Category Archives: IRS Tax Tips

IRS Small Business Tip – Employee or Independent Contractor??

Issue Number: IRS Small Business Week Tax Tip 2017-02
Inside This Issue
_______________
_________________________
Employee or Independent Contractor? Know the Rules

The IRS encourages all businesses and business owners to know the rules when it comes to classifying a worker as an employee or an independent contractor.
An employer must withhold income taxes and pay Social Security, Medicare taxes and unemployment tax on wages paid to an employee. Employers normally do not have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors.
Here are two key points for small business owners to keep in mind when it comes to classifying workers:
1. Control. The relationship between a worker and a business is important. If the business controls what work is accomplished and directs how it is done, it exerts behavioral control. If the business directs or controls financial and certain relevant aspects of a worker’s job, it exercises financial control. This includes:
• The extent of the worker’s investment in the facilities or tools used in performing services
• The extent to which the worker makes his or her services available to the relevant market
• How the business pays the worker, and
• The extent to which the worker can realize a profit or incur a loss
2.  Relationship.  How the employer and worker perceive their relationship is also important for determining worker status. Key topics to think about include:
• Written contracts describing the relationship the parties intended to create
• Whether the business provides the worker with employee-type benefits, such as insurance, a pension plan, vacation or sick pay
• The permanency of the relationship, and
• The extent to which services performed by the worker are a key aspect of the regular business of the company
• The extent to which the worker has unreimbursed business expenses
The IRS can help employers determine the status of their workers by using form Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding. IRS Publication 15-A, Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide, is also an excellent resource.
Share this tip on social media — Employee or Independent Contractor? Know the Rules. https://go.usa.gov/x58ra#IRS


IRS Alerts

Borrowed via Checkpoint Newsstand – Thomson Reuters post 2/7/17
The following are some recent phishing scams and myths that the IRS would like you to be aware of :
Federal Tax Highlights

Washington Alert — Part I

IRS, joined by state tax agencies and the tax industry, has issued an “urgent alert” to all employers regarding the Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) email phishing scam. (IR 2017-20) According to the agency, the phishing scam “has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits”. The W-2 scammers have been coupling their attempts to steal employee W-2 information with a scheme regarding wire transfers. As described by IRS, cybercriminals use a variety of techniques to make an email appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments and requests a list of all employees and their Forms W-2. In a new twist, the perpetrators follow up with an “executive” email to the payroll department or comptroller and ask that a wire transfer be made to a specific account. In some cases, companies have responded to this request. Noting that there has been “an upswing of [scam] reports in recent days”, IRS urged employers to immediately share this information with their payroll, finance and human resource personnel. They also should have an internal policy on the distribution of employee W-2 information and conducting wire transfers. “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time”, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns.” Additional information is available at irs.gov/uac/dangerous-w-2-phishing-scam-evolving-targeting-schools-restaurants-hospitals-tribal-groups-and-others

IRS has issued tips to taxpayers that refute several “myths” pertaining to tax refunds currently circulating. (IR 2017-16) The myths included the following – all refunds are delayed; calling IRS or a tax professional will provide a better refund date; ordering a tax transcript is a “secret way” to obtain a refund date; the “Where’s My Refund” tool must be incorrect because there is no deposit date appearing; and delayed refunds for those claiming the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit will be delivered on Feb. 15. Complete details can be found at irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-answers-common-early-tax-season-refund-questions-and-addresses-surrounding-myths

IRS has commenced publishing entries to its annual list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for the 2017 filing season. (IR 2017-15) Phishing schemes now lead the newest Dirty Dozen list. As of Feb. 3, IRS published two additional entries on its list – telephone scams and identity theft. It is expected that the agency will be announcing daily additions to the list. Updated information will appear at irs.gov/uac/newsroom/dirty-dozen

 

If you receive any suspicious emails, phone calls, or mail, contact us at  Schutte & Hilgendorf CPAs .

 

Schutte & Hilgendorf offers a broad range of professional accounting, tax, and audit services to individuals and businesses throughout Yavapai County and Northern Arizona.   With over 40 years combined certified public accounting experience, we specialize in providing services to numerous industry specific areas, including non-profit organizations, homeowner’s associations and construction contracting.  We also provide tax planning and preparation, sales tax and payroll tax return preparation, ongoing accounting/bookkeeping, live payroll, and QuickBooks setup and training (QuickBooks Proadvisors).  Given our small size, we can still provide a personal touch with professional expertise. Come in and see us anytime at 2086 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, Arizona or call us at 928-778-0079.

 

 


2017 Standard Mileage Rates

From the IRS website:

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.   The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

 

Go to the following link for more information:

 

2017 Standard Mileage Rates for Business, Medical and Moving Announced

 

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.


Volunteers for Charities – Tax Tips

If you volunteer for a charitable organization and you itemize your deductions, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep track of your mileage, date, and purpose of the trip.  The IRS allows you to deduct 14 cents per mile.
  • You can also deduct parking fees if applicable.
  • There are also deductions for other expenses incurred while volunteering such as the cost of stamps for a fund-raising mailing, or ingredients for making cookies for a bake sale fund raiser or for your religious organization.

 

If you have any questions about this or any other tax questions, please give us a call at 928-778-0079.

 

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.


IRS Tax Tips: Premium Tax Credit Checkup for your 2016 Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage

If you or anyone in your family are getting advance payments of the “premium tax credit” you should check to see if you need to adjust your premium assistance.  Please see IRS tax tips link below for more detailed information.

 

Premium Tax Credit Checkup for 2016 Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage

 

If you have additional questions about this post or any other, please contact us directly at 928-778-0079.

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.


IRS Warns of Latest Tax Scam Involving Bogus Federal Student Tax

Go to the following link:

 

IRS Warns of Latest Tax Scam Involving Bogus “Federal Student Tax”

 

If you have additional questions about this post or any other, please contact us directly at 928-778-0079.

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.


IRS Tax Tip 2016-20:

What You Need to Know About Taxable and Non-Taxable Income  (click on the link below)
IRS Tax Tip 2016_20

 

If you have additional questions about this post or any other, please contact us directly at 928-778-0079.

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.


2016’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

In this day and age of technology, each day brings new ways for thieves to part individuals from their hard earned income.  Each year the IRS releases a list of what it considers the worst tax scams of the year.  See the link below for the article published by the Journal of Accountancy for the worst tax scams in 2016.    

“dirty dozen” worst tax scams

 

If you have additional questions about this post or any other, please contact us directly at 928-778-0079.

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.


Tips from IRS for Year-End Gifts to Charity

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded individuals and businesses making year-end gifts to charity that several important tax law provisions have taken effect in recent years.

Some of the changes taxpayers should keep in mind include:

Rules for Charitable Contributions of Clothing and Household Items

Household items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens. Clothing and household items donated to charity generally must be in good used condition or better to be tax-deductible. A clothing or household item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of over $500 does not have to meet this standard if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal of the item with the return.

Donors must get a written acknowledgement from the charity for all gifts worth $250 or more. It must include, among other things, a description of the items contributed.

Guidelines for Monetary Donations

A taxpayer must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity in order to deduct any donation of money, regardless of amount. The record must show the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, and bank, credit union and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the transaction posting date.

Donations of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. For payroll deductions, the taxpayer should retain a pay stub, a Form W-2 wage statement or other document furnished by the employer showing the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity.

These requirements for the deduction of monetary donations do not change the long-standing requirement that a taxpayer obtain an acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. However, one statement containing all of the required information may meet both requirements.

Reminders

The IRS offers the following additional reminders to help taxpayers plan their holiday and year-end gifts to charity:

  • Qualified charities. Check that the charity is eligible. Only donations to eligible organizations are tax-deductible. Select Check, a searchable online tool available on IRS.gov, lists most organizations that are eligible to receive deductible contributions. In addition, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible to receive deductible donations. That is true even if they are not listed in the tool’s database.
  • Year-end gifts. Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2015 count for 2015, even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2016. Also, checks count for 2015 as long as they are mailed in 2015.
  • Itemize deductions. For individuals, only taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A can claim deductions for charitable contributions. This deduction is not available to individuals who choose the standard deduction. This includes anyone who files a short form (Form 1040A or 1040EZ). A taxpayer will have a tax savings only if the total itemized deductions (mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, etc.) exceed the standard deduction. Use the 2015 Form 1040 Schedule A to determine whether itemizing is better than claiming the standard deduction.
  • Record donations. For all donations of property, including clothing and household items, get from the charity, if possible, a receipt that includes the name of the charity, date of the contribution, and a reasonably-detailed description of the donated property. If a donation is left at a charity’s unattended drop site, keep a written record of the donation that includes this information, as well as the fair market value of the property at the time of the donation and the method used to determine that value. Additional rules apply for a contribution of $250 or more.
  • Special Rules. The deduction for a car, boat or airplane donated to charity is usually limited to the gross proceeds from its sale. This rule applies if the claimed value is more than $500. Form 1098-C or a similar statement, must be provided to the donor by the organization and attached to the donor’s tax return.

If the amount of a taxpayer’s deduction for all noncash contributions is over $500, a properly-completed Form 8283 must be submitted with the tax return.

IRS.gov has additional information on charitable giving, including:


ALERT FROM THE IRS

The IRS has sent notification that a new fraudulent email is being issued to tax preparers and self-filers asking them to update their information. This email WAS NOT generated by the IRS.
Please do not respond. Just delete the email.

The IRS does not notify anyone of anything by email. They conduct all correspondence by mail.