The Internal Revenue Service has been cracking down on refund fraud and identity theft through the Security Summit initiative and its Criminal Investigation (CI) work. In fiscal year 2015, CI initiated 776 identity theft investigations, which led to 774 sentencings. Individuals found guilty of this type of crime face significant jail time. The average sentence in FY 2015 was 38 months, while the longest sentence was for more than 27 years.
Each year, the IRS publishes statistical data regarding tax return filing, revenue collected and refunded, tax law enforcement, taxpayer assistance, and other important information. This year, the IRS reports an increase in all areas, including collection of over $3.3 trillion from more than 243 million tax returns. The IRS also issued over $400 billion in refunds in 2015. To review the IRS Data Book, click here:
A record number of US taxpayers are coming into compliance with their foreign filing requirements, with 1,163,229 Forms 114 (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBAR) filed for 2015---an 8 percent increase from 2014. FBAR filings have increased at an average rate of 17 percent per year for the last five years.
The Internal Revenue Service announced an increase to interest rates for the calendar quarter beginning April 1, 2016. The new interest rates will be:
This year's tax season is seeing unprecedented numbers of tax scams and new tactics scammers use to steal your identity. A new consumer alert issued March 14, 2016 by the Internal Revenue Service characterizes recent telephone scams as "aggressive and threatening." What's more, scammers are showing agility in their response to public awareness campaigns.
The Internal Reveue Service (IRS) has temporarily suspended its online Identity Protection PIN tool in order to conduct a review of the security features of the application. The IP PIN is a six-digit number taxpayers can use as "an additional layer of protection" against identity theft. As of the end of February 2016, the IRS prevented 800 cases of tax fraud using these PIN numbers.
The new healthcare law has led to the introduction of a new series of Health Care Information Forms that many individuals will receive this tax season. The 1095-A, 1095-B, and 1095-C are designed to provide information you may need when filing your individual income tax return related to the Health Insurance Marketplace, your coverage for the past year, and what coverage your employer may have offered.
On March 10, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") announced that it has $950 million unpaid tax refunds due to an estimated one million tax payers who did not file their federal income tax return for 2012. The IRS estimates the midpoint value of a potential refund is $718---half of the refunds will be less and half will be more.
Medical marijuana use was authorized in the state of California by the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 which provided guidelines for individuals and businesses to cultivate, use, and distribute cannabis within California. This Act did not "legalize" medical marijuana, but instead legislated the absence of punishment for specific marijuana-related offenses under state law. All activities related to marijuana of any kind continue to be an offense at the federal level.