Ray Clark, CPA, MBA | Clark & Clark PC | 203 East 800 South | Salt Lake City, UT 84111 | 801-521-4538 | staff@clarkaccountingcpa.com

       

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

[fname], here is new information on IRS Scam Calls + Parents: 8 Tax Savers + Health Coverage Exemption + Premium Tax Credit + Are You Missing a W-2 Form?


 

Scam Calls & Emails Using IRS as Bait Still Persist

Scams using the IRS as a lure continue. They take many different forms.

The most common scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. They use the IRS name, logo or a fake website to try to steal your money. They may try to steal your identity too.

Be wary if you get an out-of-the-blue phone call or automated message from someone who claims to be from the IRS. Sometimes they say you owe money and must pay right away. Other times they say you are owed a refund and ask for your bank account information over the phone. Don't fall for it. Here are several tips that will help you avoid becoming a scam victim.

The real IRS will NOT:

- Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
- Demand tax payment and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
- Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For example, demand that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other agencies to arrest you without paying.
- Threaten you with a lawsuit.

If you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do:

- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA's "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting" web page to report the incident.
- You should also report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the "FTC Complaint Assistant" on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your report.

If you think you may owe taxes:

- Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number.
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you.

In most cases, an IRS phishing scam is an unsolicited, bogus email that claims to come from the IRS. They often use fake refunds, phony tax bills, or threats of an audit. Some emails link to sham websites that look real. The scammers' goal is to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. If they get what they're after, they use it to steal a victim's money and their identity.

If you get a ‘phishing' email, the IRS offers this advice:

- Don't reply to the message.
- Don't give out your personal or financial information.
- Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov. Then delete it.
- Don't open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.

More information on how to report phishing or phone scams is available on IRS.gov.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.
 



Are You a Parent [fname]?: If so Don't Miss Out on These 8 Tax Savers

Children may help reduce the amount of taxes owed for the year.

If you're a parent, here are several tax benefits you should look for when you file your federal tax return:

- Dependents. In most cases, you can claim your child as a dependent. You can deduct $4,000 for each dependent you are entitled to claim. You must reduce this amount if your income is above certain limits. For more on these rules, see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.

- Child Tax Credit. You may be able to claim the Child Tax Credit for each of your qualifying children under the age of 17. The maximum credit is $1,000 per child. If you get less than the full amount of the credit, you may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit. For more information, see Schedule 8812 and Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.

- Child and Dependent Care Credit. You may be able to claim this credit if you paid for the care of one or more qualifying persons. Dependent children under age 13 are among those who qualify. You must have paid for care so that you could work or look for work. See Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, for more on this credit.

- Earned Income Tax Credit. You may qualify for EITC if you worked but earned less than $53,267 last year. You can get up to $6,242 in EITC. You may qualify with or without children. Use the 2015 EITC Assistant tool at IRS.gov to find out if you qualify. See Publication 596, Earned Income Tax Credit, to learn more.

- Adoption Credit. You may be able to claim a tax credit for certain costs you paid to adopt a child. For details see Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.

- Education Tax Credits. An education credit can help you with the cost of higher education. Two credits are available. The American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit may reduce the amount of tax you owe. If the credit reduces your tax to less than zero, you may get a refund. Even if you don't owe any taxes, you still may qualify. You must complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file a return to claim these credits. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if you can claim them. Visit the IRS's Education Credits Web page to learn more on this topic. Also, see Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

- Student Loan Interest. You may be able to deduct interest you paid on a qualified student loan. You can claim this benefit even if you do not itemize your deductions. For more information, see Publication 970.

- Self-employed Health Insurance Deduction. If you were self-employed and paid for health insurance, you may be able to deduct premiums you paid during the year. This may include the cost to cover your children under age 27, even if they are not your dependent. See Publication 535, Business Expenses, for details.

You can get related forms and publications on IRS.gov.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.
 


 

Obtaining and Claiming a Health Coverage Exemption

The Affordable Care Act requires you and each member of your family to have minimum essential coverage, qualify for an insurance coverage exemption, or make an individual shared responsibility payment for months without coverage or an exemption when you file your federal income tax return.

You, your spouse or your dependents may be eligible to claim an exemption from the requirement to have coverage and are not required to make a payment. .For any month that you do not qualify for a coverage exemption, you will need to have minimum essential coverage or make a shared responsibility payment.

You can claim most exemptions when you file your tax return. However, you must apply for certain exemptions in advance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, You may be exempt if:

- The minimum amount you must pay for the annual premiums is more than 8.05 percent of your household income


- You have a gap in coverage that is less than three consecutive months
 

- You qualify for an exemption for one of several other reasons, including having a hardship that prevents you from obtaining coverage, or belonging to a group explicitly exempt from the requirement

Claiming an exemption when you file

You will claim or report coverage exemptions on Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, and attach it to Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040EZ. You can file each of these forms electronically.

If your income is below your filing threshold and you are not required to file a tax return, you are eligible for an automatic exemption and you do not have to file a tax return to claim it. You do not need to file a return solely to report your coverage or to claim a coverage exemption.

However, if you choose to file a tax return, you will use Part II, Coverage Exemptions for Your Household Claimed on Your Return, of Form 8965 to claim a health coverage exemption. You should not make an individual shared responsibility payment if you qualify for this exemption because your income is below the filing threshold.

You can claim other IRS-granted coverage exemptions on your tax return using Part III, Coverage Exemptions for Individuals Claimed on Your Return, of Form 8965. For a coverage exemption that you qualify to claim on your tax return, all you need to do is file Form 8965 with your tax return. You do not need to contact the IRS to obtain an exemption in advance.

Reporting Marketplace granted exemptions

If you are granted a coverage exemption from the Marketplace, they will send you a notice with your unique Exemption Certificate Number or ECN. You will enter your ECN in Part I, Marketplace-Granted Coverage Exemptions for Individuals, of Form 8965 in Column C.

If the Marketplace hasn't processed your exemption application before you file your tax return, complete Part I of Form 8965 and enter "pending" in Column C for each person listed. If you can claim the exemption on your return, you do not need an ECN from the Marketplace.

Filing Electronically

Taxpayers and their tax professionals should consider filing returns electronically. Using tax preparation software is the best and simplest way to file a complete and accurate tax return as it guides individuals and tax preparers through the process and does all the math. There are a variety of electronic filing options, including free volunteer assistance, IRS Free File for taxpayers who qualify, commercial software, and professional assistance.

 


 

How to Determine if You Can Claim the Premium Tax Credit

The premium tax credit is a credit for certain people who enroll, or whose family member enrolls, in a qualified health plan offered through a Marketplace.

 

Claiming the premium tax credit may increase your refund or lower the amount of tax that you would otherwise owe.

If you did not get advance credit payments in 2015, you can claim the full benefit of the premium tax credit that you are allowed when you file your tax return. You must file Form 8962 to claim the PTC on your tax return.

You can take the PTC for 2015 if you meet all of these conditions.

For at least one month of the year, all of the following were true:

- An individual in your tax family was enrolled in a qualified health plan offered through the Marketplace.


- The individual was not eligible for minimum essential coverage, other than coverage in the individual market.


- The portion of the enrollment premiums for the month for which you are responsible was paid by the due date of your tax return.

To be an applicable taxpayer, you must meet all of the following requirements:

- For 2015, your household income is at least 100 percent but no more than 400 percent of the Federal poverty line for your family size.


- No one can claim you as a dependent on a tax return for 2015.
 

- If you were married at the end of 2015, you must generally file a joint return. However, filing a separate return from your spouse will not disqualify you from being an applicable taxpayer if you meet certain requirements.

Individuals can use the Premium Tax Credit Flow Chart to determine if they are eligible for the credit. Answer the yes-or-no questions in the chart – or via the accessible text – and follow the arrows to find out if you may be eligible for the premium tax credit. You can also use our interactive tool, Am I eligible to claim the Premium Tax Credit? to find out if you are eligible.

For more information about eligibility requirements see Eligibility for the Premium Tax Credit and also the instructions for Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit on IRS.gov/aca.

If you received the benefit of advance credit payments in 2015, you must file a tax return to reconcile the amount of advance credit payments made on your behalf with the amount of your actual premium tax credit. You must file an income tax return for this purpose even if you are otherwise not required to file a return. You'll file Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit, with your tax return to reconcile the credit.

 


 

   Missing Form W-2? The IRS Can Help

Most people get their W-2 forms by the end of January. Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, shows your income and the taxes withheld from your pay for the year.

 

You need it to file an accurate tax return.

If you haven't received your form by mid-February, here's what you should do:

- Contact your Employer. Ask your employer (or former employer) for a copy. Be sure they have your correct address.

- Call the IRS. If you are unable to get a copy from your employer, you may call the IRS at 800-829-1040 after Feb. 23. The IRS will send a letter to your employer on your behalf. You'll need the following when you call:
> Your name, address, Social Security number and phone number;
> Your employer's name, address and phone number;
> The dates you worked for the employer; and
> An estimate of your wages and federal income tax withheld in 2015. You can use your final pay stub for these amounts.

- File on Time. Your tax return is normally due on or before April 18, 2016. Use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, if you don't get your W-2 in time to file. Estimate your wages and taxes withheld as best as you can. If you can't get it done by the due date, ask for an extra six months to file. Use Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to request more time. You can also e-file a request for more time. Do it for free with IRS Free File.

- Correct if Necessary. You may need to correct your tax return if you get your missing W-2 after you file. If the tax information on the W-2 is different from what you originally reported, you may need to file an amended tax return. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to make the change.

Note: Important 2015 Health Insurance Forms.

Starting in 2016, most taxpayers will receive one or more forms relating to health care coverage they had during the previous year.

If you enrolled in 2015 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should get Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement by early February.

If you were enrolled in other health coverage for 2015, you should receive a Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, or Form 1095-C, Employer Provided Health insurance Offer and Coverage by the end of March. You should contact the issuer of the form - the Marketplace, your coverage provider or your employer - if you think you should have gotten a form but did not get it.

If you are expecting to receive a Form 1095-A, you should wait to file your 2015 income tax return until you receive that form. However, it is not necessary to wait for Forms 1095-B or 1095-C in order to file.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

 


 

[fname], if you have comments or questions on the information in these articles, as usual feel free to call our offices at 801-521-4538.

 

Ray Clark, CPA, MBA

 


Ray Clark, CPA, MBA | Clark & Clark PC | 203 East 800 South | Salt Lake City, UT 84111 | 801-521-4538 | staff@clarkaccountingcpa.com

 

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