IRS Tax News

  • 31 Mar 2021 4:19 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – To help taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service announced today that it will take steps to automatically refund money this spring and summer to people who filed their tax return reporting unemployment compensation before the recent changes made by the American Rescue Plan.

    The legislation, signed on March 11, allows taxpayers who earned less than $150,000 in modified adjusted gross income to exclude unemployment compensation up to $20,400 if married filing jointly and $10,200 for all other eligible taxpayers. The legislation excludes only 2020 unemployment benefits from taxes.

    Because the change occurred after some people filed their taxes, the IRS will take steps in the spring and summer to make the appropriate change to their return, which may result in a refund. The first refunds are expected to be made in May and will continue into the summer.

    For those taxpayers who already have filed and figured their tax based on the full amount of unemployment compensation, the IRS will determine the correct taxable amount of unemployment compensation and tax. Any resulting overpayment of tax will be either refunded or applied to other outstanding taxes owed.

    For those who have already filed, the IRS will do these recalculations in two phases, starting with those taxpayers eligible for the up to $10,200 exclusion. The IRS will then adjust returns for those married filing jointly taxpayers who are eligible for the up to $20,400 exclusion and others with more complex returns.
     
    There is no need for taxpayers to file an amended return unless the calculations make the taxpayer newly eligible for additional federal credits and deductions not already included on the original tax return.

    For example, the IRS can adjust returns for those taxpayers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and, because the exclusion changed the income level, may now be eligible for an increase in the EITC amount which may result in a larger refund. However, taxpayers would have to file an amended return if they did not originally claim the EITC or other credits but now are eligible because the exclusion changed their income.

    These taxpayers may want to review their state tax returns as well.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 23 million U.S. workers nationwide filed for unemployment last year. For the first time, some self-employed workers qualified for unemployed benefits as well. The IRS is working to determine how many workers affected by the tax change already have filed their tax returns.

    The new IRS guidance also includes details for those eligible taxpayers who have not yet filed.

    The IRS has worked with the tax return preparation software industry to reflect these updates so people who choose to file electronically simply need to respond to the related questions when electronically preparing their tax returns. See New Exclusion of up to $10,200 of Unemployment Compensation for information and examples. For others, instructions and an updated worksheet about the exclusion were available in March and posted to IRS.gov/Form 1040. These instructions can assist taxpayers who have not yet filed to prepare returns correctly.


  • 30 Mar 2021 3:05 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today announced that individuals have until May 17, 2021 to meet certain deadlines that would normally fall on April 15, such as making IRA contributions and filing certain claims for refund.

    This follows a previous announcement from the IRS on March 17, that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year was extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.  Notice 2021-21 provides details on the additional tax deadlines which have been postponed until May 17.

    Time to make contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts extended to May 17
    In extending the deadline to file Form 1040 series returns to May 17, the IRS is automatically postponing to the same date the time for individuals to make 2020 contributions to their individual retirement arrangements (IRAs and Roth IRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSAs), and Coverdell education savings accounts (Coverdell ESAs).  This postponement also automatically postpones to May 17, 2021, the time for reporting and payment of the 10% additional tax on amounts includible in gross income from 2020 distributions from IRAs or workplace-based retirement plans.  Notice 2021-21 also postpones the due date for Form 5498 series returns related to these accounts to June 30, 2021. 

    2017 unclaimed refunds – deadline extended to May 17
    For tax year 2017 Federal income tax returns, the normal April 15 deadline to claim a refund has also been extended to May 17, 2021. The law provides a three-year window of opportunity to claim a refund.  If taxpayers do not file a return within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. The law requires taxpayers to properly address, mail and ensure the tax return is postmarked by the May 17, 2021, date.

    Additionally, foreign trusts and estates with federal income tax filing or payment obligations, who file Form 1040-NR, now have until May 17, 2021.

    2021 AFSP deadline postponed to May 17
    Tax preparers interested in voluntarily participating in the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) for calendar-year 2021 now have until May 17, 2021 to file their application with the Internal Revenue Service. The normal due date is April 15.

    Details on this extension are in Notice 2021-21, posted on IRS.gov. For more information about the Annual Filing Season Program, visit the Tax Pros page on IRS.gov.

    Estimated tax payment due April 15
    Notice 2021-21, issued today does not alter the April 15, 2021, deadline for estimated tax payments; these payments are still due on April 15. Taxes must be paid as taxpayers earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments. In general, estimated tax payments are made quarterly to the IRS by people whose income isn't subject to income tax withholding, including self-employment income, interest, dividends, alimony or rental income. Most taxpayers automatically have their taxes withheld from their paychecks and submitted to the IRS by their employer.

    Updates regarding tax relief as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at IRS.gov.


  • 30 Mar 2021 2:22 PM | Anonymous

    Announcement 2021-6 issued pursuant to § 521(b) of Pub. L. 106-170, the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, which requires the Secretary of the Treasury to report annually to the public concerning advance pricing agreements (APAs) and the Advance Pricing and Mutual Agreement Program (APMA Program), formerly known as the Advance Pricing Agreement Program (APA Program). This twenty-second report describes the experience, structure, and activities of the APMA Program during calendar year 2020.

    Announcement 2021-6 will be in IRB: 2021-15, dated 04/12/2021.


  • 30 Mar 2021 2:21 PM | Anonymous

    IRS explains student and higher education institution reporting requirements, credits and deductions

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service issued frequently asked questions today on how students and higher education institutions should report pandemic-related emergency financial aid grants.

    Students
    Emergency financial aid grants made by a federal agency, state, Indian tribe, higher education institution or scholarship-granting organization (including a tribal organization) to a student because of an event related to the COVID-19 pandemic are not included in the student’s gross income. 

    Also, students should not reduce an amount of qualified tuition and related expenses by the amount of an emergency financial aid grant. If students used any portion of the grants to pay for qualified tuition and related expenses on or before December 31, 2020, they may be eligible to claim a tuition and fees deduction or the American Opportunity Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit on their 2020 tax return. See Education FAQs.

    The tuition and fees deduction is not available for tax years beginning after December 31, 2020. For additional information on these credits and the tuition and fees deduction, see Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

    Higher Education Institutions
    Because students don’t include emergency financial aid grants in their gross income, higher education institutions are not required to file or furnish Forms 1099-MISC reporting the grants made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) or the COVID-related Tax Relief Act (COVID Relief Act) and do not need to report the grants in Box 5 of Form 1098-T. 

    But any amounts that qualify for the tuition and fees deduction or the American Opportunity Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit are considered “qualified tuition and related expenses” and trigger the reporting requirements of Internal Revenue Code section 6050S.  Higher education institutions must include qualified tuition and related expenses paid by emergency financial aid grants awarded to students in Box 1 of Form 1098-T. 


  • 30 Mar 2021 1:38 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – As work continues on issuing millions of Economic Impact Payments to Americans, the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department announced today that they anticipate payments will begin to be issued this weekend to Social Security recipients and other federal beneficiaries who do not normally file a tax return, with the projection that the majority of these payments would be sent electronically and received on April 7.

    After receiving data from the Social Security Administration on Thursday, March 25, the IRS began the multi-step process to review, validate, and test tens of millions of records to ensure eligibility and proper calculation of Economic Impact Payments. If no additional issues arise, the IRS currently expects to complete that work and to begin processing these payment files at the end of this week. Because the majority of these payments will be disbursed electronically – through direct deposits and payments to existing Direct Express cards – they would be received on the official payment date of April 7. 

    Many federal beneficiaries who filed 2019 or 2020 returns or used the Non-Filers tool last year were issued Economic Impact Payments, if eligible, during the last three weeks. The update today applies to Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries who did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return or did not use the Non-Filers tool.

    “IRS employees are working tirelessly to once again deliver Economic Impact Payments to the nation’s taxpayers as quickly as possible,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Our teams immediately began processing data we received last week for federal benefit recipients. We know how important these payments are, and we are doing everything we can to make these payments as fast as possible to these important individuals.”

    The Get My Payment tool is updated for eligible individuals once their payment is processed. The IRS notes that the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov will not be updated until the weekend of April 3-4 with information for federal beneficiaries expecting payments next week.

    The IRS continues to review data received for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit recipients and expects to determine a payment date and provide more details soon. Currently, the IRS estimates that Economic Impact Payments for VA beneficiaries who do not regularly file tax returns could be disbursed by mid-April. VA beneficiary payment information will be available in the Get My Payment tool at a future date.

    Federal benefit payments automatic; no action for most

    Most Social Security retirement and disability beneficiaries, railroad retirees and recipients of veterans benefits who are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment do not need to take any action to receive a payment. These payments will be automatic. Like the previous Economic Impact Payments, Social Security and other federal beneficiaries will generally receive this third payment the same way that they receive their regular benefits.

    Some federal benefit recipients may need to file a 2020 tax return, even if they don't usually file, to provide information the IRS needs to send payments for any qualified dependent. Eligible individuals in this group should file a 2020 tax return to be considered for an additional payment for their qualified dependent as quickly as possible.

    Some federal benefit recipients already have received an Economic Impact Payment

    The IRS emphasizes that federal benefit recipients in these groups who file tax returns already started to receive Economic Impact Payments earlier this month, along with other taxpayers.

    Because some federal benefit recipients do not file tax returns, the IRS did not have in its tax systems the current information needed to generate the Economic Impact Payments. Last year, the IRS took the unprecedented step to receive and review data from other federal agencies and use that data to deliver payments automatically to these recipients.  This action – which had never occurred in previous stimulus efforts – minimized risk and burdens for the American public during the pandemic. Due to regular changes in the federal benefits population, the IRS needed to receive updated information this month from other government agencies. With these critical updates, eligible federal benefit recipients who don’t normally file an income tax return will get a payment automatically in the next few weeks.

    Making these automatic payments to federal beneficiaries involves a complex, multi-step process to handle recipient data from the other agencies. For the first round of Economic Impact Payments last year, recipients in these groups received payments within four to six weeks after the CARES Act was signed into law. For the American Rescue Plan signed March 11, the IRS projects that it is on track to deliver Economic Impact Payments to federal beneficiaries at the same or faster speed.

    More details on this third round of Economic Impact Payments and federal benefit recipients will be available soon on IRS.gov.

    Other work continues on Economic Impact Payments; watch mail for checks, EIP Cards

    In addition to work for federal benefit recipients, the IRS also continues to prepare and deliver additional Economic Impact Payments for other eligible individuals – as well as deliver tax refunds.

    For those receiving payments in the mail, the IRS urges these taxpayers to continue to watch their mail for these payments, which could include a paper Treasury check or a special prepaid debit card called an EIP Card.

    Taxpayers should note that the form of payment for the third Economic Impact Payment, including for some Social Security and other federal beneficiaries, may be different than earlier stimulus payments. More people are receiving direct deposits, while those receiving payments in the mail may receive either a paper check or an EIP Card – which may be different than how they received their previous Economic Impact Payments.

    Special reminder for those who don't normally file a tax return

    People who don't normally file a tax return and don't receive federal benefits may qualify for these Economic Impact Payments. This includes those experiencing homelessness, the rural poor, and others. For those eligible individuals who didn't get a first or second Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amounts, they may be eligible for the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, but they’ll need to file a 2020 tax return. See the special section on IRS.gov: Claiming the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit if you aren't required to file a tax return.

    Free tax return preparation is available for qualifying people.

    The IRS reminds taxpayers that the income levels in this new round of Economic Impact Payments have changed. This means that some people won't be eligible for the third payment even if they received a first or second Economic Impact Payment or claimed a 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit. Payments will begin to be reduced for individuals making $75,000 or above in Adjusted Gross Income ($150,000 for married filing jointly). The payments end at $80,000 for individuals ($160,000 for married filing jointly); people with Adjusted Gross Incomes above these levels are ineligible for a payment.

    Individuals can check the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to see the payment status of these payments. Additional information on Economic Impact Payments is available on IRS.gov.


  • 30 Mar 2021 10:59 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today warned of an ongoing IRS-impersonation scam that appears to primarily target educational institutions, including students and staff who have “.edu” email addresses.

    The IRS’ phishing@irs.gov has received complaints about the impersonation scam in recent weeks from people with email addresses ending in “.edu.” The phishing emails appear to target university and college students from both public and private, profit and non-profit institutions.

    Taxpayers who believe they have a pending refund can easily check on its status at “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov. 

    The suspect emails display the IRS logo and use various subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.” It asks people to click a link and submit a form to claim their refund.

    The phishing website requests taxpayers provide their:

    • Social Security Number
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Date of Birth
    • Prior Year Annual Gross Income (AGI)
    • Driver's License Number
    • Current Address
    • City
    • State/U.S. Territory
    • ZIP Code/Postal Code
    • Electronic Filing PIN

    People who receive this scam email should not click on the link in the email, but they can report it to the IRS. For security reasons, save the email using “save as” and then send that attachment to phishing@irs.gov or forward the email as an attachment to phishing@irs.gov. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and IRS Criminal Investigation have been notified.

    Taxpayers who believe they may have provided identity thieves with this information should consider immediately obtaining an Identity Protection PIN. This is a voluntary opt-in program. An IP PIN is a six-digit number that helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns in the victim’s name. 

    Taxpayers who attempt to e-file their tax return and find it rejected because a return with their SSN already has been filed should file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, to report themselves as a possible identity theft victim. See Identity Theft Central to learn about the signs of identity theft and actions to take. 


  • 29 Mar 2021 8:02 AM | Anonymous

    Revenue Procedure 2021-18 provides an automatic procedure for a State or local government in which an empowerment zone is located to extend the empowerment zone designation made under section 1391(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code).  Specifically, this revenue procedure provides that a State or local government that nominated an empowerment zone is deemed to extend until December 31, 2025, the termination date designated by that State or local government in its empowerment zone nomination (designated termination date), as described in section 1391(d)(1)(B).  This revenue procedure further provides the procedure for such State or local government to decline this deemed extension of its designated termination date.

    Revenue Procedure 2021-18 will be in IRB: 2021-15, dated 04/12/2021.


  • 26 Mar 2021 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    Announcement 2021-7 notifies taxpayers that amounts paid for personal protective equipment for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 are amounts paid for medical care under § 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.  As a result, the announcement confirms that these amounts are qualified medical expenses eligible to be paid or reimbursed without being included in gross income under health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or health savings accounts (HSAs).  In addition, the announcement notifies administrators of group health plans regarding the ability to make certain plan amendments pursuant to the announcement.

    Announcement 2021-7 will appear in IRB 2021-15, dated April 12, 2021.


  • 26 Mar 2021 11:54 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued Announcement 2021-7 today clarifying that the purchase of personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus are deductible medical expenses.

    The amounts paid for personal protective equipment are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or health savings accounts (HSAs).

    For more information on determining what is deductible, see Can I Deduct My Medical and Dental Expenses? and Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.


  • 25 Mar 2021 1:23 PM | Anonymous

    Revenue Procedure 2021-17 provides issuers of qualified mortgage bonds, as defined in § 143(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code), and issuers of mortgage credit certificates, as defined in § 25(c), with (1) the nationwide average purchase price for residences located in the United States, and (2) average area purchase price safe harbors for residences located in statistical areas in each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.

    Revenue Procedure 2021-19 provides guidance with respect to the United States and area median gross income figures for use by issuers of qualified mortgage bonds under § 143(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and issuers of mortgage credit certificates under § 25(c) (collectively, “issuers”) in computing the income requirements under § 143(f).  This revenue procedure provides that issuers must use either (1) the income figures the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) released most recently or (2) the income figures HUD released immediately prior to the income figures HUD released most recently, determined as of the date a mortgage loan or mortgage credit certificate is committed to a mortgagor.  This revenue procedure also provides a 90-day transition period, following the release of the HUD income figures in a current calendar year, for issuers to use the income figures HUD released during the second calendar year prior to the current calendar year.  The Department of the Treasury and the IRS have decided to publish this revenue procedure as permanent guidance consistent with comments received and to cease publishing annual revenue procedures providing income figures for purposes of computing the income requirements of § 143(f).

    Both Revenue Procedure 2021-17 & 19 will be in IRB: 2021-15, dated April 12, 2021.


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