The Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently released its interim report on the 2019 federal tax filing season. As of March 1, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had received over 59 million tax returns and issued approximately $142 billion in refunds on over 46 million of those returns. A vast majority - 95 percent - of filers e-filed their returns this season.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that it has nearly $1.4 billion in unclaimed income tax refunds due to about 1.2 million taxpayers who failed to file a 2015 Form 1040. The deadline to claim these funds is this year's return filing deadline, April 15, 2019.
Nevada-based tax preparer and former IRS employee Thomas Bidegary was recently sentenced to five years in prison for conspiring to commit tax fraud, causing a tax loss of nearly $260,000 to the federal government. Between 2009 and 2014, Bidegary prepared false tax forms claiming fictitious business losses that he used to obtain larger refunds than were due to his clients who "invested" in his businesses.
The IRS recently released its annual report to Congress on the Whistleblower Program, which awarded over $312 million to whistleblowers and collected $1.4 billion in FY 2018. Awards in this period represent 21.7% of total proceeds collected based on whistleblower claims, a significant increase of nearly 4 percentage points as compared to FY 2017. The IRS generally waits at least 8 years before issuing awards to ensure a final determination of proceeds can be made first.
Employees of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) returned to work just in time for the 2019 tax-filing season to begin. By mid-day Monday, several million tax returns had already been received for processing, and the IRS expects about 150 million individual tax returns by the April 15th deadline. As a reminder, a new Form 1040 is being used for tax year 2018. Details about this change and other information for the 2019 federal filing season can be found here.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued additional guidance for taxpayers regarding how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect filing your 2018 tax returns. The website www.IRS.gov/getready provides information and advice for individuals and families, such as an updated IRS Withholding Calculator, details about refunds, and the new Form 1040.
The Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently conducted an audit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)'s latest private debt collection program and found much room for improvement. As of May 31, 2018, the private debt collection program had netted $1.3 million, but the private agencies have collected only 1 percent of the $4.1 billion assigned to the program. For reference, the industry average for 2016 was 9.9 percent.
Through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, taxpayers now have up to two years to file an administrative claim and bring suit for a wrongful levy by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) where the IRS has already sold the property it levied. This time limit is a significant extension on the previous nine-month time limit and applies to levies made after December 22, 2017, and on or before that date if the shorter time limit hadn't yet expired.
The Internal Revenue Service recently issued a notice about proposed regulations that will address the deductibility of state and local tax payments for federal income tax purposes, specifically reminding taxpayers that the IRS position is that federal law controls the characterization of payments, regardless of the treatment under state law. To read the IRS press release, click here.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and its Security Summit partners have released a warning about a new variation on phone scams by which criminals prey on taxpayers. Scammers are now using telephone numbers that mimic IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers to try to trick victims into paying non-existent tax bills. Remember that IRS employees at these centers do not make calls to taxpayers to demand payment; such requests are typically initiated through regular mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.