Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.
Saturday
Apr112015

Eight Facts on Late Filing and Late Payment Penalties

April 15 is the annual deadline for most people to file their federal income tax return and pay any taxes they owe. By law, the IRS may assess penalties to taxpayers for both failing to file a tax return and for failing to pay taxes they owe by the deadline.

Here are eight important points about penalties for filing or paying late.

  1. A failure-to-file penalty may apply if you did not file by the tax filing deadline. A failure-to-pay penalty may apply if you did not pay all of the taxes you owe by the tax filing deadline.

  2. The failure-to-file penalty is generally more than the failure-to-pay penalty. You should file your tax return on time each year, even if you’re not able to pay all the taxes you owe by the due date. You can reduce additional interest and penalties by paying as much as you can with your tax return. You should  explore other payment options such as getting a loan or making an installment agreement to make payments. The IRS will work with you.

  3. The penalty for filing late is normally 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. That penalty starts accruing the day after the tax filing due date and will not exceed 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.

  4. If you do not pay your taxes by the tax deadline, you normally will face a failure-to-pay penalty of ½ of 1 percent of your unpaid taxes. That penalty applies for each month or part of a month after the due date and starts accruing the day after the tax-filing due date.

  5. If you timely requested an extension of time to file your individual income tax return and paid at least 90 percent of the taxes you owe with your request, you may not face a failure-to-pay penalty. However, you must pay any remaining balance by the extended due date.

  6. If both the 5 percent failure-to-file penalty and the ½ percent failure-to-pay penalties apply in any month, the maximum penalty that you’ll pay for both is 5 percent.

  7. If you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax.

  8. You will not have to pay a late-filing or late-payment penalty if you can show reasonable cause for not filing or paying on time.
Saturday
Feb072015

Tax Implications of the Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes health insurance and tax law changes. Several measures of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, have been implemented, but the most significant changes take effect in 2014 and 2015, including:

  • Individual mandate

    Requires most Americans to have qualified health insurance as of Jan. 1, 2014. Coverage can be obtained through employer-sponsored plans, government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, private plans or through the new federal or state marketplaces, also called health insurance exchanges.
  • Premium tax credits and financial assistance

    Available to qualifying individuals who don't have access to employer-provided coverage and purchase health insurance through a marketplace. Eligibility and amounts are based on the cost of marketplace premiums and your household size and income. The credit will be paid directly to the health insurance company to help cover monthly payments. If you elect to receive a lesser credit or no credit at all, you can claim the refundable credit on your 2014 tax return (due April 15, 2015).
  • Tax penalty for uninsured

    If you don't have health insurance for a total of 3 or more months in 2014, you may be subject to a penalty payable on your tax return due April 15, 2015. The amount is based on the number of uninsured individuals in your household and household income.
  • Small business mandate

    Starting in 2015, businesses with more than 50 FTE employees in 2014 (or a combination of full-time and part-time employees equivalent to 50 FTE employees) must either offer a minimum level of health care coverage to employees and their dependents, or pay the IRS Employer Shared Responsibility payments for any FTEs who purchase coverage through a marketplace and receive the premium tax credit.

Changes impacting your 2014 tax return

 

This is how the ACA impacts federal tax returns due April 15, 2015:

As of January 1, 2014, most Americans are required to have minimum essential health insurance. For most taxpayers, this means little or no changes to your taxes.

  • If you had employer-provided insurance for most of 2014, or you purchased coverage through a private exchange or directly from an insurance company, the ACA's insurance mandate won't impact your taxes. (Note: You may receive IRS Form 1095-B and/or 1095-C from your employer or insurance company in Jan. 2015, but you don't need to report that info on this year's tax return.)
  • If you purchased insurance for 2014 from a marketplace, you'll receive IRS Form 1095-A in Jan. 2015. The 1095-A form must be brought to your tax appointment for reconciliation of the credit determining a credit or repayment. 

If you received the advanced premium credit in 2014, that information will be on your Form 1095-A. You may receive a bigger tax credit or have to pay back some or all of the credit if your actual income is more or less than the amount you estimated at the time you purchased coverage from your marketplace.

If you did not have insurance for 3 or more months in 2014, you may be subject to a penalty (also known as an individual shared responsibility payment) that you must pay when filing your taxes. The penalty is 1% of your 2014 income or $95 per adult – whichever is higher – and $47.50 per uninsured dependent under the age of 18, up to $285 total per family.

IMPORTANT! If you were uninsured and plan to claim an exemption in order to avoid the penalty, go to www.healthcare.gov/exemptions to see if you need to file an exemption application. Be sure to mail your exemption application as soon as possible because processing can take several weeks. If your application is accepted, you'll be issued an exemption certificate number (ECN). Since you must report your ECN on your tax return, don't wait to apply - doing so could delay processing of your tax return and your tax refund!

What should I do for the coming year?

 Did you purchase coverage in a marketplace for 2014?

  • If your income or household size has changed, notify the marketplace to verify your eligibility for the premium tax credit (and thus avoiding a surprise at tax time).
  • Review your plan to make sure it still meets your needs for 2015. If you want to change your coverage, you must do so during open enrollment – Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015 – or your plan will be automatically renewed. (Renewal processes and rules vary in state marketplaces.)
If you don't have health insurance, visit www.healthcare.gov to learn about your 2015 coverage options and to apply. Open enrollment is Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. Remember, you may qualify for the advance premium tax credit.
Wednesday
Sep102014

Scam Phone Calls Continue; IRS Identifies Five Easy Ways to Spot Suspicious Calls

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert today providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.

These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”

The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

  1. Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.

  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

  3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.

  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or atwww.tigta.gov.

  • You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

Remember, too, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

Monday
Sep082014

Automated IRS System Helps College-Bound Students with Financial Aid Application Process

College-bound students and their parents typically want to make every dollar and every minute of the college experience count including money spent on tuition and time spent on the college financial aid application process. The Internal Revenue Service is helping minimize the time spent on the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form by automating access to federal tax returns with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This tool provides the opportunity for applicants to automatically transfer the required tax data onto the FAFSA form.

Here are some tips on using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:

  • Benefits The IRS Data Retrieval tool is an easy and secure way to access and transfer tax return information directly onto the FAFSA form, saving time and improving accuracy. Also, the increased accuracy reduces the likelihood of being selected for verification by the school’s financial aid office.


  • Eligibility Criteria Taxpayers who wish to use the tool to complete their 2012 FAFSA form must:

    • have filed a 2011 tax return;
    • possess a valid Social Security Number;
    • have a Federal Student Aid PIN (individuals who don’t have a PIN, will be given the option to apply for one through the FAFSA application process);
      have not changed marital status since Dec. 31, 2011.


  • Exceptions If any of the following conditions apply to the student or parents, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool can not be used for the 2012 FAFSA application:

    • an amended tax return was filed for 2011;
    • no federal tax return for 2011 has been filed ;
    • the federal tax filing status on the 2011 return is married filing separately;
      a Puerto Rican or other foreign tax return has been filed.


  • Alternatives If the IRS Data Retrieval Tool can not be used and if the college requests verification documentation, it may be necessary to obtain an official transcript from the IRS. To order tax return or tax account transcripts, visit www.irs.gov and select Order a Transcript  or call the Transcript toll-free line at 1-800-908-9946.

In the limited set of cases where an aid applicant, who has filed a tax return and attempted unsuccessfully to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or to obtain IRS Tax Return transcripts, needs a timely alternative for meeting the 2012-2013 verification requirements, the Department of Education generally advises that institutions may, until July 15, 2012, use a signed copy of the relevant (i.e., applicant, spouse, or parent) 2011 IRS Tax Return (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ, as appropriate) as acceptable verification documentation for the 2012-2013 award year. This situation is rare but could occur if, for some reason, the tax return has been filed but not yet processed to completion by the IRS.

In addition to helping reduce the time and effort involved in completing and submitting the FAFSA form through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, the IRS offers money-saving information to college students and their parents.  Important information regarding tax credits and deductions for qualifying tuition, materials and fees is available at the IRS Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center and in IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education both of which are available at www.IRS.gov. 

 

Links:

Saturday
Mar292014

March 31 is an Important Deadline for the new Health Care Law

IRS Health Care Tax Tip 2014-11, March 25, 2014                                                Español

Health Care Law Considerations for 2014

For most people, the Affordable Care Act has no effect on the 2013 income tax return they are filing in 2014. However, some people may need to make important decisions by the March 31, 2014 deadline for open enrollment. 

Below are five things about the health care law you may need to consider soon.

  • Currently Insured – No Change: If you already insured, you do not need to do anything more than continue your insurance.
  • Uninsured – Enroll by March 31: The open enrollment period to purchase health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2014 runs through March 31, 2014. When you get health insurance through the marketplace, you may be able to get advance payments of the premium tax credit that will immediately help lower your monthly premium. Learn more atHealthCare.gov.
  • Premium Tax Credit To Lower Your Monthly Premium: If you get insurance through the Marketplace, you may be eligible to claim the premium tax credit. You can elect to have advance payments of the tax credit sent directly to your insurer during 2014 so that the monthly premium you pay is lower, or wait to claim the credit when you file your tax return in 2015. If you choose to have advance payments sent to your insurer, you will have to reconcile the payments on your 2014 tax return, which will be filed in 2015. If you’re already receiving advance payments of the credit, you need to do nothing at this time unless you have a change in circumstance like a change in income or family size. Learn More.
  • Change in Circumstances: If you're receiving advance payments of the premium tax credit to help pay for your insurance coverage, you should report life changes, such as income, marital status or family size changes, to the Marketplace. Reporting changes will help to make sure you have the right coverage and are getting the proper amount of advance payments of the premium tax credit.
  • Individual Shared Responsibility Payment: Starting January 2014, you and your family have been required to have health care coverage or have an exemption from coverage.  Most people already have qualifying health care coverage.  These individuals will not need to do anything more than maintain that coverage throughout 2014. If you can afford coverage but decide not to buy it and remain uninsured, you may have to make an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your 2014 tax return in 2015. Learn More.

 


1820 E Garry Ave, Suite 108 Santa Ana, CA 92705
949.756.1394 • Fax: 949.756.1398 • steve@lvasquezlaw.com

© 2018 Luis E Vasquez Law I Terms & Conditions I Privacy Policy I By: Tethos Creative