- Read your letter carefully.
- Review the situation to see if you agree with the information in the letter.
- You will need Form 1095-A that you received from your Marketplace to complete your return. If you need a copy of your Form 1095-A, log in to your HealthCare.gov or state Marketplace account or call your Marketplace call center.
- File your 2015 tax return with Form 8962 as soon as possible, even if you are not required to file for other reasons.
- If you have already filed your 2015 tax return with Form 8962, you can disregard the letter.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
File Extended 2015 Tax Returns ASAP To Maintain Eligibility for Advance Payments of the Premium Tax Credit
The IRS is sending letters to taxpayers who received advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2015, but who have not yet filed their tax return. You must file a tax return to reconcile any advance credit payments you received in 2015 and to maintain your eligibility for future premium assistance. If you do not file, you will not be eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2017.
If you receive Letter 5858 or 5862, you are being reminded to file your 2015 federal tax return along with Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit. The letter encourages you to file within 30 days of the date of the letter to substantially increase your chances of avoiding a gap in receiving assistance with paying Marketplace health insurance coverage in 2017.
Here’s what you need to do if you received a 5858 or 5862 letter:
REMEMBER: If you received Premium Tax Credit advance payments, you MUST file a tax return EVEN IF you are not otherwise required to file a return.
Sunday, September 4, 2016
The Internal Revenue Service encourages taxpayers to perform a mid-year tax withholding check-up as several new factors could affect their refunds in 2017. Taking a closer look at the taxes being withheld can help ensure the right amount is withheld, either for tax refund purposes or to avoid an unexpected tax bill next year.
The withholding review takes on even more importance this year given a new tax law change that requires the IRS to hold refunds a few weeks for some early filers in 2017 claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. In addition, the IRS and state tax administrators continue to strengthen identity theft and refund fraud protections, which means some tax returns could again face additional review time next year to protect against fraud.
"With these changes, it makes good sense on many different levels to check on your withholding and plan ahead for next tax season," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "It's a personal choice if you want to have extra money withheld to get a bigger tax refund, but you have options available if you prefer to have a smaller refund next year and more take-home money now."
By adjusting the Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, taxpayers can ensure that the right amount is taken out of their pay throughout the year so that they don’t pay too much tax and have to wait until they file their tax return to get any refund. Employers use the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to be withheld from pay.
Some Refunds Delayed in 2017
When considering refund issues, the IRS wants taxpayers to be aware several factors could affect the timing of their tax refunds next year. A major change will affect some early tax filers claiming two key credits who won't see their refunds until after Feb. 15.
Beginning in 2017, a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund – even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC -- until at least Feb. 15. This change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the agency more time to help detect and prevent fraud.
As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns once the filing season begins. All taxpayers should file as usual, and tax return preparers should also submit returns as they normally do. Even though the IRS cannot issue refunds for some early filers until at least Feb. 15, the IRS reminds taxpayers that most refunds will still be issued within the normal timeframe: 21 days or less, after being accepted for processing by the IRS.
''This is an important change to be aware of for some taxpayers used to getting an early refund," Koskinen said. "We'll be focusing on awareness of this change throughout the fall, but it's important for taxpayers who might be affected by this to be aware of the change for their planning purposes. Although we still expect to issue most refunds within 21 days, we don't want people caught by surprise if they get their refund a few weeks later than previous years."
Stronger Security Filters and Tax Refund Processing
As the IRS steps up its efforts to combat identity theft and tax refund fraud through its many processing filters, legitimate refund returns sometimes get delayed. While the IRS is working diligently to stop fraudulent refunds from being issued, it is also focused on releasing legitimate refunds as quickly as possible.
The agency encourages taxpayers to check their tax withholding now. Whether they prefer more earned money during the year or a large refund, checking withholding can ensure people don’t receive an unexpected tax bill next year. Making these checks in the late summer or early fall can give taxpayers enough time to adjust their withholdings before the tax year ends in December.
Changes in Circumstances and Advance Premium Tax Credits
There are also some important reminders for taxpayers who receive advance payments of the Premium Tax Credit under the Affordable Care Act.
People who have advance payments of the premium tax credit made to their insurance company on their behalf should report life changes to their Marketplace. Changes in circumstances that should be reported include moving to a new address and changes to income or family size. Reporting these changes will help individuals avoid large differences between the advance credit payments and the amount of the premium tax credit allowed on their tax return, which may affect their refund or balance due.
Making a Withholding Adjustment
In many cases, a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, is all that is needed to make an adjustment. Taxpayers submit it to their employer, and the employer uses the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to be withheld from pay
The IRS offers several online resources to help taxpayers bring taxes paid closer to what is owed. They are available anytime on IRS.gov. They include:
- IRS Withholding Calculator – Online tool helps determine the correct amount of tax to withhold.
- IRS Publication 505 – Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.
- Tax Withholding – Complete information on withholding, estimated taxes, FAQs, more.
Self-employed taxpayers, including those involved in the sharing economy, can use the Form 1040-ES worksheet to correctly figure their estimated tax payments. If they also work for an employer, they can often forgo making these quarterly payments by instead having more tax taken out of their pay.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
The Internal Revenue Service today provided a self-certification procedure designed to help recipients of retirement plan distributions who inadvertently miss the 60-day time limit for properly rolling these amounts into another retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA).
In Revenue Procedure 2016-47, posted today on IRS.gov, the IRS explained how eligible taxpayers, encountering a variety of mitigating circumstances, can qualify for a waiver of the 60-day time limit and avoid possible early distribution taxes. In addition, the revenue procedure includes a sample self-certification letter that a taxpayer can use to notify the administrator or trustee of the retirement plan or IRA receiving the rollover that they qualify for the waiver.
Normally, an eligible distribution from an IRA or workplace retirement plan can only qualify for tax-free rollover treatment if it is contributed to another IRA or workplace plan by the 60th day after it was received. In most cases, taxpayers who fail to meet the time limit could only obtain a waiver by requesting a private letter ruling from the IRS.
A taxpayer who missed the time limit will now ordinarily qualify for a waiver if one or more of 11 circumstances, listed in the revenue procedure, apply to them. They include a distribution check that was misplaced and never cashed, the taxpayer’s home was severely damaged, a family member died, the taxpayer or a family member was seriously ill, the taxpayer was incarcerated or restrictions were imposed by a foreign country.
Ordinarily, the IRS and plan administrators and trustees will honor a taxpayer’s truthful self-certification that they qualify for a waiver under these circumstances. Moreover, even if a taxpayer does not self-certify, the IRS now has the authority to grant a waiver during a subsequent examination. Other requirements, along with a copy of a sample self-certification letter, can be found in the revenue procedure.
The IRS encourages eligible taxpayers wishing to transfer retirement plan or IRA distributions to another retirement plan or IRA to consider requesting that the administrator or trustee make a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer, rather than doing a rollover. Doing so can avoid some of the delays and restrictions that often arise during the rollover process. For more information about rollovers and transfers, check out the Can You Move Retirement Plan Assets? section in Publication 590-A or the Rollovers of Retirement Plan and IRA Distributions page on IRS.gov.
Friday, August 26, 2016
If you are looking for a job in the same line of work, you may be able to deduct some of your job search costs. Here are some key tax facts you should know about when searching for a new job:
- Same Occupation. Your expenses must be for a job search in your current line of work. You can’t deduct expenses for a job search in a new occupation.
- Résumé Costs. You can deduct the cost of preparing and mailing your résumé.
- Travel Expenses. If you travel to look for a new job, you may be able to deduct the cost of the trip. To deduct the cost of the travel to and from the area, the trip must be mainly to look for a new job. You may still be able to deduct some costs if looking for a job is not the main purpose of the trip.
- Placement Agency. You can deduct some job placement agency fees you pay to look for a job.
- First Job. You can’t deduct job search expenses if you’re looking for a job for the first time.
- Time Between Jobs. You can’t deduct job search expenses if there was a long break between the end of your last job and the time you began looking for a new one.
- Reimbursed Costs. Reimbursed expenses are not deductible.
- Schedule A. You normally deduct your job search expenses on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Claim them as a miscellaneous deduction. You can deduct the total miscellaneous deductions that are more than two percent of your adjusted gross income.
- Premium Tax Credit. If you receive advance payments of the premium tax credit, it is important that you report changes in circumstances – such as changes in your income, a change in eligibility for other coverage, or a change of address – to your Health Insurance Marketplace. Advance payments are paid directly to your insurance company and lower the out-of-pocket cost for your health insurance premiums. Reporting changes will help you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance so you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance.
For more on job hunting refer to Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions. You can get IRS tax forms and publications on IRS.gov/forms at any time.
IRS YouTube Videos:
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
If you are divorcing or recently divorced, taxes may be the last thing on your mind. However, these events can have a big impact on your wallet. Alimony and a name or address change are just a few items you may need to consider. Here are some key tax tips to keep in mind:
- Child Support. Child support payments are not deductible and if you received child support, it is not taxable.
- Alimony Paid. You can deduct alimony paid to or for a spouse or former spouse under a divorce or separation decree, regardless of whether you itemize deductions. Voluntary payments made outside a divorce or separation decree are not deductible. You must enter your spouse's Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number on your Form 1040 when you file.
- Alimony Received. If you get alimony from your spouse or former spouse, it is taxable in the year you get it. Alimony is not subject to tax withholding so you may need to increase the tax you pay during the year to avoid a penalty. To do this, you can make estimated taxpayments or increase the amount of tax withheld from your wages.
- Spousal IRA. If you get a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance by the end of your tax year, you can’t deduct contributions you make to your former spouse's traditional IRA. You may be able to deduct contributions you make to your own traditional IRA.
- Name Changes. If you change your name after your divorce, be sure to notify the Social Security Administration. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get the form on SSA.gov or call 800-772-1213 to order it. The name on your tax return must match SSA records. A name mismatch can cause problems in the processing of your return and may delay your refund. Health Care Law Considerations.
- Special Marketplace Enrollment Period. If you lose health insurance coverage due to divorce, you are still required to have coverage for every month of the year for yourself and the dependents you can claim on your tax return. You may enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace during a Special Enrollment Period, if you lose coverage due to a divorce.
- Changes in Circumstances. If you purchase health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may get advance payments of the premium tax credit. If you do, you should report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace throughout the year. These changes include a change in marital status, a name change, a change of address, and a change in your income or family size. Reporting these changes will help make sure that you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance. This will also help you avoid getting too much or too little credit in advance.
- Shared Policy Allocation. If you divorced or are legally separated during the tax year and are enrolled in the same qualified health plan, you and your former spouse must allocate policy amounts on your separate tax returns to figure your premium tax credit and reconcile any advance payments made on your behalf. Publication 974, Premium Tax Credit, has more information about the Shared Policy Allocation. For more on this topic, see Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals. You can get it on IRS.gov/forms at any time.
Additional IRS Resources:
- Publications 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)
- Publication 555, Community Property
- Publication 974, Premium Tax Credit
- Publication 5152: Report changes to the Marketplace as they happen –English | Spanish
IRS YouTube Videos:
Friday, August 19, 2016
Did you move due to a change in your job or business location? If so, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses, except for meals. Here are the top tax tips for moving expenses.
In order to deduct moving expenses, your move must meet three requirements:
- The move must closely relate to the start of work. Generally, you can consider moving expenses within one year of the date you start work at a new job location. Additional rules apply to this requirement.
- Your move must meet the distance test. Your new main job location must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job location. For example, if your old job was three miles from your old home, your new job must be at least 53 miles from your old home.
- You must meet the time test. After the move, you must work full-time at your new job for at least 39 weeks in the first year. If you’re self-employed, you must meet this test and work full-time for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first two years at your new job site. If your income tax return is due before you’ve met this test, you can still deduct moving expenses if you expect to meet it.
See Publication 521, Moving Expenses, for more information about these rules. It’s available on IRS.gov/forms anytime.
If you can claim this deduction, here are a few more tips from the IRS:
- Travel. You can deduct transportation and lodging expenses for yourself and household members while moving from your old home to your new home. You cannot deduct your travel meal costs.
- Household goods and utilities. You can deduct the cost of packing, crating and shipping your things. You may be able to include the cost of storing and insuring these items while in transit. You can deduct the cost of connecting or disconnecting utilities.
- Nondeductible expenses. You cannot deduct as moving expenses any part of the purchase price of your new home, the cost of selling a home or the cost of entering into or breaking a lease. See Publication 521 for a complete list.
- Reimbursed expenses. If your employer later pays you for the cost of a move that you deducted on your tax return, you may need to include the payment as income. You report any taxable amount on your tax return in the year you get the payment.
- Address Change. When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Post Office. To notify the IRS file Form 8822, Change of Address.
Premium Tax Credit – Changes in Circumstances.
If you or anyone in your family purchased health coverage through the Marketplace and had advance payments of the premium tax credit paid in advance to your insurance company to lower your monthly premiums, it is important to report life changes to the Marketplace when they happen. Moving to a new address is one change you should report. Other things to report include changes in your income, employment, family size, and gaining or losing eligibility for other coverage. Reporting life changes as they happen allows the Marketplace to adjust your advance credit payments. This will help you avoid a smaller refund or unexpectedly owing taxes when you file your tax return.
Additional IRS Resources:
- Publication 5152: Report changes to the Marketplace as they happen English | Spanish
- Can I Deduct My Moving Expenses? – Interactive Tax Assistant tool
- Tax Topic 455 – Moving Expenses
- Form 3903, Moving Expenses
IRS YouTube Videos:
- Moving Expenses – English | Spanish | ASL
- Premium Tax Credit: Changes in Circumstances – English | Spanish |ASL
Friday, August 5, 2016
The Internal Revenue Service today reminded owners of heavy highway vehicles that in most cases their next federal highway use tax return is due Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016.
The deadline generally applies to Form 2290 and the accompanying tax payment for the tax year that begins July 1, 2016, and ends June 30, 2017. Returns must be filed and tax payments made by Aug. 31 for vehicles used on the road during July. For vehicles first used after July, the deadline is the last day of the month following the month of first use.
Though some taxpayers have the option of filing Form 2290 on paper, the IRS encourages all taxpayers to take advantage of the speed and convenience of filing this form electronically and paying any tax due electronically. Taxpayers reporting 25 or more vehicles must e-file. You can find a list of IRS-approved e-file providers on IRS.gov.
The highway use tax applies to highway motor vehicles with a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more. This generally includes trucks, truck tractors and buses. Ordinarily, vans, pick-ups and panel trucks are not taxable because they fall below the 55,000-pound threshold. The tax of up to $550 per vehicle is based on weight, and a variety of special rules apply, explained in the instructions to Form 2290.
Truckers do not need to visit an IRS office to e-file Form 2290. You can electronically file the Form 2290 and pay any Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax due online. Find an approved provider for Form 2290 on the 2290 e-file partner’s page. Generally, if you e-file Form 2290, you can receive your IRS-stamped Schedule 1 electronically minutes after e-filing. You can print your Schedule 1 and provide it to your state Department of Motor Vehicles without visiting an IRS office. If you choose to visit your local office, be aware that many Taxpayer Assistance Centers now operate by scheduled appointments. Use theTaxpayer Assistance Center Office Locator to see if your local office will require an appointment.
For more information about the highway use tax, visit the Trucking Tax Centerat IRS.gov/truckers.