More from: IRS

IRS Free File opens today in advance of tax season

This just in via email from IRS Newswire <irs@service.govdelivery.com>:

Issue Number:    IR-2019-02

Changes strengthen program

Free File can also help navigate new tax law provisions

WASHINGTON — An improved version of IRS Free File begins its 17th filing season today as a dozen private-sector partners offer their brand-name products to help eligible taxpayers navigate the new tax reform law and electronically prepare their tax returns.

The free online software program, accessible only through IRS.gov FreeFile, is available for taxpayers to use in advance of the start of the filing season on Jan. 28.

Who can use Free File

Any individual or family whose adjusted gross income for 2018 was $66,000 or less can find at least one Free File software product they can use. Often, taxpayers are eligible for multiple products. The income limitation means that 100 million taxpayers – 70 percent – are eligible to use Free File.

Workers, families with children, first-time filers and seniors who meet the income criteria are all eligible for Free File. The software supports all the new tax law changes as well as long-time benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. While most products have a set of eligibility requirements, 10 Free File partners have a special offer for active duty military personnel by making their sole eligibility criteria an income of $66,000 or less.

IRS Free File is all that’s needed for residents of Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming where there is no state income tax. Some Free File partners offer free federal and free state return preparation. And some states have their own Free File program.

 

For Indiana Free File browse to https://www.in.gov/dor/4578.htm


Tax Refunds Unaffected by “Shut Down”

This just in via email from IRS Newswire <irs@service.govdelivery.com>:

Issue Number: IR-2019-01

IRS confirms tax filing season to begin January 28

WASHINGTON ― Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service today confirmed that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.

“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown. I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation (31 U.S.C. 1324), and the IRS has consistently been of the view that it has authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations. Although in 2011 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed the IRS not to pay refunds during a lapse, OMB has reviewed the relevant law at Treasury’s request and concluded that IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse.

“IRS employees have been hard at work over the past year to implement the biggest tax law changes the nation has seen in more than 30 years,” said Rettig.

As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. For taxpayers who usually file early in the year and have all of the needed documentation, there is no need to wait to file. They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.

The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns.

The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.


IRS issues notice on state and local tax deductions

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued a notice today stating that proposed regulations will be issued addressing the deductibility of state and local tax payments for federal income tax purposes. Notice 2018-54 also informs taxpayers that federal law controls the characterization of the payments for federal income tax purposes regardless of the characterization of the payments under state law.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limited the amount of state and local taxes an individual can deduct in a calendar year to $10,000. In response to this new limitation, some state legislatures have adopted or are considering legislative proposals allowing taxpayers to make payments to specified entities in exchange for a tax credit against state and local taxes owed.

The upcoming proposed regulations, to be issued in the near future, will help taxpayers understand the relationship between federal charitable contribution deductions and the new statutory limitation on the deduction of state and local taxes.

Taxpayers should also be aware the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service are continuing to monitor other legislative proposals being considered to ensure that federal law controls the characterization of deductions for federal income tax filings.

The limitation imposed by the TCJA applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026.

Updates on the implementation of the TCJA can be found on the Tax Reform page of IRS.gov.


How to Get Prior-Year Tax Information

In email today from Oak Partners:

How to Get Prior-Year Tax Information*
Tax day 2018 has passed – and for American taxpayers, it was one of the last reminders of 2017. The IRS instructs filers to retain tax records and supporting documents for at least the 3 previous years.
Taxpayers who used tax-filing software for the first time and who don’t have copies of their returns may order tax transcripts of previous-year returns from the IRS. The transcripts provide a summary of a tax return.
Taxpayers seeking to obtain transcripts need to have the amount of their adjusted gross income to validate their identities. For more information, go to  Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.
The IRS advises taxpayers to first check with the provider of the tax software they used or their tax preparer before contacting the agency for the information. The IRS charges a fee for providing prior-year returns. The transcripts, however, are free.
It takes 5-10 days to get tax transcripts ordered online or by phone after the IRS receives the request. It takes about 30 days to get tax transcripts ordered by mail and about 75 days for tax returns.
Here are 3 ways to order transcripts:
  1. Go to Get Transcript on the agency’s website.
  2. Taxpayers may call 800-908-9946.
  3. Taxpayers may use Form 4506-T or Form 4506T-EZ to order by mail.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.


Tax Information 2018

From email today from irs@service.govdelivery.com:

The busiest part of tax season begins this week, with millions of people planning to file. Through April 6, the IRS has processed more than 101 million tax returns and issued more than 79.1 million tax refunds totaling $226.6 billion. The average refund to date is $2,864.

Additional filing season numbers:

  • The IRS expects to receive about 14.9 million individual income tax returns for the week ending April 13, with about 13.1 million filed electronically.
  • On top of those 14.9 million tax returns, the IRS expects to receive another 17 million tax returns the following week.
  • Requests for extension are anticipated to exceed 11.6 million by next week, with the vast majority of those Forms 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, being filed electronically. Overall, this year, the IRS expects to receive more than 14 million extension requests from taxpayers.

Information about free e-file options, such as FreeFile, how to request an automatic six-month filing extension or fast and easy ways to pay any tax due using IRS Direct Pay are available online at IRS.gov. IN INDIANA you can access on-line software to file your Federal and Indiana State income taxes for free at https://www.in.gov/dor/5912.htm.