Fall for New Tax Scam Tricks by IRS Posers
+ Moving Expense Deduction
+ 5 IRS Tax Tips for
Starting a Business
the tax season is well over, tax scammers work year-round. The IRS advises you
to stay alert to protect yourself against new ways criminals pose as the
IRS to trick you out of your money or personal information.
These scams first tried to sting older
Americans, newly arrived immigrants and those who speak English as a second
language. The crooks have expanded their net, and now try to swindle
virtually anyone. Here are several tips from the IRS to help you
avoid being a victim of these scams:
Scams use scare tactics. These aggressive and sophisticated scams try
to scare people into making a false tax payment that ends up with the
criminal. Many phone scams use threats to try to intimidate you so you will
pay them your money. They often threaten arrest or deportation, or that they
will revoke your license if you don't pay. They may also leave "urgent"
callback requests, sometimes through "robo-calls," via phone or email. The
emails will often contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an
email address for you to reply.
Scams use caller ID spoofing. Scammers often alter caller ID to make
it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS
titles and fake badge numbers to appear legit. They may use online resources
to get your name, address and other details about your life to make the call
Scams use phishing email and regular mail. Scammers copy official IRS
letterhead to use in email or regular mail they send to victims. In another
new variation, schemers provide an actual IRS address where they tell the
victim to mail a receipt for the payment they make. All in an attempt to
make the scheme look official.
Scams cost victims over $20 million. The Treasury Inspector General
for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has received reports of about 600,000
contacts since October 2013. TIGTA is also aware of nearly 4,000 victims who
have collectively reported over $20 million in financial losses as a result
of tax scams.
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 that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal
the amount that you owe.
- Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that
you pay with a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not
If you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do:
- Do not provide any information to the caller. Hang up immediately.
- 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" in the
If you know you owe, or think you may owe taxes:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you if you do owe
Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. For more, visit "Tax Scams
and Consumer Alerts" on IRS.gov.
you move your home you may be able to deduct the cost of the
move on your federal tax return next year.
This may apply if you move to start a new job or to work at
the same job in a new location. In order to deduct your moving
expenses, your move must meet three requirements:
Your move must closely relate to the start of work. In
most cases, you can consider moving expenses within one year
of the date you start work at a new job location. Additional
rules apply to this requirement.
Your move must meet the distance test. Your new main
job location must be at least 50 miles farther from your old
home than your prior job location. For example, let's say that
your old job was three miles from your old home. To meet this
test, your new job must be at least 53 miles from your old
You must meet the time test. You must work full-time at
your new job for at least 39 weeks the first year after the
move. If you're self-employed, you must also meet this test.
In addition you must work full-time for a total of at least 78
weeks during the first two years at the new job site. If your
tax return is due before you meet the time test, you can still
claim the deduction if you expect to meet it.
See Publication 521, Moving Expenses, for more
information about the rules.
If you qualify for this deduction, here are a few
more tips from the IRS:
- Travel. You can deduct certain transportation
and lodging expenses while moving. This applies to costs for
yourself and other household members while moving from your
old home to your new home. You may not deduct your travel meal
- Household goods and utilities. You can deduct
the cost of packing, crating and shipping your property. This
may include the cost to store or insure the items while in
transit. You can deduct the cost to disconnect or connect
utilities at your old and new homes.
- Expenses you can't deduct. You may not
> Any part of the purchase price of your
> The cost of selling your home.
> The cost of breaking or entering into a
See IRS Publication 521 for more examples.
> Reimbursed expenses.
If your employer later pays you for the cost of a move that
you deducted on your tax return, you may need to include the
payment as income. You must report any taxable amount on your
tax return in the year you get the payment.
> Address change.
When you move, make sure to update your address with the IRS
and the U.S. Post Office. To notify the IRS, file Form 8822,
Change of Address.
Premium Tax Credit – Changes in Circumstances.
If you purchased health insurance coverage from the Health
Insurance Marketplace, you may receive advance payments of the
premium tax credit. It is important that you report changes in
circumstances, such as when you move to a new address, to your
Marketplace. Other changes that you should report include
changes in your income, employment, family size, or
eligibility for other coverage. Advance credit payments
provide premium assistance to help you pay for the insurance
you buy through the Marketplace. Reporting changes will help
you get the proper type and amount of premium assistance so
you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance.
You can get Publication 521 and Form 8822 on IRS.gov/forms
at any time.
5 IRS Tax Tips for Starting a Business
you start a business, a key to your success is to know your
tax obligations. You may not only need to know about income
tax rules, but also about payroll tax rules.
Here are five IRS tax tips that
can help you get your business off to a good start.
Business Structure. An early choice you need to make is
to decide on the type of structure for your business. The most
common types are sole proprietor, partnership and corporation.
The type of business you choose will determine which tax forms
you will file.
Business Taxes. There are four general types of
business taxes. They are income tax, self-employment tax,
employment tax and excise tax. In most cases, the types of tax
your business pays depends on the type of business structure
you set up. You may need to make estimated tax payments. If
you do, use IRS Direct Pay to pay them. It's the fast, easy
and secure way to pay from your checking or savings account.
Employer Identification Number. You may need to get an
EIN for federal tax purposes. Search "do you need an EIN" on
IRS.gov to find out if you need this number. If you do need
one, you can apply for it online.
Accounting Method. An accounting method is a set of
rules that you use to determine when to report income and
expenses. You must use a consistent method. The two that are
most common are the cash and accrual methods. Under the cash
method, you normally report income and deduct expenses in the
year that you receive or pay them. Under the accrual method,
you generally report income and deduct expenses in the year
that you earn or incur them. This is true even if you get the
income or pay the expense in a later year.
Employee Health Care. The Small Business Health Care
Tax Credit helps small businesses and tax-exempt organizations
pay for health care coverage they offer their employees. A
small employer is eligible for the credit if it has fewer than
25 employees who work full-time, or a combination of full-time
and part-time. The maximum credit is 50 percent of premiums
paid for small business employers and 35 percent of premiums
paid for small tax-exempt employers, such as charities.
The employer shared responsibility provisions of the
Affordable Care Act affect employers employing at least a
certain number of employees (generally 50 full-time employees
or a combination of full-time and part-time employees). These
employers' are called applicable large employers. ALEs must
either offer minimum essential coverage that is "affordable"
and that provides "minimum value" to their full-time employees
(and their dependents), or potentially make an employer shared
responsibility payment to the IRS. The vast majority of
employers will fall below the ALE threshold number of
employees and, therefore, will not be subject to the employer
shared responsibility provisions.
Employers also have information reporting responsibilities
regarding minimum essential coverage they offer or provide to
their fulltime employees. Employers must send reports to
employees and to the IRS on new forms the IRS created for this
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