Rob Arena Arena and Associates, Inc. – 1040 Tax Filing Date is Here

If you are in need of help with your IRS tax liability – there is no better name in professional help than Rob Arena at Arena and Associates, Inc. Check our website at aataxhelp.com for more information. Call 303-847-4038 for a free consultation.

4/18/2017

The tax filing deadline for 2016 personal returns has arrived. Taxpayers must file their 2016 return today or file form 4868 requesting an automatic extension. Failure to meet this deadline will result in penalty and interest charges for returns with a balance due. For those taxpayers choosing an extension, they should be aware that the extra time to file is not extra time to pay. If you know or believe you have a balance due then a taxpayer should include the expected tax balance due to avoid a late payment penalty. For those taxpayers on an existing payment plan with the IRS, failure to timely file or pay can result in a default of any payment agreement and a return to collection action. Self-Employed taxpayers should also be diligent to make their estimated tax payment for Q1 2017 as that deadline is also approaching.

Rob Arena Arena and Associates, Inc. – IRS Warns of Identity Theft

If you are in need of help with your IRS tax liability – there is no better name in professional help than Rob Arena at Arena and Associates, Inc. Check our website at aataxhelp.com for more information. Call 303-847-4038 for a free consultation.

3/24/2017

Identity Theft and the filing of fraudulent refund returns is a common and persistent problem for many taxpayers. As this is tax time, taxpayers must be wary of returns that our filed on their behalf by criminals that have stolen their social security numbers.  The filing of a fraudulent return can result in the taxpayer’s refund being stolen and will delay posting of their actual return. Solving these types of issues can be time consuming and extremely frustrating.

A taxpayer may not be aware that they are a victim of identity theft until they attempt to file the tax return and it is rejected as a duplicate return. Other indicators of identity theft are IRS notices stating; more than one tax return filed using the taxpayer’s Social Security Number; or a balance due, refund offset or collection action taken for a year in which no return was filed; or the IRS or state records indicate the taxpayer received wages from an unknown employer; or an amended tax return. For business, fictitious employees or notice about a defunct, or closed business is a red flag.

Taxpayers that find that they have become victim of identity theft should act quickly. Unless the taxpayer contacts the IRS directly they may not be aware that the taxpayer was not the source of the fraudulent return. The IRS will research the matter and most likely contact the taxpayer to provide additional information. Being prompt and diligent in response can help to avoid an escalation of the issue.

Arena and Associates has many years of correcting these issues. If you or someone you know has suffered from this then call today for immediate help.

Arena and Associates, Inc. – Rob Arena – IRA Contributions

If you are in need of help with your IRS tax liability – there is no better name in professional help than Rob Arena at Arena and Associates, Inc. Check our website at aataxhelp.com for more information. Call 303-847-4038 for a free consultation.

3/15/2017

Tax Time Guide: Still Time to Contribute to an IRA for 2016

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that they still have time to contribute to an IRA for 2016 and, in many cases, qualify for a deduction or even a tax credit.

This is the eighth in a series of 10 IRS tips called the Tax Time Guide. These tips are designed to help taxpayers navigate common tax issues as this year’s tax deadline approaches.

Available in one form or another since the mid-1970s, individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) are designed to enable employees and the self-employed to save for retirement. Contributions to traditional IRAs are often deductible, but distributions, usually after age 59½, are generally taxable. Though contributions to Roth IRAs are not deductible, qualified distributions, usually after age 59½, are tax-free. Those with traditional IRAs must begin receiving distributions by April 1 of the year following the year they turn 70½, but there is no similar requirement for Roth IRAs.

Most taxpayers with qualifying income are either eligible to set up a traditional or Roth IRA or add money to an existing account. To count for a 2016 tax return, contributions must be made by April 18, 2017. In addition, low- and moderate-income taxpayers making these contributions may also qualify for the saver’s credit when they complete their 2016 tax returns.

Generally, eligible taxpayers can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA. For someone who was at least age 50 at the end of 2016, the limit is increased to $6,500. There’s no age limit for those contributing to a Roth IRA, but anyone who was at least age 70½ at the end of 2016 is barred from making contributions to a traditional IRA for 2016 and subsequent years.

The deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA is generally phased out for taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan whose incomes are above certain levels. For someone covered by a workplace plan during any part of 2016, the deduction is phased out if the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) for that year is between $61,000 and $71,000 for singles and heads of household and between $0 and $10,000 for those who are married filing separately. For married couples filing a joint return where the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range for the deduction is $98,000 to $118,000. Where the IRA contributor is not covered by a workplace retirement plan but is married to someone who is covered, the MAGI phase-out range is $184,000 to $194,000.

The deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA is claimed on Form 1040 Line 32 or Form 1040A Line 17. Any nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA must be reported on Form 8606.

Even though contributions to Roth IRAs are not tax deductible, the maximum permitted amount of these contributions is phased out for taxpayers whose incomes are above certain levels. The MAGI phase-out range is $184,000 to $194,000 for married couples filing a joint return, $117,000 to $132,000 for singles and heads of household and $0 to $10,000 for married persons filing separately. For detailed information on contributing to either Roth or Traditional IRAs, including worksheets for determining contribution and deduction amounts, see Publication 590-A, available on IRS.gov.

Taxpayers whose employer does not offer a retirement plan may want to consider enrolling in myRA®, a retirement savings plan offered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It’s safe, affordable and a great option for people who don’t have a retirement savings plan at work. Taxpayers can direct deposit their entire refund or a portion of it into an existing myRA – Retirement Account.  For further details and to open a myRA account online, visit www.myRA.gov.

Also known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, the Saver’s Credit is often available to IRA contributors whose adjusted gross income falls below certain levels. For 2016, the income limit is $30,750 for singles and married filing separate, $46,125 for heads of household and $61,500 for married couples filing jointly.

Eligible taxpayers get the credit even if they qualify for other retirement-related tax benefits. Like other tax credits, the Saver’s Credit can increase a taxpayer’s refund or reduce the taxes they owe. The amount of the credit is based on a number of factors, including the amount contributed to either a Roth or Traditional IRA and other qualifying retirement programs. Form 8880 is used to claim the Saver’s Credit, and its instructions have details on figuring the credit correctly.

Arena and Associates, Inc. – Rob Arena – IRS Electronic Payment

If you are in need of help with your IRS tax liability – there is no better name in professional help than Rob Arena at Arena and Associates, Inc. Check our website at aataxhelp.com for more information. Call 303-847-4038 for a free consultation.

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Issue Number:    IR-2017-59

Inside This Issue

Tax Time Guide: Electronic Payment/Payment Agreement Options Available to Those Who Owe Taxes

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that it’s easier than ever to pay taxes electronically. For those unable to pay on time, several quick and easy solutions are available.

This is the seventh in a series of 10 IRS tips called the Tax Time Guide. Taxpayers can use these tips to find solutions to common tax issues as the April 18 tax deadline approaches.

Taxpayers who owe taxes can now choose among several quick and easy electronic payment options, including the following:

  • Electronic Funds Withdrawal allows taxpayers to e-file and pay from their bank account when using tax preparation software or a tax professional. EFW is only available when electronically filing a tax return.
  • Direct Pay. Available at IRS.gov/directpay, this free online tool allows taxpayers to securely pay their taxes directly from checking or savings accounts without any fees or preregistration. Taxpayers can schedule payments up to 30 days in advance. Those using the tool will receive instant confirmation when they submit their payment.
  • Credit or Debit Card. Taxpayers can pay online, by phone or with their mobile device through any of the authorized debit and credit card processors. The processor charges a fee. The IRS doesn’t receive or charge any fees for payments made with a debit or credit card. Go to https://www.irs.gov/payments for authorized card processors and phone numbers.
  • IRS2Go. The IRS2Go mobile app is free and offers taxpayers the option to make a payment with Direct Pay for free or by debit or credit card through an approved payment processor for a fee. Download IRS2Go free from Google Play, the Apple App Store or the Amazon App Store.
  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. This free service gives taxpayers a safe and convenient way to pay individual and business taxes by phone or online. To enroll or for more information, call 800-555-4477, or visit eftps.gov.
  • Cash. Taxpayers paying with cash can use the PayNearMe option. Payments are limited to $1,000 per day, and a $3.99 fee applies to each payment. The IRS urges taxpayers choosing this option to start early, because PayNearMe involves a four-step process. Initiating a payment well ahead of the tax deadline will help taxpayers avoid interest and penalty charges. The IRS offers this option in cooperation with OfficialPayments.com/fed and participating 7-Eleven stores in 34 states. Details, including answers to frequently asked questions, are at IRS.gov/paywithcash.

Taxpayers can electronically request an extension of time to file. An extension of time to file is not an extension to pay. Taxes are still due by the original due date. Taxpayers can get an automatic extension when making a payment with Direct Pay, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by debit or credit card. Select “Form 4868” as the payment type to receive the automatic extension.

Taxpayers who choose to pay by check or money order should make the payment out to the “United States Treasury.” To help ensure that the payment gets credited promptly, also enclose a Form 1040-V payment voucher. Also, print on the front of the check or money order: “2016 Form 1040”; name; address; daytime phone number; and Social Security number.

Taxpayers can view their federal tax account balances online. It’s safe, secure and available on the “Finding out How Much You Owe” page on IRS.gov. They can also access payment options or apply for an installment agreement on this page.

The IRS advises taxpayers to file either an income tax return or a request for a tax-filing extension by this year’s April 18 deadline to avoid late-filing penalties. This penalty can be ten times as costly as the penalty for paying late.

Taxpayers who owe, but can’t pay the balance in full, do have options. Often they qualify for one of several relief programs, including:

  • Payment Plans, Installment Agreements — Most people can set up a payment plan with the IRS online in a matter of minutes. Those who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement application to set up a short-term payment plan of 120-days or less, or a monthly payment agreement for up to 72 months. With the Online Payment Agreement, no paperwork is required, there is no need to call, write or visit the IRS and qualified taxpayers can avoid the IRS filing a Notice of Federal Tax Lien unless it previously filed one. Alternatively, taxpayers can request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465. This form can be downloaded from IRS.gov and mailed along with a tax return, IRS bill or notice.
  • Offer In Compromise — Some struggling taxpayers may qualify for an offer-in-compromise. This is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. The IRS looks at the taxpayer’s income and assets to make a determination on their ability to pay. To help determine eligibility, use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier, a free online tool available on IRS.gov.

Other tips in the Tax Time Guide series are available on IRS.gov.

 

Arena and Associates – IRS Technical Guidance

Call Rob Arena at Arena and Associates, Inc., for immediate tax debt relief. Licensed tax professional with over 20 years of experience in solving IRS claims.

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3/4/2017

Inside This Issue

 

1.     IRS Nationwide Tax Forums Open for Registration

2.     Refunds Totaling $1 Billion Available for Those Who Have Not Filed a 2013 Tax Return

3.     Special Enrollment Exam Fee

4.     LB&I Compliance Campaign Webinars

5.     Online Resources for IP PIN and Transcripts

6.     YouTube: IRS Taxes-Three Easy Ways to Pay

7.     IRS Criminal Investigation Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report

8.     IRS Reaches 100th eBook Milestone

9.     Technical Guidance

 

1.  IRS Nationwide Tax Forums Open for Registration

The 2017 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums are now open for registration. Join tax professionals at five locations across the country for three days of continuing education, workshops and exhibits of new products and services.

 

As a tax professional you can earn up to 18 CPE credits, network with your peers and learn from subject matter experts from the IRS and its association partners.

 

For more information or to register, visit the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum website at www.irstaxforum.com.

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2.  Refunds Totaling $1 Billion Available for Those Who Have Not Filed a 2013 Tax Return

Unclaimed federal income tax refunds totaling more than $1 billion may be waiting for an estimated one million taxpayers who did not file a 2013 federal income tax return.

To claim this money, taxpayers must file a 2013 tax return with the IRS no later than April 18.

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3.  Special Enrollment Exam Fee

Effective March 1, the fee for taking each of the three parts of the Special Enrollment Examination increased from $109 to $111.94. The increase is due to a change to the vendor’s portion of the fee by $2.94. The IRS portion of the fee is unchanged.

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4.  LB&I Compliance Campaign Webinars

The IRS Large Business and International (LB&I) Division will participate in a series of webinars in collaboration with various stakeholders to provide tax practitioners with information about its new compliance campaigns.

KPMG will host the first in the series, scheduled for March 7, at 2 p.m. EST. This 75-minute webinar will focus on the campaign process, how campaigns are being implemented and how they will impact taxpayers.

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5.  Online Resources for IP PIN and Transcripts

At this time of the year, some of your clients are seeking their Identity Protection PINs or are in need of a tax transcript. For inquiries about IP PIN and transcripts, guide them to the most appropriate service options on IRS.gov:

Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) – If your client lost a CP01A letter and needs an IP PIN, he or she can go to Get an IP PIN or Retrieve Your IP PIN on IRS.gov for retrieval options. Users must validate their identities. If unable to validate, your client should call the Identity Theft toll-free line to have the information mailed. If your client moved after Jan. 1, 2017, he or she will need to file a paper return without an IP PIN.

Tax Transcripts – If your client needs a tax transcript, suggest www.IRS.gov/transcript. The IRS Get Transcript tool allows taxpayers who can validate their identities to view and download transcripts. Alternatively, transcripts can be sent by mail in five to 10 days. Taxpayers may also order a transcript by mail by calling the automated phone transcript service at 800-908-9946. Tax professionals with a power of attorney form on file also may access their clients’ transcripts via e-Services.

Reminder: All Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) nationwide now operate by appointment. Most questions can be answered online at IRS.gov without visiting a TAC. Taxpayers who need in-person assistance can make an appointment online.

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6.  YouTube: IRS Taxes-Three Easy Ways to Pay

Learn about all the payment options available to taxpayers in this new YouTube video.

Watch this and other videos on the IRS’s YouTube Channel

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7.  IRS Criminal Investigation Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division this week released its annual report, assessing criminal enforcement actions taken in fiscal year 2016.

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8.  IRS Reaches 100th eBook Milestone

The IRS recently published its 100th eBook, a key milestone in an effort to share information in ways that meet the changing needs of taxpayers.

IRS eBooks enable you to read and review some of the most commonly used IRS tax products. You can view the 1040 instructions, Publication 17, and other popular tax publications using a mobile device such as a smart phone, tablet or eReader.

The complete list of eBook publications is available at https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/ebooks. Tax publications are also available on IRS.gov for free downloading in PDF and HTML versions.

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9.  Technical Guidance

Notice 2017-20 extends the period for an employer that provides a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA), which was added to the Internal Revenue Code by the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act), to furnish an initial written notice to its eligible employees regarding the QESHRA. The period is extended from March 13, 2017 (90 days after the Cures Act was enacted) to at least 90 days after additional guidance regarding the contents of the QSEHRA notice is issued. The notice also provides transition relief from penalties for failure to furnish the written notice until after further guidance has been issued.

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Arena and Associates – Free Tax Help

Don’t wait to settle your tax debt until the IRS is knocking on your door. Get help today. Call Rob Arena at Arena and Associates, Inc., for immediate tax debt relief. Licensed tax professional with over 20 years of experience in solving IRS claims.

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3/2/2017

Inside This Issue

Free Help Preparing Tax Returns Available Nationwide

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WASHINGTON –– The Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers today that they may be eligible to receive free tax help at nearly 12,000 preparation sites nationwide. The sites, generally located at community and neighborhood centers, provide tax assistance to taxpayers with low- and moderate-incomes and the elderly.

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to individuals who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and individuals with limited English proficiency who need assistance in preparing their taxes. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 and older. The IRS certified VITA and TCE volunteers are trained to help with many tax questions, including credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a significant tax credit for workers who earned $53,505 or less in 2016. Last year, more than 27 million eligible workers and families received almost $67 billion in EITC, with an average EITC amount of $2,455. The maximum EITC amount for 2016 is $6,269 for qualifying families with three or more children. In order to receive the credit, eligible taxpayers must file a tax return, even if they do not have a filing requirement. The VITA and TCE programs can help answer many EITC questions and help taxpayers claim the credit if they qualify. Taxpayers may also use the IRS.gov EITC Assistant to help them determine their eligibility.

Before visiting a VITA or TCE site, taxpayers should review Publication 3676-B to be aware of the services provided. To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, taxpayers can use the VITA and TCE locator tool available on IRS.gov, download the IRS mobile app IRS2GO or call 800-906-9887.

For assistance preparing a tax return at a VITA or TCE site, taxpayers must bring all required documents and information including:

  • Proof of identification (photo ID) for taxpayer and spouse
  • Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted for those who do not have a Social Security number
  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
  • Birth dates for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents
  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers and other payers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
  • Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms
  • Total amount paid for daycare services and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number
  • Forms 1095-A, B and C,  Health Coverage Statements
  • Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable

In addition, the military and the IRS join together to provide free tax assistance to military personnel and their families. The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) consists of the tax program coordinators for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The AFTC oversees the operation of the military tax programs worldwide, and serves as the main conduit for outreach by the IRS to military personnel and their families. Volunteers can also address military specific tax issues, such as combat zone tax benefits and the effect of the EITC guidelines.

In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, most sites will file returns electronically for free. Combining e-file with direct deposit is the fastest and most accurate way to file. The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in 21 days or less. Paper returns take longer to process. Taxpayers who chose to file electronically and owe, can make a payment by the April 18, 2017, deadline using Direct Pay. This IRS free service allows taxpayers to make secure payments from a checking or savings account It also allows the taxpayer to get an automatic extension of time to file when Direct Pay is used to make a payment.

Taxpayers that prefer to file their tax returns electronically have the option of using IRS Free File. IRS Free File offers brand-name tax software to taxpayers who earned $64,000 or less in 2016 to file their returns free. Taxpayers who earned more can use Free Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. IRS Free File is only available through the IRS website by visiting IRS.gov/freefile.

 

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IRS Committed to Stopping Offshore Tax Cheating; Remains on “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for 2017

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WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today said avoiding taxes by hiding money or assets in unreported offshore accounts remains on its 2017 list of tax scams known as the “Dirty Dozen.”

Since the first Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) opened in 2009, there have been more than 55,800 disclosures and the IRS has collected more than $9.9 billion from this initiative alone.

In addition, another 48,000 taxpayers have made use of separate streamlined procedures to correct prior non-willful omissions and meet their federal tax obligations, paying approximately $450 million in taxes, interest and penalties. The IRS conducted thousands of offshore-related civil audits that resulted in the payment of tens of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes. The IRS has also pursued criminal charges leading to billions of dollars in criminal fines and restitutions.

“Offshore compliance remains a top IRS priority. We’ve collected $10 billion in back taxes in recent years with 100,000 taxpayers making use of our voluntary disclosure programs,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS receives more foreign account information each year, making it harder to hide income offshore. I urge taxpayers with international tax issues to come forward and get right with the system.”

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

Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties as well as interest and possible criminal prosecution. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division works closely with the Department of Justice to shut down scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.

Hiding Income Offshore

Over the years, numerous individuals have been identified as evading U.S. taxes by attempting to hide income in offshore banks, brokerage accounts or nominee entities. Then access the funds using debit cards, credit cards or wire transfers. Others have employed foreign trusts, employee-leasing schemes, private annuities or insurance plans for the same purpose.

The IRS uses information gained from its investigations to pursue taxpayers with undeclared accounts, as well as bankers and others suspected of helping clients hide their assets overseas.

While there are legitimate reasons for maintaining financial accounts abroad, there are reporting requirements that need to be fulfilled. U.S. taxpayers who maintain such accounts and who do not comply with reporting requirements are breaking the law and risk significant  fines, as well as the possibility of criminal prosecution.

Since 2009, tens of thousands of individuals have come forward to voluntarily disclose their foreign financial accounts, taking advantage of special opportunities to comply with the U.S. tax system and resolve their tax obligations. And, with new foreign account reporting requirements being phased in over the next few years, hiding income offshore is increasingly more difficult.

At the beginning of 2012, the IRS reopened the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program  following continued strong interest from taxpayers and tax practitioners after the closure of the 2011 and 2009 programs. This program will be open for an indefinite period until otherwise announced.

Third-Party Reporting

Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the network of intergovernmental agreements between the U.S. and partner jurisdictions, automatic third-party account reporting has entered its second year. The IRS continues to receive more information regarding potential non-compliance by U.S. persons because of the Department of Justice’s Swiss Bank Program. This information makes it less likely that offshore financial accounts will go unnoticed by the IRS.

Potential civil penalties increase substantially if U.S. taxpayers associated with participating banks wait to apply to OVDP to resolve their tax obligations.

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Avoid the Rush: Check IRS.gov Before Making IRS Office Appointment

WASHINGTON – February is not only a peak time for calls to the Internal Revenue Service’s call center; it’s also the peak time for visits to IRS offices for face-to-face tax help.

The IRS is reminding taxpayers that all IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers now provide service by appointment.

Most taxpayers requesting appointments with the IRS can easily find answers to their questions on IRS.gov. Many people come to Taxpayer Assistance Centers looking for tax forms when they are available on IRS.gov. Some libraries and other locations also may carry the most commonly used tax forms and schedules.

Other self-service options – and reasons people visit IRS offices – include refunds, transcripts and tax payments. Taxpayers who visit regularly to make routine tax payments should consider online payment alternatives. Taxpayers can pay online, by phone or via their mobile device and get instant confirmation that their payment has been sent.

The appointment service and toll-free phone options help the IRS serve more taxpayers who have no other option but to visit or call for assistance. If you need your prior-year adjusted gross income to complete the electronic filing process, please use Get Transcript Online or Get Transcript by Mail or review other options. Taxpayers should note that ordering a tax transcript will not reveal their refund delivery date. Use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool for the most up-to-date information.

The IRS will staff its toll-free telephone service Saturday, Feb. 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., callers’ local time, and Monday, Feb. 20, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., callers’ local time. All IRS taxpayer Assistance offices will be closed Monday, Feb. 20, for Presidents’ Day.

This tip is part of the IRS Avoid the Rush news release series designed to provide taxpayers with the information they need, when they need it. More details on this series, including information on additional online resources, are available on IRS.gov.

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Arena and Associates, Inc. – Rob Arena – Tips to Help You Plan for Next Tax Season

aaTAX_9.15Tax season seems to sneak up on us every year. Oftentimes, we find ourselves overwhelmed and anxious knowing that tax season is coming up.

Filing taxes doesn’t have to be an ordeal. It comes every year and the steps are pretty much the same. It can be less time consuming and less frustrating if you start preparing for next year’s tax season right now.

Don’t let tax season scare you into an anxious state. Here are a few tips that will help make the filing process much easier.

Stay organized

Most people will procrastinate filing their taxes and rush at the last minute to make the deadline. Now, you forgot your spouse’s birth date. Or maybe you were scrambling to find your kid’s social security number. Tax season is enough of a headache. Tracking this information just adds to the hassle of doing your taxes. Don’t wait until the end of the year to consolidate your documents.

The IRS use social security number to track everyone. A missing social security number could cost you. Gather all information and documents at the start of the year and place them in a secure spot.

Plan to maximize credits and deductions

Plan ahead and perform some research on how you can maximize the credits and deductions you can claim.

If you have paid for expenses related to your job and it wasn’t reimbursed by your employer, this can be deducted on your return. Work-at-home individuals, on the other hand, you can claim deductions for your home office.

Find a tax preparer

The first year I paid an accountant $800, it definitely put a hole on my budget. But then I realized it was a good idea after all since I was able to save $10,000 in taxes. An accountant can help you use tax saving strategies, receive a bigger refund and pay less in taxes.

Don’t rush at the last minute to find an accountant to complete your tax return. Find one sooner rather than later.