Tax news

Tax

Toll-Free Telephone Service

Free tax help from the IRS is just a phone call away. The IRS provides various services through its toll-free telephone numbers. You can order forms and publications, listen to prerecorded tax information, check on the status of your refund, ask questions about your tax return or inquire about a letter or notice you may have received.
Tax

New IRS Tax Practitioner Hotline Available

The IRS has launched a new service especially for tax practitioners - a nationwide telephone hotline that will take the place of local practitioner hotline services that have been available in the past.IRS personnel who are specially trained to handle practitioners' account related questions will staff the new toll-free service. The telephone number for the nationwide hotline, called Practitioner Priority Service, is 1-866-860-4259. The hotline service is being phased in throughout the country this spring and won't be fully operational until April 1, 2002.
Tax

How to Get a Copy of Your Tax Return Information

There may be times when you need a copy of your prior year federal tax return, a transcript of a return or tax account information. A phone call to the IRS or a visit to the IRS Web site may easily solve your problem.There are several different options available depending on how quickly you need the information. If you need a photocopy of a previously processed tax return, complete Form 4506, "Request for Copy or Transcript of Tax Form," and mail it to the IRS address listed on the form for your area.
Tax

IRS Announces Plans for Random Audits in 2002

The IRS has developed a new program, the National Research Program, which is designed to gather current information on the nation's taxpayers for purposes of judging the level of taxpayer compliance.The program, which will begin in 2002, will include random audits of approximately 50,000 taxpayers. The audits will be broken down into groups with four degrees of invasiveness.
Tax

Tax Materials and Assistance in Spanish

If you need federal tax information in Spanish, you can find it in the form of recorded tax topics, free tax publications and toll-free telephone assistance from the Internal Revenue Service.TeleTax is a toll-free automated service, in English and Spanish, providing helpful tax topics and refund information. You can find a list of the 151 TeleTax topics in the instructions for Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. TeleTax can also help you if it's been at least four weeks since you filed your return and you want to check on the status of your federal refund.
Tax

Taxpayer Rights and the IRS

The law requires the IRS to protect taxpayer rights, and in its day-to-day operations, the IRS and its employees aim to make taxpayer rights a top priority. This includes explaining those rights to taxpayers, keeping taxpayer information private and confidential and being professional and courteous.Besides what is expected of IRS employees, taxpayers have many other rights. They have the right to have someone represent them before the IRS and to accompany them to any meeting with IRS employees.
Tax

Change on Tax Form Lets Friends, Family Talk to IRS

Last year the IRS introduced a new option on the federal individual income tax return allowing taxpayers to authorize their tax preparers to speak to the IRS on their behalf. Thirty-seven million taxpayers took advantage of this program.
Tax

IRS Overwhelmed by Customer Calls

If you've been trying to call the IRS to get an Employer Identification Number over the past month, chances are you have been somewhat frustrated with the inability to reach anyone.Similar requests, such as responding to deadlines for Subschapter S elections, have met with a similar inability to get through, the Washington Post reported this week.According to IRS spokesperson Tim Harms, three factors have led to the backlog, which the IRS is hoping to get ahead of over the ne
Tax

E-File Helps Refunds, Payments

Are you one of the almost 100 million taxpayers who will receive a refund this year? The IRS says that requesting direct deposit and filing your tax return electronically (e-filing) will put that money in your pocket faster and easier.Every year, more taxpayers find out how safe and easy it is to have their tax refund deposited directly into their checking or savings account. This option is available for both e-filers and paper return filers.When you file electronically, your refund will be issued within three weeks, about half the time it would take if you filed a paper return.
Tax

Publication 17 - One Stop for Tax Help

Facing a lot of different tax questions this year? IRS experts have pulled together an overview of common tax issues in one convenient place - Publication 17, "Your Federal Income Tax." This updated publication contains a vast array of helpful information in one guide.From stock sales to student loans, this 280-page publication holds the answers to many of your questions, such as: Need help deciphering the mysteries of the Roth IRA? Try Chapter 18 for retirement accounts. Do you have a new child in the house?
Tax

Free Tax Publications Available

From aardvark to zyzzyva, the IRS has a publication that covers it - free for the asking. The IRS has numerous publications on a variety of tax-related topics available by phone, fax, or the Internet at www.irs.gov .Are you a student seeking knowledge on the lifetime learning credit? Check out Publication 970. Are you a first-time home buyer?
Tax

Point and Click for a Trouble-Free Tax Season

Need a tax form? Have a question about changes to tax law? Want to find the nearest IRS taxpayer assistance center? Now anyone with a personal computer and Internet access can point and click their way to trouble-free tax filing at www.irs.gov.The IRS Web site offers a wealth of resources for making tax time, well, a little less taxing. A user-friendly format allows even novice Web surfers to quickly find the information they need.
Tax

IRS 'Misplaces' Over 2300 Computers

It's tough when the organization that holds taxpayers strictly accountable for their businesses "can't find" over 2,300 computers in its inventory of over 163,000.The Associated Press has reported that a Treasury Department audit late last year has uncovered the fact that the computers were either lost, stolen or lost "due to bookkeeping errors" over the past three years.In response to the audit, the IRS indicated that they are locating the computers, and are "reasonably sure" that there is no sensitive or private information stored on those machines."An agency that requires taxpayers
Tax

Record Keeping

You can avoid headaches at tax time by keeping track of your receipts and other records throughout the year, the IRS advises. Good record keeping will help you remember the various transactions you made during the year, which may help you out on your taxes.Records help you document the deductions you've claimed on your return. You'll need this documentation should the IRS select your return for examination.
Tax

IRS Issues Final Regulations for Income Averaging

The IRS has issued final regulations relating to the income averaging method of computing income tax that is available for farmers.The final regulations address the issue of equitable treatment for shareholders of S corporations who receive farm income. In addition, the regulations also address the issue of rental income from a farming business.Specifically, the new regulations, set out in T.D.
Tax

Should I Itemize?

Whether to itemize deductions on your tax return depends on how much you spent on certain expenses last year. According to the IRS, money paid for medical care, mortgage interest, taxes, contributions, casualty losses, and miscellaneous deductions can reduce your taxes. If the total amount spent on those categories is more than the standard deduction, you can usually benefit by itemizing.The standard deduction amounts are based on your filing status and are subject to inflation adjustments each year.
Tax

Which Form - 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ?

If you are filing a federal income tax return on paper, use the simplest form you can, the IRS advises. The simpler the form, the less chance of an error that may cost you money or delay the processing of your return. The simplest is Form 1040EZ. Form 1040A covers several additional items not addressed by the EZ. Form 1040 should be used when itemizing deductions and reporting more complex investments and other income.
Tax

Nader to Microsoft: 'Dividends Are Due'

In a letter to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on Friday, long time consumer advocate Ralph Nader has requested that Microsoft change its policies and start paying dividends to its shareholders.Nader called called Microsoft's "failure to pay dividends year after year" an "inappropriate and we believe unlawful device" to shield Microsoft's profits from taxes."It's a tax-avoidance scheme for the big shareholders," Mr. Nader said in an interview. "This thing is out of control.
Tax

Guidance Issued to Assist Drafters of IRAs, SEPs

The IRS has provided (1) guidance to drafters of individual retirement arrangements (IRAs), simplified employee pensions (SEPs) and SIMPLE IRA plans; (2) guidance to users of IRS model IRAs and plans; and (3) transitional relief for users of IRAs and plans that have not received IRS approval. The guidelines, which take effect on January 28, 2002, modify section 4.01 of Rev. Proc. 87-50, 1987-2 CB 647.Opinion LettersThe Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) (P.L.
Tax

IRS Tax Forms Delayed

Tax return preparers who are waiting for the 2001 versions of IRS tax forms, will have to wait a bit longer, the IRS has announced.Volume 2 of Package X, Reference Copies of Federal Tax Forms and Instructions, and Volume 2 of Publication 1132, Reproducible Tax Forms and Instructions, were scheduled to start shipping on December 31 and complete shipping by January 11.

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