Zinner & Co. Blog and Newsroom

IRS To End Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

Posted by Howard J. Kass, CPA, AEP®, CGMA, Partner on Mar 14, 2018 3:59:05 PM

The IRS announced today that it was going to end the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) by September 28, 2018.  The Service is giving taxpayers just over six months’ notice of the program closure to allow any taxpayers who wish to do so the opportunity to take advantage of the program before then.

The current program has been in place since 2014 and is, actually, a modified version of the one that was originally launched in 2012.  The programs have afforded taxpayers to voluntarily resolve past non-compliance issues related to unreported foreign financial assets, as well as failures to file foreign information returns. 

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Topics: Howard Kass, IRS, Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, tax avoidance, foreign financial assets

Fraudulent Filers Keep Tax-return Identity Theft as One of the IRS' "Dirty Dozen" Scams

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Department on Mar 8, 2018 12:10:45 PM

Even though reports of tax-related identity theft have declined markedly in recent years, the Internal Revenue Service warns that this practice is still widespread and remains serious enough to earn a spot on the agency’s annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams.

The Dirty Dozen is compiled each year by the IRS and outlines a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these cons peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns.

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file a fraudulent tax return claiming a refund.

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Topics: fraud, Howard Kass, Brett W. Neate, Taxes - Corporate & Business, Taxes - Planning, Rules and Returns, Taxes - Individual

Updated Withholding Calculator, Form W-4 Released; Calculator Helps Taxpayers Review Withholding Following New Tax Law

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Department on Mar 2, 2018 4:08:00 PM

WASHINGTON –The Internal Revenue Service recently released (2/28/18 irs.gov) an updated Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov and a new version of Form W-4 to help taxpayers check their 2018 tax withholding following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December. 

The IRS urges taxpayers to use these tools to make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their paychecks.

“Following the major changes in the tax law, the IRS encourages employees to check their paychecks to help ensure they’re having the right amount of tax withheld for their personal situation,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter.

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Topics: withholding, Brett W. Neate, Taxes - Individual, income tax

Do You Apply the Five-year Test for Your Roth IRA? Here’s why you should

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Department on Feb 27, 2018 7:03:00 PM

The pros and cons of Roth IRAs, which were introduced 20 years ago, are well understood.ll money flowing into Roth IRAs is after-tax, so there is no upfront tax benefit.

As a tradeoff, all qualified Roth IRA distributions can be tax-free, including the parts of the distributions that are payouts of investment earnings.

To be a qualified distribution, the distribution must meet two basic requirements:

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Topics: Gary Sigman, Taxes - Planning, Rules and Returns, Retirement Planning & IRAs

Where's My Refund? Impatient or important,  when to call the IRS

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Department on Feb 21, 2018 1:04:15 PM
If you are a taxpayer who has filed their income tax early, you may be wondering what is taking your IRS refund so long. It seems waiting for the refund becomes a test of patience. But when should your patience give way to persistence and determine when to make a call to the IRS?  

According to the  IRS.gov,  the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, although some require additional time. You should only call if it has been:
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Topics: Howard Kass, Brett W. Neate, IRS

IRS Requires Taxpayers to Validate ID

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Department on Feb 17, 2018 8:34:00 AM

The IRS recently announced additional requirements for taxpayers and tax professionals to verify their identities when they call as part of security efforts.

Taxpayers and professionals should have the following documents ready when they call:

  • Social Security numbers and birth dates for those who were named on the tax return in question
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if the taxpayer has one in lieu of a Social Security number (SSN)
  • Filing status – Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate
  • The prior-year tax return. Telephone assistors may need to verify taxpayer identity with information from the return before answering certain questions
  • A copy of the tax return in question
  • Any IRS letters or notices received by the taxpayer
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Topics: fraud, Brett W. Neate, Taxes - Corporate & Business, Taxes - Planning, Rules and Returns, Taxes - Individual, IRS

But, It’s My Money! What you need to know before withdrawing funds from your 401k

Posted by Silvia McClellan, CPA on Feb 16, 2018 4:17:00 PM

Many folks faced the new year with a fresh-start mindset, new goals, and a handful of resolutions. For some, 2017 is still at the top-of-mind with credit card balance carry-overs and a loan or two. For others, the new year brings ideas of travel, home renovations, or major purchases. 

Regardless of the intent, oftentimes folks think they can simply borrow or withdraw from their 401(k) to pay for these things when their bank account is not liquid.  After all, the money is theirs and just “sitting” untouched.  So why not tap into the account – life is short, right?

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Topics: Retirement Planning & IRAs, IRS, Silvia McClellan

Scam Alert: Fraudsters Posing as Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Department on Feb 15, 2018 10:46:42 AM

Some taxpayers receive emails that appear to be from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, trying to trick victims into providing personal and financial information.

 Do not respond or click any link. If you receive this scam, forward it to phishing@irs.gov and note that it seems to be a scam phishing for your information.

TAP is a volunteer board that advises the IRS on systemic issues affecting taxpayers. It never requests, and does not have access to, any taxpayer’s personal and financial information.

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Topics: Brett W. Neate, Taxes - Corporate & Business, Taxes - Planning, Rules and Returns, Business - Management, Issues & Concerns, Taxes - Individual, tax, cybersecurity, IRS

The Rules Have Changed for Attending the Game (and Other Entertainment Events)

Posted by Gary Sigman, CPA, M.Tax, PFS, AEP on Jan 27, 2018 8:43:00 AM

The recent enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) brought many changes to how individuals and businesses are affected by our tax system.  

Among the deductions affected was the deduction for meals and entertainment incurred in the course of operating a business.  Prior to the enactment of the TCJA, which took effect for many provisions on January 1, the allowable deduction for meals and entertainment expenses was capped at 50% of the allowable amount of such costs that were incurred.  Under the old law, no deduction was allowable unless the cost was either directly related to or associated with the conduct of business.

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Topics: Gary Sigman, Taxes - Corporate & Business, deductions

Working in the Gig Economy: What you need to know about potential tax consequences

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Department on Jan 23, 2018 3:59:36 PM

If you use one of the many online platforms available to rent a spare bedroom, provide car rides, or to connect and provide a number of other goods or services, you’re involved in what is sometimes called the sharing or gig economy.

An emerging area of activity in the past few years, the sharing economy has changed how people commute, travel, rent vacation accommodations and perform many other activities.

Also referred to as the on-demand, gig or access economy, the sharing economy allows individuals and groups to utilize technology advancements to arrange transactions to generate revenue from assets they possess - (such as cars and homes) - or services they provide - (such as household chores or technology services).

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Topics: electronic filing, Brett W. Neate, Taxes - Corporate & Business, Taxes - Planning, Rules and Returns, Taxes - Individual


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