxpayer to confirm whether or not the taxpayer actually filed the return in question. Taxpayers have 30 days to call, which allows time to avoid the rush around Presidents’ Day.

    To expedite the process when calling, taxpayers MUST have: 

    • The IRS letter  
    • Copy of prior year tax return (if filed)
    • Current year tax return (if filed)  
    • Any supporting documents for each year's return (such as W-2's, 1099's, Schedule C, Schedule F, etc.)

    If Calling About Someone Else’s Account

    IRS call center assistors will only speak with the taxpayer or their legally designated representative. Before calling, have the following information handy:

    If Calling About a Deceased Taxpayer

    Be prepared to fax:

    To better serve taxpayers around the President’s Day holiday, the peak time of the year for telephone calls to the IRS, the IRS toll-free lines will be open Saturday, Feb. 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (callers’ local time) and Monday, Feb. 20, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (callers’ local time).

    This tip is part of the IRS Avoid the Rush news release series designed to provide taxpayers with the information they need, when they need it. More details on this series, including information on additional online resources, are available on IRS.gov.

  • 13 Feb 2017 4:09 PM | Anonymous

    IRS is sending Letter 4858 to tax preparers who completed 2016 returns claiming the earned income tax credit but who may not have met the required due diligence requirements. Disregarding due diligence requirements could result in penalties and other consequences for preparers and their clients. Letter 4858 comes in both English and Spanish.

    IRS is also sending Letter 5364 to tax preparers who completed two or more 2016 paper returns claiming Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), or Child Tax Credit/Additional Child Tax Credit (CTC/ACTC) without including Form 8867, Paid Preparer’s Due Diligence Checklist.  

    For more information on the due diligence requirements, visit Tax Preparer Toolkit on EITC Central.

  • 13 Feb 2017 4:09 PM | Anonymous

    More than 48,000 tax return preparers have participated in the 2017 IRS Annual Filing Season Program and obtained an official Record of Completion.

    But another 37,000 return preparers who have completed the required amount of continuing education and been invited to participate have not consented to the Circular 230 requirements to receive a Record of Completion.

    The deadline for preparers to consent to the Circular 230 requirements and become full participants is April 18. A video tutorial of the process is available here


  • 10 Feb 2017 4:08 PM | Anonymous

    Compiled annually, the Dirty Dozen is a list of common scams that taxpayers and tax professionals may encounter anytime of the year. But many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or hire someone to help with their taxes. Learn more about the Dirty Dozen in this video.

  • 08 Feb 2017 2:35 PM | Anonymous

    The IRS is reporting new incidences of an email scam that uses a corporate officer’s name to request employee W-2s from company payroll and human resource departments. 

    The IRS urges company payroll officials to double check any executive-level or unusual requests for lists of W-2s or Social Security numbers. 

    The W-2 scam first appeared last year. Cybercriminals tricked payroll and human resource officials into disclosing employee names, SSNs, and income information. The thieves then attempted to file fraudulent tax returns for tax refunds. 

    See the complete IRS news release for more details.  
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