Taxpayer Bill of Rights: The Right to Be Informed
FS-2016-7, February 2016
In 2014, the Internal Revenue Service adopted a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) that has become a cornerstone document to provide the nation's taxpayers a better understanding of their fundamental rights when dealing with the agency.
Not only has the IRS highlighted these 10 rights for taxpayers, they have also been shared extensively on a continuing basis with IRS employees since then. The TBOR adopted by the IRS in 2014 includes the same 10 fundamental rights that were placed by Congress in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) in late 2015. IRC section 7803(a)(3) now requires the IRS Commissioner to ensure that IRS employees are familiar with and act in accordance with the 10 fundamental rights that make up the TBOR.
The TBOR takes the multiple existing rights embedded in the tax code and groups them into 10 categories, making them easier to find, understand and use. A list of your rights as a taxpayer and IRS obligations to protect them can be found in IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer.
It includes The Right to Be Informed.
Taxpayers have the right to know what they need to do to comply with the tax laws. They are entitled to clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures in all tax forms, instructions, publications, notices and correspondence. They have the right to be informed of IRS decisions about their tax accounts and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes.
What you can expect:
- Certain notices must include the amount (if any) of the tax, interest, and certain penalties you owe and must explain why you owe these amounts.
- When the IRS fully or partially disallows your claim for refund, it must explain the specific reasons why.
- Help with Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter is available online at IRS.gov.
- If the IRS proposes to assess tax against you, it must provide you in its initial letter, which allows for review by an independent Office of Appeals, an explanation of the entire process from examination (audit) through collection, and explain that the Taxpayer Advocate Service may be able to assist you.
- If you enter into a payment plan, known as an installment agreement, the IRS must send you an annual statement that provides how much you owe at the beginning of the year, how much you paid during the year, and how much you still owe at the end of the year.
- You can access current and prior year IRS forms and publications at IRS.gov or have hard copies mailed by calling toll-free 800-829-3676.
- IRS also uses several social media tools that provide helpful tax information to a broad audience, including Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and the IRS2Go free mobile app.
To find out more about the TBOR and what it means to you visit: http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov
In addition to the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, the IRS is committed to ensuring that your civil rights are also protected. Taxpayers are not subjected to discrimination based on race, color, national origin, reprisal, disability, age, sex (including sexual orientation and pregnancy discrimination), religion, or parental status in programs or services conducted by the IRS or on its behalf. If a taxpayer believes he or she has been discriminated against, a written complaint can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the IRS Civil Rights Division.
The IRS also has a robust source of tax information available to Spanish-speaking taxpayers online at IRS.gov/espanol. Versions of Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, are also posted online at IRS.gov in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. By making this important publication available in multiple languages, the IRS hopes to increase the number of Americans who know and understand their rights under the tax law. Additionally, the IRS has programs in place to assist taxpayers with limited English proficiency and to provide reasonable accommodations for taxpayers with disabilities.
IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer
Additional IRS Resources
· Publication 556, Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights, and Claims for Refund
· Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process
Over 44,000 non-credentialed tax return preparers have elected to participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program and received a Record of Completion. This already exceeds last year’s 41,000+ participants.
The deadline to complete the required continuing education was Dec. 31, but for those who obtained the CE and did not get a Record of Completion, it’s not too late.
A preparer only needs to renew his or her PTIN and sign the online Circular 230 consent. View a video tutorial for a demonstration how to sign the C230 consent.
After the filing season is over (April 18), preparers will no longer be able to sign and participate in the program for 2016.
The benefits of participation are 1) retention of limited practice rights and 2) inclusion in the online preparer directory on IRS.gov.
For returns filed after Dec. 31, 2015, non-credentialed tax return preparers have no representation rights for clients unless they participate in the Annual Filing Season Program. More information about limited practice rights is available.
Written by Ronald Marini | Posted in Tax Payments • Tax Planning • Tax Refund • Tax Return
While most taxpayers get a refund from the IRS when they file their taxes, some do not. The IRS offers several Payment Options for those who owe taxes. Here are eight tips for those who owe federal taxes.
Tax bill payments. If you get a bill from the IRS this summer, you should pay it as soon as possible to save money. You can pay by check, money order, cashier’s check or cash. If you cannot pay it all, consider getting a loan to pay the bill in full. The interest rate for a loan may be less than the interest and penalties the IRS must charge by law.
Electronic Funds Transfer. It’s easy to pay your tax bill by electronic funds transfer. Just visit IRS.gov and use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. You may also use EFTPS to pay your taxes by phone at 800-555-4477.
Credit or debit card payments. You can also pay your tax bill with a credit or debit card. Even though the card company may charge an extra fee for a tax payment, the costs of using a credit or debit card may be less than the cost of an IRS payment plan. To pay by credit or debit card, contact one of the processing companies listed at IRS.gov.
More time to pay. You may qualify for a short-term agreement to pay your taxes. This may apply if you can fully pay your taxes in 120 days or less. You can request it through the Payment Agreement application at IRS.gov. You may also call the IRS at the number listed on the last notice you received. If you can’t find the notice, call 800-829-1040 for help. There is generally no set-up fee for a short-term agreement.
Installment Agreement. If you can’t pay in full at one time and can’t get a loan, you may want to apply for a monthly payment plan. If you owe $50,000 or less, you can apply using the IRS Payment Agreement application. If approved, IRS will notify you immediately. You can arrange to make your payments by direct debit. This type of payment plan helps avoid missed payments and may help avoid a tax lien that would damage your credit.
Taxpayers may also apply using IRS Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. If you owe more than $50,000, you must also complete Form 433F, Collection Information Statement. For approved payment plans the one-time user fee is $105 for standard and payroll deduction agreements. The direct debit agreement fee is $52. The fee is $43 if your income is below a certain level.
Offer in Compromise. The IRS Offer-in-Compromise program allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. An OIC may be an option if you can’t fully pay your taxes through an installment agreement or other payment alternatives.
The IRS may accept an OIC if the amount offered represents the most IRS can expect to collect within a reasonable time. Click here to see if you may be eligible before you apply. We will notify you of other options if an OIC is not right for you.
Fresh Start. If you’re struggling to pay your taxes, the IRS Fresh Start initiative may help you. Fresh Start makes it easier for individual and small business taxpayers to pay back taxes and avoid tax liens.
Check withholding. You may be able to avoid owing taxes in future years by increasing the taxes your employer withholds from your pay. To do this, file a revised Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer. The IRS Withholding Calculator tool at IRS.gov can help you fill out a new W-4.
Posted by Tax Connections: https://www.taxconnections.com/taxblog/eight-tips-for-taxpayers-who-owe-taxes/
By Michael A. Olguin / President of Havas Formula
If everything you read about millennials is only partially true, then we as employers should be afraid to hire anyone who was born in the ‘80s. Thus, if I was a millennial (which I am not), I would feel pretty bad about myself and the likelihood of reaching my fullest potential given all of the negative things that have been said and written about me—from my work ethic, need for positive affirmation and inability to take criticism to my lack of loyalty and quest for the fastest route to the corner office. So I thought I would provide the many millennials in the workforce with a can’t-miss plan for professional success that will, once and for all, quell all the haters out there.
1. Ask questions (but explain why you’re asking them) – Yes, many corporate managers expect subordinates to just do what has been asked of them. However, if you learn a bit about millennials you will understand that they need more information—they want to know why. What are we trying to accomplish? How are we going to get there? What’s the value? As a millennial, you will provide greater understanding to your manager if he or she understands the context of your question and how the answer will help you to do a better job.
2. Under promise and over deliver (not so obvious to millennials) – Many believe that millennials are more about doing the job quickly, rather than correctly. And that their goal is to get a pat on the back for getting the job done. The best way for millennials to change that perception is to deliver beyond their manager’s expectation. Ask specifics about the task, but then push beyond it. When your manager says they want “A, B and C,” deliver “A, B, C, D and E.” In addition to impressing them, you will find that the quality (and importance) of the work you are asked to do will also improve.
3. Don’t look for credit (I know it’s counter-intuitive, but I assure you it works) – When you are driven by doing what is right, what is best for the situation and what will drive the greatest results, you will find it incredibly satisfying. Bosses love when someone is selfless, cares only about the company (or client) and is driven by team success. When you focus on the group prize and not personal accolades, your entire team will notice—and this will ultimately drive your individual success.
4. Punch above your weight (do what nobody but you believed you could do) – Many managers erroneously believe that millennials don’t have the experience, know-how or desire to be successful. You have every opportunity to change that perception by asking to do more. Don’t settle for a standard list of to do’s. When you can do work above your pay grade, then you are bringing greater value to the company and to your manager. When they see that drive, they will likely look for greater opportunities to leverage your desire and motivation.
5. Lighten up (don’t let everything you believe in weigh you down) – The perception is that millennials are driven by a bigger purpose in life and business than what appears on the surface. This noble mentality is a good thing, but don’t let it get in the way of working hard, doing what’s right or upending your employer’s process because you feel differently. Though there are numerous mission-based brands out there, it’s important to remember that most companies are in business to turn a profit. Thus, everything you can do to enhance that proposition will cast a favorable light on you.
Remember that people who love what they do are typically the same people who have the greatest amount of success within their company—they have more friends at work, are promoted more frequently, and generally make more money. As a millennial, you can choose to be what you want to be, and not what the world thinks you are.
6 Must-Do Year-End Tax Planning Tips Featured
It's December. Time for year-end tax planning. Here are six must-do tips. Some can save you money by cutting this year's taxes. Other can boost the size of your nest egg over time.
Either — or both — can boost your finances and turbocharge your retirement planning.
• Speed up, slow down. You should accelerate any deductions that could fall to you in 2016 or 2015. Likewise, you should delay taxable income until next year.
The types of expenses you should speed up include any mortgage payment that is due in January. Also, state and local taxes as well as property taxes.
But be careful if you are subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). If so, you aren't allowed to take itemized deductions for state and local income taxes or real estate and personal property taxes.
"In a year that you have to pay the AMT, don't bother prepaying real estate or fourth-quarter state estimated tax payments in December," advises the website for TurboTax. "You get no benefit from paying these taxes in a year that you are subject to the AMT."
Self-employed people and business owners have the most control over the timing of their income.
Higher-income executives often can influence the timing of the exercise of stock options and of some deferred compensation.
• Set up a qualified retirement plan. Your deadline for setting up a Keogh plan, which can be used by some self-employed people and small-business owners, is Dec. 31. Keoghs require much more paperwork than a SEP-IRA and are more costly to run. Still, if your income is high enough, their higher contribution caps can make them worthwhile.
You can contribute to SEP-IRAs and Keoghs as late as your filing due date plus extensions.
The deadline for setting up a SEP-IRA is your filing due date plus extensions.
The deadline for setting up a solo 401(k) plan is Dec. 31.
• Donate appreciated securities to charity. Dec. 31 is the deadline to make a charitable donation that you can deduct on your 2015 return.
It's usually better to donate appreciated assets instead of cash. With appreciated assets, neither you nor the charity has to pay tax on a capital gain when the security is eventually sold.
If you sold the asset first, you'd have to pay cap-gain tax on any profit.
If you're thinking about donations to several charities, consider a donor-advised fund, says Matthew Sommer, director of retirement strategy at Janus Capital. You must make the donation by Dec. 31 to get the deduction. But the fund does not have to dish out the money this year.