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.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
The Internal Revenue Service today announced important changes to help taxpayers comply with revisions to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program made under the PATH Act of 2015. The changes require some taxpayers to renew their ITINs beginning in October.
The new law will mean ITINs that have not been used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will no longer be valid for use on a tax return unless renewed by the taxpayer. In addition, ITINs issued prior to 2013 that have been used on a federal tax return in the last three years will need to be renewed starting this fall, and the IRS is putting in place a rolling renewal schedule, described below, to assist taxpayers.
If taxpayers have an expired ITIN and don’t renew before filing a tax return next year, they could face a refund delay and may be ineligible for certain tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, until the ITIN is renewed.
Who Has to Renew an ITIN
The IRS emphasizes that no action is needed by ITIN holders if they don’t need to file a tax return next year. There are two key groups of ITIN holders who may need to renew an ITIN so it will be in effect for returns filed in 2017:
- Unused ITINs. ITINs not used on a federal income tax return in the last three years (covering 2013, 2014, or 2015) will no longer be valid to use on a tax return as of Jan. 1, 2017. ITIN holders in this group who need to file a tax return next year will need to renew their ITINs. The renewal period begins Oct. 1, 2016.
- Expiring ITINs. ITINs issued before 2013 will begin expiring this year, and taxpayers will need to renew them on a rolling basis. The first ITINs that will expire under this schedule are those with middle digits of 78 and 79 (Example: 9XX-78-XXXX). The renewal period for these ITINs begins Oct. 1, 2016. The IRS will mail letters to this group of taxpayers starting in August to inform them of the need to renew their ITINs if they need to file a tax return and explain steps they need to take. The schedule for expiration and renewal of ITINs that do not have middle digits of 78 and 79 will be announced at a future date.
How to Renew an ITIN
Only ITIN holders who need to file a tax return need to renew their ITINs. Others do not need to take any action.
Starting Oct. 1, 2016, ITIN holders can begin renewing ITINs that are no longer in effect because of three years of nonuse or that have a middle digit of 78 or 79. To renew an ITIN, taxpayers must complete a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, follow the instructions and include all information and documentation required. To reduce burden on taxpayers, the IRS will not require individuals renewing an ITIN to attach a tax return when submitting their Form W-7. Taxpayers are reminded to use the newest version of the Form W-7 available at the time of renewal which will be posted in September (Use version “Rev. 9-2016”).
There are three methods taxpayers can use to submit their W-7 application package to renew their ITIN. They can:
- Mail their Form W-7 – along with the original identification documents or certified copies by the agency that issued them -- to the IRS address listed on the form (identification documents will be returned within 60 days),
- Use one of the many IRS authorized Certified Acceptance Agents or Acceptance Agents around the country, or
- In advance, call and make an appointment at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in lieu of mailing original identification documents to the IRS.
Other Steps to Help Taxpayers
To make this renewal effort easier and reduce paperwork, the IRS will be offering a family option for ITIN renewal. If any individual having an ITIN middle digit of 78 or 79 receives a renewal letter from the IRS, they can choose to renew the ITINs of all of their family members at the same time rather than doing them separately over several years. Family members include the tax filer, the spouse and any dependents claimed on their tax return.
The IRS is also working closely with a variety of partner and outreach groups to share information about the ITIN changes and help raise awareness about the new guidelines. The IRS will be providing additional information and material to share with these groups and taxpayers in the near future.
New requirement for dependents whose passports do not have a date of entry into the U.S.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2016, the IRS will no longer accept passports that do not have a date of entry into the U.S. as a stand-alone identification document for dependents from countries other than Canada or Mexico or dependents of military members overseas. Affected applicants will now be required to submit either U.S. medical records for dependents under age six or U.S. school records for dependents under age 18, along with the passport. Dependents aged 18 and over can submit a rental or bank statement or a utility bill listing the applicant’s name and U.S. address, along with their passport.
Other information about ITINs
ITINs are for federal tax purposes only and are not intended to serve any other purpose. ITINs that are only used on information returns filed with the IRS by third parties do not need to be renewed. An ITIN does not authorize one to work in the United States or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit. ITINs are not valid identification outside the tax system and do not establish immigration status.
For more information, visit the ITIN information page on IRS.gov.
Monday, August 1, 2016
Usually, profits you earn are taxable. However, if you sell your home, you may not have to pay taxes on the money you gain. Here are ten tips to keep in mind if you sell your home this year.
- Exclusion of Gain. You may be able to exclude part or all of the gain from the sale of your home. This rule may apply if you meet the eligibility test. Parts of the test involve your ownership and use of the home. You must have owned and used it as your main home for at least two out of the five years before the date of sale.
- Exceptions May Apply. There are exceptions to the ownership, use and other rules. One exception applies to persons with a disability. Another applies to certain members of the military. That rule includes certain government and Peace Corps workers. For more on this topic, see Publication 523, Selling Your Home.
- Exclusion Limit. The most gain you can exclude from tax is $250,000. This limit is $500,000 for joint returns. And, the Net Investment Income Tax will not apply to the excluded gain.
- May Not Need to Report Sale. If the gain is not taxable, you may not need to report the sale to the IRS on your tax return.
- When You Must Report the Sale. You must report the sale on your tax return if you can’t exclude all or part of the gain. You must report the sale if you choose not to claim the exclusion. That’s also true if you get Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions. If you report the sale, you should review the Questions and Answers on the Net Investment Income Tax on IRS.gov.
- Exclusion Frequency Limit. Generally, you may exclude the gain from the sale of your main home only once every two years. Some exceptions may apply to this rule.
- Only a Main Home Qualifies. If you own more than one home, you may only exclude the gain on the sale of your main home. Your main home usually is the home that you live in most of the time.
- First-time Homebuyer Credit. If you claimed the first-time homebuyer credit when you bought the home, special rules apply to the sale. For more on those rules, see Publication 523.
- Home Sold at a Loss. If you sell your main home at a loss, you can’t deduct the loss on your tax return.
- Report Your Address Change. After you sell your home and move, update your address with the IRS. To do this, file Form 8822, Change of Address. Mail it to the address listed on the form’s instructions. If you purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should also notify the Marketplace when you move out of the area covered by your current Marketplace plan. Please contact me directly for questions about your individual tax situation.