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What if I haven't filed yet?

May 28, 2016

Things You Should Know about Filing Late and Paying Penalties

IRS Tax Tip 2016-66, April 20, 2016

April 18 was this year’s deadline for most people to file their federal tax return and pay any tax they owe. If you are due a refund there is no penalty if you file a late tax return. If you owe tax, and you failed to file and pay on time, you will most likely owe interest and penalties on the tax you pay late. To keep interest and penalties to a minimum, you should file your tax return and pay the tax as soon as possible. Here are some facts that you should know.  

  1. Two penalties may apply. One penalty is for filing late and one is for paying late. They can add up fast. Interest accrues on top of the penalties.
     
  2. Penalty for late filing. If you file your 2015 tax return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is $205 or, if you owe less than $205, 100 percent of the unpaid tax. Otherwise, the penalty can be as much as five percent of your unpaid taxes each month up to a maximum of 25 percent.  
     
  3. Penalty for late payment. The penalty is generally 0.5 percent of your unpaid taxes per month. It can build up to as much as 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.
     
  4. Combined penalty per month. If both the late filing and late payment penalties apply, the maximum amount charged for the two penalties is 5 percent per month.
     
  5. File even if you can’t pay. Filing on time and paying as much as you can will keep your interest and penalties to a minimum. If you can’t pay in full, getting a loan or paying by debit or credit card may be less expensive than owing the IRS. If you do owe the IRS, the sooner you pay your bill the less you will owe.
     
  6. Payment Options. Explore your payment options on our website at IRS.gov/payments. For individuals, IRS Direct Pay is a fast and free way to pay directly from your checking or savings account. The IRS will work with you to help you resolve your tax debt. Most people can set up a payment plan using the Online Payment Agreement tool on IRS.gov.
     
  7. Late payment penalty may not apply. If you requested an extension of time to file your income tax return by the tax due date and paid at least 90 percent of the taxes you owe, you may not face a failure-to-pay penalty. However, you must pay the remaining balance by the extended due date. You will owe interest on any taxes you pay after the April 18 due date.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

Warning of surge in E-mail Schemes

February 19, 2016

.  Consumers Warned of New Surge in IRS E-mail Schemes during 2016 Tax Season; Tax Industry Also Targeted


The IRS renewed a consumer alert for e-mail schemes after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season.

The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

Beware of tax firms that promise the largest refunds!

February 8, 2016

Inflated Refund Claims Again Made the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season

IR-2016-18, Feb. 8, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to be on the lookout for unscrupulous tax return preparers pushing inflated tax refund claims. This scam remains on the annual list of tax scams known as the “Dirty Dozen” for the 2016 filing season.

"Be wary of tax preparers that tout outlandish refunds based on federal benefits or tax credits you've never heard of or weren't eligible to claim in the past," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Taxpayers should choose preparers who file accurate returns."

Compiled annually, the “Dirty Dozen” lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter any time but many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or hire someone to help with their taxes.

Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shutdown scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.

Don't Fall Victim to Promises of Outlandish Refunds

Scam artists routinely pose as tax preparers during tax time, luring victims in by promising large federal tax refunds or refunds that people never dreamed they were due in the first place.

Scam artists use flyers, advertisements, phony store fronts and even word of mouth to throw out a wide net for victims. They may even spread the word through community groups or churches where trust is high. Scammers frequently prey on people who do not have a filing requirement, such as low-income individuals or the elderly. They also prey on non-English speakers, who may or may not have a filing requirement.

Scammers build false hope by duping people into making claims for fictitious rebates, benefits or tax credits. They charge good money for very bad advice. Or worse, they file a false return in a person's name and that person never knows that a refund was paid.

Scam artists also victimize people with a filing requirement and due a refund by promising inflated refunds based on fictitious Social Security benefits and false claims for education credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), or the American Opportunity Tax Credit, among others.

The IRS sometimes hears about scams from victims complaining about losing their federal benefits, such as Social Security benefits, certain veteran’s benefits or low-income housing benefits. The loss of benefits was the result of false claims being filed with the IRS that provided false income amounts.

While honest tax preparers provide their customers a copy of the tax return they’ve prepared, victims of scams frequently are not given a copy of what was filed. Victims also report that the fraudulent refund is deposited into the scammer’s bank account. The scammers deduct a large “fee” before paying victims, a practice not used by legitimate tax preparers.

The IRS reminds all taxpayers that they are legally responsible for what’s on their returns even if it was prepared by someone else. Taxpayers who buy into such schemes can end up being penalized for filing false claims or receiving fraudulent refunds.

Taxpayers can help protect themselves by doing a little homework before picking preparers who make refund claims that may sound too good to be true.

Start with the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool can help taxpayers find a tax return preparer with the right qualifications. The Directory is a searchable and sortable listing of certain preparers registered with the IRS. It includes the name, city, state and zip code of:

  • Attorneys
  • CPAs
  • Enrolled Agents
  • Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents
  • Enrolled Actuaries
  • Annual Filing Season Program participants

Also check the preparer’s history.  Ask the Better Business Bureau about the preparer. Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, check with the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, go to IRS.gov and search for “verify enrolled agent status” or check the Directory

To find other tips about choosing a preparer, better understand the differences in credentials and qualifications, research the IRS preparer directory, and learn how to submit a complaint regarding a tax return preparer, visit www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro.

Filing starts January 19th

July 22, 2015

2016 Tax Season Opens Jan. 19 for Nation’s Taxpayers

IR-2015-139, Dec. 21, 2015                                                                           

WASHINGTON ― Following a review of the tax extenders legislation signed into law last week, the Internal Revenue Service announced today that the nation’s tax season will begin as scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016.

The IRS will begin accepting individual electronic returns that day. The IRS expects to receive more than 150 million individual returns in 2016, with more than four out of five being prepared using tax return preparation software and e-filed. The IRS will begin processing paper tax returns at the same time. There is no advantage to people filing tax returns on paper in early January instead of waiting for e-file to begin.

“We look forward to opening the 2016 tax season on time,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Our employees have been working hard throughout this year to make this happen. We also appreciate the help from the nation’s tax professionals and the software community, who are critical to helping taxpayers during the filing season.”

As part of the Security Summit initiative, the IRS has been working closely with the tax industry and state revenue departments to provide stronger protections against identity theft for taxpayers during the coming filing season.

The filing deadline to submit 2015 tax returns is Monday, April 18, 2016, rather than the traditional April 15 date. Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day on that Friday, which pushes the deadline to the following Monday for most of the nation. (Due to Patriots Day, the deadline will be Tuesday, April 19, in Maine and Massachusetts.)

Koskinen noted the new legislation makes permanent many provisions and extends many others for several years. "This provides certainty for planning purposes, which will help taxpayers and the tax community as well as the IRS," he said.

The IRS urges all taxpayers to make sure they have all their year-end statements in hand before filing, including Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, and Form 1095-A from the Marketplace for those claiming the premium tax credit.

“We encourage taxpayers to take full advantage of the expanding array of tools and information on IRS.gov to make their tax preparation easier,” Koskinen said.

Although the IRS begins accepting returns on Jan. 19, many tax software companies will begin accepting tax returns earlier in January and submitting them to the IRS when processing systems open.

Choosing e-file and direct deposit for refunds remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund. The IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Find free options to get tax help, and to prepare and file your return on IRS.gov or in your community if you qualify. Go to IRS.gov and click on the Filing tab to see your options.

  • Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. Commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $62,000 or less;
     
  • Online fillable forms provides electronic versions of IRS paper forms to all taxpayers regardless of income that can be prepared and filed by people comfortable with completing their own returns.
     
  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offer free tax help to people who qualify. Go to irs.gov and enter “free tax prep” in the search box to learn more and find a VITA or TCE site near you, or download the IRS2Go app on your smart phone and find a free tax prep provider. 

The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can provide helpful information and advice about the ever-changing tax code. Tips for choosing a return preparer and details aboutnational tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.

What if I haven't filed yet?

May 28, 2016

Things You Should Know about Filing Late and Paying Penalties

IRS Tax Tip 2016-66, April 20, 2016

April 18 was this year’s deadline for most people to file their federal tax return and pay any tax they owe. If you are due a refund there is no penalty if you file a late tax return. If you owe tax, and you failed to file and pay on time, you will most likely owe interest and penalties on the tax you pay late. To keep interest and penalties to a minimum, you should file your tax return and pay the tax as soon as possible. Here are some facts that you should know.  

  1. Two penalties may apply. One penalty is for filing late and one is for paying late. They can add up fast. Interest accrues on top of the penalties.
     
  2. Penalty for late filing. If you file your 2015 tax return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is $205 or, if you owe less than $205, 100 percent of the unpaid tax. Otherwise, the penalty can be as much as five percent of your unpaid taxes each month up to a maximum of 25 percent.  
     
  3. Penalty for late payment. The penalty is generally 0.5 percent of your unpaid taxes per month. It can build up to as much as 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.
     
  4. Combined penalty per month. If both the late filing and late payment penalties apply, the maximum amount charged for the two penalties is 5 percent per month.
     
  5. File even if you can’t pay. Filing on time and paying as much as you can will keep your interest and penalties to a minimum. If you can’t pay in full, getting a loan or paying by debit or credit card may be less expensive than owing the IRS. If you do owe the IRS, the sooner you pay your bill the less you will owe.
     
  6. Payment Options. Explore your payment options on our website at IRS.gov/payments. For individuals, IRS Direct Pay is a fast and free way to pay directly from your checking or savings account. The IRS will work with you to help you resolve your tax debt. Most people can set up a payment plan using the Online Payment Agreement tool on IRS.gov.
     
  7. Late payment penalty may not apply. If you requested an extension of time to file your income tax return by the tax due date and paid at least 90 percent of the taxes you owe, you may not face a failure-to-pay penalty. However, you must pay the remaining balance by the extended due date. You will owe interest on any taxes you pay after the April 18 due date.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

Warning of surge in E-mail Schemes

February 19, 2016

.  Consumers Warned of New Surge in IRS E-mail Schemes during 2016 Tax Season; Tax Industry Also Targeted


The IRS renewed a consumer alert for e-mail schemes after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season.

The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

Beware of tax firms that promise the largest refunds!

February 8, 2016

Inflated Refund Claims Again Made the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season

IR-2016-18, Feb. 8, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to be on the lookout for unscrupulous tax return preparers pushing inflated tax refund claims. This scam remains on the annual list of tax scams known as the “Dirty Dozen” for the 2016 filing season.

"Be wary of tax preparers that tout outlandish refunds based on federal benefits or tax credits you've never heard of or weren't eligible to claim in the past," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Taxpayers should choose preparers who file accurate returns."

Compiled annually, the “Dirty Dozen” lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter any time but many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or hire someone to help with their taxes.

Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shutdown scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.

Don't Fall Victim to Promises of Outlandish Refunds

Scam artists routinely pose as tax preparers during tax time, luring victims in by promising large federal tax refunds or refunds that people never dreamed they were due in the first place.

Scam artists use flyers, advertisements, phony store fronts and even word of mouth to throw out a wide net for victims. They may even spread the word through community groups or churches where trust is high. Scammers frequently prey on people who do not have a filing requirement, such as low-income individuals or the elderly. They also prey on non-English speakers, who may or may not have a filing requirement.

Scammers build false hope by duping people into making claims for fictitious rebates, benefits or tax credits. They charge good money for very bad advice. Or worse, they file a false return in a person's name and that person never knows that a refund was paid.

Scam artists also victimize people with a filing requirement and due a refund by promising inflated refunds based on fictitious Social Security benefits and false claims for education credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), or the American Opportunity Tax Credit, among others.

The IRS sometimes hears about scams from victims complaining about losing their federal benefits, such as Social Security benefits, certain veteran’s benefits or low-income housing benefits. The loss of benefits was the result of false claims being filed with the IRS that provided false income amounts.

While honest tax preparers provide their customers a copy of the tax return they’ve prepared, victims of scams frequently are not given a copy of what was filed. Victims also report that the fraudulent refund is deposited into the scammer’s bank account. The scammers deduct a large “fee” before paying victims, a practice not used by legitimate tax preparers.

The IRS reminds all taxpayers that they are legally responsible for what’s on their returns even if it was prepared by someone else. Taxpayers who buy into such schemes can end up being penalized for filing false claims or receiving fraudulent refunds.

Taxpayers can help protect themselves by doing a little homework before picking preparers who make refund claims that may sound too good to be true.

Start with the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool can help taxpayers find a tax return preparer with the right qualifications. The Directory is a searchable and sortable listing of certain preparers registered with the IRS. It includes the name, city, state and zip code of:

  • Attorneys
  • CPAs
  • Enrolled Agents
  • Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents
  • Enrolled Actuaries
  • Annual Filing Season Program participants

Also check the preparer’s history.  Ask the Better Business Bureau about the preparer. Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, check with the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, go to IRS.gov and search for “verify enrolled agent status” or check the Directory

To find other tips about choosing a preparer, better understand the differences in credentials and qualifications, research the IRS preparer directory, and learn how to submit a complaint regarding a tax return preparer, visit www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro.

Filing starts January 19th

July 22, 2015

2016 Tax Season Opens Jan. 19 for Nation’s Taxpayers

IR-2015-139, Dec. 21, 2015                                                                           

WASHINGTON ― Following a review of the tax extenders legislation signed into law last week, the Internal Revenue Service announced today that the nation’s tax season will begin as scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016.

The IRS will begin accepting individual electronic returns that day. The IRS expects to receive more than 150 million individual returns in 2016, with more than four out of five being prepared using tax return preparation software and e-filed. The IRS will begin processing paper tax returns at the same time. There is no advantage to people filing tax returns on paper in early January instead of waiting for e-file to begin.

“We look forward to opening the 2016 tax season on time,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Our employees have been working hard throughout this year to make this happen. We also appreciate the help from the nation’s tax professionals and the software community, who are critical to helping taxpayers during the filing season.”

As part of the Security Summit initiative, the IRS has been working closely with the tax industry and state revenue departments to provide stronger protections against identity theft for taxpayers during the coming filing season.

The filing deadline to submit 2015 tax returns is Monday, April 18, 2016, rather than the traditional April 15 date. Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day on that Friday, which pushes the deadline to the following Monday for most of the nation. (Due to Patriots Day, the deadline will be Tuesday, April 19, in Maine and Massachusetts.)

Koskinen noted the new legislation makes permanent many provisions and extends many others for several years. "This provides certainty for planning purposes, which will help taxpayers and the tax community as well as the IRS," he said.

The IRS urges all taxpayers to make sure they have all their year-end statements in hand before filing, including Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, and Form 1095-A from the Marketplace for those claiming the premium tax credit.

“We encourage taxpayers to take full advantage of the expanding array of tools and information on IRS.gov to make their tax preparation easier,” Koskinen said.

Although the IRS begins accepting returns on Jan. 19, many tax software companies will begin accepting tax returns earlier in January and submitting them to the IRS when processing systems open.

Choosing e-file and direct deposit for refunds remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund. The IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Find free options to get tax help, and to prepare and file your return on IRS.gov or in your community if you qualify. Go to IRS.gov and click on the Filing tab to see your options.

  • Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. Commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $62,000 or less;
     
  • Online fillable forms provides electronic versions of IRS paper forms to all taxpayers regardless of income that can be prepared and filed by people comfortable with completing their own returns.
     
  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offer free tax help to people who qualify. Go to irs.gov and enter “free tax prep” in the search box to learn more and find a VITA or TCE site near you, or download the IRS2Go app on your smart phone and find a free tax prep provider. 

The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can provide helpful information and advice about the ever-changing tax code. Tips for choosing a return preparer and details aboutnational tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.

What if I haven't filed yet?

May 28, 2016

Things You Should Know about Filing Late and Paying Penalties

IRS Tax Tip 2016-66, April 20, 2016

April 18 was this year’s deadline for most people to file their federal tax return and pay any tax they owe. If you are due a refund there is no penalty if you file a late tax return. If you owe tax, and you failed to file and pay on time, you will most likely owe interest and penalties on the tax y…

Read more

Warning of surge in E-mail Schemes

February 19, 2016

.  Consumers Warned of New Surge in IRS E-mail Schemes during 2016 Tax Season; Tax Industry Also Targeted


The IRS renewed a consumer alert for e-mail schemes after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season.

The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax indust…

Read more

Beware of tax firms that promise the largest refunds!

February 8, 2016

Inflated Refund Claims Again Made the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season

IR-2016-18, Feb. 8, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to be on the lookout for unscrupulous tax return preparers pushing inflated tax refund claims. This scam remains on the annual list of tax scams known as the “Dirty Dozen” for the 2016 filing season.…

Read more

Filing starts January 19th

July 22, 2015

2016 Tax Season Opens Jan. 19 for Nation’s Taxpayers

IR-2015-139, Dec. 21, 2015                                                                           

WASHINGTON ― Following a review of the tax extenders legislation signed into law last week, the Internal Revenue Service announced today that the nation’s tax season will begin as scheduled on Tuesday, J…

Read more

Tax filing season starts January 19th

What if I haven't filed yet?

May 28, 2016

Things You Should Know about Filing Late and Paying Penalties

IRS Tax Tip 2016-66, April 20, 2016

April 18 was this year’s deadline for most people to file their federal tax return and pay any tax they owe. If you are due a refund there is no penalty if you file a late tax return. If you owe tax, and you failed to file and pay on time, you will most likely owe interest and penalties on the tax y…

Read more

Warning of surge in E-mail Schemes

February 19, 2016

.  Consumers Warned of New Surge in IRS E-mail Schemes during 2016 Tax Season; Tax Industry Also Targeted


The IRS renewed a consumer alert for e-mail schemes after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season.

The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax indust…

Read more

Beware of tax firms that promise the largest refunds!

February 8, 2016

Inflated Refund Claims Again Made the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season

IR-2016-18, Feb. 8, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to be on the lookout for unscrupulous tax return preparers pushing inflated tax refund claims. This scam remains on the annual list of tax scams known as the “Dirty Dozen” for the 2016 filing season.…

Read more

Filing starts January 19th

July 22, 2015

2016 Tax Season Opens Jan. 19 for Nation’s Taxpayers

IR-2015-139, Dec. 21, 2015                                                                           

WASHINGTON ― Following a review of the tax extenders legislation signed into law last week, the Internal Revenue Service announced today that the nation’s tax season will begin as scheduled on Tuesday, J…

Read more