The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced changes to tax rate schedules and certain tax provisions to adjust for inflation in tax year 2020. The standard deduction for taxpayers who are married filing jointly will increase to $24,800; for taxpayers who are single or married filing separately, the deduction will increase to $12,400; and for taxpayers who are heads of households, the deduction will increase to $18,650. The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2020 will increase to $72,900 and begin to phase out at $518,400 (for married couples filing jointly, these amounts increase to $113,400 and $1,036,800, respectively).
The California Legislature recently passed Assembly Bill No. 321, which adds an exemption until January 1, 2024, to existing state sales and use tax laws related to "the sale of, or the storage, use, or consumption of, a new, used, or remanufactured truck with an unladen weight of 6,000 pounds or more that is purchased for use without this state." To claim the exemption, the taxpayer must provide:
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently released a report finding that the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS') Criminal Investigation team (CI) should increase its involvement in the enforcement against identity theft issues. From FY 2013 to FYY 2017, there was a 75-percent decrease in the number of CI-initiated identity theft investigations; overall, there was a 43-percent decline in these types of investigations over the same period. In addition, many taxpayer requests for identity theft investigations were not entered into the CI referral system process.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it will automatically waive the estimated tax penalty for over 400,000 eligible taxpayers whose withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their 2018 tax liability, and it removed the requirement that estimated payments be made in four equal installments (if paid by January 15, 2019).
The National Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) recently published an illustrated "taxpayer roadmap" showing the many stages of federal tax administration in the U.S., from tax preparation to audits, appeals, collection, and litigation. To view the map in detail, click here.
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently issued a news blast that many payments sent by mail to the state tax agency in June were delayed significantly due to post office issues. When the mail finally caught up on June 9th, the FTB received some 115,000 payments for estimated taxes and other purposes. The agency is working to process all the backlogged payments now and will post them with a timely date of June 15, 2019. However, this should serve as a reminder to try to issue online payments to tax agencies whenever possible!
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently released its Semiannual Report to Congress for the period October 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019. During this period, TIGTA completed 20 audits and 1,068 investigations concerning taxpayer data security, identity theft and impersonation fraud, tax compliance, and IRS efficiency. Of particular concern for this report and future monitoring was the effect of the lapse of appropriations for the IRS just before the start of the first tax season to incorporate changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA).
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued a warning about a new phone scam involving fake calls from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). Tax scammers are using "spoofed" TAS phone numbers to contact potential victims to obtain personal information and payments. The IRS reminds taxpayers that TAS does not typically initiate calls to taxpayers, unless the taxpayer has requested assistance first.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently kicked off its annual "Dirty Dozen" awareness campaign to alert taxpayers to common tax scams. Topping the list in 2019 are new variations on phishing schemes that use "legitimate-looking emails with fake, but convincing website landing pages," social media links, and other methods to obtain taxpayers' personal information.
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently announced that interest rates for personal income tax underpayments and overpayments, corporate underpayments, and estimate penalties will increase to 6 percent for 2019. The corporate overpayment interest rate will increase to 2 percent this year. For more information, click here.