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IRS tops $1 billion in past-due taxes collected from millionaires; compliance efforts continue involving high-wealth groups, corporations, partnerships   

IR-2024-185, July 11, 2024

WASHINGTON – As part of continuing compliance efforts under the Inflation Reduction Act, the Internal Revenue Service today announced the agency has surpassed the $1 billion mark in collections from high-wealth taxpayers with past-due taxes.

As part of larger efforts taking place, the IRS has stepped up activity specifically on 1,600 individuals whose incomes were more than $1 million per year and who each owed the IRS more than $250,000 in recognized tax debt. Since last fall, this IRS compliance effort has generated more than $1 billion in collections from this group, with work continuing in this area.

“With this collection activity, the IRS passed an important milestone in our effort to improve compliance and ensure fairness in the tax system,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “Our increased work in this area means these past-due tax bills from high-end taxpayers are no longer being left on the table, like they were too often in the past.” To read  more click here.

 

Tax Time Guide: Taxpayers should report digital asset transactions, gig economy income, foreign source income and assets

IR-2024-63, March 6, 2024 

 

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers they’re generally required to report all earned income on their tax return, including income earned from digital asset transactions, the gig economy and service industry as well as income from foreign sources. Reporting requirements for these sources of income and others are outlined in the Instructions for Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR. The information is also available on IRS.gov.

 

This release is the third in a four-part series called the Tax Time Guide, a resource to help taxpayers file an accurate tax return. Additional guidance is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax (For Individuals).

Excerpts:

 

Foreign source income

Generally, A U.S. citizen or resident alien’s worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of their residence. They're also subject to the same income tax filing requirements that apply to U.S. citizens or resident aliens living in the United States.

U.S. citizens and resident aliens must report unearned income, such as interest, dividends and pensions, from sources outside the United States unless exempt by law or a tax treaty. They must also report earned income, such as wages and tips, from sources outside the United States.

An income tax filing requirement generally applies even if a taxpayer qualifies for tax benefits, such as the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion or the Foreign Tax Credit, which substantially reduce or eliminate U.S. tax liability. These tax benefits are available only if an eligible taxpayer files a U.S. income tax return.

Foreign accounts and assets

Federal law requires U.S. citizens and resident aliens to report their worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and other financial accounts. In most cases, affected taxpayers need to complete and attach Schedule B (Form 1040), Interest and Ordinary Dividends, to their tax return. Part III of Schedule B asks about the existence of foreign accounts such as bank and securities accounts and usually requires U.S. citizens to report the country in which each account is located.

In addition, certain taxpayers may also have to complete and attach to their return Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets. Generally, U.S. citizens, resident aliens and certain nonresident aliens must report specified foreign financial assets on this form if the aggregate value of those assets exceeds certain thresholds. See the instructions for this form for details.

 

In addition, U.S. persons with an interest in or signature or other authority over foreign financial accounts where the aggregate value exceeded $10,000 at any time during 2023 must file electronically with the Treasury Department a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). Because of this threshold, the IRS encourages U.S. persons with foreign assets, even relatively small ones, to check if this filing requirement applies to them. The form is available only through the BSA E-filing System website. The deadline for filing the annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) is April 15, 2024. FinCEN grants U.S. persons who miss the original deadline an automatic extension until Oct. 15, 2024, to file the FBAR. There is no need to request this extension. See FinCEN’s website for further information. To read more, click here.

IRS launches new effort aimed at high-income non-filers; 125,000 cases focused on high earners, including millionaires, who failed to file tax returns with financial activity topping $100 billion

IR-2024-56, Feb. 29, 2024

WASHINGTON — In the continuing effort to improve tax compliance and ensure fairness, the Internal Revenue Service announced a new effort today focused on high-income taxpayers who have failed to file federal income tax returns in more than 125,000 instances since 2017.

The new initiative, made possible by Inflation Reduction Act funding, begins with IRS compliance letters going out this week on more than 125,000 cases where tax returns haven’t been filed since 2017. The mailings include more than 25,000 to those with more than $1 million in income, and over 100,000 to people with incomes between $400,000 and $1 million between tax years 2017 and 2021.

These are all cases where IRS has received third-party third party information—such as through Forms W-2 and 1099s—indicating these people received income in these ranges but failed to file a tax return. To read further click here. 

Taxpayers should continue to report all cryptocurrency, digital asset income

IR-2024-18, Jan. 22, 2024

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that they must again answer a digital asset question and report all digital asset related income when they file their 2023 federal income tax return, as they did for their 2022 federal tax returns.

The question appears at the top of Forms 1040, Individual Income Tax Return1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors; and 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, and was revised this year to update wording. The question was also added to these additional forms: Forms 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and TrustsPDF; 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return; and 1120-S, U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation.

 

Depending on the form, the digital assets question asks this basic question, with appropriate variations tailored for corporate, partnership or estate and trust taxpayers: At any time during 2023, did you: (a) receive (as a reward, award or payment for property or services); or (b) sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of a digital asset (or a financial interest in a digital asset)?

What is a digital asset?

A digital asset is a digital representation of value that is recorded on a cryptographically secured, distributed ledger or any similar technology. Common digital assets include:

  • Convertible virtual currency and cryptocurrency.

  • Stablecoins.

  • Non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Everyone must answer the question

Everyone who files Forms 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-NR, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120 and 1120S must check one box answering either "Yes" or "No" to the digital asset question. The question must be answered by all taxpayers, not just by those who engaged in a transaction involving digital assets in 2023. To read further, click here.

IRS: Take care when choosing a tax return professional

IR-2024-31, Feb. 01, 2024

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that carefully choosing a tax professional to prepare a tax return is vital to ensuring that their personal and financial information is safe and secure and treated with care.

Most tax return preparers provide honest, high-quality service. But some may cause harm through fraud, identity theft and other scams.

It is important for taxpayers to understand who they’re choosing and what important questions to ask when hiring an individual or firm to prepare their tax return.

Another reason to choose a tax preparer carefully is because taxpayers are ultimately legally responsible for all the information on their income tax return, regardless of who prepares it. To read further, click here.

 

2024 tax filing season starts as IRS begins accepting tax returns today; taxpayer help expands this year with more in-person hours, better service, improved tools

IR-2024-24, Jan. 29, 2024

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service successfully opened the 2024 tax season today by accepting and processing federal individual tax returns as the agency continues focusing on expanding options to help taxpayers. The IRS expects more than 146 million individual tax returns for 2023 to be filed this filing season, which has a deadline of April 15, 2024.

With the start of the 2024 filing season, the IRS will be extending hours of service in nearly 250 Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the country, providing additional help to people. The IRS will also be working to continue improvements on its phone service as well as expanding online tools. The Where’s My Refund? tool on IRS.gov will add more details for taxpayers checking on the status of their tax refund.

IRS reminds eligible 2020 and 2021 non-filers to claim Recovery Rebate Credit before time runs out

IR-2023-217, Nov. 17, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is reminding those who may be entitled to the Recovery Rebate Credit to file a tax return and claim their money before it's too late. The vast majority of those eligible for Economic Impact Payments related to Coronavirus tax relief have already received them or claimed them through the Recovery Rebate Credit. The deadlines to file a return and claim the 2020 and 2021 credits are May 17, 2024, and April 15, 2025, respectively.

The Recovery Rebate Credit is a refundable credit for those who missed out on one or more Economic Impact Payments. Economic Impact Payments, also referred to as stimulus payments, were issued in 2020 and 2021. The IRS estimates that some individuals and families are still eligible for the payment(s). However, taxpayers must first file a tax return to make their claim even if they had little or no income from a job, business or other source. To read further, to learn about who is eligible and the deadlines for claiming these refunds, click here.

IRS issues guidance, seeks comments on nonfungible tokens

IR-2023-50, March 21, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that they are soliciting feedback for upcoming guidance regarding the tax treatment of a nonfungible token (NFT) as a collectible under the tax law. Today's guidance also requests comments on the treatment of NFTs as collectibles and describes how the IRS intends to determine whether an NFT is a collectible until the further guidance is issued.

 

A nonfungible token (NFT) is a unique digital identifier that is recorded using distributed ledger technology and may be used to certify authenticity and ownership of an associated right or asset. Distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain technology, uses independent digital systems to record, share and synchronize transactions, the details of which are recorded simultaneously on multiple nodes in a network. A token is an entry of data encoded on a distributed ledger. A distributed ledger can be used to identify ownership of both NFTs and fungible tokens, such as cryptocurrency, as described in Rev. Rul. 2019-24.

 

Section 408(m)(2) of the tax code provides for a specific list of items that constitute collectibles for certain purposes. Acquisition of a collectible by an individual retirement account (IRA) or individually-directed account of a qualified plan is treated as a distribution from the account equal to the cost to the account of the collectible. Generally, collectibles also do not have as advantageous capital-gains tax treatment as other capital assets.

 

Until additional guidance is issued, the IRS intends to determine when an NFT is treated as a collectible by using a "look-through analysis." Under the look-through analysis, an NFT is treated as a collectible if the NFT's associated right or asset falls under the definition of collectible in the tax code. For example, a gem is a collectible under section 408(m); therefore, an NFT that certifies ownership of a gem is a collectible.

In Notice 2023-27PDF, the Treasury Department and the IRS are requesting comments on any aspect of NFTs that might affect the treatment of an NFT as a collectible as well as certain comments specifically set out in the notice.

US Department Of Justice: Court Authorizes Service Of John Doe Summons Seeking The Identities Of U.S. Taxpayers Who Have Used Cryptocurrency

Date 16/08/2022

On Aug. 15, 2022, a federal court in the Central District of California entered an order authorizing the IRS to serve a John Doe summons on SFOX, a cryptocurrency prime dealer headquartered in Los Angeles, California, seeking information about U.S. taxpayers who conducted at least the equivalent of $20,000 in transactions in cryptocurrency between 2016 and 2021 with or through SFOX.

“Taxpayers who transact with cryptocurrency should understand that income and gains from cryptocurrency transactions are taxable,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “The information sought by the summons approved today will help to ensure that cryptocurrency owners are following the tax laws.”

“The John Doe summons remains a highly valuable enforcement tool that the U.S. government will use again and again to catch tax cheats and this is yet one more example of that,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “I urge all taxpayers to come into compliance with their filing and reporting responsibilities and avoid compromising themselves in schemes that may ultimately go badly for them.” To read more, click here.

National Taxpayer Advocate delivers 2022 Annual Report to Congress; focuses on taxpayer impact of processing and refund delays

IR-2023-04, January 11, 2023

WASHINGTON — National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins today released her 2022 Annual Report to Congress, saying taxpayers and tax professionals "experienced more misery in 2022" due to paper processing delays and poor customer service. But the report also says the Internal Revenue Service made considerable progress in reducing the volume of unprocessed tax returns and correspondence and is poised to start the 2023 filing season in a stronger position.

The Advocate's report assesses taxpayer service during 2022, identifies the ten most serious problems taxpayers are experiencing in their dealings with the IRS, and makes administrative and legislative recommendations to address those problems. This year's report recommends specific initiatives that Collins is urging the IRS to include in its plan showing how the additional funding it received in the Inflation Reduction Act will be spent. It also contains two research studies – one on ways to restructure the Earned Income Tax Credit to increase participation among eligible taxpayers while reducing improper payments, and the other designed to help the IRS improve its online operations by studying the functionality of online operations offered by over 40 states and several foreign countries.

Taxpayer service challenges

Return processing and refund delays. For most taxpayers, the most important function the IRS performs each year is issuing timely tax refunds. In 2022, about two-thirds of individual taxpayers were entitled to refunds, and the average refund amount was nearly $3,200. The report says the IRS failed to meet its responsibility to pay timely refunds to millions of taxpayers for the third year in a row. About 13 million individual taxpayers filed paper returns. Because of paper processing delays, refunds for these taxpayers were delayed, generally by six months or longer. Millions of e-filed individual returns were "suspended" because they tripped IRS processing filters and required manual review by IRS employees before refunds could be released. Hundreds of thousands of business returns claiming the Employee Retention Tax Credit were delayed.

 

However, the report says the IRS will be starting the 2023 filing season in much better shape than the last two years. The IRS began 2022 with an unprocessed paper backlog of 4.7 million original individual returns (Forms 1040), 3.2 million original business returns, and 3.6 million amended returns (individual and business combined). When the Advocate's report went to press in mid-December 2022, the IRS had reduced those backlogs to 1 million original individual returns, 1.5 million original business returns, and 1.5 million amended returns. By Dec. 23, the IRS had further reduced its unprocessed paper backlog of original individual returns to about 400,000 and original business returns to about 1 million. This significant reduction in the paper return inventory will enable the IRS to begin processing paper-filed tax year 2022 returns during the upcoming filing season. That contrasts with the previous two years, when the IRS was not able to process current-year returns until months after the filing season had ended.

The number of returns suspended during processing is the only significant return category in which inventories increased. The IRS entered 2022 with an inventory of 4.2 million suspended returns. The inventory grew to 5.9 million suspended returns by mid-December.

 

IRS Experiencing Severe Delays in the Processing of Tax Returns and Refunds

IRS.gov Updated: 28-Dec-2021

Due to the lingering effects of COVID-19, the IRS continues to experience inventory backlogs resulting in significantly long wait times. 

The IRS is opening mail within normal timeframes and all paper and electronic individual refund returns received prior to April 2021 have been processed if the return had no errors or did not require further review. As of December 18, 2021, we had 6.3 million unprocessed individual returns. Unprocessed individual returns include tax year 2020 returns with errors and those returns requiring special handling such as those that require correction to the Recovery Rebate Credit amount or validation of 2019 income used to figure the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). This work does not require us to correspond with taxpayers but does require special handling by an IRS employee so, in these instances, it is taking the IRS more than 21 days to issue any related refund and in some cases this work could take 90 to 120 days. The IRS is having to correct significantly more errors on tax returns than in previous years. The IRS has reduced the number of returns requiring special handling from an historical high of 9.8 million on May 1, 2021 to the current level of 42,000 individual returns as of December 18. If a correction is made to any RRC, EITC or ACTC claimed on the return, the IRS will send taxpayers an explanation. Taxpayers are encouraged to continue to check Where’s My Refund? for their personalized refund status and can review Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions.

As of December 18, 2021, we had 2.3 million unprocessed Forms 1040-X (Amended Returns). We are processing these returns in the order received and working hard to get through the inventory. The current timeframe can be more than 20 weeks instead of up to 16. Please don't file a second tax return or contact the IRS about the status of your amended return. Taxpayers should continue to check Where's My Amended Return? for the most up to date processing status available. For further information please

click the link below:

The Recovery Rebate Credit

IRS.gov Updated: 30-Jul-2021

 

The first two rounds of Economic Impact Payments were advance payments of the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit. Most eligible people already received the payments and won't include this information on their 2020 tax return.

 

Who May Be Eligible to Claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit?

If you didn't get a first and second Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amounts, you may be eligible to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return even if you don't usually file a tax return.

Claiming the Credit

To claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, you must file a 2020 tax return, even if you aren't required to file. You must also know the amount of any first and second Economic Impact Payment you received. For further information click here.

Third Economic Impact Payment

Washington, March 31, 2021

 

The third round of Economic Impact Payments was authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 as an advance payment of the tax year 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit.

The IRS started issuing the third Economic Impact Payments to eligible individuals on March 12, 2021, with more payments sent by direct deposit and through the mail as a check or debit card in the weeks that follow. The IRS will continue to issue payments throughout the year as tax returns are processed.

 

Most eligible people won’t need to take additional action to get a third payment. Due to new income limitations, some individuals won't be eligible for the third payment even if they received a first or second Economic Impact Payment or claimed a 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit.

Generally, someone is eligible for the full amount of the third Economic Impact Payment if they:

  • are a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien (and their spouse if filing a joint return), and

  • are not a dependent of another taxpayer and

  • their adjusted gross income (AGI) is not more than:

    • $112,500 if filing as head of household or

    • $75,000 for eligible individuals using any other filing status

    • $150,000 if married and filing a joint return or if filing as a qualifying widow or widower

 

Payments will be phased out – or reduced -- above those AGI amounts. This means people will not receive a payment if their AGI exceeds the above amounts. To read more on the 3rd EIP, click here.

Nonfilers - IRS launches campaign aimed at bringing into compliance high-income individuals who have not filed their tax returns.

July 2019

U.S. citizens and resident aliens are subject to tax in the United States on their worldwide income, no matter what form that income takes. Taxpayers are often under the misconception that they are taxed in the United States only on income generated or earned in the United States. Using examinations, the LB&I department will concentrate in this campaign on bringing into compliance high-income taxpayers who have not filed tax returns. To read more on this, click here.

With the increased collection of data by the IRS and the Department of Justice, and the prioritization of data analytics, taxpayers should expect an increase in the number of high-income individuals who are flagged for examination. It is also important to note that the US Senate recently ratified a number of long-stalled international tax treaties, including treaties with Switzerland and Luxembourg, which allow the IRS to obtain even more information from these other countries on high income, non-compliant US taxpayers.

Compliance Options for Non-Filers

 

Options Available For U.S. Taxpayers with Undisclosed Foreign Financial Assets

The implementation of FATCA and the ongoing efforts of the IRS and the Department of Justice to ensure compliance by those with U.S. tax obligations have raised awareness of U.S. tax and information reporting obligations with respect to non-U.S. investments.  Because the circumstances of taxpayers with non-U.S. investments vary widely, the IRS offers the following options for addressing previous failures to comply with U.S. tax and information return obligations with respect to those investments:

  1. Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures;

  2. Delinquent FBAR submission procedures; and

  3. Delinquent international information return submission procedures.
     

Each of these options is explained on the linked pages. The IRS encourages taxpayers to consult with professional tax or legal advisers in determining which option is the most appropriate for them.

Stay informed on important I.R.S. international news !!!

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