WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert today (August 28, 2014) providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.
These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.
“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”
The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:
Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
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 at www.tigta.gov.
· If you’ve been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
Remember, too, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.
Additional information about tax scams are available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube and Tumblr where people can search “scam” to find all the scam-related posts.
Source: www.irs.gov IR-2014-84, Aug. 28, 2014
Affordable Care Act Tax Provision
May 27, 2014
The individual shared responsibility provision of the Health Care Law requires you and each member of your family to have qualifying health insurance (called minimum essential coverage), have an exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment when filing a federal income tax return. Many people already have minimum essential coverage and don’t need to do anything more than maintain that coverage.
Do I have minimum essential coverage?
You have minimum essential coverage if you have employer-sponsored coverage, coverage obtained through a Health Insurance Mar ketplace, coverage through most government-sponsored programs, as well as certain other plans.You must maintain this coverage for each month of the calendar year. For information about additional types of coverage that qualify, check our minimum essential coverage chart on IRS.gov/aca.
Am I eligible for an exemption?
You may be exempt from the requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage if you’re a member of certain religious sects, a federally recognized Indian tribe, or a health care sharing ministry.You may also be eligible if you are suffering a hardship, meet certain income criteria, or are uninsured for less than three consecutive months of the year. For more information, check our exemptions chart on IRS.gov/aca.
Will I have to make a payment?
If you or any of your dependents don’t have minimum essential coverage or an exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment on your tax return.
For 2014, the annual shared responsibility payment amount is the greater of:
1 percent of your household income that is above your tax return filing threshold, or
Your family’s flat dollar amount, which is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, limited to a family maximum of $285 for 2014.
The maximum amount you pay cannot be more than the cost of the national average premium for a bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace in 2014.
For more information about the individual shared responsibility provision, visit IRS.gov/aca.
Publication 5156 (5-2014) Catalog Number 66608A Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service www.irs.gov
Plan Now to Get Full Benefit of Saver’s Credit; Tax Credit Helps Low- and Moderate-Income Workers Save for Retirement
November 3, 2014
WASHINGTON — Low- and moderate-income workers can take steps now to save for retirement and earn a special tax credit in 2014 and years ahead, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
The saver’s credit helps offset part of the first $2,000 workers voluntarily contribute to IRAs and 401(k) plans and similar workplace retirement programs. Also known as the retirement savings contributions credit, the saver’s credit is available in addition to any other tax savings that apply.
Eligible workers still have time to make qualifying retirement contributions and get the saver’s credit on their 2014 tax return. People have until April 15, 2015, to set up a new individual retirement arrangement or add money to an existing IRA for 2014. However, elective deferrals (contributions) must be made by the end of the year to a 401(k) plan or similar workplace program, such as a 403(b) plan for employees of public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations, a governmental 457 plan for state or local government employees, or the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees. Employees who are unable to set aside money for this year may want to schedule their 2015 contributions soon so their employer can begin withholding them in January.
The saver’s credit can be claimed by:
Married couples filing jointly with incomes up to $60,000 in 2014 or $61,000 in 2015;
Heads of Household with incomes up to $45,000 in 2014 or $45,750 in 2015; and
Married individuals filing separately and singles with incomes up to $30,000 in 2014 or $30,500 in 2015.
Like other tax credits, the saver’s credit can increase a taxpayer’s refund or reduce the tax owed. Though the maximum saver’s credit is $1,000, $2,000 for married couples, the IRS cautioned that it is often much less and, due in part to the impact of other deductions and credits, may, in fact, be zero for some taxpayers.
A taxpayer’s credit amount is based on his or her filing status, adjusted gross income, tax liability and amount contributed to qualifying retirement programs. Form 8880 is used to claim the saver’s credit, and its instructions have details on figuring the credit correctly.
In tax year 2012, the most recent year for which complete figures are available, saver’s credits totaling $1.2 billion were claimed on more than 6.9 million individual income tax returns. Saver’s credits claimed on these returns averaged $215 for joint filers, $165 for heads of household and $127 for single filers.
The saver’s credit supplements other tax benefits available to people who set money aside for retirement. For example, most workers may deduct their contributions to a traditional IRA. Though Roth IRA contributions are not deductible, qualifying withdrawals, usually after retirement, are tax-free. Normally, contributions to 401(k) and similar workplace plans are not taxed until withdrawn.
Other special rules that apply to the saver’s credit include the following:
Eligible taxpayers must be at least 18 years of age.
Anyone claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return cannot take the credit.
A student cannot take the credit. A person enrolled as a full-time student during any part of 5 calendar months during the year is considered a student.
Certain retirement plan distributions reduce the contribution amount used to figure the credit. For 2014, this rule applies to distributions received after 2011 and before the due date, including extensions, of the 2014 return. Form 8880 and its instructions have details on making this computation.
Begun in 2002 as a temporary provision, the saver’s credit was made a permanent part of the tax code in legislation enacted in 2006. To help preserve the value of the credit, income limits are now adjusted annually to keep pace with inflation. More information about the credit is on IRS.gov.
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