Tax preparers Feed

UPDATE, Jan. 18, 2021: And the jackpots keep growing. No one has hit all the numbers yet in the two nationwide lotteries. The Powerball payout now is $730 million. Mega Millions rises to $850 million. It's the first time in the games' history that both have topped $700 million. Picking lucky numbers from a lottery game dispenser. More than $1 billion is up for grabs in the two nationwide lotteries. The Powerball jackpot is at $550 million. A solo Mega Millions winner will walk away with $600 million. Since I know you've got your lotteries tickets in hand, here are... Read more →


Photo by Olya Kobruseva via Pexels Happy New Year! Oh, sorry. Was I typing too loud? I'm glad you were able to festively, and I hope safely, ring in 2021. Now that it's here, it also brings a new tax filing season. The Internal Revenue Service's delivery of the second round of COVID-19 relief money shouldn't hamper its handling of 2020 returns, which should officially start later this month. So if the IRS can be ready, so can we. So here are a few tax things to think about and take care of, after, of course, you're fully recovered from... Read more →


Santa Claus, Indiana, is one of many merrily named communities across the country. However, this Christmas-year-round town is the only one with an official U.S. Postal Service Santa postmark. (Photo by tengrrl via Flickr CC) Ho! Ho! Ho! And Merry Christmas Eve from all the holiday themed towns across the United States. There are the municipalities dubbed North Pole in New York, Colorado, Alaska and yes, it's even OK in Oklahoma. For those who revel in the season's greenery we have up the road from me Garland, Texas, as well as virtual forest full of Evergreens. There's an Evergreen in... Read more →


OK, I can't confirm that the Greek dramatist Sophocles said this. But it's on the internet, so…. What is irrefutable is that bad advice is too often given and worse followed, especially when it comes to taxes. (Image by Quote Coyote) That cheering you hear is, well, everyone as 2020 finally is winding down. This mess of a year can't end too soon for most of us. But in our enthusiastic anticipation of the Year of COVID-19, we still must get ready for the upcoming tax season. At the start of the month, I offered some year-end tax moves that... Read more →


We need to follow Santa Claus' example this month. Just as he checks his naughty or nice list, we need to check on tax moves to make by Dec. 31. It's December. 2020 and its craziness is almost over! Are you ready? Specifically, are you ready for the holidays? For those of us still committed to pandemic precautions, it's going to be a different, and yes, a bit less jolly, season. But one thing is the same as in previous Decembers. We still need to make some tax moves before Jan. 1. Some December tax moves will demand a little... Read more →


A VITA volunteer talks with a taxpayer. Check out the IRS' video on VITA and TCE programs for more on them and how you can participate. Every November, millions of Americans take time around Thanksgiving to acknowledge all the things in their lives for which they are grateful. This year, the coronavirus pandemic is affecting not only how we celebrate Turkey Day, but our assessments of our blessings. It's also reshaped how many of us look at ways we can share our good fortunes. One option is donating to charitable groups that can help out those who have fewer thanks... Read more →


Welcome to Part 9 of the ol' blog's series on 2021 tax inflation adjustments. We started with a look at next year's income tax brackets and rates. That first item also has a directory, at the end of the post, of all of next year's tax-related inflation updates. In today's post, we look at taxpayer penalties for filing (and paying) late, assessments on tax pros and how unpaid taxes could limit international travel. Note: The 2021 figures in this post apply to that tax year's returns to be filed in 2022. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2020 amounts that... Read more →


The coronavirus has affected the U.S. Tax Court again. Last week, the federal court that presides over taxpayer disputes with the Internal Revenue Service announced that it was going back to mail and other deliveries only. "Effective Friday, October 30, 2020, and until further notice, the United States Tax Court will be suspending its in-person acceptance of hand-delivered documents," according to a press release by the court. Timely mailings only: The announcement noted that in addition to the "timely mailing" of petitions or notices to "comply with statutory deadlines … of appeal," the Tax Court's eAccess and eFiling systems remain... Read more →


There's been one positive for the Internal Revenue Service this coronavirus-affected tax filing season. The agency says that Free File has hit a record percentage increase in new users. And there's still just more than a week before the partnership between the IRS and tax software manufacturers shuts down on Oct. 16. Free, but previously not that popular: The online tax preparation and e-filing products that, as the Free File moniker indicates, allows eligible filers to complete and electronically transmit their tax returns at no cost, has been available since 2003. However, despite the growing popularity of do-it-yourself tax filing... Read more →


Taxpayers and their tax pros have faced many and new hassles this filing season, primarily because of COVID-19 challenges. Do any of these 2020 tax season situations qualify as an acceptable reason to waive associated filing penalties? Maybe. Technology, and especially tax tech, is great. Until it isn't. That was my reaction when I learned that a lot of tax professionals were left in the lurch yesterday when their tax software provider's e-file system crashed just as they were submitting — or trying to — businesses clients' tax returns that were due Sept. 15. The issue, as you can imagine,... Read more →


Man signing papers (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels.com) The Internal Revenue Service continues to go more digital, at least temporarily to make filings easier as we continue to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Late last month, the IRS announced 10 forms that previously had to be signed in ink on their printed paper version. You can read about this first group of forms to be granted digital signature status in my Aug. 28 post. On Sept. 10, the tax agency added another six forms to the digital signer list. They are: Form 706, U.S. Estate (and... Read more →


COVID-19 has forced taxpayers and their hired preparers to maintain social distance during return completion this year. Electronic tax processes have helped, but some forms require real signatures, meaning in-person contact. Until now. The IRS is temporarily accepting electronic signatures on certain documents that still must be snail mailed. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels.com Some, including me and many in the tax professional community, have long argued that the Internal Revenue Service has been its own worst enemy when it comes to moving the agency into electronic era. Sure, Uncle Sam's tax collector has been encouraging, and in some... Read more →


If tax it the time of coronavirus taught us anything, it's that tax professionals are indispensable. On the heels of getting a handle on the 2017 tax reform changes, tax pros this filing season were handed even more jobs. They helped people understand COVID-19 economic relief payments, what tax tasks were delayed until when and the Paycheck Protection Program. And now, just days after Tax Day 2020 finally came and went, another coronavirus stimulus package, no doubt with more tax implications, is in the works. The bottom line is that tax help from a reputable tax pro is critical, in... Read more →


Image courtesy SimpsonsWorld via Giphy.com Do you remember your first phone number? I'm talking about the one when you were a kid. The one you parents made you memorize in case you needed to call home for any reason. For younger folks, that's not a problem. But when you reach a certain age, not that I'm confessing to any chronologically specific range, those early memories tend to fade. Despite that natural process, some of us still remember our childhood phone numbers. You'll have to trust me on my numerical recall. I'm leery enough of hackers, con artists and other assorted... Read more →


Do you have a big tax bill, but are down to your last bottom dollar? That's the worry of many taxpayers in this coronavirus-affected filing season. But you do have payment options. (Photo by cottonbro via Pexels) Tax Day 2020 is rapidly approaching and a lot of taxpayers are not ready for it. It's not just their Form 1040 filing that's an issue. They are concerned about paying any tax that's also due on this year's July 15 due date that was postponed by coronavirus precautions. The audit defense company TaxAudit reports that more than a third — 37 percent... Read more →


The tax agency has made it clear that the July 15 filing deadline is firm. But you still can get an extension to file, giving you until Oct. 15 to submit your Form 1040. Just ask for it by July 15. Plus, there other filing extension options (and forms on this Tax Form Tuesday!) for other tax circumstances. If you were hoping the Internal Revenue Service would push Tax Day 2020 beyond July 15, sorry. The agency says the already-delayed filing and tax paying deadline for 2019 returns is firm. When the IRS announced that decision late Monday afternoon (or... Read more →


Tax professionals have always played an important role in the lives of taxpayers. Their value has been underscored during coronavirus tax time, with the many new COVID-19 tax laws. (Yes, I'm looking at you Paycheck Protection Program.) But, as with just about every aspect of life, tax preparers aren't perfect. Specifically, some let their own tax tasks slide, according to a recently released Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) review. In reviewing Internal Revenue Service data, TIGTA uncovered 10,495 preparers who prepared more than 2 million 2016 tax year returns for clients, but who but did not file their... Read more →


The law that created coronavirus stimulus payments just took effect yesterday and we're weeks at best from getting actual money. But tax planners have been thinking about COVID-19 tax intricacies since the illness exploded in the middle of this tax season. These payments just add a new tax filing wrinkle, since what we put on our 2019 returns could be a key part in the relief amount's ultimate dollar calculation. Tony Nitti, a CPA and tax partner with RubinBrown in Aspen, Colorado, has a good preview of what our tax filing actions now could mean to our potential coronavirus payments... Read more →


The Senate also addresses this year's tax filing and payment deadline, as well as those for 2020 estimated tax payments, in its coronavirus relief bill. Keep reading for more on this latest change and check out this Q&A for elaboration from the IRS on some specific tax considerations under the new mid-July deadlines. 2019 tax year returns and any due payments now will be due on July 15, 2020, according to a Treasury Department announcement this morning. And yes, I drew that sloppy circle and scribbled the info on my own calendar. I should have had a cup of coffee... Read more →


UPDATE, March 24, 2020: As the coronavirus spread across the United States, the Internal Revenue Service and many associated tax programs have been adversely impacted. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites were among those affected, with most closing earlier this tax season. If COVID-19 conditions improve in some clinic areas before the new July 15 tax filing and payment deadline, some VITA and TCE operations may reopen. Meanwhile, some are offering phone help. Check with your local clinic (details on how to do that in the post below). Volunteer tax preparers help Florida... Read more →