IRS seeks volunteers for free tax help programs in Wood County

Most volunteer tax preparation sites will operate from mid-January through mid-April 2016.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Internal Revenue Service seeks local volunteers to assist low-income families and individuals as well as seniors to file their 2016 tax returns and claim qualifying, valuable tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free preparation of federal income tax returns to taxpayers with annual incomes up to $53,000. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax preparation and filing services with a focus on seniors age 65 and older.  AARP’s Tax-Aide program is the IRS’s major partner for its TCE program, both locally and nationwide.

Most volunteer tax preparation sites will operate from mid-January through mid-April 2016. Some sites will remain open beyond the April 18, 2016 tax return filing deadline.

Volunteers join a program that has helped millions of people file tax returns at no charge for more than 40 years. No experience is required. Volunteers receive training on income tax preparation from IRS-certified instructors or via online courses. Volunteers are certified upon successful completion of the required training.

“VITA and TCE volunteers are friends and neighbors helping friends and neighbors in Wood County and across the state and nation,” said Jennifer Jenkins, IRS spokesperson for Ohio.  “We’re fortunate to have dedicated volunteers with partner organizations who come back year after year to support the VITA and TCE programs.  Each year, though, we lose some volunteers to relocation, medical or other reasons.  Sustaining 2015 volunteer levels would be great, but it would be even better if in 2016 the volunteer levels and number of taxpayers helped could grow.”

To become a VITA or TCE volunteer or to find out more, visit IRS.gov and type “tax volunteer” in the search box. Prospective VITA volunteers must submit their volunteer interest information on IRS.gov at IRS Tax Volunteers.  Those seeking to assist with AARP’s Tax-Aide program can get more information on the AARP website at http://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/info-2006/volunteer_aarp_tax_aide.html.  Volunteers can connect with the VITA coordinator for Wood County, Landyn Jordan, at (419) 254-4689 or landyn.jordan@unitedwaytoledo.org.

 

IRS: Thousands now use IRS Direct Pay to make tax payments from home

Introduced in 2014, more than a million tax payments have already been made through the IRS Direct Pay system……

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Thousands of taxpayers are now using IRS Direct Pay, the web-based system on IRS.gov which lets taxpayers pay their tax bills or make estimated tax payments directly from checking or savings accounts without fees or pre-registration.

“If you’ve got internet access at home, why travel and possibly wait in line at an IRS office to pay a tax bill?  You can make your payment online using IRS Direct Pay,” said Jennifer Jenkins, IRS spokesperson for Ohio.  “Direct Pay is one of the many self-help online resources and tools available to taxpayers at the IRS website, IRS.gov.”

Introduced in 2014, more than a million tax payments have already been made through the IRS Direct Pay system. With IRS Direct Pay, taxpayers receive instant confirmation that the payment has been submitted, and the system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Bank account information is not retained in IRS systems after payments are made.

From the “Pay Your Tax Bill” icon at the top of the IRS home page, taxpayers can access IRS Direct Pay, which walks the taxpayer through five simple steps. The steps include providing tax information, verifying identity, entering payment information, reviewing and electronically signing, and recording online confirmation.

Jenkins said IRS Direct Pay offers 30-day advance payment scheduling, payment rescheduling or cancellations, and a payment status search. Direct Pay cannot be used to pay business taxes. Taxpayers who wish to e-pay their federal business taxes should enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or click on the Pay Your Tax Bill icon on IRS.gov to check out other payment options.

IRS reminds parents, students about education tax credits

The IRS reminds students to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid website to import tax return information to their financial aid application……

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Internal Revenue Service today reminded Ohio parents and students that now is a good time to check eligibility for either of two education tax credits for their 2015 federal income tax returns.

Generally, the American Opportunity Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit is available to taxpayers who pay qualifying expenses for an eligible student. Eligible students include the taxpayer, spouse and dependents. The AOTC provides a credit for each eligible student, while the LLC provides a maximum credit per tax return.

 

In tax year 2013, almost 368,500 Ohio taxpayers claimed the AOTC, worth more than $344 million on their taxes. More than 366,000 Ohio taxpayers claimed the LLC, resulting in $415 million in tax savings.

 

Nationally, 10.2 million taxpayers claimed the AOTC while 10 million claimed the LLC in 2013. Both credits combined helped taxpayers offset higher education costs by $19.6 billion.

 

Other key points:

  • Although some may qualify for both credits, only one credit may be claimed per student per year.
  • File IRS Form 1040 or 1040A and complete Form 8863, Education Credits, to claim either credit.
  • The AOTC and LLC apply to eligible students enrolled in an eligible college, university or vocational school, including both nonprofit and for-profit institutions.
  • The credits are subject to income limits that could reduce the allowable amount claimed.

 

“Many of those eligible for the American Opportunity Tax Credit qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student for the cost of tuition, fees and course materials paid during the tax year,” said Jennifer Jenkins, IRS spokesperson for Ohio. “Since up to $1,000 is refundable, you may qualify for the credit even if you owe no tax.”

 

The LLC of up to $2,000 per tax return is generally available for both qualifying graduate and undergraduate expenses. Unlike the AOTC, the limit on the LLC applies to each tax return, rather than to each student. The LLC does not provide a benefit to people who owe no tax.

 

The IRS reminds students to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid website to import tax return information to their financial aid application. The temporary shutdown of the Get Transcript tool does not affect FAFSA’s IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Applicants may also click on FAFSA’s help page for more information.

 

To help determine eligibility for these benefits and for complete details on all of the tax benefits for education, visit the Education Credits Web page or use the IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant tool. Both are available on IRS.gov.

IRS Reminds Truckers: For Most, Highway Use Tax Return is due Aug. 31

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……

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded truckers and other owners of heavy highway vehicles that in most cases their next federal highway use tax return is due Monday, Aug. 31, 2015.

 

The deadline generally applies to Form 2290 and the accompanying tax payment for the tax year that begins July 1, 2015, and ends June 30, 2016. 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. A list of IRS-approved e-file providers can be found 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.

 

For more information, visit the Trucking Tax Center.

IRS Warns Taxpayers to Guard Against New Tricks by Scam Artists

Losses Top $20 Million……

WASHINGTON — Following the emergence of new variations of widespread tax scams, the Internal Revenue Service today issued another warning to taxpayers to remain on high alert and protect themselves against the ever-evolving array of deceitful tactics scammers use to trick people.

These schemes – which can occur over the phone, in e-mails or through letters with authentic looking letterhead – try to trick taxpayers into providing personal financial information or scare people into making a false tax payment that ends up with the criminal.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of roughly 600,000 contacts since October 2013. TIGTA is also aware of more than 4,000 victims who have collectively reported over $20 million in financial losses as a result of tax scams.

“We continue to see these aggressive tax scams across the country,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said.  “Scam artists specialize in being deceptive and fooling people. The IRS urges taxpayers to be extra cautious and think twice before answering suspicious phone calls, emails or letters.”

Scammers posing as IRS agents first targeted those they viewed as most vulnerable, such as older Americans, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English. These criminals have expanded their net and are now targeting virtually anyone.

In a new variation, scammers alter what appears on your telephone caller ID to make it seem like they are with the IRS or another agency such as the Department of Motor Vehicles. They use fake names, titles and badge numbers. They use online resources to get your name, address and other details about your life to make the call sound official. They even go as far as copying official IRS letterhead for use in email or regular mail.

Brazen scammers will even provide their victims with directions to the nearest bank or business where the victim can obtain a means of payment such as a debit card. And in another new variation of these scams, con artists may then provide an actual IRS address where the victim can mail a receipt for the payment – all in an attempt to make the scheme look official.

The most common theme with these tricks seems to be fear. Scammers try to scare people into reacting immediately without taking a moment to think through what is actually happening.

These scam artists often angrily threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation or other similarly unpleasant things. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests, sometimes through “robo-calls,” via phone or email. The emails will often contain a fake IRS document with a telephone number or email address for your reply.

It is important to remember the official IRS website is IRS.gov. Taxpayers are urged not to be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov.  Taxpayers should never provide personal information, financial or otherwise, to suspicious websites or strangers calling out of the blue.

 

Below are five things scammers often do that the real IRS would never do:

The IRS will never:

  • Angrily demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Here’s what you should do if you think you’re the target of an IRS impersonation scam:

  • If you actually do owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or do not immediately believe that you do, you can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484.
  • If you’ve been targeted by any scam, be sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Compliant Assistant at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

For more information on reporting tax scams, go to IRS.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

 

Tax scams harder to identify

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert today to help taxpayers protect themselves from scammers posing as IRS employees.

 

“If you receive a threatening call out of the blue from someone who says you must pay your IRS tax bill immediately or else — assume it’s a scam,” said IRS spokesman Jennifer Jenkins.  “Bona fide IRS collections staff advise taxpayers of their right to challenge or appeal a tax bill. An IRS employee should not demand immediate payment using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer, either. Instead, he or she should offer several payment options, to include an installment plan.”

 

The IRS says as more people have learned of the scam calls, criminals have started mailing, faxing or emailing falsified forms, notices and letters to taxpayers.

 

“The phone scam remains a threat, but taxpayers need to know that the phone scam isn’t the only game that scammers are playing this summer,” Jenkins said. “Lately, they’re sending fake documents by mail and electronically to trick taxpayers into sending money or ‘verifying’ personal information that is then used to commit tax refund fraud.”

 

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. “Each year, thousands of taxpayers report they’ve received emails claiming to be from the IRS.  Don’t reply, open any attachments or click on any links. Instead, forward the email to phishing@irs.gov and then delete it,” Jenkins said.

 

The IRS advises taxpayers to scrutinize any written correspondence received. “Just because the IRS website address is listed on a letter or fax, that’s no guarantee that what you’ve received is legit,” said Jenkins. Fraudsters have been known to modify legitimate IRS letters. Taxpayers who receive a suspicious-looking letter, notice or form via mail or fax from the IRS should go to the IRS home page and search on the letter, notice or form number. Information can also be found at Understanding Your Notice or Letter or by searching Forms and Pubs.

 

“If the letter or fax is really from the IRS, you’ll find instructions on how to respond to it on the IRS website. If you don’t find information about your IRS notice on IRS.gov, or if the instructions in your notice and the IRS website don’t mesh, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. If you determine that the notice you received is not legitimate, contact TIGTA and report the scam attempt to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov,” Jenkins said.

 

More information on reporting tax scams is available at IRS.gov. Additional tax scam information is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube and Tumblr.

For Small Business Week, IRS Features Popular Products for Entrepreneurs

Highlights for National Small Business Week, May 4 to 8….

WASHINGTON —The Internal Revenue Service is marking National Small Business Week, May 4 to 8, by featuring some of its most popular educational products for small business owners and self-employed individuals.

The products include webinars and videos on the IRS video portal at www.irsvideos.gov. Check out the special tab for Small Business Week to find a selection of webinars on topics viewed by thousands including:

  • Business Use of Your Home

Find out what kinds of deductions are allowable for a home office and what’s not. Learn about a simplified method for figuring the home office deduction.

  • Avoiding the Biggest Tax Mistakes

Learn about available tax benefits and how best to avoid common mistakes small business owners make.

  • Depreciation Basics

Depreciation is a deduction that allows a taxpayer to recover the cost or other basis of certain business property. This video will help Individual taxpayers and small business owners properly claim this deduction.

  • Child and Daycare Provider Tax Compliance

Learn how to report correctly common tax items associated with owning a child or day care business.

  • Navigating the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center

Everything a business owner needs to know about accessing the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center  is in this video containing screen shots and helpful navigational tools and tips.

This complete online resource features links to a variety of useful tools, including Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop, common forms and their instructions and help on everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number online to how to engage with the IRS in the event of an audit. Also, link to a list of free local workshops and events.

 

In addition, check out these pages on IRS.gov 24/7:

  • The Self-Employed Individuals Tax Center is for sole proprietors and others who are in business for themselves. This site has many useful tips and references to the tax rules that a self-employed person may need to know.
  • The Online Learning and Educational Products page has tools to help taxpayers learn about taxes on their own time, and at their own pace. For example, the IRS Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed has important tax dates for businesses. Download the CalendarConnector tool to  get the dates even when offline.
  • e-News for Small Businesses is a free electronic mail service providing tax information for small business owners and self-employed individuals.
  • SSA/IRS Reporter is a quarterly, online-only publication for businesses, payroll professionals and others who deal with payroll taxes and employee issues.

The IRS YouTube video channel also offers videos for small businesses including:

  • IRS Online Tax Calendar
  • Simplified Home Office Deduction
  • Employer Identification Number

IRS: Last-Minute Filing Tips

WASHINGTON — With the April 15 deadline fast approaching, the Internal Revenue Service today offered taxpayers still working on their 2014 taxes a number of tips designed to help them avoid common errors that could delay their refunds  or  cause other tax problems in the future.

 

First and foremost, the IRS encouraged taxpayers to file electronically. Doing so, whether through e-file or IRS Free File, vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. And best of all, there is a free option for everyone. Whether filing electronically or on paper, be sure to make a copy of the return.  In addition, the IRS offers these last-minute tips:

 

Check Out Tax Benefits

 

Before filing, the IRS encourages taxpayers to take a moment to see if they qualify for these and other often-overlooked credits and deductions:

 

  • Benefits for low-and moderate-income workers and families, especially the Earned Income Tax Credit. The special EITC Assistant can help taxpayers see if they’re eligible.
  • Savers credit, claimed on Form 8880, for low-and moderate-income workers who contributed to a retirement plan, such as an IRA or 401(k).
  • American Opportunity Tax Credit, claimed on Form 8863, and other education tax benefits for parents and college students. Because limits and special rules apply to each of these benefits, the agency’s Interactive Tax Assistant, available on IRS.gov, can be a very useful tool.

 

Health Care Tax Reporting

 

While most taxpayers will simply need to check a box on their tax return to indicate they had health coverage for all of 2014, there are also new lines on Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ related to the health care law. Visit IRS.gov/aca for details on how the Affordable Care Act affects the 2014 return. This includes:

 

  • Reporting health insurance coverage.
  • Claiming an exemption from the coverage requirement.
  • Making an individual shared responsibility payment.
  • Claiming the premium tax credit.
  • Reconciling advance payments of the premium tax credit.

 

The Interactive Tax Assistant tool can also help.

 

Make the Right IRA Contribution

 

Eligible taxpayers have until April 15 to contribute to either a Roth or traditional individual retirement arrangement (IRA) for 2014. A six percent excise tax applies if a taxpayer contributes more than the law allows. Publication 590-A Describes the limits in detail and includes examples.

 

Gifts to Charity

 

A new law gives taxpayers the option of claiming on their 2014 return cash contributions made by April 15 to charities aiding the families of two slain New York police officers. Details are on IRS.gov.

 

If claiming a charitable contribution deduction, use the IRS Select Check tool to see if a charity is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. For donations of $250 or more, taxpayers must obtain a written acknowledgment from the charity before filing a return.

IRS Publication 526  has further details on making gifts to charity, including records to keep. In addition, special reporting requirements generally apply to vehicle donations, and taxpayers wishing to claim these donations must attach any required documents to their return.

 

Refunds

 

Most taxpayers claiming refunds now choose to receive them by direct deposit. A taxpayer can choose to deposit a refund in a single account at a bank or other financial institution or allocate it among as many as two or three accounts. See Form 8888 for details.

 

To avoid a refund delay or misrouting to a wrong account, make sure the financial institution routing and account numbers entered on the return are accurate. After filing, whether or not direct deposit was chosen, track the status of a refund with the Where’s My Refund? tool on IRS.gov or IRS2Go.

 

Special Instructions for Paper Filers

 

Math errors and other mistakes are common on paper returns, especially those prepared or filed in haste at the last minute. These tips may help those choosing this option:

 

  • Fill in all requested Taxpayer Identification Numbers, usually Social Security Numbers, such as those for any dependents claimed. Check only one filing status and the appropriate exemption boxes.
  • When using the tax tables, be sure to use the correct row and column for   the filing status claimed and taxable income amount shown.
  • Sign and date the return. If filing a joint return, both spouses must sign.
  • Attach all required forms and schedules, such as Schedule A for people who itemize their deductions. In addition, attach to the front of the return all Forms W-2 and other forms reflecting withholding.
  • Mail the return to the right address. Check Where to File on IRS.gov or the last page of the tax instructions. If mailing on Wednesday, April 15, be sure to do so early enough to meet the scheduled pick-up time and ensure a postmark before the midnight deadline.

 

Need More Time to File?

 

Avoid a late-filing penalty by requesting a tax-filing extension. There are several ways to do so, including through the Free File link on IRS.gov, or by designating a payment as an extension payment and making it via one of the IRS e-payment methods, including the newest, IRS Direct PayAlternatively, taxpayers can file Form 4868. While an extension grants additional time to file, tax payments are still due April 15.

 

Owe tax?

 

If so, use IRS Direct Pay or any of several other e-payment options. They are secure and easy and you receive immediate confirmation of your payment. Or, send a check or money order payable to the “United States Treasury,” along with a Form 1040-V payment voucher. Taxpayers who can’t pay by April 15 often qualify to set up a monthly payment agreement with the IRS using the Online Payment Agreement option on IRS.gov.

 

For further help and resources, check out the IRS Services Guide.

IRS: 2 out of 3 Taxpayers Have Already Filed

Use Free File or Direct Pay to Get a 6-Month Tax-Filing Extension; E-Pay and Payment Agreement Options Available on IRS.gov……

IRS YouTube Videos:
Need More Time to File Your Tax Return? English | Spanish | ASL
IRS Tax Payment Options English | Spanish | ASL 

Podcasts:
IRS Tax Payment Options English | Spanish

 

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that quick and easy solutions are available if they can’t file their returns or pay their taxes on time, and they can even ask for an extension, make a payment or request payment options online at IRS.gov.

Most taxpayers have already filed their 2014 returns. Figures released today show that as of April 3, the IRS had already received just over 99 million returns and issued more than 77 million refunds averaging over $2,800.

For those who have yet to file, the IRS says don’t panic. Tax-filing extensions are available to taxpayers who need more time to finish their returns. Remember, this is an extension of time to file; not an extension of time to pay. However, taxpayers who are having trouble paying what they owe may qualify for payment plans and other relief.

Either way, taxpayers will avoid stiff penalties if they file either a regular income tax return or a request for a tax-filing extension by this year’s April 15 deadline. While taxpayers should pay as much as they can to minimize any penalties and interest, they should always file even if they can’t pay the full amount due. Here are further details on the options available.

More Time to File

People who haven’t finished filling out their return can get an automatic six-month extension. The fastest and easiest way to get the extra time is through the Free File link on IRS.gov. In a matter of minutes, anyone, regardless of income, can use this free service to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension on Form 4868.

Filing this form gives taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file a return. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and should also pay any amount due.

By properly filing this form, a taxpayer will avoid the late-filing penalty, normally five percent per month based on the unpaid balance that applies to returns filed after the deadline. In addition, any payment made with an extension request will reduce or eliminate interest and late-payment penalties that apply to payments made after
April 15. The interest rate is currently three percent per year, compounded daily, and the late-payment penalty is normally 0.5 percent per month.

Besides Free File, taxpayers can choose to request an extension through a paid tax preparer, using tax-preparation software or by filing a paper Form 4868, available on IRS.gov. Of the nearly13 million extension forms received by the IRS last year, almost 8 million were filed electronically.

Those who owe taxes and need a tax-filing extension can get a two-for-one deal. Use IRS Direct Pay or one of the other electronic payment options to pay by April 15 the estimated amount of tax owed, designate the payment as an extension payment, and the IRS will count that as a validly-requested extension – no need to separately file a Form 4868.

Some taxpayers get more time to file without having to ask for it. These include:

  • Taxpayers abroad. U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work abroad, as well as members of the military on duty outside the U.S., have until June 15 to file. Tax payments are still due April 15.
  • Members of the military and others serving in Afghanistan or other combat zone Typically, taxpayers can wait until at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file returns and pay any taxes due. For details, see Extensions of Deadlines in Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide.
  • People affected by certain recent natural disasters.

Easy Ways to E-Pay

Taxpayers who owe taxes can now choose among several quick and easy e-pay options, including the newest and easiest, IRS Direct Pay. Again, making a payment through one of these electronic options and designating it as an extension payment counts as filing for an extension. Available options include:

  • Direct Pay. Available at IRS.gov/directpay, this free online tool allows individuals to securely pay their income tax directly from checking or savings accounts without any fees or pre-registration. No need to write a check, buy a stamp or find a mailbox. Payments can even be scheduled up to 30 days in advance, and the tool is available round the clock. Any taxpayer who uses the tool receives instant confirmation that their payment was submitted. More than 3.5 million tax payments totaling more than $7.2 billion have been received from individual taxpayers since Direct Pay debuted during last year’s tax-filing season.
  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. This free service gives taxpayers a safe and convenient way to pay individual and business taxes online or by phone. Pre-registration is required. To enroll or for more information, visit gov or call 800-316-6541.
  • Electronic funds withdrawal. E-file and e-pay from a checking or savings account in a single step.
  • Credit or debit card. Both paper and electronic filers can pay their taxes online or by phone through any of several authorized credit and debit card processors. Though the IRS does not charge a fee for this service, the card processors do. For taxpayers who itemize their deductions, these convenience fees can be claimed on Schedule A Line 23.

Taxpayers who choose to pay by check or money order should make the payment out to the “United States Treasury.” Write “2014 Form 1040,” name, address, daytime phone number and Social Security number on the front of the check or money order. To help ensure that the payment is credited promptly, also enclose a Form 1040-V payment voucher.

More Time to Pay

Taxpayers who have finished their returns should file by the regular April 15 deadline, even if they can’t pay the full amount due. In many cases, those struggling with unpaid taxes qualify for one of several relief programs, including the following:

  • Most people can set up a payment agreement with the IRS online in a matter of minutes. Those who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement to set up a monthly payment agreement for up to 72 months. Taxpayers can choose this option even if they have not yet received a bill or notice from the IRS. With the Online Payment Agreement, no paperwork is required, there is no need to call, write or visit the IRS and qualified taxpayers can avoid the filing of a Notice of Federal Tax Lien if one was not previously filed. Alternatively, taxpayers can request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465. This form can be downloaded from IRS.gov and mailed along with a tax return, bill or notice.
  • Some struggling taxpayers may qualify for anOffer in Compromise. This is an agreement with the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. The IRS looks at the taxpayer’s income and assets to make a determination regarding the taxpayer’s ability to pay. To help determine eligibility, individuals can use theOffer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier, a free online tool available on IRS.gov.

Details on all filing and payment options are on IRS.gov.

2014 FILING SEASON STATISTICS
Cumulative statistics comparing 4/04/14 and 4/03/15
Individual Income Tax Returns:20142015% change
Total Receipts99,848,00099,055,000-0.8
Total Processed98,170,00096,992,000-1.2
E-filing Receipts:
TOTAL90,306,00090,608,0000.3
Tax Professionals54,295,00052,963,000-2.5
Self-prepared36,011,00037,645,0004.5
Web Usage:
Visits to IRS.gov234,510,211262,053,51211.7
Total Refunds:
Number78,769,00077,200,000-2.0
Amount$219.936Billion$217.351Billion-1.2
Average refund$2,792$2,8150.8
Direct Deposit Refunds:
Number65,326,00066,179,0001.3
Amount$190.934Billion$197.125Billion3.2
Average refund$2,923$2,9791.9

IRS: Don’t be Fooled

Phone Scams Continue to be Serious Threat Nationwide

WASHINGTON — As April 15th approaches, the IRS warns taxpayers not to be fooled by the tricks scammers use to take advantage of those they target. Scammers use fake names, provide bogus IRS badge numbers and alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS is calling.

 

With the final two weeks of the filing season about to begin and millions preparing their returns, taxpayers should be alert.

 

“This is no April Fool’s joke. Everyone should be on the lookout for threatening calls from people faking IRS phone numbers and demands for immediate payment,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “These are scams. I urge taxpayers to stay vigilant and remain aware of the constantly changing tactics used by these criminals.”

 

As the filing season nears its end, there has been a surge of phone scams where scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other threats.

 

They often leave “urgent” callback requests and sometimes prey on the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English. Scammers have been known to impersonate agents from IRS Criminal Investigation as well.

 

Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do.

 

The IRS will not:

 

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

 

 

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

 

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or report it online at the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting Page.
  • If you’ve been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Complaint Assistant at FTC.gov. If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

 

Remember, too, the IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue involving bills or refunds. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to IRS.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

 

Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube and Tumblr, where people can search “scam” to find the related posts.

IRS: Free Tax Return Preparation Available to Qualifying Taxpayers Across the Country

The IRS partners with a network of community organizations to offer free tax services at thousands of tax preparation sites around the country……

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers who have yet to file their tax return that they may qualify to receive free tax help from IRS-trained volunteers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs.

 

This is the fourth in a series of 10 daily IRS tips called the Tax Time Guide. These tips are designed to help taxpayers navigate common tax issues as the April 15 deadline approaches.

 

The IRS partners with a network of community organizations to offer free tax services at thousands of tax preparation sites around the country. These sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations.

 

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) offers free tax help and return preparation to people who generally make $53,000 or less, people with disabilities, the elderly and limited English-speaking taxpayers.

 

In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help and return preparation for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

 

At VITA and TCE tax preparation sites, individuals can receive:

 

Free e-file – VITA and TCE provide free electronic filing. E-filing is the safest, most accurate way to file a tax return. Combining e-file with direct deposit is the fastest way to get a refund.

 

Tax Benefits – Using VITA and TCE can help get all the tax benefits for which a taxpayer is eligible. For example, taxpayers may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or the Credit for the Elderly. Taxpayers can also get help with the new Health Care Law tax provisions.

 

Bilingual Help – Some VITA and TCE sites provide bilingual help for people who speak limited English.

 

Help for Military – VITA offers free tax assistance to members of the military and their families. Volunteers help with many military tax issues. These may include the special rules and tax benefits that apply to those serving in combat zones.

 

Self-Preparation Option – At some VITA sites, individuals can prepare their own federal and state tax returns using free web-based software. This is an option if a taxpayer doesn’t have a home computer or need much help. Volunteers are on site to guide. In most cases, this option offers free tax return preparation software and e-filing to people who earn $60,000 or less.

 

Find a VITA or TCE tax preparation site – Visit IRS.gov, search the word “VITA” and click on “Free Tax Return Preparation for You by Volunteers.” Taxpayers can also download IRS’s mobile app — IRS2Go, got to “Free Tax Help,” enter the sought ZIP code and select a mileage range. Site information is also available by calling the IRS at 800-906-9887. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, or call 888-227-7669.

 

Millions of people have received free tax preparation for more than 40 years through these two programs that are most recognized by their initials, VITA and TCE.

 

Other tips in the Tax Time Guide series are available on IRS.gov.

Tax Time Guide: Use Free File for Help with Tax Returns, Extensions and New Health Care Law

Through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a consortium of 14 leading tax software companies makes their branded products available for free.

IRS YouTube Videos:

Welcome to Free File: English

 

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today reminded the millions of taxpayers who have yet to file their taxes that Free File remains available.

 

Available only at IRS.gov/FreeFile, the Free File service makes brand-name tax software products and electronic filing available to most taxpayers for free.

 

This is the second in a series of 10 daily IRS tips called the Tax Time Guide These tips are designed to help taxpayers navigate common tax issues as the April 15 deadline approaches.

 

Taxpayers have the option to prepare their return at any time and schedule a tax payment as late as the April 15 deadline. Taxpayers who cannot meet the April tax filing deadline can also use Free File to file a six-month extension.

 

Through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a consortium of 14 leading tax software companies makes their branded products available for free. Since 2003, more than 43 million people have used Free File, saving $1.3 billion based on a conservative $30-fee estimate.

 

Anyone who earned $60,000 or less last year qualifies to choose from among 14 software products. Those who earned more than $60,000 are still eligible for Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. This more basic Free File option is best for people who are comfortable preparing their own tax return.

 

More than 70 percent of all taxpayers – 100 million people – are eligible for the software products. Each of the 14 companies has its own special offers, generally based on age, income or state residency. Taxpayers can review each company offer or they can use a “Help Me” tool that will find the software for which they are eligible.

Wondering How to Use Free File? Free File offers easy-to-use products that ask questions and the taxpayer supplies the answers. The software will find the right forms, find the right tax credits and deductions and even do the math. Some companies also offer free state tax return preparation.

 

Free File also can help taxpayers with the new health care requirements. Most people will simply have to check a box to report health care coverage for the entire year. Learn more at IRS.gov/aca.

 

Free File will be available through October 2015 only through IRS.gov/FreeFile.

 

Other tips in the Tax Time Guide series are available on IRS.gov.