filing

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File Your 2018 Income Tax Return

The IRS opened the 2018 income tax return filing season on January 28. Even if you typically don’t file until much closer to the April 15 deadline, this year consider filing as soon as you can. Why? You can potentially protect yourself from tax identity theft — and reap other benefits, too.

What is tax identity theft?

In a tax identity theft scheme, a thief uses your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return early in the filing season and claim a bogus refund.

You discover the fraud when you file your return and are informed by the IRS that the return has been rejected because one with your Social Security number has already been filed for the same tax year. While you should ultimately be able to prove that your return is the legitimate one, tax identity theft can cause major headaches to straighten out and significantly delay your refund.

Filing early may be […]

By |February 6th, 2019|fraud, New Tax Laws, taxes, w2|0 Comments

IRS Reminds Employers, Other Businesses of Jan. 31 Filing Deadline

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The Internal Revenue Service today reminds employers and other businesses of the Jan. 31 filing deadline that applies to filing wage statements and independent contractor forms with the government.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act requires employers to file their copies of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with the Social Security Administration by Jan. 31. The Jan. 31 deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, filed with the IRS to report non-employee compensation to independent contractors. Such payments are reported in box 7 of this form.

This deadline makes it easier for the IRS to verify income that individuals report on their tax returns and helps prevent fraud. Failure to file these forms correctly and timely may result in penalties. As always, the IRS urges employers and other businesses to take advantage of the accuracy, speed and convenience of filing these forms electronically.

An extension of time to file Forms W-2 is no longer automatic. The IRS will only […]

By |January 29th, 2019|irs, w2|0 Comments

What Will Your Marginal Income Tax Rate Be?

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) generally reduced individual tax rates for 2018 through 2025, some taxpayers could see their taxes go up due to reductions or eliminations of certain tax breaks — and, in some cases, due to their filing status. But some may see additional tax savings due to their filing status.

Unmarried vs. married taxpayers

In an effort to further eliminate the marriage “penalty,” the TCJA made changes to some of the middle tax brackets. As a result, some single and head of household filers could be pushed into higher tax brackets more quickly than pre-TCJA. For example, the beginning of the 32% bracket for singles for 2018 is $157,501, whereas it was $191,651 for 2017 (though the rate was 33%). For heads of households, the beginning of this bracket has decreased even more significantly, to $157,501 for 2018 from $212,501 for 2017.

Married taxpayers, on the other hand, won’t be pushed into some middle brackets […]

By |January 18th, 2019|New Tax Laws, tax rate, taxpayer|0 Comments

Some California Taxpayers are Receiving Erroneous Late Notices

Some California taxpayers are receiving erroneous late notices. Taxpayers who reside in federally declared disaster areas have been granted extra time to accomplish state tax-related tasks, such as filing tax returns and paying taxes due. The CA Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has reported that, due to a systemic issue, some taxpayers who qualify for this relief have received notices assessing late-filing penalties. While the FTB works to update its system and address this issue, taxpayers can contact the FTB on its homepage and click live chat: https://bit.ly/2MG3HMz

If you have questions, you can also contact your Linkenheimer CPA.

By |October 2nd, 2018|disaster, ftb, irs, tax|0 Comments

FTB Issuing Late Filing Penalties, Despite Extension Due to Fires

We have had clients receive  FTB notices with a much larger late filing penalty than it should be, despite being extended due to the fires. We spoke to the FTB, and they said that their system is not picking up the zip codes,  and therefore notices are being issued with the late filing penalty. They suggest calling in and the account will be flagged to auto adjust once they fix their system (IT is updating their coding) but temporarily they are placing holds on those accounts after you call in.  Please be aware of this and contact your Linkenheimer CPA if you get a notice and don’t just pay it, as this may complicate the adjustment process. We will keep you updated and let you know once the FTB has resolved the issue. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact us.

By |March 14th, 2018|california, disaster, ftb|0 Comments

AMT Retained with Higher Exemption Amounts

The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is a tax system separate from the regular tax that is intended to prevent a taxpayer with substantial income from avoiding tax liability by using various exclusions, deductions, and credits.

Under it, AMT rates are applied to AMT income determined after the taxpayer “gives back” an assortment of tax benefits. If the tax determined under these calculations exceeds the regular tax, the larger amount is owed. In computing the AMT, only alternative minimum taxable income (AMTI) above an AMT exemption amount is taken into account. The AMT exemption amount is set by statute and adjusted annually for inflation, and the exemption amounts are phased out at higher income levels.

Under pre-Act law, for 2018, the exemption amounts were scheduled to be:

(i) $86,200 for marrieds filing jointly/surviving spouses;

(ii) $55,400 for other unmarried individuals;

(iii) 50% of the marrieds-filing-jointly amount for marrieds filing separately, i.e., $43,100;

And, those exemption amounts were reduced by an amount equal to 25% of the amount by which the individual’s AMTI exceeded:

(i) $164,100 for marrieds filing jointly and surviving spouses (phase-out complete at $508,900);

(ii) $123,100 for unmarried individuals (phase-out complete at $344,700); and

(iii) 50% of the marrieds-filing-jointly amount for marrieds filing separately, i.e., $82,050 (phase-out complete at […]

By |January 12th, 2018|amt, New Tax Laws, tax deductions|0 Comments

State and Local Tax Deduction Limited

Under pre-Act law, taxpayers could deduct from their taxable income as an itemized deduction several types of taxes paid at the state and local level, including real and personal property taxes, income taxes, and/or sales taxes.

New law. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, subject to the exception described below, State, local, and foreign property taxes, and State and local sales taxes, are deductible only when paid or accrued in carrying on a trade or business or an activity described in Code Sec. 212 (generally, for the production of income). State and local income, war profits, and excess profits are not allowable as a deduction.

However, a taxpayer may claim an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 ($5,000 for a married taxpayer filing a separate return) for the aggregate of (i) State and local property taxes not paid or accrued in carrying on a trade or business or activity described in Code Sec. 212; and (ii) State and local income, war profits, and excess profits taxes (or sales taxes in lieu of income, etc. taxes) paid or accrued in the tax year. Foreign real property taxes may not be deducted. (Code Sec. 164(b)(6), as amended by Act Sec. […]

By |January 9th, 2018|CA tax, income tax, New Tax Laws, property tax, state income|0 Comments

Child Tax Credit Increased

Under pre-Act law, a taxpayer could claim a child tax credit of up to $1,000 per qualifying child under the age of 17. The aggregate amount of the credit that could be claimed phased out by $50 for each $1,000 of AGI over $75,000 for single filers, $110,000 for married filers, and $55,000 for married individuals filing separately. To the extent that the credit exceeded a taxpayer’s liability, a taxpayer was eligible for a refundable credit (i.e., the additional child tax credit) equal to 15% of earned income in excess of $3,000 (the “earned income threshold”). A taxpayer claiming the credit had to include a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for each qualifying child on their return. In most cases, the TIN is the child’s Social Security Number (SSN), although Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) were also accepted.

New law. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, the child tax credit is increased to $2,000, and other changes are made to phase-outs and refund-ability during this same period, as outlined below. (Code Sec. 24(h)(2), as added by Act Sec. 11022(a))

Phase-out. The income levels at which the credit phases out are increased to $400,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly ($200,000 […]

By |January 9th, 2018|New Tax Laws, tax credit|0 Comments

New Individual, Estate and Trust Rate Schedules

With the new tax law changes, we will be posting a series of of updates outlining all the changes that will take place. If you have any questions, please contact your Linkenheimer CPA.

FOR MARRIED INDIVIDUALS FILING JOINT RETURNS AND SURVIVING SPOUSES:

If taxable income is: The tax is:

Not over $19,050 10% of taxable income

Over $19,050 but not over $77,400 $1,905 plus 12% of the excess over $19,050

Over $77,400 but not over $165,000 $8,907 plus 22% of the excess over $77,400

Over $165,000 but not over $315,000 $28,179 plus 24% of the excess over $165,000

Over $315,000 but not over $400,000 $64,179 plus 32% of the excess over $315,000

Over $400,000 but not over $600,000 $91,379 plus 35% of the excess over $400,000

Over $600,000 $161,379 plus 37% of the excess over $600,000

FOR SINGLE INDIVIDUALS (OTHER THAN HEADS OF HOUSEHOLDS AND SURVIVING SPOUSES):

If taxable income is: The tax is:

Not over $9,525 10% of taxable income

Over $9,525 but not over $38,700 $952.50 plus 12% of the excess over $9,525

Over $38,700 but not over $82,500 $4,453.50 plus 22% of the excess over $38,700

Over $82,500 but not over $157,500 $14,089.50 plus 24% of the excess over $82,500

Over $157,500 but not over $200,000 $32,089.50 […]

By |January 5th, 2018|income tax, New Tax Laws, tax, tax planning|0 Comments

Don’t Fall for the IRS Scams Out There

Scammers, claiming to be IRS agents, threatening arrest and jail time if you don’t pay them immediately for overdue “balances” are on the rise. If you haven’t received a call yourself, chances are you will at some point or you know someone who has. and unfortunately, these scams will probably continue and increase over time. Now, it might be daunting to receive a phone call from John Smith at the IRS office, claiming the cops are on your way to your house to arrest you if you don’t make an immediate payment over the phone to them, but rest easy knowing that a) the IRS isn’t going to call you (they are old school), you’ll get a letter in the mail or maybe a fax, and b) they aren’t going to send you an email demanding payment (see https://www.irs.gov/uac/irs-and-security-summit-partners-warn-of-fake-tax-bill-emails ).

To read an interesting story about one person, who worked his way through the cycle of the IRS phone scams to get answers: http://www.vox.com/first-person/2016/10/18/13276464/irs-scam-phone-cartoon

See what the IRS has to say on the continuing issue of phone and email scams:

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/phone-scams-continue-to-be-a-serious-threat-remain-on-irs-dirty-dozen-list-of-tax-scams-for-the-2016-filing-season

Stay vigilant and if you ever have questions about an email or phone call you’ve received, feel free […]

By |November 15th, 2016|irs|0 Comments