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IRS offers guidance on recent 529 education savings plan changes

The Internal Revenue Service and Department of Treasury announced their intent to issue regulations on three recent tax law changes affecting popular 529 education savings plans.

Notice 2018-58 addresses a change included in the 2015 Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, and two changes included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  Taxpayers, beneficiaries and administrators of 529 and Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) programs can rely on the rules described in this notice until the Treasury Department and IRS issue regulations clarifying these three changes.  Continue reading

National Tax Security Awareness Week No. 2: Don’t Take the Bait; Avoid Phishing Emails by Data Thieves

IR-2017-194, Nov. 28, 2017 ― With the approach of the holidays and the 2018 filing season, the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry urge people to be on the lookout for new, sophisticated email phishing scams that could endanger their personal information and next year’s tax refund.   Continue reading

Continuing Education Credit for Qualified Data Security Courses

Tax professionals can now earn CE credit for programs covering data security and identity theft topics.  Courses focused on enhancing tax professional awareness of protecting client data, including review of Publications 4556 or 4524 safeguards can qualify for continuing education in the federal tax law category. IRS recognized CE programs previously only included those courses that covered federal tax preparation, federal tax updates, ethics, and representation topics.

Tax professionals are becoming the number one target of identity thieves. With identity theft and data breaches on the rise, security courses help support the Don’t Take the Bait education series, which aims to raise awareness of the critical need for tax professionals to increase their computer security, be cautious of emails scams dubbed spear phishing, and what to do in the event of a security incident.  You can learn about threats facing the tax professional community and the ongoing efforts of the Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself campaign.

Remember, you have not just an obligation but a legal requirement under federal law to protect taxpayer information. Data security and identity theft courses detail ways that tax professionals can better protect themselves and their clients.

IRS Issues Reminder to Taxpayers as Scams Continue Across the Nation

IR-2017-173, Oct. 13, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to remain vigilant to scams as they continue to be reported around the country. Phishing, phone scams and identity theft top the list of items normally reported. However, following hurricanes and other disasters, the IRS urged taxpayers to be on the lookout for schemes stemming from these recent events.

“These scams evolve over time and adjust to reflect events in the news, but they all typically are variations on a familiar theme,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Recognizing these schemes and taking some simple steps can protect taxpayers against these con artists.”

While individuals and businesses deal with the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildland fires in the West, criminals may take advantage of this situation by creating fake charities to get money or personal information from sympathetic taxpayers. They may also attempt to con victims by impersonating a relief agency or charity that will provide relief. Such fraudulent scams and solicitations for donations may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in person.

Below are some of the more typical scams the IRS has seen: Continue Reading 

IRS Tests W-2 Verification Code for Filing Season 2017 

For filing season 2017, the Internal Revenue Service will expand an initiative to verify the authenticity of Form W-2 data. This initiative is one in a series of steps to combat tax-related identity theft and refund fraud.

The objective is to verify Form W-2 data submitted by taxpayers on e-filed individual tax returns. The IRS has partnered with certain Payroll Service Providers (PSPs) to include a 16-digit code and a new Verification Code field on a limited number of Form W-2 copies provided to employees.  Continue Reading 

Practitioner Priority Service — Your First Point of Contact

Tax practitioners have long served an important role in our nation's tax collection system as a conduit between taxpayers and the IRS. The Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) is your first point of contact for account-related issues. Our Practitioner Priority Service is a professional support line that staffed by IRS customer service representatives specially trained to handle practitioners' accounts questions. You may contact PPS at (866-860-4259).  PPS is available to all tax professionals with valid third party authorizations, i.e., Forms 2848, 8821 and/or 8655.   Continue Reading

Get Replacement Social Security Benefits Statements Form SSA-1099 Online
Help your clients who receive Social Security benefits get their annual benefits statements online through my Social Security. Let your clients know they can get free, instant replacement forms beginning Feb. 1.

Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself
The “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” campaign identifies common sense steps tax professionals can take to guard against identity theft.

Important Information about Your e-Services Account
Certain e-Services users will receive letters directing them to revalidate their identities. Learn who is affected and what actions are required. Failure to timely revalidate will result in e-Services access being suspended for security purposes 

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