Accounting & Tax News

 

Publication 17
Tax-filing information and tips on what income to report and how to report it, figuring capital gains and losses, claiming dependents, choosing the standard deduction versus itemizing deductions and using IRAs to save for retirement


Tax Season News - For 2014

Tax scams take many different forms, so being aware of recent trends will help you to avoid them. The most common recent scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. They use the IRS name, logo and/or a fake website to try to gain access to your account and steal your money. They may also try to steal your identity, so here are several tips from the IRS to help you avoid being a victim of these tax scams:

The IRS will never:

  • Initiate contact with you by phone, email, text or social media to ask you for your personal or financial information.
  • Demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a notice, detailing the taxes, and related interest and penalty, if relevant.
  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way – the IRS allows several different payment options, which the taxpayer can select from.

Be wary if you get a phone call from someone who claims to be from the IRS and demands that you pay immediately. Here are some steps you can take to stop these scams, if you know that you don’t owe taxes:

  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting"” web page to report the incident.
  • Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant ” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your report.

If you get a ‘phishing’ email, the IRS offers this advice:

  • Don’t reply to the message, under any circumstances.
  • Don’t give out your personal or financial information, under any circumstances.
  • Forward the email to the IRS at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Then delete it.
  • Don’t open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.

If you are an existing client, please contact us if you’ve been contacted by someone, whether by phone or email, who you suspect was attempting to defraud you, or steal your identity.  These are very serious issues, so we want to know what happened, and also know that we are here to help and support you through the process.

Posted Mar. 16, 2015/wittenbergcpa.com

The Affordable Care Act And Your Income Taxes

Which category of individual tax return filer do you fall into and how do you avoid the “Individual Responsibility Payment” (i.e. tax)? Are you covered under a “qualifying health insurance plan” (e.g. employer or medicare coverage), which offers “minimum essential coverage”, and are therefore exempt from the payment?  Are you in an exempt category, due to your income level, or other qualifications, which allows you to avoid the payment?  Or did you buy your health insurance on either the Federal or State of WA health care exchange and are therefore receiving an “Advance Premium Credit”, which means when your tax return is prepared you’ll either receive an additional premium tax credit, or else you’ll pay the individual responsibility payment?  Since this is the first year of required reporting of the ACA on your annual individual income tax return, along with its related taxes and credits, there is a new degree of complexity in preparing even the simplest of tax returns, so please contact us if you have any questions or need our assistance in preparing your 2014 income tax return. We also want to take a minute to welcome Chrissy Hammond to our staff – please tell her hello when you call or come by our office.

Posted Feb. 20, 2015/wittenbergcpa.com

Tax Season News - For 2014

The IRS is now accepting all tax returns via their e-file program.  The biggest single change that is required this tax year for an individual taxpayer has to do with ACA compliance –   ACA compliance .  As a reminder, with the start of the new calendar year it’s a very good time to update your income tax withholding from wages with your employer, which can be done by completing a Form W-4 .   The IRS offers a useful “withholding calculator ” tool, for your use in determining how much withholding to have taken out of your wages or retirement benefits. Also, please note the following IRS allowable mileage rates for the 2015 calendar year; business rate of 57 1/2 cents per mile, charitable rate of 14 cents per mile, and the medical and moving rate of 23 cents per mile.  Finally, please bear with us as we update our firm’s website for tax and payroll related resources and links , and certainly contact us, if we can answer your questions, or if you’d like to schedule an income tax appointment with our firm.

Posted Jan. 29, 2015/wittenbergcpa.com

Deadline For Businesses To File Annual Tax Returns

 With the deadline for annual tax filings just around the corner, the Washington State Department of Revenue (Revenue) is offering some tips to help businesses file their taxes on time.
January is the busiest time of year for Revenue, with tax returns all due from monthly, quarterly and annual filers. In all, Revenue could receive up to 518,000 returns this month – about half of those are expected to be from annual filers.
Every annual filer – even if they had no business activity in 2014 – must file a tax return with Revenue by Feb. 2, 2015. The typical due date to file annual tax returns is Jan. 31, but because that date falls on a weekend this year, it has been extended to the next business day.
Around 90 percent of businesses that file monthly or quarterly use Revenue’s electronic filing system. However, some businesses are only required to file a tax return annually and may need assistance whether they file electronically, by phone or by mail.
Revenue offers several options to help taxpayers file their returns:

  • Visit one of Revenue’s offices located across the state.
  • Call and talk to Revenue’s tax specialists: 800-647-7706.
  • For answers to quick filing questions, try Live Chat to talk with a tax information specialist.

Callers can reach Revenue tax specialists between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. every weekday. Automated phone services are available 24 hours a day.More tips for annual filers are on Revenue’s website.

Jan. 26, 2014