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Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash The Internal Revenue Service is processing millions of returns that are coming in as Tax Day for the main 2024 tax season nears. But thanks to added Inflation Reduction Act money, the tax agency also is looking more closely at some returns. It recently resumed sending automated notices that had been on hold since February 2022 due to COVID-19 pandemic problems. And it got even more attention when IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel announced that his agents were going to crack down on individuals who use corporate jets for personal travel jets. While most of... Read more →


The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) helped many companies keep workers during the difficult COVID-19 pandemic days. But some ERC claims wrong, and the IRS is successfully recouping some of those incorrectly claimed and/or issued funds. The Internal Revenue Service closed out its Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP) on Friday, March 22, on a high note. Going into the day, the VDP, which allowed those who got improper ERC payments to pay back most of the money, had produced more than $225 million from 500+ taxpayers. Another 800 submissions were still being processed, and even more being filed... Read more →


Are you having second thoughts about an ERC claim your company made? It so, it's time to review your records, and if you find you received an incorrect tax credit amount, let the IRS know by this Friday, March 22. (Photo by Henri Mathieu-Saint-Laurent) With the deadline to let the Internal Revenue Service know you got an improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) fast approaching — it's this Friday, March 22 — business owners who are concerned need to act fast. Recipients of wrong payments can apply for the IRS' ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program by that deadline. If accepted, the businesses... Read more →


Did you discover you got an improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) payment? You still have time to get out of the tax jam by applying for the ERC voluntary disclosure program. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) ERC voluntary disclosure deadline is March 22 Last December, the Internal Revenue Service announced that businesses that received improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) amounts could let the agency know about the error. In these cases, many of which were created when companies got bad tax advice from aggressive ERC promoters, the companies would have to repay only 80 percent of the... Read more →


The IRS is OK with celebrating the closing of a business deal on a corporate jet, but not so accepting when the aircraft is used for personal jaunts. (Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) If Elon Musk and Taylor Swift were unhappy with the attention their jet flights were getting from a private citizen, a federal agency's plans could cause them even more turbulence. The Internal Revenue Service today announced that it is initiating dozens of audits on business aircraft that were used for personal travel. The audits will focus on aircraft usage by large corporations, large partnerships, and high-income... Read more →


Tax laws are full of unintended consequences. That became painfully clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a variety of tax relief provisions were created to help individuals and businesses deal with the virus' economic effects. Such was the case with the Employee Retention Credit, or ERC. "The ERC provided a financial lifeline to millions of businesses and exempt organizations during the pandemic," said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in his prepared testimony for the Feb. 15 hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. "The IRS has worked hard to implement this credit, and we have processed about 3.6 million ERC... Read more →


Last week, I finally got all the documents I need to file my 2023 tax return. As an independent contractor, the bulk of my income tax statements were 1099-NEC forms. But some folks are getting 1099-Ks. And these tax statements still are causing confusion. Form 1099-K has become more common with the growth of the gig workforce, and the delivery of products and services through online apps and marketplaces, such as PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, eBay, Etsy, Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. Old form, new amounts: The forms are not new, but the amount of earnings that trigger their issuance has changed.... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Tax season 2024 officially starts Monday, Jan. 29. Lots of taxpayers have already filled out their 1040 forms and are just waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to start processing them next week. Most of these early filers are expecting tax refunds. They also likely have relatively simple tax lives. Lucky them. Others, however, have more complicated tax and financial circumstances. These folks have more tax documents with details that must be transferred to their return forms and schedules. They also need to consider how their situations might affect their tax returns. Below is... Read more →


The biggest complaint about taxes is that they're too high. A close second is that the language of taxes is hard to understand. The Internal Revenue Service can't do anything about the first one. You need to call your members of Congress to complain about tax rates. But Uncle Sam's tax collector is taking steps to make some tax communications more comprehensible. Improving intelligibility: Under the IRS' Simple Notice Initiative, the agency aims to simplify and clarify hundreds of the letters it sends annually to taxpayers. The notice redesign effort will build this year on the Paperless Processing initiative the... Read more →


Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash The major challenge for Congress right now is finalizing funding so the federal government won't shut down in March. But some members also are, as noted in yesterday's post, trying to get a mini tax extenders measure passed. And that's not the only tax bill on some lawmakers' minds. A bill to eliminate the federal estate tax was introduced just as the larger bipartisan House/Senate tax bill was clearing the House Ways and Means Committee. Estate tax elimination effort. Again: Some cynical Washington, D.C., watchers might say this bill was introduced primarily for political purposes.... Read more →


Members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees who approved bipartisan legislation last week hope the eventual outcome of their effort will be as sunny as this view of the U.S. Capitol during warmer times. (Photo: Wikipedia) Congress actually accomplished something last week. Representatives and Senators kicked the can down the legislative road agreed to measures that eliminated the immediate threat of a government shutdown. Even more surprising was another bipartisan deal. While the stop-gap government deal was being brokered, the Democratic Senate Finance Committee chair and his Republican counterpart leading the House Ways and Means Committee signed off on... Read more →


You're ready to file your tax return, but there's one problem. You don't have all the statements you need to complete your Form 1040 and associated schedules. Many of us, however, are just going to have to be patient for a couple more weeks. While some issuers have sent taxpayers the required statements, many don't get them out until close to, in most cases, the mandated Jan. 31 delivery date. The documents typically are snail mailed, but technology is gaining ground. Issuers of most of my annual tax statements now let me know by email the documents are ready. Then... Read more →


Tax filing season 2024 continues its rollout, with some business returns getting the go-head next week. The key word here is some. Some business forms must wait: While the Internal Revenue Service's Modernized e-File (MeF) status webpage says it will start accepting electronically filed business returns at 9 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, Jan. 16, a follow-up announcement has put the brakes on some filings. An IRS QuickAlert email last week noted that some business forms will not be accepted until the full 2024 filing season starts on Monday, Jan. 29. Below is the text of the delay announcement, including... Read more →


Free File opens earlier, on Friday, Jan. 12. And business filers can e-file their returns starting Tuesday, Jan. 16, the first business day after the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. And we have a starting date! The Internal Revenue Service today announced that it will begin accepting and processing 2023 tax year individual returns on Monday, Jan. 29. But wait. There's more. Free File available Jan. 12: The IRS also has a date for taxpayers eligible to use its Free File service. This no-cost tax preparation and e-filing partnership of the IRS and some members of the tax... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images If you're self-employed, use your car for work, and have taken your last business trip of 2023, go out to your vehicle and take a photo of the odometer. There's no Internal Revenue Service rule that you record your odometer's annual reading. But it's a good idea. A date-stamped smartphone image — either on the last day of the year, the first day of the next year, or, say some tax advisers, on both days — is a digital record that can help you determine how much you drove your vehicle for business. If... Read more →


It's the last weekend of 2023, and you're busy planning how you will ring in 2024 on Sunday night. Unless you live in Florida. Oh, Sunshine State residents will party on New Year's Eve, too. But many also are making back-to-school shopping lists. That's because Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, is the start of yet another Florida sales tax holiday. This two-week event waives the sales tax, both state and local option add-ons, that's usually collected on what state officials have deemed school supplies. Among the items that will be tax free during the Monday, Jan. 1, 2024 through Sunday, Jan.... Read more →


Although hybrid work is still around, most companies returned mostly to pre-COVID-19 pandemic operations in 2023. That apparently includes bonuses for workers. These added employee payments came back in a big way this year, according to a survey last month by the national staffing firm Robert Half. The agency found that 96 percent of employers expect to award year-end bonuses, with 54 percent of those generous employers saying the amounts will be more than a year ago. If you're among those who got a little (or a lot of) extra cash from your boss, congratulations. Now let's talk taxes. Bonus... Read more →


Cutting the Christmas tree is a family affair at this tree farm. (Photo by Chris Briggs on Unsplash) The first Christmas tree the hubby and I shared was a plastic one. A cheap plastic one. We were newlyweds on a budget, and we couldn't justify spending what even a small real fir cost back then. So we got the artificial tree, trimmed it with our few ornaments, watched the cat find creative ways to attack it (and the items hanging from it), and had a very merry first married Christmas. Our tradition was born. As both our finances and artificial... Read more →


Only 80% of wrongly-claimed Employee Retention Credit amounts must be repaid. Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash We're all aware of the continuing medical issues from long COVID. The coronavirus' tax effects appear to be just as persistent. The Internal Revenue Service is still dealing with law changes enacted to provide pandemic relief. The Employee Retention Credit, or ERC, is one of them. This refundable business tax credit was designed for companies that continued paying employees during the COVID-19 pandemic despite financial hardship. To qualify, the businesses were either fully or partially suspended due to a government order, or had... Read more →


This pup looks like he's asking it it's time to open gifts. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Next Monday morning, Dec. 25, many families will welcome a new member. I'm talking, of course, about a pet. A puppy, kitten, or other pet of any type of age can be a wonderful addition to a home. Pros and cons of pets as presents: But many animal groups and veterinarians warn against giving a pet, especially as a surprise, during the holidays. This already is a stressful time for many, and if everyone who will be involved in the... Read more →