IRS Headliners and New Releases

IRS Headliners and News Releases for May 14

Welcome to Workshop Wednesday #55. We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. We encourage publication in your association’s magazines, newsletters, email distributions and/or website.

 

If this is the first time you are receiving Workshop Wednesday, please take a moment and look at the archived versions of past editions. The link is shown below at the bottom of the message.

Workshop Wednesday 

A Virtual Workshop 

55th Edition – June 11, 2014

IRS Direct Pay More than 150,000 Individuals Pay Their Taxes with IRS Direct Pay

 

The Internal Revenue Service announced the successful start of its new web-based system — IRS Direct Pay — on IRS.gov, which lets taxpayers pay their tax bills or make estimated tax payments directly from checking or savings accounts without any fees or pre-registration.

IRS Direct Pay reflects our latest effort to add more online tools to provide additional service options to help taxpayers.  IRS Direct Pay simplifies the payment process, and taxpayers can make a payment from the convenience of a home computer.

To date, more than 150,000 taxpayers have paid more than $340 million in taxes through the new IRS Direct Pay system. With IRS Direct Pay, taxpayers receive instant confirmation that the payment has been submitted, and the system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Bank account information is not retained in IRS systems after payments are made.

From the “Pay Your Tax Bill” icon at the top of the IRS home page, taxpayers can access IRS Direct Pay, which walks the taxpayer through five simple steps.

  • Provide your tax information
  • Verify your identity
  • Enter your payment information
  • Review and electronically sign the transaction
  • Print or record your online confirmation number

IRS Direct Pay offers 30-day advance payment scheduling, payment rescheduling or cancellations, and a payment status search. Future plans include an option for e-mailed payment confirmation, a Spanish version and one-time registration with a login and password to allow quick access on return visits.

Note: You must have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) to use this application. This application cannot accommodate Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). Five Tips to Help You Pay Your Tax Bill

If you get a tax bill from the IRS, don’t ignore it. A delay may cost you more in the long run. The longer you wait the more interest and penalties you may have to pay. Here are five tips to help you avoid those extra charges:

  1. Pay monthly if you can’t pay in full.  If you can’t pay all at once, apply for a payment plan. Most people and some small businesses can apply using the IRS Online Payment Agreement Application on IRS.gov. You can also apply for a plan using Form 9465, Installment Agreement.
  2. EFTPS® is a system for paying federal taxes electronically using the Internet, or by phone using the EFTPS® Voice Response System. EFTPS® is offered free by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Over 12 million taxpayers are currently enrolled in the system.
  3. Check out a direct debit pay plan.  A direct debit pay plan is the lower-cost hassle-free way to pay. The set-up fee is less than other plans – $52 instead of $120. With this type of plan, you pay each month automatically from your bank account. There are no reminder notices from IRS, no missed payments and no checks to write and mail. For more on these rules see the Payment Plans, Installment Agreements page on IRS.gov.
  4. Consider an Offer in Compromise. An Offer in Compromise allows you to settle your tax debt with the IRS for less than the full amount. An OIC may be an option if you can’t pay your tax in full. It may also apply if full payment will create a financial hardship. To see if you may qualify and what a reasonable offer might be, use the IRS Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier Tool.
  5. Pay by check or money order payable to the U.S. Treasury. Be sure to include:
    • Your name, address and daytime phone number
    • Your Social Security number or employer ID number if you are paying business tax.
    • The tax period and related tax form, such as “2013 Form 1040”
    • Mail it to the address listed on your notice. Do not send cash.   

How do I prevent future tax liabilities?

You can reduce or even eliminate a balance due after filing, by adjusting your withholding amount or making estimated payments.

The IRS Withholding Calculator can help you adjust the amount withheld from your pay by your employer, in order to reduce or eliminate your balance due.

Estimated tax is the method you use to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding, such as self-employment income.  References/Resources:

 This series is brought to you by the Southwest Area Stakeholder Liaison Team covering Arizona, New Mexico & Texas. It is designed for you to share with anyone who will find the information useful. We are interested to hear if you think this information is helpful. Please provide your feedback or topic request to us at sl.southwest@irs.gov and include “Workshop Wednesday” in the subject line.

To access previous editions, click here:

Workshop Wednesday Archive links

IRS Headliners and News Releases for Apr 14

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Tax filing questions or need to check on a tax account issue?

Call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number, 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time.  You can find a complete list of IRS toll free numbers here. And yes, during the tax season there will be long hold times on that line!

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Small Business Week Webinars – May 13th and 15th

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Webinars-for-Small-Businesses-1

The IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Division will air two webinars for small business owners during National Small Business Week, on May 13th and 15th. Learn what to do when you hire and pay independent contractors and how to avoid common mistakes. IRS representatives will also be available for a question and answer session directly after each presentation.

Payments to Independent Contractors

Tuesday, May 13

10:00 a.m. (AK); 11:00 a.m. (PT)12:00 p.m. (MT)

Register at: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/IRS/98667/reg.asp?id=98667

Avoiding the Biggest Tax Mistakes

Thursday, May 15

10:00 a.m. (AK); 11:00 a.m. (PT)12:00 p.m. (MT)

Register at: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/IRS/98603/reg.asp?id=98603

For anyone who can’t view on the event dates, these webinars will be placed online for later viewing on the IRS Video Portal approximately three weeks after the date of the event.

For more tax related information to help you and your business any day of the week, please visit:

IRS Tax Information for Business and Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center  There you will also find the Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop, a popular online class with nine lessons to help you navigate tax issues so your small business can thrive.

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/programs/small-business-services

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer small business events throughout the community. Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites for a detailed, updated list of events.

Counseling and Training available through SBDC

http://maricopa-sbdc.com/events-2/

Each of the 8 centers around the county can provide no-cost and confidential business counseling to help you succeed in your business. Business advisors are experienced in a variety of business topics and understand how to start and do business.  They can support you with valuable and relevant advice at every stage of your business venture and connect you to other valuable resources.  Their workshops, courses and online trainings will help you sharpen your business skills and knowledge with useful information on a particular topic. Register for a training at one of our Centers or online, and join us for an informational presentation or series of workshops. 

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

Check out IRS Workshop Wednesday, a weekly, informative electronic distribution for small businesses!

We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. You can click below to check out the archived versions of these messages. If you don’t receive these messages directly, please send an email toLisa.A.Novack@irs.gov and ask to subscribe to Workshop Wednesday.

To access previous editions, click here: Workshop Wednesday Archive links

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Business

http://www.sba.gov/healthcare

The SBA and Small Business Majority are holding weekly Affordable Care Act 101 webinars. During the presentation, small business owners can learn about the law and what it means for their company and employees.  Visit the web page above for a complete schedule, but webinars are generally held every Thursday at 11:00 am Pacific Time.

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Reiterates Warning of Pervasive Telephone Scam
IRS has issued another strong warning for consumers to guard against sophisticated and aggressive phone scams targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, as reported incidents of this crime continue to rise nationwide. These scams won’t likely end with the filing season so the IRS urges everyone to remain on guard. The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone. For more information or to report a scam, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

People have reported a particularly aggressive phone scam in the last several months. Immigrants are frequently targeted. Potential victims are threatened with deportation, arrest, having their utilities shut off, or having their driver’s licenses revoked. Callers are frequently insulting or hostile – apparently to scare their potential victims. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov. More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.

IRS Debunks Frivolous Tax Arguments
The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2014 version of “The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments.” The document describes and responds to some of the common frivolous tax arguments made by those who oppose compliance with federal tax laws. The cases cited demonstrate how frivolous arguments are treated by the IRS and the courts. The 2014 version includes numerous recently decided cases that demonstrate that the courts continue to regard such arguments as illegitimate. Examples of frivolous arguments include contentions that taxpayers can refuse to pay income taxes on religious or moral grounds by invoking the First Amendment; that the only “employees” subject to federal income tax are employees of the federal government; and that only foreign-source income is taxable. Frivolous arguments appeared on the IRS annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams that was released on February 19.

Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims to avoid paying the taxes they owe. While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities, no one has the right to disobey the law or disregard their responsibility to pay taxes. The penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5,000. The penalty is applied to anyone who submits a tax return or other specified submission, if any portion of the submission is based on a position the IRS identifies as frivolous.

IRS Intensifies Work on Identity Theft and Refund Fraud; Criminal Investigation Enforcement Actions Underway Across the Nation
The Internal Revenue Service has started more than 200 new investigations this filing season into identity theft and refund fraud schemes. IRS Criminal Investigation has started 295 new identity theft investigations since January, pushing the number of active cases to more than 1,800. The coast-to-coast effort by Criminal Investigation is underway as part of a larger effort at the IRS to combat identity theft and refund fraud by pursuing identity thieves, preventing fraudulent refunds from being issued and helping victims of this crime. Since the start of 2014, increased activity by CI has led to more prosecution recommendations, indictments and sentencing hearings, which reflect the overall success by the IRS on the increased number and effectiveness of ID theft filters used during the processing of tax returns. Highlights of this year’s work are in the full article.

IRS Statement on “Heartbleed” and Filing Season
The IRS has issued a statement on the “Heartbleed” security flaw. Our systems continue operating and are not affected by this bug.

IRS Warns of New Email Phishing Scheme Falsely Claiming to be from the Taxpayer Advocate Service
The IRS warned consumers to be on the lookout for a new email phishing scam. The emails appear to be from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service and include a bogus case number.

As the Tax Season ends, IRS answers: Where’s My Refund?
Taxpayers expecting a refund can use “Where’s My Refund?” to track it. Filing season statistics are included in the article.

IRS Gives Tax Relief to Washington State Mudslide and Flooding Victims; Return Filing and Tax Payment Deadlines Extended to Oct. 15 
The IRS announced today that victims of last month’s mudslides and flooding in Washington state will have until Oct. 15 to file their returns and pay any taxes due.  Following the disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the IRS said that affected taxpayers in Snohomish County, including the Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamish and Tulalip tribes, will receive this and other special tax relief.  The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on March 22, 2014. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Oct. 15, 2014 to file these returns and pay any taxes due.  This includes the regular April 15 deadline for filing 2013 individual income tax returns and making tax payments. It also includes the April 15 deadline for making 2013 contributions to an individual retirement account.  Also included are the April 15, June 16 and Sept. 15 deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments. A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected including the April 30 and July 31 deadlines for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns.

The IRS will abate any interest, late-payment or late-filing penalty that would otherwise apply. The agency automatically provides this relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief.  Beyond the relief provided to taxpayers in the FEMA-designated localities, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. All workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization also qualify for relief. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227.

Individuals and businesses who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either last year’s or this year’s return. Claiming these casualty loss deductions on either an original or amended 2013 return will get the taxpayer an earlier refund but waiting to claim them on a 2014 return could result in greater tax savings depending upon other income factors.  Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by mudslides and flooding and is based on local damage assessments by FEMA. For information on disaster recovery, visit disasterassistance.gov.  The IRS is actively monitoring the situation and will provide additional relief if needed.

IRS2Go 4.0 Smartphone App Downloads Surpass 2.3 Million
More than 2.3 million users have downloaded or updated IRS’s smartphone application IRS2Go 4.0 so far this year. The app’s latest version was launched earlier this year for the 2014 filing season.

Changes Coming in Certain Social Security Administration Services

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10544.pdf

Beginning August 1, 2014, Social Security will no longer issue Social Security number (SSN) verification printouts in their field offices. Individuals who need proof of their SSN and cannot locate their card will need to apply for a replacement card, which takes 7-10 business days. To get a replacement card, the individual must complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) with the necessary associated documentation and either mail it to SSA or go in person to an SSA field office.  The replacement card will be mailed to their home. Beginning October 1, 2014, Social Security field offices will stop providing benefit verification letters. Instead, SSA would like individuals to get their benefits documentation online by registering for a my Social Security account or through their national toll-free number1(800)772-1213.

Tax Tips

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Tax-Tips

Ten Things to Know about IRS Notices and Letters
Unpaid Debt Can Affect Your Refund
Tips for Taxpayers Who Missed the Tax Deadline<

IRS Headliners and News Releases for Mar 14

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Tax filing questions or need to check on a tax account issue?

Call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number, 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska& Hawaii follow Pacific Time).  You can find a complete list of IRS toll free numbers here. And yes, during the tax season there will be long hold times on that line!

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Business

http://www.sba.gov/healthcare

The SBA and Small Business Majority are holding weekly Affordable Care Act 101 webinars. During the presentation, small business owners can learn about the law and what it means for their company and employees.  Visit the web page above for a complete schedule, but webinars are generally held every Thursday at 11:00 am Pacific Time.

Small Business Workshops – Seattle SBA Education and Training Center
Small Business Taxes & Bookkeeping for the Small Business Owner - 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month - 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Learn about important information regarding your tax responsibilities as a small business owner. Topics covered:

  • What taxes to pay and when they are due
  • How to choose the right accountant and the right accounting software
  • How to document expenses and activities
  • How to take care of employee and contractor payroll taxes
  • The difference between city, county, state, and federal taxation
  • What the tax advantages are for the sole proprietor or for business entities in general

Workshops are held at the 4th & Battery Building - 2401 Fourth Avenue, Suite 450, Seattle

Please pre-register by calling 206-553-2664 or e-mail workshops@sba.gov.

SBA and SCORE also offer a variety of other workshops for small business owners – find out more here: http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/2/3157

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/programs/small-business-services

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer small business events throughout the community. Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

Check out IRS Workshop Wednesday, a weekly, informative electronic distribution for small businesses!

We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. You can click below to check out the archived versions of these messages. If you don’t receive these messages directly, please send an email toLisa.A.Novack@irs.gov and ask to subscribe to Workshop Wednesday.

To access previous editions, click here: Workshop Wednesday Archive links

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

Has your business become the victim of a data security breach?

It is almost impossible to be in business and not collect or hold personally identifying information — names and addresses, Social Security numbers, etc., about your customers, employees or patients. If this information is lost or stolen, it could put these individuals at risk for identity theft. However, not all compromises of personal information result in identity theft.  The type of personal information compromised can significantly affect the degree of potential damage. What steps should you take and whom should you contact if personal information is compromised?  Answers vary depending on the situation; however, the following information can help you make smart, sound decisions. Check federal and state laws or regulations for any specific requirements for your business.  See the full article for three important steps to take when you first realize your business has encountered a data security breach, as well as other resources for businesses facing a data security breach.

IRS Encourages Small Employers to Check Out Small Business Health Care Tax Credit; Helpful Resources, Tax Tips Available on IRS.gov
With business tax-filing deadlines fast approaching, the Internal Revenue Service encourages small employers that provide health insurance coverage to their employees to check out the small business health care tax credit and then claim it if they qualify. The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit page on IRS.gov is packed with information and resources designed to help small employers see if they qualify for the credit and then figure it correctly. These include a 2013 tax credit estimator, examples of typical tax savings under various scenarios and answers to frequently-asked questions. Additionally, the IRS has Health Care Tax Tips, designed to provide useful information to employers, families and individuals. These tips include a new Small Business Health Care Tax Credit tip as well as tips covering other Affordable Care Act topics.  For 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent of premiums paid by eligible small businesses and 25 percent of premiums paid by eligible tax-exempt organizations. In 2014, the maximum credit rate rises to 50 percent for small businesses and 35 percent for tax-exempt organizations.

Depending upon how they are structured, eligible small employers are likely subject to one of the following three tax-filing deadlines, which fall in coming weeks:

March 17: Corporations and S Corporations that file on a calendar year basis can figure the credit on Form 8941 attached to the income tax return.

April 15: Partnerships and individuals have until April 15 to complete and file their income tax returns (partnerships on Form 1065 and individuals on Form 1040). Sole proprietors can figure the credit on Form 8941 attached to the individual income tax return. Individuals who have business income and credits reported to them on Schedules K-1—partners in partnerships, S corporation shareholders and beneficiaries of estates and trusts—will report the credit amount directly on Form 3800– no Form 8941 required. The resulting credit is entered on Form 1040, Line 53.

May 15: Tax-exempt organizations that file on a calendar year basis can use Form 8941 and then claim the credit on Form 990-T, Line 44f.

Taxpayers needing more time to determine eligibility should consider obtaining an automatic tax-filing extension, usually for six months. SeeForm 4868 for individuals, Form 7004 for businesses and Form 8868 for tax-exempt organizations.

Reminder To Home-Based Businesses: Simplified Option for Claiming Home Office Deduction Now Available; May Deduct up to $1,500; Saves 1.6 Million Hours A Year
The Internal Revenue Service reminds people with home-based businesses that this year for the first time they can choose a new simplified option for claiming the deduction for business use of a home. In tax year 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available, some 3.3 million taxpayers claimed deductions for business use of a home (commonly referred to as the home office deduction) totaling nearly $10 billion. The new optional deduction, capped at $1,500 per year based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet, will reduce the paperwork and recordkeeping burden on small businesses by an estimated 1.6 million hours annually. The new option is available starting with the 2013 return taxpayers are filing now.  Normally, home-based businesses are required to fill out a 43-line form (Form 8829) often with complex calculations of allocated expenses, depreciation and carryovers of unused deductions.  Instead, taxpayers claiming the optional deduction need only complete a short worksheet in the tax instructions and enter the result on their return.

IRS Virtual Currency Guidance: Virtual Currency Is Treated as Property for U.S. Federal Tax Purposes; General Rules for Property Transactions Apply

The Internal Revenue Service has issued a notice providing answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on virtual currency, such as Bitcoin. These FAQs provide basic information on the U.S. federal tax implications of transactions in, or transactions that use, virtual currency. In some environments, virtual currency operates like “real” currency — i.e., the coin and paper money of the United States or of any other country that is designated as legal tender, circulates, and is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance — but it does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction. The notice provides that virtual currency is treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes.  General tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency.

Among other things, this means that:

  • Wages paid to employees using virtual currency are taxable to the employee, must be reported by an employer on a Form W-2, and are subject to federal income tax withholding and payroll taxes.
  • Payments using virtual currency made to independent contractors and other service providers are taxable and self-employment tax rules generally apply.  Normally, payers must issue Form 1099.
  • The character of gain or loss from the sale or exchange of virtual currency depends on whether the virtual currency is a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.
  • A payment made using virtual currency is subject to information reporting to the same extent as any other payment made in property.

Further details, including a set of 16 questions and answers, are in Notice 2014-21, posted today on IRS.gov.

New IRS Video Helps Same-Sex Couples; Joins Extensive IRS Library Of Online Tax Tips
The IRS released a new YouTube video designed to provide useful tax tips to married same-sex couples. The new video, less than two minutes long, is available in EnglishSpanish and American Sign Language and can be accessed via IRS.gov. It joins an array of online products, including answers to frequently-asked questions, designed to help same-sex couples file their federal income tax returns. Following last summer’s Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, the IRS ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, are now treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.

More than Half of all Income Tax Returns Have Been Received; IRS Issues Publication on Business Expenses
With the tax deadline getting closer, the IRS has received more than half of all the returns it expects to receive during 2014. The IRS received more than 75 million individual tax returns as of March 14 and projects that it will receive about 149 million individual income tax returns by the end of the year. Millions of individual tax filers have business income either as sole proprietors or as sub contractors. Many individual filers also have unreimbursed business expenses. The IRS recently issued Publication 535, Business Expenses, which provides valuable information for these filers. The publication contains useful hints for Tax Year 2013, for which many taxpayers are still completing returns and for Tax Year 2014, for which taxpayers are tracking expenses and making financial decisions.

More Taxpayers Filing from Home Computers in 2014, Many Taxpayers Eligible to Use Free File
More taxpayers are e-filing from home computers in 2014 according to IRS filing season statistics.

IRS Has $760 Million for People Who Have Not Filed a 2010 Income Tax Return
Taxpayers who did not file returns for tax year 2010 have until April 15 to claim their tax refunds.

Time May be Running Out — March 31 is an Important Deadline

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. See the article for five things about the health care law you may need to consider soon.

Interest Rates Remain the Same for the Second Quarter of 2014
For the second quarter of 2014, interest rates remain the same.

Winter 2014 Statistics of Income Bulletin Now Available
The IRS winter 2014 Bulletin provides information on individual income tax returns filed for tax year 2012 and other topics.

IRS Releases FY 2013 Data Book

The IRS 2013 Data Book provides details on the agency’s activities during fiscal year 2013. The report describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013, and includes information about returns filed, taxes collected, enforcement, taxpayer assistance and the IRS budget and workforce, among others. An electronic version of the 2013 Data Book can be found on the Tax Stats page of IRS.gov.

Public Comment Invited on Recommendations for 2014-2015 Priority Guidance Plan

Notice 2014-18 solicits public comments on recommendations for items that should be included on the 2014-2015 Guidance Priority List. Notice 2014-18 will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2014-15 on April 7, 2014.

Tax Tips

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Tax-Tips

Top 10 Tax Time Tips from the IRS

Tips for Self-Employed Taxpayers
Four Things You Should Know if You Barter
Ten Things to Know about the Taxpayer Advocate Service
IRS Small Business Tax Center Has Everything You Need

Top Ten Tips to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer

Health Care Tax Tips

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Health-Care-Tax-Tips2

Check out the tax tips for your health care questions on this page – here is a sample:

Time May be Running Out — March 31 is an Important Deadline
What do I need to know about the Health Care Law for my 2013 Tax Return?
What You Need to Know about the Amount of Health Insurance Reported on Form W-2
Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

Online Tax Calendar

Watch this YouTube video to see how you can automatically get business due dates by downloading the IRS Online Tax Calendar. Watch this and other videos on the IRS YouTube Channel.

Understanding Your Form 1099-K

Understanding Your 1099-K on IRS.gov explains this form and how to report payment card and third party network transactions on tax returns. Additional information is available on the

IRS Headliners and News Releases for Feb 14

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Tax filing questions or need to check on a tax account issue?

Call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number, 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska& Hawaii follow Pacific Time).  You can find a complete list of IRS toll free numbers here. And yes, during the tax season there will be long hold times on that line!

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Business

http://www.sba.gov/healthcare

The SBA and Small Business Majority are holding weekly Affordable Care Act 101 webinars. During the presentation, small business owners can learn about the law and what it means for their company and employees.  Visit the web page above for a complete schedule, but webinars are generally held every Thursday at 11:00 am Pacific Time.

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/programs/small-business-services

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer small business events throughout the community. Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

Check out IRS Workshop Wednesday, a weekly, informative electronic distribution for small businesses!

We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. You can click below to check out the archived versions of these messages. If you don’t receive these messages directly, please send an email toLisa.A.Novack@irs.gov and ask to subscribe to Workshop Wednesday.

To access previous editions, click here: Workshop Wednesday Archive links

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Warns of Heavy Call Volume, Offers Tips for Faster Answers
The IRS reminded taxpayers the Presidents Day holiday period typically marks one of the busiest weeks of the tax filing season for its phone lines and offers other alternatives to help taxpayers find answers to commonly asked tax questions. The Internal Revenue Service has several easy-to-use, online tools on IRS.gov. Taxpayers can check the status of their refund, request a copy of their tax transcript or get an answer to their tax questions around the clock.  Due to limited resources, the IRS has changed the services provided at the toll-free telephone number and IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers. To save time and find answers faster, taxpayers should make IRS.gov their first stop. A good place to start is 1040 Central for a quick overview. The IRS Services Guide also provides a list of resources.

Some IRS Assistance and Taxpayer Services Shift to Automated Resources
Given available resources and shifting taxpayer demands, the IRS will be making a number of taxpayer service changes for the 2014 filing season.

The changes, which were made following input from stakeholders in the tax community, reflect the need for increased use of automated self-service options. With limited resources to support person-to-person services on the phone or at Taxpayer Assistance Centers, the IRS is emphasizing services, such as those found on IRS.gov, to help meet a number of taxpayer needs. This approach will free up IRS assistors on the phone or in person to help with issues that cannot be resolved through other avenues, such as issues involving identity theft.

Each year, the IRS balances anticipated customer service needs against available resources to determine the right mix of technology, employees and IRS partner-provided assistance  to meet these needs in the most effective and efficient way. The changes for filing season 2014 affect these areas:

  • Tax Return Preparation
  • Transcript delivery
  • Tax Law Assistance
  • Tax Refund Inquiries
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Practitioner Priority Service

Taxpayers should find these automated services easy to use and convenient. Many are available 24 hours and seven days a week.  See the full article for details.

Filing Season Update
Latest issues, information on tax season and refunds.

Updated IRS Smartphone App IRS2Go Version 4.0 Now Available
The IRS has released IRS2Go 4.0, an update to its smartphone application featuring new, added features available in both English and Spanish.

IRS Kicks Off 2014 Tax Season; Individual Returns Can Be Filed Now; Free Online Services Available to Help With Filing, Refunds, EITC 
The IRS opened the 2014 filing season by highlighting a growing array of online services and encouraging taxpayers to check out a variety of tax benefits, such as the often-overlooked Earned Income Tax Credit.

Tax Tips

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Tax-Tips

IRS Small Business Tax Center Has Everything You Need

Top Ten Tips to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer
Four Ways to Get IRS Forms and Publications
IRS Tips about Taxable and Nontaxable Income
What You Should Know about AMT

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

Payment alternatives when you owe the IRS

The recent Payment Alternatives webinar explains available options, including installment payment agreements and offers in compromise.

Want to file Forms 941 instead of Form 944?

You must file Form 944 if the IRS has notified you to do so, unless you contact the IRS before April 1 to request and receive written notice to file quarterly Form 941 instead.

IRS.gov has more information for employers who want to opt in or opt out of filing the annual Form 944 vs. the quarterly Form 941.

IRS.gov in Spanish

Spanish-speaking IRS offers great resources in Spanish at http://www.irs.gov/Spanish

If you would like to receive e-News for Small Businesses, please visit this link to subscribe:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses

Recommend e-News for Small Businesses

If you already receive e-News for Small Businesses, you can share it with a business acquaintance, colleague or employee. Just forward thislink to them to view a sample edition and subscribe.

 

IRS Headliners and News Releases for Jan 14

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Tax filing questions or need to check on a tax account issue?

Call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number, 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time You can find a complete list of IRS toll free numbers here. And yes, during the tax season there will be long hold times on that line!

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Business

http://www.sba.gov/healthcare

The SBA and Small Business Majority are holding weekly Affordable Care Act 101 webinars. During the presentation, small business owners can learn about the law and what it means for their company and employees.  Visit the web page above for a complete schedule, but webinars are generally held every Thursday at 11:00 am Pacific Time.

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/programs/small-business-services

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer small business events throughout the community. Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

Check out IRS Workshop Wednesday, a weekly, informative electronic distribution for small businesses!

We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. You can click below to check out the archived versions of these messages. If you don’t receive these messages directly, please send an email toLisa.A.Novack@irs.gov and ask to subscribe to Workshop Wednesday.

To access previous editions, click here: Workshop Wednesday Archive links

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Criminal Investigation Combats Identity Theft Refund Fraud
The IRS has seen a significant increase in refund fraud that involves identity thieves who file false claims for refunds by stealing and using someone’s Social Security number. The investigative work done by Criminal Investigation is a major component of the IRS’s efforts to combat tax-related identity theft.

Tips for Taxpayers, Victims about Identity Theft and Tax Returns
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide, and refund fraud caused by identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS. In 2014, the IRS continues to take new steps and strong actions to protect taxpayers and help victims of identity theft and refund fraud.

IRS Combats Identity Theft and Refund Fraud on Many Fronts
Stopping identity theft and refund fraud is a top priority for the IRS. The agency’s work on identity theft and refund fraud continues to grow, touching nearly every part of the organization. For the 2014 filing season, the IRS has expanded these efforts to better protect taxpayers and help victims.

National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers Annual Report to Congress; Focuses on Taxpayer Bill of Rights and IRS Funding
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her annual report to Congress, urging the IRS to adopt a comprehensive Taxpayer Bill of Rights and expressing concern that the IRS is not adequately funded to serve taxpayers.

Starting Jan. 13, 2014, Business Tax Filers Can File 2013 Returns
The IRS will begin accepting 2013 business tax returns on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. This start date applies to both electronically-filed and paper-filed returns.

Business returns include any return that posts on the IRS Business Master File (BMF). BMF returns include a variety of income tax and information returns such as Form 1120 filed by corporations, Form 1120S filed by S corporations, Form 1065 filed by partnerships and Form 1041, the return filed by estates and trusts. It also includes various excise and payroll tax returns, such as Form 720Form 940Form 941and Form 2290. The IRS expects to be able to begin processing any of these business returns on Jan. 13.

The Jan. 13 start date does not apply to unincorporated small businesses that report their income on Form 1040. The start date for all 1040 filers is Jan. 31, 2014. Although the IRS encourages these small businesses to begin preparing their returns now, it will not be able to accept these or any other individual returns or begin processing them until Jan. 31. This includes sole proprietors who file a Schedule C, landlords who file a Schedule E and farmers who file a Schedule F.

2014 Tax Season to Open Jan. 31; e-file and Free File Can Speed Refunds 
The IRS today announced plans to open the 2014 filing season on Jan. 31 and encouraged taxpayers to use e-file or Free File as the fastest way to receive refunds.

IRS Offers Videos to Help Taxpayers Preparing to File in 2014
The IRS is offering taxpayers a number of YouTube videos to help prepare their taxes for the upcoming filing season, which begins on Jan. 31.

New Tax Guide Helps People With Their 2013 Taxes
Taxpayers can get the most out of various tax benefits and get a jump on preparing their 2013 federal income tax returns by consulting a newly revised comprehensive tax guide now available on IRS.gov.

Some IRS Assistance and Taxpayer Services Shift to Automated Resources
Given available resources and shifting taxpayer demands, the IRS will be making a number of taxpayer service changes for the 2014 filing season.

The changes, which were made following input from stakeholders in the tax community, reflect the need for increased use of automated self-service options. With limited resources to support person-to-person services on the phone or at Taxpayer Assistance Centers, the IRS is emphasizing services, such as those found on IRS.gov, to help meet a number of taxpayer needs. This approach will free up IRS assistors on the phone or in person to help with issues that cannot be resolved through other avenues, such as issues involving identity theft.

Each year, the IRS balances anticipated customer service needs against available resources to determine the right mix of technology, employees and IRS partner-provided assistance  to meet these needs in the most effective and efficient way. The changes for filing season 2014 affect these areas:

  • Tax Return Preparation
  • Transcript delivery
  • Tax Law Assistance
  • Tax Refund Inquiries
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Practitioner Priority Service

Taxpayers should find these automated services easy to use and convenient. Many are available 24 hours and seven days a week.  See the full article for details.

SSA Delay in W-2 Filing Season

The Social Security Administration recently announced delays for tax year 2013 wage reporting and processing. In addition, there are some changes to the EFW2 file format for Tax Year 2013. You can view them at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/EFW2&EFW2C.htm.

Final Regulations Issued for Additional Medicare Tax

The Internal Revenue Service and Department of Treasury issued final regulations (TD 9645) on the 0.9-percent Additional Medicare Tax (IRC §3101(b) and 1401(b)).  Effective Jan. 1, 2013, Additional Medicare Tax applies to a taxpayer’s Medicare wages, Railroad Retirement Tax Act compensation, and self-employment income that exceed a threshold amount based on the taxpayer’s filing status.  An employer is responsible for withholding the 0.9% Additional Medicare Tax from wages or RRTA compensation it pays to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year.  There is no employer match for the Additional Medicare Tax.  For additional information, taxpayers and employers can refer to the questions and answers and the IRS YouTube video about Additional Medicare Tax on IRS.gov.

Foreign agricultural workers

Employers must report compensation of $600 or more paid to an H-2A agricultural worker on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and not on Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income when the agricultural worker provides a TIN. IRS.gov has more information on issues involving workers on H-2A visas.

Want to file Forms 941 instead of Form 944?

You must file Form 944 if the IRS has notified you to do so, unless you contact the IRS before April 1 to request, and receive written notice to file quarterly Form 941 instead.

IRS.gov has more information for employers who want to opt in or opt out of filing the annual Form 944 vs. the quarterly Form 941.

Fall 2013 Statistics of Income Bulletin Now Available
Individual income tax returns, tax returns of partnerships and the contributions and distributions of IRA participants are detailed in the fall 2013 Statistics of Income report.

Interactive Form 1023 Update

The IRS’s Exempt Organizations (EO) office has updated its alternate version of Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption. Theapplication, which incorporates changes suggested by the public, became available at the end of December and includes information about the current user fee. The Interactive Form 1023 (i1023) features pop-up information boxes for most lines of the form. These boxes contain explanations and links to related information on IRS.gov and StayExempt.irs.gov, EO’s educational website. Once completed, applicants will print and mail the form and its attachments, just like the standard Form 1023.

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

If you would like to receive e-News for Small Businesses, please visit this link to subscribe:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses

Recommend e-News for Small Businesses

If you already receive e-News for Small Businesses, you can share it with a business acquaintance, colleague or employee. Just forward thislink to them to view a sample edition and subscribe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKw7n3wS58U&authuser=0

IRS Headliners and News Releases for Dec 13

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Business

http://www.sba.gov/healthcare

The SBA and Small Business Majority will hold the final weekly Affordable Care Act 101 webinar on December 19th. During the presentation, small business owners can learn about the law and what it means for their company and employees.

Thursday, December 19 at 11:00 am Pacific Time: Click to Register

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/about-us/events/

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer small business events throughout the community. Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites -   Phoenix Metro Area NetworkSouthern Arizona Network - for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

Check out IRS Workshop Wednesday, a weekly, informative electronic distribution for small businesses!

We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. You can click below to check out the archived versions of these messages. If you don’t receive these messages directly, please send an email toLisa.A.Novack@irs.gov and ask to subscribe to Workshop Wednesday.

To access previous editions, click here: Workshop Wednesday Archive links

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Tax Calendar

Don’t forget to check out all the options for the IRS Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self Employed. You’ll find the online calendar and the desktop calendar tool.   You will also find the option to Subscribe to the Small Businesses calendar using Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 or Mac iCal. Outlook 2003 does not have the ability to subscribe but you can Download the IRS Important Tax Dates from the calendar.

2014 Standard Mileage Rates

http://www.irs.gov/2014-Standard-Mileage-Rates-for-Business,-Medical-and-Moving-Announced

The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 56 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The business, medical, and moving expense rates decrease one-half cent from the 2013 rates.

Fast Track Settlement Program Now Available Nationwide; Time-Saving Option Helps Small Businesses Under Audit

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Fast-Track-Settlement-Program-Now-Available-Nationwide;-Time-Saving-Option-Helps-Small-Businesses-Under-Audit

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the nationwide rollout of a streamlined program designed to enable small businesses under audit to more quickly settle their differences with the IRS.  The Fast Track Settlement (FTS) program is designed to help small businesses and self-employed individuals who are under examination by the Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE) Division of the IRS. Modeled on a similar program long available to large and mid-size businesses (those with more than $10 million in assets), FTS uses alternative dispute resolution techniques to help taxpayers save time and avoid a formal administrative appeal or lengthy litigation. As a result, audit issues can usually be resolved within 60 days, rather than months or years. Plus, taxpayers choosing this option lose none of their rights because they still have the right to appeal even if the FTS process is unsuccessful.

IRPAC Issues Annual Report for 2013

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRPAC-Issues-Annual-Report-for-2013

The Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC) has released its annual report for 2013, including numerous recommendations to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue on new and existing issues in tax administration.

In the 2013 report, IRPAC recommends that IRS:

  • Extend truncation of taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) to employer identification numbers (EINs).
  • Expand the TIN matching program to permit matching on a greater number of return types.
  • Improve instructions to reduce errors on Form 1099-MISC.
  • Provide additional guidance with regard to merchant card reporting on Form 1099-K.

IRSAC Releases 2013 Annual Report

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRSAC-Releases-2013-Annual-Report

The Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) has released its annual report featuring recommendations on a wide range of tax administration matters. IRSAC is an advisory group to the entire agency. IRSAC’s primary purpose is to provide an organized public forum for senior IRS executives and representatives of the public to discuss relevant tax issues. Based on its findings and discussions, IRSAC made several recommendations on a broad array of issues and concerns – see the full article.

Treasury, IRS Will Issue Proposed Guidance for Tax-Exempt Social Welfare Organizations

Initial Proposed Guidance Clarifies Qualification Requirements and Seeks Public Input

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Treasury,-IRS-Will-Issue-Proposed-Guidance-for-Tax-Exempt-Social-Welfare-Organizations

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have issued initial guidance regarding qualification requirements for tax-exemption as a social welfare organization under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. This proposed guidance defines the term “candidate-related political activity,” and would amend current regulations by indicating that the promotion of social welfare does not include this type of activity. The proposed guidance also seeks initial comments on other aspects of the qualification requirements, including what proportion of a 501(c)(4) organization’s activities must promote social welfare.  See full article for details.

Indian Fishing Rights-Related Activities Income Eligible for Qualified Retirement Plan Contributions

http://www.irs.gov/Government-Entities/Indian-Tribal-Governments/Fishing-Rights-Compensation

Proposed regulations clarify that Indian tribal members who earn compensation for services they perform in fishing rights-related activities may contribute those amounts towards a qualified retirement plan. Internal Revenue Code Sections 415(b) and (c) impose limits on retirement plan contributions from compensation. Section 415(c) defines what constitutes “compensation.”  The proposed guidance would add a new item to Treasury Regulations Section 1.415(c)-2(b) clarifying that income from an Indian fishing rights-related activity is compensation.  The new regulations would affect employee benefit plans sponsored by Indian tribal governments, their plan participants and tribal members. The IRS is seeking public input on the proposed regulations. Please submit comments on or before February 13, 2014.

You can view the proposed regulations by reading the Federal Register announcement.

IRS Warns Consumers of Possible Scams Relating to Relief of Typhoon Victims

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Warns-Consumers-of-Possible-Scams-Relating-to-Relief-of-Typhoon-Victims

The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert about possible scams taking place in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. On Nov. 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan — known as Yolanda in the Philippines — made landfall in the central Philippines, bringing strong winds and heavy rains that have resulted in flooding, landslides, and widespread damage.  Following major disasters, it is common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, email or in-person solicitations. The IRS cautions people wishing to make disaster-related charitable donations to avoid scam artists by following several tips – see the full article.

IRS Warns of Pervasive Telephone Scam

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Warns-of-Pervasive-Telephone-Scam

The Internal Revenue Service is warning consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

“This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country.  We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves.  Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer,” says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. “If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling.” Werfel noted that the first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail.

In 2014, Various Tax Benefits Increase Due to Inflation Adjustments

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/In-2014,-Various-Tax-Benefits-Increase-Due-to-Inflation-Adjustments

For tax year 2014, the Internal Revenue Service announced annual inflation adjustments for more than 40 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes. Revenue Procedure 2013-35 provides details about these annual adjustments.

IRS Announces 2014 Pension Plan Limitations; Taxpayers May Contribute up to $17,500 to their 401(k) plans in 2014

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Announces-2014-Pension-Plan-Limitations;-Taxpayers-May-Contribute-up-to-$17,500-to-their-401(k)-plans-in-2014

The Internal Revenue Service announced cost‑of‑living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2014.  Some pension limitations such as those governing 401(k) plans and IRAs will remain unchanged because the increase in the Consumer Price Index did not meet the statutory thresholds for their adjustment.  However, other pension plan limitations will increase for 2014.

Recent Articles from e-News for Small Businesses

2014 Social Security wage baseline

The Social Security wage base increases to $117,000 in 2014.

Windsor Decision: Special administrative procedures for employers

Notice 2013-61 provides guidance for employers and employees relating to the repeal of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Related link:

Answers to frequently asked questions for individuals of the same sex who are married under state law

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Remember to claim the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for all of the targeted group employee categories listed on Form 5884, including veterans, if they were hired on or after Jan. 1, 2011, or before Dec. 31, 2013.

Related Link:

E-file for business and self-employed taxpayers

There are options available for businesses to e-file business returns.

FSAs and cafeteria plans 

Notice 2013-71 modifies the “use-or-lose” rule for health flexible spending arrangements and includes examples of various scenarios.

Help Reduce Burden

Check out this Taxpayer Burden Reduction video on the IRS Video Portal. The IRS is looking for ideas from the public that lead to streamlined procedures, simplified forms and publications and significantly reduced taxpayer burden.

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

If you would like to receive e-News for Small Businesses, please visit this link to subscribe:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses

Recommend e-News for Small Businesses

If you already receive e-News for Small Businesses, you can share it with a business acquaintance, colleague or employee. Just forward thislink to them to view a sample edition and subscribe.

October 2013

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Business

http://www.sba.gov/healthcare

Throughout October, SBA and Small Business Majority will hold a weekly Affordable Care Act 101 webinar. During the presentation, small business owners can learn about the law and what it means for their company and employees.

Thursday, October 31 – 11:00 am Pacific: Click to Register

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/about-us/events/

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer small business events throughout the community. Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites -   Phoenix Metro Area NetworkSouthern Arizona Network - for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

Check out IRS Workshop Wednesday, a weekly, informative electronic distribution for small businesses!

We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. You can click below to check out the archived versions of these messages. If you don’t receive these messages directly, please send an email toLisa.A.Novack@irs.gov and ask to subscribe to Workshop Wednesday.

To access previous editions, click here: Workshop Wednesday Archive links

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Operations Resumption Statement

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Operations-Resumption-Statement

The IRS started reopening operations on Oct. 17. We are assessing the impact of the 16-day shutdown on our national operations.  At this point, we know we received a large amount of correspondence during the closure. We know there will be a substantial increase in demand for our phone services and many other operations. On Oct. 17, we started reopening our phone lines and our Taxpayer Assistance Centers, both of which will take time to ramp up to normal operating status. In addition, other business operations have started resuming, including the processing of billions of dollars of refunds for individuals and businesses and honoring transcript and authorization requests from third parties.

Given the high demand for services, the IRS encourages taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent, and to continue to use automated applications on the IRS website, www.IRS.gov, whenever possible. Taxpayers who need immediate assistance are encouraged to visit Taxpayer Assistance Centers in their area or try call centers but should be aware there will be delays. In the days ahead, we will continue assessing the effect of this unprecedented situation on IRS operations, and we will do everything we can to resume our normal operations as quickly as possible so that we can best serve the needs of the American taxpayer. We greatly appreciate the patience of taxpayers and tax professionals during this period.

2014 Tax Season to Start Later Following Government Closure; IRS Sees Heavy Demand As Operations Resume

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/2014-Tax-Season-to-Start-Later-Following-Government-Closure;-IRS-Sees-Heavy-Demand-As-Operations-Resume

The Internal Revenue Service today announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure. The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay and will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4.

About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown, with some major workstreams closed entirely during this period, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its tight timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season. There are additional training, programming and testing demands on IRS systems this year in order to provide additional refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention.

IRS Website Explains Tax Provisions of the Health Care Law; Provides Guide to Online Resources

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Website-Explains-Tax-Provisions-of-the-Health-Care-Law

The IRS has launched a new Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions website at www.IRS.gov/aca to educate individuals and businesses on how the health care law may affect them. The new home page has three sections, which explain the tax benefits and responsibilities for individuals and families, employers, and other organizations, with links and information for each group. The site provides information about tax provisions that are in effect now and those that will go into effect in 2014 and beyond.

Several other federal agencies have a role in implementing the health care law, including the Department of Health and Human Services, which has primary responsibility. To help locate additional online resources from the Department of Health and Human Services, theDepartment of Labor and the Small Business Administration, the IRS has issued a new Web-based flyer – Healthcare Law Online Resources (Publication 5093).

Drought-Stricken Farmers and Ranchers Have More Time to Replace Livestock; 38 States Affected

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Drought-Stricken-Farmers-and-Ranchers-Have-More-Time-to-Replace-Livestock;-38-States-Affected

Farmers and ranchers who previously were forced to sell livestock due to drought, like the drought currently affecting much of the nation, have an extended period of time in which to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.  Details on this relief, including a list of NDMC-designated counties, are available in Notice 2013-62,

IRS Reduces Return Photocopy Fee

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Return-Transcripts

Enhanced program efficiencies and improved technology have allowed the Service to reduce the tax return photocopy fee (Form 4506) from $57.00 per copy to $50.00, effective Oct. 1, 2013. Requests should normally be filled within 75 days. Please note that tax return transcripts often suffice in place of return copies – and transcripts are available for free.

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

If you would like to receive e-News for Small Businesses, please visit this link to subscribe:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses

Recommend e-News for Small Businesses

If you already receive e-News for Small Businesses, you can share it with a business acquaintance, colleague or employee. Just forward this link to them to view a sample edition and subscribe.

September 2013

IRS Updates & News Releases: 

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit. 

Treasury and IRS Announce That All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized For Federal Tax Purposes; Ruling Provides Certainty, Benefits and Protections Under Federal Tax Law for Same-Sex Married Couples

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Treasury-and-IRS-Announce-That-All-Legal-Same-Sex-Marriages-Will-Be-Recognized-For-Federal-Tax-Purposes;-Ruling-Provides-Certainty,-Benefits-and-Protections-Under-Federal-Tax-Law-for-Same-Sex-Married-Couples

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.  The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26 Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. 

Under the ruling, same-sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.  Any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory or a foreign country will be covered by the ruling. However, the ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.

Legally-married same-sex couples generally must file their 2013 federal income tax return using either the married filing jointly or married filing separately filing status.

Individuals who were in same-sex marriages may, but are not required to, file original or amended returns choosing to be treated as married for federal tax purposes for one or more prior tax years still open under the statute of limitations. 

Treasury and the IRS intend to issue streamlined procedures for employers who wish to file refund claims for payroll taxes paid on previously-taxed health insurance and fringe benefits provided to same-sex spouses. Treasury and IRS also intend to issue further guidance on cafeteria plans and on how qualified retirement plans and other tax-favored arrangements should treat same-sex spouses for periods before the effective date of this Revenue Ruling. 

Revenue Ruling 2013-17, along with updated Frequently Asked Questions for same-sex couples and updated FAQs for registered domestic partners and individuals in civil unions, are available today on IRS.gov. See also Publication 555, Community Property. 

IRS Website Explains Tax Provisions of the Health Care Law; Provides Guide to Online Resources

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Website-Explains-Tax-Provisions-of-the-Health-Care-Law

The IRS has launched a new Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions website at www.IRS.gov/aca to educate individuals and businesses on how the health care law may affect them. The new home page has three sections, which explain the tax benefits and responsibilities for individuals and families, employers, and other organizations, with links and information for each group. The site provides information about tax provisions that are in effect now and those that will go into effect in 2014 and beyond.

Several other federal agencies have a role in implementing the health care law, including the Department of Health and Human Services, which has primary responsibility. To help locate additional online resources from the Department of Health and Human Services, theDepartment of Labor and the Small Business Administration, the IRS has issued a new Web-based flyer – Healthcare Law Online Resources (Publication 5093). 

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Remind your business customers to claim the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for all of the targeted group employee categories, including veterans, listed on Form 5884, if they were hired on or after Jan. 1, 2011, or are hired by Dec. 31, 2013. 

Affordable Care Act Guidance

Notice 2013-54 provides guidance on the application of the market reform provisions and other provisions of the Affordable Care Act to certain healthcare arrangements, including health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), employer payment plans, and health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs).  The notice also provides guidance on section 125(f)(3) of the Code and on employee assistance programs or EAPs.  The guidance in the notice is being issued in substantially identical form by the Department of Labor, and guidance is being issued by the Department of Health and Human Services to reflect that HHS concurs with the guidance in the notice.   

Notice 2013-54 will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2013-40 on Sept. 30, 2013. 

CPA Disbarred for Stealing from Daughter’s Trust Fund

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/CPA-Disbarred-for-Stealing-from-Daughter’s-Trust-Fund

The IRS announced the disbarment of David O. Christensen after he was convicted of theft for misappropriating funds as the conservator of his daughter’s trust account. Christensen’s CPA licenses in Washington and Oregon were revoked previously as a result of his conviction. 

IRS Provides Tax Relief to Victims of Colorado Storms

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Provides-Tax-Relief-to-Victims-of-Colorado-Storms

The IRS is providing tax relief to individual and business taxpayers impacted by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides inColorado.  The tax relief postpones certain tax filing and payment deadlines to Dec. 2, 2013. It includes corporations and businesses that previously obtained an extension until Sept. 16, 2013, to file their 2012 returns and individuals and businesses that received a similar extension until Oct. 15. It also includes the estimated tax payment for the third quarter of 2013, which would normally be due Sept. 16. 

Interest Rates Remain the Same for the Fourth Quarter of 2013

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Interest-Rates-Remain-the-Same-for-the-Fourth-Quarter-of-2013

The IRS announced that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning Oct. 1, 2013. 

Form 990 Availability Resumes; Filers Urged Not to Include Social Security Numbers

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Form-990-Availability-Resumes;-Filers-Urged-Not-to-Include-Social-Security-Numbers

Following an internal review, the IRS has resumed making the Form 990 series filed by exempt organizations available. Based on the internal review, the IRS determined there is low risk of Social Security numbers (SSNs) being included in recent Form 990 filings.  In July 2013, the IRS received specific information that a substantial number of SSNs were improperly included by some section 527 political organizations in their filings with the IRS. In an abundance of caution, the IRS removed the public database that contained the filings of the 527 political organizations. In addition, and again in an abundance of caution, the IRS suspended production of the copies of the Form 990 series being provided to third-party groups as required under law. 

The IRS conducted an internal review of the Form 990 series. After reviewing a statistically valid sample of recent filings, the IRS confirmed that there is low risk of SSNs being improperly included in new Form 990 filings. Given the low risk, the IRS will resume release of new Form 990 series to third-party groups. However, the IRS will periodically conduct a statistically valid sample of new Form 990s to ensure that the risk remains low. Based on this review, the IRS will periodically reassess its decision. 

Summer 2013 Statistics of Income Bulletin Now Available

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Summer-2013-Statistics-of-Income-Bulletin-Now-Available

The IRS announced that the summer 2013 Statistics of Income Bulletin is available at IRS.gov. The bulletin features data from Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, filed with individual income tax returns for tax years 2008 through 2010. 

Section 179 Guidance

Notice 2013-59 provides guidance to taxpayers who choose under §179(f) to treat as an expense the costs of certain real property placed in service during any taxable year beginning in 2010, 2011, 2012, or 2013. It defines which real property is eligible for the election, and explains how excess §179(f) deductions are carried over and taken into account in future years. It also provides allocation methodologies for determining §1245 and §1250 recapture upon the sale or other disposition of qualified real property where the unadjusted basis is reduced by the §179 deduction. Notice 2013-59 will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2013-40 on Sept. 30.

Summertime Tax Tips

Three Tax Scams to Beware of This Summer
Summertime Tax Tip 2013-26, August 30, 2013

Give Withholding and Payments a Check-up to Avoid a Tax Surprise
Summertime Tax Tip 2013-25, August 28, 2013 

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Workshop Wednesday 

A Virtual Workshop 

22nd edition – September 18, 2013

 

Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC)

& Hiring Veterans

Limited time remaining to hire and be eligible to claim the credit

 

 
OverviewThe VOW (Veterans Opportunity to Work) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 made changes to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), including adding new categories to the qualified veterans targeted group and expanding the WOTC to make a reduced credit available to tax-exempt organizations for hiring qualified veterans.

American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8). Pre-screening and Certification RequirementsAll employers must obtain certification that an individual is a member of a targeted group, before the employer may claim the WOTC. The process for certifying the veterans for this credit is the same for all employers. To obtain certification, employers must file Form 8850, Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit. 

For more information on the pre-screening and certification process, see Form 8850, Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request and the instructions.

Employers should contact their individual state workforce agency with any specific processing questions for Forms 8850.Taxable EmployersFor taxable employers, the WOTC may be claimed for hiring targeted group members, including qualified veterans, who begin work before Jan.1, 2014.

After the required certification is secured, taxable employers claim the tax credit as a general business credit against their income tax. The process for taxable employers claiming the WOTC remains the same.
For additional information, see:

·         Form 5884 (with instructions) (PDF),

·         Form 3800 (PDF),

·         Instructions for Form 3800 (PDF), and Your business’s related income tax return and instructions (i.e., Forms 1040, 1041, 1120, etc.)

                                                                  

       

Tax-exempt EmployersQualified tax-exempt organizations described in IRC Section 501(c) and exempt from taxation under IRC Section 501(a), may claim the credit for qualified veterans who begin work on or after Nov. 22, 2011, and beforeJan.1, 2014. Tax-exempt employers may not claim the WOTC for other targeted group members. 

After the required certification is secured, tax-exempt employers claim the credit against the employer social security tax by separately filing Form 5884-C, Work Opportunity Credit for Qualified Tax-Exempt Organizations Hiring Qualified Veterans (PDF).

File Form 5884-C after filing the related employment tax return for the employment tax period for which the credit is claimed. It is recommended that qualified tax-exempt employers do not reduce their required deposits in anticipation of any credit as the forms are processed separately. References/Related Topics

  This series is brought to you by the Southwest Area Stakeholder Liaison Team covering Arizona, New Mexico & Texas. It is designed for you to share with anyone who will find the information useful. We are interested to hear if you think this information is helpful. Please provide your feedback or topic request to us at sl.southwest@irs.gov and include “Workshop Wednesday” in the subject line.

To access previous editions, click here:

Workshop Wednesday Archive links

 

August 21, 2013
Small Business Forum
Phoenix, AZ
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.


Attendees:


Meeting Summary – Virtual Event

Lisa Novack
Lisa opened the meeting and welcomed everybody to our first All-Virtual Small Business Forum. She apologized for the time confusion on the invitations. Initially it showed the start time as Central time but should have shown Mountain Standard Time (for Arizona time). Several people misunderstood the time so we delayed the start time until 10 a.m. Arizona time for this event only.

Lisa explained how WebInterpoint works and highlighted the local events the Southwest Area has hosted since our last forum. She explained that IRS is relying heavily on technology to conduct future events and welcomes offers to work with other technologies or partnering opportunities.

She went on to describe the Schedule C Initiative, displayed the documents, demonstrated the links and discussed how the service providers can use and share the information with small business owners. These documents are all available in the agenda. Please feel free to distribute this information widely, on your website, through email blasts or newsletters or any other way you see fit. Lisa also provided a copy of the IMRS Industry Issue Quarterly report and highlighted some of the more recent issues that were identified and resolved. Please feel free to contact Lisa to share any issues you might have.

All handouts from the meeting are embedded in the meeting agenda. You can download the agenda at Arizona Small Business Forum Agenda.

Chastity Wilson
Chastity introduced herself as the Local Taxpayer Advocate for Arizona. The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is Your Voice at the IRS. Our job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly, and that you know and understand your rights. We offer free help to guide you through the often-confusing process of resolving your tax problems that you haven’t been able to solve on your own. Remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all!

If you are having tax problems and have not been able to resolve them yourself, come to us. Even if you feel like there is nowhere to turn, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all. Our advocates will ensure that your best interests are represented to the IRS.

TAS can help if you can’t resolve your problem with the IRS and:

  • Your problem is causing financial difficulties for you, your family, or your business.

·         You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action.

  • You have tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS has not responded by the date promised. 

If you qualify for our help, we’ll do everything we can to get your problem resolved. You will be assigned to one advocate who will be with you at every turn. We have offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Although TAS is independent within the IRS, our advocates know how to work with the IRS to get your problems resolved. And our services are always free.

To contact TAS, call (877) 777-4778 or view a list of local TAS offices.

Amy Benesch

CORE- Community Outreach, Resources and Education has taken the first step into the social media arena by using a LinkedIn page for ADOR to make announcements for upcoming conferences and other issues. The LinkedIn page can be found at http://www.linkedin.com/company/arizona-department-of-revenue?trk=top_nav_home. We encourage folks to “follow us” to get updated announcements as they are posted.  It is our plan to use many other forms of social media to post announcements and information in the next few months.

We are organizing the Speaker’s Bureau for the Arizona Department of Revenue and requests for speakers are being directed through CORE. CORE’s email address is CORE@azdor.gov.

Resources for an online library of videos and tutorials are being created. We plan to have an extensive library of tutorials available 24/7 to assist both business and individual taxpayers with a wide variety of tax issues as well as a guide to use the online AZTaxes website.

Cope Norcross

The Maricopa Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC) provides advising, training, online courses and resources for businesses throughout the valley. Our 8 conveniently-located Centers assist business people like you in every aspect of business development and management. The Maricopa SBDC delivers services to anyone who owns or operates a business or is planning to start a business. We work with businesses in every industry and at every stage of growth from start-ups to well-established companies. We’re Arizona’s largest and most accessible statewide source of assistance for small businesses. We have been opening doors to opportunity in Arizona since 1988.

Counseling and Training: Each of our 8 centers around the county can provide you with no-cost and confidential business counseling to help you succeed in your business. Our knowledgeable business advisors are experienced in a variety of business topic sand understand how to start and do business.  They can support you with valuable and relevant advice at every stage of your business venture and connect you to other valuable resources.  Our workshops, courses and online trainings will help you sharpen your business skills and knowledge with useful information on a particular topic. Register for a training at one of our Centers or online, and join us for an informational presentation or series of workshops.

Areas of Focus:  We provide assistance to anyone who owns, operates, or is starting a small business in MaricopaCounty. Our staff are knowledgeable business people whose goal is to help businesses to thrive here in Arizona.

  • Global Trade
  • More than 90% of all consumers live outside the borders of the US. Are you looking for ways to reach that other 90%? The experienced business experts at the Maricopa Small Business Development Center can assist you.
  • Our job is to help you explore and enter global markets for exporting and/or importing goods and services. The Maricopa Small Business Development Center Network has resources to help you connect to and conduct business around the world.
  • We have been providing international trade education programs and one-to-one business advising on international trade for more than 30 years.
  • Our experienced, professionally-certified staff can provide comprehensive services and resources to assist businesses in all aspects of international trade:
  • We provide one-to-one advising to businesses that are entering or expanding in the global marketplace.
  • We offer short-term, targeted training, workshops, and classes on a variety of international trade topics.
  • We offer access for Maricopa County businesses to local, state, national and international public and private-sector resources for global trade.
  • Access to Capital
  • We bridge the gap between small businesses that are seeking access to capital and lenders who are looking for qualified borrowers. The Maricopa SBDC Network has regional advisors that provide expert guidance to client businesses on how to get a small business loan. These advisors assist business owners via confidential face-to-face meetings and distance advising.
  • Our advisors often help clients in the following ways:
  • Assist clients to refine their business plan to be suitable for lenders
  • Provide financial analysis and feedback
  • Review client loan packages for small business loans
  • Discuss and review a client’s finance strategies
  • Assist clients with lender relations
  • [/checklist]
  • Technology
  • Technology Based Companies
  • To help bring innovative concepts to the marketplace and help Maricopa County businesses grow, we assist qualified Maricopa County companies in preparing proposals for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. SBIR grants are competitive federal grant programs that award funding to small businesses—defined as 500 or fewer employees—to engage in research and development that has the potential to commercialize new technologies.
  • The SBA’s Role
  • The US Small Business Administration plays an important role as the coordinating agency for the SBIR program. It directs the implementation of the SBIR program by the 11 agencies that offer grants, reviews their progress and reports annually to Congress on its operation. SBA is also the information link to SBIR. The SBA collects solicitation information from all participating agencies and publishes it quarterly in a Pre-Solicitation Announcement (PSA). This PSA is a single source for the topics and anticipated release and closing dates for each agency’s solicitations. All of the SBA’s programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.
  • Need help writing your grant proposal?
  • Maricopa Small Business Development Centers can offer:
  • Advice and assistance to qualified businesses in preparing and meeting the rigorous requirements of SBIR or STTR proposals
  • Editing of draft and final proposals for completeness, professional presentation and other critical factors
  • To be eligible, companies must have these qualifications:
  • Ideas and concepts that address the needs identified in one or more SBIR solicitations from federal agencies
  • The skills and experience to fulfill SBIR solicitation requirements
  • Plans and capacities to commercialize technologies resulting from SBIR awards
  • If you’re interested in applying for assistance with writing a grant proposal, complete an application at your local Center.
  • US Small Business Administration
    SBIR info— www.sbir.gov 
    STTR— www.sba.gov/content/small-business-technology-transfer-program-sttr-0
  • Technology for Managing and Marketing Your Small Business
  • We have counselors who are experts in using different types of programs and software for managing or marketing your Small Business. Some of these include various social media outlets for external marketing, cloud based software, website development programs, social media for internal communications and more.
  • Business Planning and Strategies
  • We have a team of expert advisors who advise small business owners in Maricopa County to work through effective business planning strategies using several of our great resources and tools related to:
  • Business Plan Development
  • Financial Planning and Projections
  • Operational Planning and Strategies
  • Market Research and Planning
  • En Espanol

Kathy Rodriguez

Armed with a growing toolbox of resources, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) provides the following resources for developing a successful businesses in Arizona: 

  • ACA’s online resource center or “go to site” provides information on business licensing and statewide resources to get started and operational;
  • ACA offers a network of one-stop centers and value-added online services to help businesses increase their staff’s skills through job training grants;
  • ACA can connect manufacturers with helpful resources and assist them in expanding their markets;
  • ACA can introduce businesses to quality contacts at a variety of trade events around the globe;
  • ACA supports technology-oriented businesses and provide links to resources and ideas from innovative leaders throughout Arizona. 

Access the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) Presents the Most Valuable Resources for a Small Business Startupwebinar here. This practical and helpful video gives a hands-on tour of the ACA’s online resource center and focuses primarily on our Checklist Program: how it works and what topics are covered to help individuals easily navigate to business licensing and statewide resources in order to start and operate a business.  This webinar is part of the Arizona State Library’s Best in Business series.

Craig Jordan

Over the years, the SBA has developed many small business loan and assistance programs, special outreach efforts and initiatives to aid and inform small businesses. We also work closely with SBDC and SCORE to provide counseling and education services.

For an introduction to SBA and our services, we would suggest that you attend our Loan Clinic , held on the firstWednesday of every month.  The clinic is from 9 am to 11 am in the Arizona District Office.  There is no charge to attend this clinic.

At this clinic you will learn about SBA’s lending role and how the process works including:

         Learn what the lender credit requirements are for loan approval

         Find sources to capital to start or grow your business

         Learn interest rates, terms, amounts, and collateral requirements

         Learn how to approach a lender by knowing what they are looking for

         Find which banks are interested in your loan needs

         Learn about SBA resources and community partners

The flyers are included in the agenda.

Issues & Status

Issue – No new issues identified.

Issue Status Report – No previous issues existed


Roundtable & Comments

Many of the attendees expressed their thanks for offering this event and indicated that there was a lot of valuable information shared. They agreed that the virtual system is easy to use and it was a good experience. Some comments included:

  • Thank you, Lisa for hosting this, and I think it has a promising future for the format!
  • I thought the virtual meeting went very well and was glad to be able to attend.
  • I actually had no idea what I had signed up for, but I am very glad I was on the line.

Next Scheduled Meeting

Mark your calendars to reserve Wednesday February 26 (Tentative). 

July 2013

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Tax questions or need to check on a tax account issue?

Call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number, 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).  You can find a complete list of IRS toll free numbers here.  Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar

Tuesday – Wednesday, August 6-7, 2013 8:30 – 5:30

A.T. Still University (ATSU)

5850 E. Still Circle

Saguaro A & B

Mesa, AZ 85206

Phone: (480) 219-6010

If you are an employer who is trying to comply with federal and Arizona state laws regarding your health plan, this is your chance to talk to both federal and Arizona state regulators at the same time, in the same place. If you are a third party administrator or a carrier who has questions about new laws and issues, this is your opportunity to ask the experts.

The U.S. Department of Labor is teaming up with the Arizona Department of Insurance to bring you practical information, helpful tips, and clarification regarding Arizona and federal health benefits laws.

This seminar is FREE and open to the public.

Flyer:Download Flyer Form: Download Form   Register for this event

For more information, please contact Aurora Vasil Tel.: (202)693-8426 Email: vasil.aurora@dol.gov

Watch 2 New Archived IRS Small Business Webinars

These two webinars were presented live during Small Business Week in June, and if you missed them, now you can view the recorded versions on the IRS Video Portal.

Avoiding the Top Tax Mistakes that Small Businesses Make

http://www.irsvideos.gov/AvoidingTheTopTaxMistakes/

Knowledge is power…and ignorance is not bliss. You know your business. Take that knowledge to new heights and avoid mistakes.

Get All the Tax Benefits You Deserve

http://www.irsvideos.gov/GetAllTheTaxBenefitsYouDeserve/

Taking all the deductions you’re entitled to?  Know what business tax credits you can take?  Watch this one hour webinar and find out!

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/about-us/events/

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer numerous small business events throughout the community Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites -   Phoenix Metro Area NetworkSouthern Arizona Network - for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

Check out IRS Workshop Wednesday, a weekly, informative electronic distribution for small businesses!

We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. You can click below to check out the archived versions of these messages. If you don’t receive these messages directly, please send an email to Lisa.A.Novack@irs.gov and ask to subscribe to Workshop Wednesday.

To access previous editions, click here: Workshop Wednesday Archive links

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Cancels July 22 Furlough Day:

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Cancels-July-22-Furlough-Day

The Internal Revenue Service today announced the cancellation of its fourth scheduled agency-wide employee furlough day that was due to occur on Monday, July 22.  The IRS is also considering whether the next scheduled furlough day on Aug. 30 will be necessary.

Tax Tips if You’re Starting a Business

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tax-Tips-if-You-Are-Starting-a-Business

If you plan to start a new business, or you’ve just opened your doors, it is important for you to know your federal tax responsibilities. See the article for five basic tips from the IRS that can help you get started, as well as a list of resources to help you learn more on IRS.gov.

Tips for Employers Who Outsource Payroll Duties

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tips-for-Employers-Who-Outsource-Payroll-Duties

Many employers outsource their payroll and related tax duties to third-party payers such as payroll service providers and reporting agents. Reputable third-party payers can help employers streamline their business operations by collecting and timely depositing payroll taxes on the employer’s behalf and filing required payroll tax returns with state and federal authorities.  Though most of these businesses provide very good service, there are, unfortunately, some who do not have their clients’ best interests at heart. Over the past few months, a number of these individuals and companies around the country have been prosecuted for stealing funds intended for the payment of payroll taxes. Examples of these successful prosecutions can be found on IRS.gov.

Like employers who handle their own payroll duties, employers who outsource this function are still legally responsible for any and all payroll taxes due.  For an overview of how the duties and obligations of agents, reporting agents and payroll service providers differ from one another, see the Third Party Arrangement Chart on IRS.gov. The full article lists some steps employers can take to protect themselves from unscrupulous third-party payers.

IRS Has Updated Online Small Business Tax Workshop

http://www.irsvideos.gov/SmallBusinessTaxpayer/virtualworkshop

The Internal Revenue Service has updated one of its most popular tools, the virtual small business tax workshop. We’ve also renamed it … Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop.  The online workshop now has updated content, enhanced navigation, interactive features and a completely new look and feel.  The nine interactive lessons still provide training for small business owners who want to learn about their tax rights and responsibilities.  View Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop

To share this information with your members, please download and distribute Publication 5104 - Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop Flier 

Keep Tax and Financial Records Safe in Case of a Natural Disaster

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Keep-Tax-and-Financial-Records-Safe-in-Case-of-a-Natural-Disaster

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters are more common in the summer. The IRS encourages you to take a few simple steps to protect your tax and financial records in case a disaster strikes. See the article for five tips from the IRS to help you protect your important records, as well as a list of resources to help you learn more on IRS.gov.

National Taxpayer Advocate Identifies Priority Issues for Upcoming Year; Reports on Exempt Organization Review Concerns

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/National-Taxpayer-Advocate-Identifies-Priority-Issues-for-Upcoming-Year;-Reports-on-Exempt-Organization-Review-Concerns

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson today released her statutorily mandated mid-year report to Congress that identifies the priority issues the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will address during the upcoming fiscal year. The report expresses particular concern about the impact of budget cuts on the IRS’s ability to meet taxpayer needs, the IRS’s unwillingness to issue full refunds to victims of tax return preparer fraud and shortcomings in IRS procedures for assisting victims of tax-related identity theft. In addition, Olson released a special report examining the IRS’s use of questionable criteria to screen applicants for tax-exempt status. The special report analyzes the sources of the problem and makes preliminary recommendations to address them.

Report Outlines Changes for IRS To Ensure Accountability, Chart a Path Forward; Immediate Actions, Next Steps Outlined

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Report-Outlines-Changes-for-IRS-To-Ensure-Accountability,-Chart-a-Path-Forward;-Immediate-Actions,-Next-Steps-Outlined

Internal Revenue Service Principal Deputy Commissioner Danny Werfel today issued a report outlining new actions and next steps to fix problems uncovered with the IRS’ review of tax-exempt applications and improve the wider processes and operations in place at the IRS. The three-part report covers a wide range of areas Werfel and his leadership team examined during the past month. The report cites actions to hold management accountable and identifies immediate steps to help put the process for approving tax-exempt applications back on track. Werfel also outlines actions needed to protect and improve wider IRS operations, ranging from compliance areas to taxpayer service.

IRS Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee Delivers Report to Congress

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Electronic-Tax-Administration-Advisory-Committee-Delivers-Report-to-Congress-2013

The Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC) presented its 2013 Annual Report to Congress during a public meeting today. The report discusses five groups of recommendations on issues in electronic tax administration.

Highlights of the report include recommendations on the following key outcomes:

  • Approve standards for security, privacy and fraud prevention
  • Provide incentives for e-filing employment tax returns
  • Expand access to data and online tools
  • Leverage relationships in the electronic filing community
  • Fund CADE 2 and the 1040 Modernized e-file (MeF) programs

Special Mailings Going to Taxpayers Following Notice Issue

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Special-Mailings-Going-to-Taxpayers-Following-Notice-Issue

The IRS alerted taxpayers and tax professionals about an interest calculation error on certain notices mailed the weeks of July 1 and July 8. The IRS discovered errors in the CP2000 notices during a two-week period this July. The notices contained an incorrect calculation on the interest owed on proposed taxes from under reported income. The interest figures were lower than they should be. The IRS has corrected the issue for future mailings.  Later this month, the IRS will be sending a special mailing to the recipients of the notices. Taxpayers should follow the directions on the letter, and they will be encouraged to either call a special toll-free number or write to the IRS to receive the corrected interest amount.

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

If you would like to receive e-News for Small Businesses, please visit this link to subscribe:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses

Recommend e-News for Small Businesses

If you already receive e-News for Small Businesses, you can share it with a business acquaintance, colleague or employee. Just forward this link to them to view a sample edition and subscribe.

June 2013

Announcements & Upcoming Events: 

Tax questions or need to check on a tax account issue?

Call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number, 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).  You can find a complete list of IRS toll free numbers here.  Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit. 

IRS Small Business Week Webinar – Get All the Tax Benefits You Deserve

Taking all the deductions you’re entitled to?  Know what business tax credits you can take?

Get answers to these questions and more during this free one-hour webinar… 

Tuesday, June 18 — 11:00 a.m. (Pacific); Noon (Mountain) 

What’s Covered:

  • Learn about business expenses and deductions
  • What is a business depreciation deduction?
  • Find out which business tax credits are available for your business
  • Get the latest facts about the American Taxpayer Relief Act
  • What are the qualifications for the Earned Income Tax Credit?
  • Broadcast will include a live Q&A session 

CE Credit is NOT being offered for this webinar. 

Click on the following link to register:  http://www.visualwebcaster.com/IRS/94208/reg.asp?id=94208  

IRS Small Business Week Webinar –

Avoiding the Top Tax Mistakes that Small Businesses Make

Knowledge is power…and ignorance is not bliss. You know your business. Take that knowledge to new heights and avoid mistakes.

Get the information you need and answers to your questions during this free one-hour webinar… 

Thursday, June 20 — 11:00 a.m. (Pacific); Noon (Mountain) 

What’s Covered:

  • Tips to avoid common mistakes with your business taxes
  • Good recordkeeping strategies
  • What is reportable income
  • How to carefully choose a tax preparer
  • Helpful Tax Information Resources
  • Broadcast will include a live Q&A session 

CE Credit is NOT being offered for this webinar.

Click on the following link to register:  http://www.visualwebcaster.com/IRS/94230/reg.asp?id=94230 

Identity Theft: Protecting Your Business & Your Customers

FREE Webinar presented by the Federal Trade Commission & Internal Revenue Service 

Tuesday, June 25 – 11:00 am—noon Pacific; Noon—1:00 pm Mountain 

Speakers from the FTC and IRS will discuss:

  • how businesses can avoid being victims of ID theft
  • how businesses can protect themselves and their customers
  • who to contact/what to do if they suspect they are a victim of ID theft
  • ways IRS and FTC are combating ID theft
  • where to find ID theft resources on the FTC and IRS websites 

To register, click here: https://events.na.collabserv.com/register.php?id=ed016cd78f&l=en-US

Before registering, be sure your spam filter is set to accept email from our webinar provider – confirmation and reminder emails will appear with the name “SL Northwest” and will be from the email address noreply@infiniteconferencing.com.  If you have any problems registering, contact us directly at SL.northwest@irs.gov 

CE Credit is NOT being offered for this webinar. 

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/about-us/events/

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer numerous small business events throughout the community Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites -   Phoenix Metro Area NetworkSouthern Arizona Network - for a detailed, updated list of events. 

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business. 

Check out IRS Workshop Wednesday, a weekly, informative electronic distribution for small businesses!

We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. You can click below to check out the archived versions of these messages. If you don’t receive these messages directly, please send an email to Lisa.A.Novack@irs.gov and ask to subscribe to Workshop Wednesday.

To access previous editions, click here: Workshop Wednesday Archive links 

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit. 

IRS Offers Information, Support and Services for Small Businesses

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Offers-Information-Support-and-Services-for-Small-Businesses

Do you own or operate a small business? Or do you plan to start a business someday soon? If you answered yes to either question, the IRS has online information, support and services that may be helpful to you. 

IRS Has Updated Online Small Business Tax Workshop

http://www.irsvideos.gov/SmallBusinessTaxpayer/virtualworkshop

The Internal Revenue Service has updated one of its most popular tools, the virtual small business tax workshop. We’ve also renamed it … Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop.  The online workshop now has updated content, enhanced navigation, interactive features and a completely new look and feel.  The nine interactive lessons still provide training for small business owners who want to learn about their tax rights and responsibilities. 

The virtual workshop has many advantages:

·                  Users can customize the lessons to meet individual needs.

·                  It features the convenience of 24/7 availability, and learning at users’ own pace.

·                  The materials are free; no enrollment is required.

·                  Users can select and view the stand-alone lessons in any sequence.

·                  The closed captioned lessons are completely Section 508 Compliant and fully accessible to all.

·                  View an outline or complete transcript of each lesson while watching it.

·                  Use the “bookmark” button to mark favorite spots in the lessons.

·                  Links to online information pop-up as the presentations play for viewers to instantly click on and view simultaneously. 

·                  Use the “share” button to send links to favorite lessons through email. 

View Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop 

IRS Conferences and Cost Savings FY2010 Thru FY2012

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Conferences-and-Cost-Savings-FY2010-Thru-FY2012

Check here for IRS comments and additional information regarding the report issued by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) on IRS conferences from FY 2010 through the end of FY 2012. 

Management Veterans Selected to Assist New IRS Acting Commissioner Werfel; Maloy, Grams, Fisher Named to Senior Posts

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Management-Veterans-Selected-to-Assist-New-IRS-Acting-Commissioner-Werfel

The Internal Revenue Service today announced the selection of several senior leaders to assist new Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. Heather Maloy will handle the responsibilities of Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, W. Todd Grams will be Chief of Staff and David Fisher will serve as Senior Advisor to the Acting Commissioner and Chief Risk Officer.  The three senior members will assist Werfel in his work to conduct a comprehensive review of IRS operations and make improvements to the nation’s tax agency.

Prepare for Natural Disasters by Safeguarding Tax Records

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Prepare-for-Hurricanes,-Natural-Disasters-by-Safeguarding-Tax-Records

IRS YouTube Videos
Preparing for Disasters: English | Spanish | ASL
How to Request a Copy of Your Tax Return: English | Spanish | ASL
 

Podcast
Disaster Assistance: English | Spanish
 

The Internal Revenue Service encourages individuals and businesses to safeguard themselves against natural disasters by taking a few simple steps, including keeping a backup set of records, documenting valuables, and updating emergency plans.  See the full article or the videos and podcast for details. 

Spring 2013 Statistics of Income Bulletin Now Available

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Spring-2013-Statistics-of-Income-Bulletin-Now-Available

The Internal Revenue Service announced the availability of the spring 2013 issue of the Statistics of Income Bulletin, which features information on high-income individual income tax returns filed for tax year 2010. Taxpayers filed almost 4.3 million returns with adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more for 2010. These high-income returns represent about 3.0 percent of all returns filed for the tax year.

The Statistics of Income (SOI) Division produces the SOI Bulletin on a quarterly basis. Articles included in the publication provide the most recent data available from various tax and information returns filed by U.S. taxpayers. 

More Taxpayers e-file from Home in 2013

http://www.irs.gov/uac/More-Taxpayers-Efile-from-Home-in-2013

The Internal Revenue Service provided updated statistics showing continued growth in electronic filing of tax returns. So far in 2013, more than 43 million people have self-prepared and e-filed their tax returns from home, an increase of more than 4 percent compared to the prior year.

Through May 10, the IRS received more than 43.6 million self-prepared e-file returns, up from 41.7 million a year earlier. E-filed returns from tax professionals increased slightly, reaching almost 70.4 million. In all, almost 114 million tax returns came in through e-file this year, up from 112.1 million at this point last year. 

Recent Articles from e-News for Small Businesses 

Recent legislation extended the Work Opportunity Tax Credit through Dec. 31, 2013

Notice 2013-14 also provides employers additional time beyond the 28-day deadline for submitting Form 8850, Pre-screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit, to Designated Local Agencies. 

SSA/IRS Reporter

The spring edition of the SSA/IRS Reporter includes articles on:

  • The Outreach Corner – a free resource for communicators
  • Spring cleaning of your payroll records
  • IRS wants your help to reduce taxpayer burden

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

If you would like to receive e-News for Small Businesses, please visit this link to subscribe:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses

Recommend e-News for Small Businesses

If you already receive e-News for Small Businesses, you can share it with a business acquaintance, colleague or employee. Just forward this link to them to view a sample edition and subscribe.

May 2013

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Tax filing questions or need to check on a tax account issue?

Call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number, 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).  You can find a complete list of IRS toll free numbers here. And yes, during the tax season there will be long hold times on that line!

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/about-us/events/

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer numerous small business events throughout the community Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites -   Phoenix Metro Area NetworkSouthern Arizona Network - for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

Check out IRS Workshop Wednesday, a weekly, informative electronic distribution for small businesses!

We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. You can click below to check out the archived versions of these messages. If you don’t receive these messages directly, please send an email to Lisa.A.Novack@irs.gov and ask to subscribe to Workshop Wednesday.

Click to View Archived Editions of Workshop Wednesday:

Workshop Wednesday Edition 1 April 10, 2013 – Recordkeeping Part I            

Workshop Wednesday Edition 2 April 17, 2013 – Recordkeeping Part II

Workshop Wednesday Edition 3 April 24, 2013 – Business Expenses Part I

Workshop Wednesday Edition 4 May 1, 2013 – Business Expenses Part II

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Criminal Investigation Issues Fiscal 2012 Report

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Criminal-Investigation-Issues-Fiscal-2012-Report

IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) released its Annual Report for fiscal 2012, highlighting strong gains in enforcement actions and penalties imposed on convicted tax criminals.  The 28-page report summarizes a wide variety of IRS CI activity on a range of tax related issues during the year ending Sept. 30, 2012. CI investigates potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner to foster confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law.

IRS Seeks Applications for the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Seeks-Applications-for-the-Internal-Revenue-Service-Advisory-Council-2013

The Internal Revenue Service announced it is accepting applications for the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC). Applications will be accepted through June 14, 2013. IRSAC’s purpose is to provide an organized public forum for IRS officials and representatives of the public to discuss relevant federal tax administration issues. IRSAC members submit a report to the IRS Commissioner annually at a public meeting in the fall.

IRSAC is comprised of up to 35 members, who are appointed to three-year terms by the Commissioner. Applications are currently being accepted for approximately 11 appointments that will begin in January 2014. Nominations of qualified individuals may come from individuals or organizations. IRSAC members are drawn from substantially diverse backgrounds. Membership is balanced to include representation from the tax professional community, including but not limited to: tax attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, appraisers and the business community.

IRS Seeking Applications for Volunteer Tax Assistance Program Grants

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Seeking-Applications-for-Volunteer-Tax–Assistance-Program-Grants

The Internal Revenue Service is accepting applications for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grant programs, which will allow some organizations to apply for annual funding for up to three years. Applications will be accepted only through Grants.gov until May 31, 2013. Previous grant recipients will have the option to apply for up to three years of annual funding which would reduce the amount of paperwork they must complete over the three-year period. This annual funding will also help recipients with budget planning.

Tax Tips for 2013

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Tips-for-2013-1

Tips to Start Planning Next Year’s Tax Return
Tax Tip 2013-62, April 24, 2013

IRS Offers Tips for Dealing with Notices
Tax Tip 2013-61, April 23, 2013

IRS Warns Donors about Charity Scams Following Recent Tragedies in Boston and Texas
Special Edition Tax Tip 2013-09, April 19, 2013

Ten Facts on Filing an Amended Tax Return
Tax Tip 2013-59, April 19, 2013

Recent Articles from e-News for Small Businesses

Recent legislation extended the Work Opportunity Tax Credit through Dec. 31, 2013

Notice 2013-14 also provides employers additional time beyond the 28-day deadline for submitting Form 8850, Pre-screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit, to Designated Local Agencies.

SSA/IRS Reporter

The spring edition of the SSA/IRS Reporter includes articles on:

  • The Outreach Corner – a free resource for communicators
  • Spring cleaning of your payroll records
  • IRS wants your help to reduce taxpayer burden

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

If you would like to receive e-News for Small Businesses, please visit this link to subscribe:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses

Recommend e-News for Small Businesses

If you already receive e-News for Small Businesses, you can share it with a business acquaintance, colleague or employee. Just forward this link to them to view a sample edition and subscribe.

April 2013

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Tax filing questions or need to check on a tax account issue?

Call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number, 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).  You can find a complete list of IRS toll free numbers here. And yes, during the tax season there will be long hold times on that line!

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/about-us/events/

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer numerous small business events throughout the community Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites -   Phoenix Metro Area NetworkSouthern Arizona Network - for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

Check out Workshop Wednesday!

We have developed this weekly message to highlight educational material that small business owners will find helpful. Because we know how busy you are, we have designed these messages to focus on one topic at a time, based on questions we hear most frequently. You can click below to check out the archived versions of these messages. If you don’t receive these messages directly, please send an email to Lisa.A.Novack@irs.gov and ask to subscribe to Workshop Wednesday.

Click to View Archived Editions:

Workshop Wednesday Edition 1 April 10, 2013

Workshop Wednesday Edition 2 April 17, 2013

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Releases the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2013

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Releases-the-Dirty-Dozen-Tax-Scams-for-2013

The Internal Revenue Service has issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud. The Dirty Dozen listing, compiled by the IRS each year, lists a variety of common scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year. But many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns. Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. See the full article for the list of Dirty Dozen tax scams for 2013.

IRS Expands Law Enforcement Assistance Program on Identity Theft to 50 States; Victim Assistance and Criminal Investigations Grow

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Expands-Law-Enforcement-Assistance-Program-on-Identity-Theft-to-50-States

The Internal Revenue Service announced a nationwide expansion of the program designed to help law enforcement obtain tax return data vital to their local efforts in investigating and prosecuting specific cases of identity theft. More than 1,560 waiver requests have been received since the Law Enforcement Assistance Program’s inception from over 100 state and local law enforcement agencies in the nine states participating in the pilot. The expansion covers all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.

IRS Smartphone App IRS2Go Now Available in Spanish

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Smartphone-App-IRS2Go-Now-Available-in-Spanish

The Internal Revenue Service has released IRS2Go 3.0, an update to its smartphone application that offers practical tax tools and information for the first time in either Spanish or English. The free mobile app offers taxpayers a number of safe and secure ways to access popular tools and the most up-to-date tax information. For the new version, IRS2Go is available for the first time in Spanish. The taxpayers’ phone language settings determine whether the IRS2Go content appears in English or in Spanish.

IRS Achieves $1 Billion in Cost Savings and Efficiencies

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Achieves-$1-Billion-in-Cost-Savings-and-Efficiencies

Since Fiscal Year 2010, the IRS has made a concerted effort to identify and put in place ways of saving taxpayer dollars and working more efficiently. This effort intensified in FY 2011 when the agency’s budget outlook became more challenging. As a result, the IRS estimates it will have achieved $1 billion in budget savings and efficiencies between FY 2010 and the end of FY 2013. These savings and efficiencies have been achieved across the IRS in numerous areas, including personnel, travel, training, office space and contracts.

At the same time, the IRS continues to invest in strategic priorities that allow it to fulfill its dual mission of tax law enforcement and taxpayer service. As the budget environment has become more difficult and the IRS has stepped up its cost-saving activities, it has also maintained strong taxpayer service performance results and continued a balanced and effective enforcement program. In particular, the IRS has increased its efforts against refund fraud, especially fraud caused by identity theft.

The IRS consistently achieves a high return on investment for its activities while running a fiscally disciplined operation. Going forward, the IRS remains committed to being as efficient as possible and spending taxpayer dollars wisely.

However, the continued reductions in the IRS budget will begin to have an adverse impact on service and enforcement efforts in the near future. This will affect the service we provide to taxpayers and the amount of money we collect through enforcement activities.

Budget in Brief FY 2014
This summarizes how the budget request will enable the agency to meet its strategic goals: improve customer service and enhance enforcement of the tax laws.

Tips on Reporting Natural Resource Income

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tips-on-Reporting-Natural-Resource-Income

Taxpayers who own land that contains valuable natural resources should be aware that arranging for the development of the resources by means of a lease creates tax consequences. Landowners may make complex financial agreements to receive royalty, bonus or other income in exchange for access to the resources on their land, such as natural gas and oil from shale deposits. Here are some important facts from the Internal Revenue Service about these transactions.

Tax Tips for 2013

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Tips-for-2013-1

Ten Helpful Tips for Paying Your Taxes
Tax Tip 2013-55, April 15, 2013

Tips for Taxpayers Who Can’t Pay Their Taxes on Time
Tax Tip 2013-53, April 11, 2013

Six Tips on Making Estimated Tax Payments
Tax Tip 2013-49, April 5, 2013

Get Connected to the IRS with Social Media
Tax Tip 2013-47, April 3, 2013

Top Six Tax Tips for the Self-Employed
Tax Tip 2013-46, April 2, 2013

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

If you would like to receive e-News for Small Businesses, please visit this link to subscribe:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses

Recommend e-News for Small Businesses

If you already receive e-News for Small Businesses, you can share it with a business acquaintance, colleague or employee. Just forward this link to them to view a sample edition and subscribe.

March 2013

Announcements & Upcoming Events:

Tax filing questions or need to check on a tax account issue?

Call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number, 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).  You can find a complete list of IRS toll free numbers here. And yes, during the tax season there will be long hold times on that line!

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

Information for Employers to help Employees

Educating your employees about tax compliance has never been easier!

The link below leads to an IRS.gov page created to help employers – including federal, state and local government agencies – educate their employees about tax compliance.

Besides having links to widgets, three useful publications and the IRS YouTube channel, the page also includes a link to theOutreach Corner, which features articles about taxes that employers can use for internal communication products such as newsletters and intranet websites.

You can use these communication products to help your employees understand their tax compliance responsibilities and find the many IRS resources, products and services that are available to help them file and pay their taxes on time.

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Educating-Your-Employees-About-Tax-Compliance

Follow IRS on Twitter for current information:

Click here to Follow us on Twitter! or follow @BillB_IRS for local updates.

Other sources of information:

Click here to Check out IRS on YouTube 

“Like” us on  Facebook 

Got tax questions?  Check out the latest IRS videos at:  

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/about-us/events/

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer numerous small business events throughout the community Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites -   Phoenix Metro Area NetworkSouthern Arizona Network - for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Expands Voluntary Worker Classification Settlement Program; Relief From Past Payroll Taxes Available to More Employers Who Reclassify Their Workers As Employees

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Expands-Voluntary-Worker-Classification-Settlement-Program

The Internal Revenue Service has expanded its Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP), paving the way for more taxpayers to take advantage of this low-cost option for achieving certainty under the law by reclassifying their workers as employees for future tax periods.

The IRS is modifying several eligibility requirements, thus making it possible for many more interested employers, especially larger ones, to apply for this program. Thus far, nearly 1,000 employers have applied for the VCSP, which provides partial relief from federal payroll taxes for eligible employers who are treating their workers or a class or group of workers as independent contractors or other nonemployees and now want to treat them as employees. Businesses, tax-exempt organizations and government entities may qualify.

Under the revamped program, employers under IRS audit, other than an employment tax audit, can qualify for the VCSP. Furthermore, employers accepted into the program will no longer be subject to a special six-year statute of limitations, rather than the usual three years that normally applies to payroll taxes. These and other permanent modifications to the program are described inAnnouncement 2012-45 and in questions and answers, posted on IRS.gov.

Normally, employers are barred from the VCSP if they failed to file required Forms 1099 with respect to workers they are seeking to reclassify for the past three years. However, for the next few months, until June 30, 2013, the IRS is waiving this eligibility requirement. Details on this temporary change are in Announcement 2012-46.

More information is available on IRS.gov, keyword “VCSP.”

IRS Now Accepting All 2012 Returns

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Now-Accepting-All-2012-Returns

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it has finished updating its tax-processing systems allowing all remaining individual and business taxpayers to file their 2012 federal income tax returns.

Over the weekend, the IRS completed reprogramming and testing of its systems for tax-year 2012 including all remaining updates required by the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) enacted by Congress in January. This final step clears the way for those claiming residential energy credits on Form 5695 and various business tax credits and deductions to file their returns.

Winter 2013 Statistics of Income Bulletin Now Available

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Winter-2013-Statistics-of-Income-Bulletin-Now-Available

The winter 2013 issue of the Statistics of Income Bulletin is available at IRS.gov. The winter 2013 issue features preliminary data from more than 145 million individual income tax returns for tax year 2011.

The Statistics of Income (SOI) Division produces the SOI Bulletin on a quarterly basis. 

Tax Tips for 2013

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Tips-for-2013-1

Four Things You Should Know if You Barter
Tax Tip 2013-29, March 8, 2013

New IRS YouTube Video – How to Check on Your Refund
Special Edition Tax Tip 2013-06, March 5, 2013

Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center Provides Online Tools and Resources 
Tax Tip 2013-22, February 27, 2013

Five Tips if Your Name Has Changed
Tax Tip 2013-21, February 26, 2013

How You Can Get Prior Year Tax Information from the IRS
Tax Tip 2013-20, February 25, 2013

Beware of Bogus IRS Emails
Tax Tip 2013-19, February 22, 2013

What Taxpayers Should Know about Identity Theft and Taxes
Special Edition Tax Tip 2013-05, February 20, 2013

Five Facts to Know about AMT
Tax Tip 2013-17, February 20, 2013

Important Reminders about Tip Income
Tax Tip 2013-16, February 19, 2013

Recent Articles from e-News for Small Businesses

Reducing taxpayer burden 

A new video explains the IRS taxpayer burden reduction program.

2013 tax update webinar

The recent IRS Live webinar, Getting Ready for Filing Season 2013 – Individuals and Businesses, is now available on the IRS video portal.

Fuel tax credits extended by recent legislation

Frequently Asked Questions to help eligible taxpayers claim certain fuel tax credits are the latest addition to What’s Hot on IRS.gov.

IRS notices concerning Form 1099-K

The new Notices Related to Form 1099-K page has information on the reasons for the correspondence and how to respond.

Related links:

Considering an offer in compromise? Before starting the paperwork…

Use the new OIC pre-qualifier tool to:

  • Determine eligibility
  • Calculate a preliminary offer amount

Related link:  Offer in Compromise

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

If you would like to receive e-News for Small Businesses, please visit this link to subscribe:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses

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February 27, 2013
Small Business Forum

Phoenix, AZ
Time: 9:00 am – 11:30 am


Attendees:

Speakers:

Other Attendees, both in person and via Webinar

Contact Person:

Lisa Novack, Senior Stakeholder Liaison, IRS, Lisa.A.Novack@irs.gov 602-636-9476


Meeting Summary

Lisa Novack, IRS Stakeholder Liaison -
Lisa thanked everyone for their support of these events and for the taking time out of your busy day to join.  She thanked the ASBA staff for all of their help and support. She introduced the new Webinar system and indicated that we had several people, including one of the presenters, joining us via technology.

What is a small business forum? It allows us to bring together small business organizations and associations to meet with representatives from federal, state and local government agencies. Here we can exchange ideas, share information and key messages, and identify any systemic or procedural problems that might exist within the agencies.

The Stakeholder Liaison Office is increasing virtual delivery, so we are trying to identify new outreach activities we can conduct using technology.  We encourage you to attend our webinars and other educational events. When possible, we would love to address your members and clients via technology. Please contact Lisa to discuss future efforts and be sure to allow sufficient time for approval and planning purposes. Because of the new technology, we will be offering the August SBF via Webinar, which will allow everyone to join us from the convenience of your home or office. The attendees thought it is a good idea, although you do lose the networking option.

American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (passed on Jan 1 2013)

  • Bush-era tax rates were made permanent
  • 39.6% Tax Rate for incomes above $400,000
  • No extension of payroll tax holiday that reduced OASDI from 6.2 to 4.2%
  • Raises top rate for capital gains and dividends to 20% (up from 15%) for those earning > $400,000
  • Permanent AMT patch for 2012 and subsequent years (providing annual inflation adjustments to exemption amounts)
  • Limitations on Itemized Deductions and Personal Exemption phase-out but raised the rates.
  • Maximum federal estate tax rate up to 40% with $5 Million exclusion for those dying after December 31, 2012.
  • Through 2013, extends election to claim an itemized deduction for state and local general sale taxes in lieu of income taxes.
  • Child Tax Credit permanently extended, remaining at $1000 per child.
  • No real changes to Earned Income Tax Credit, Adoption Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, Education expenses.

Business Tax Provisions

  • Many popular but temporary tax extenders relating to businesses are included
  • Code Section 179 Small Business Expensing extended through 2013. Dollar limit for 2012 & 2013 is $500,000 with a $2 Million investment limit.
  • 50% Bonus Depreciation extended through 2013.
  • Research Tax Credit and Work Opportunity Tax Credit extended through 2013.

Simplified Option for Claiming Home Office Deduction Starting This Year; Eligible Home-Based Businesses May Deduct up to $1,500

The new optional deduction, capped at $1,500 per year based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet. Though homeowners using the new option cannot depreciate the portion of their home used in a trade or business, they can claim allowable mortgage interest, real estate taxes and casualty losses on the home as itemized deductions on Schedule A. These deductions need not be allocated between personal and business use, as is required under the regular method. Business expenses unrelated to the home, such as advertising, supplies and wages paid to employees are still fully deductible. Current restrictions on the home office deduction, such as the requirement that a home office must be used regularly and exclusively for business and the limit tied to the income derived from the particular business, still apply under the new option. The new simplified option is available starting with the 2013 return most taxpayers file early in 2014. Further details on the new option can be found inRevenue Procedure 2013-13, posted today on IRS.gov.

Please be sure to check out the monthly headliners and news releases Lisa sends each month and distribute it widely to members, clients, and any other small business owners you might know.

New Outreach and Educational information

Both new business owners and the IRS have an interest in a venture’s success. For the owner, a successful business is their livelihood. For the IRS, successful businesses file and pay their taxes correctly, on time and in full. IRS research has identified two issues that frequently trip-up new business owners: Poor recordkeeping and failure to recognize all items that constitute gross receipts (taxable business income).  The IRS has prepared outreach and educational material to help new business owners avoid the pitfalls associated with poor recordkeeping and misunderstanding of gross receipts. We seek partners who will assist us in distributing this material by any and all available means. We are particularly interested in partners that reach an audience of new business owners and entrepreneurs who report their business income on Form 1040 Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business.  IRS would like to meet with interested partners, demonstrate our outreach material and suggest some methods/messages for delivering that outreach. We are more than willing to consider alternative methods and messages if our suggestions do not meet partner needs.   IRS outreach and educational material includes, but is not limited to – Instructional pages on IRS.gov,Instructional publications, and Videos (YouTube and IRS Video Portal)

Please contact Lisa to –

  • Host a Tax Center on their website/Facebook page (see Tax Center)
  • Deliver informational newsletter articles and/or emails (see Drop-In Articles)
  • Subscribe to, and share as deemed appropriate, IRS e-News for Small Businesses (see Partner Outreach Methods and Messages)
  • Deliver informational messages via Twitter and other social media (see Partner Outreach Methods and Messages)
  • Friend/follow and distribute IRS social media
  • Invite IRS outreach staff to educational events
  • Work with IRS to utilize other methods/messages for distributing outreach, and
  • Provide feedback to help refine IRS communications to reach the partner’s audience

Thuy Pham – US Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration

Thuy’s office is housed in Pasadena, CA and she joined the meeting via webinar technology.  The EBSA function assists workers in understanding ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) and they educate employers and plan sponsors about their fiduciary responsibilities.  ERISA provides protection of participant’s rights for pension and health plans.  All employers are required to have a copy of their summary plan description available.

They also oversee COBRA, which allows separated employees to extend current health insurance under the employer for 18 months.  Several other factors might qualify an individual for COBRA, including divorce, child’s age, death of a covered individual, etc.)  The employee must pay 100% of the premiums (both employer and employee shares).  An employer can also charge a 2% administrative fee for administering the plan.  Employers must offer COBRA if they have at least 20 employees in the previous calendar year.  The employer must provide notice to a separated employee and the employee has additional time to decide whether to participate and before making the first payment.

HIPAA law also allows coverage to allow for pre-existing conditions.  In 2014, the Affordable Care Act goes fully into effect and it will make some of the current laws obsolete.

The Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act (Newborns’ Act) includes important protections for mothers and their newborn children with regard to the length of the hospital stay following childbirth. The Newborns’ Act requires that group health plans that offer maternity coverage pay for at least a 48-hour hospital stay following childbirth (96-hour stay in the case of Cesarean section).

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) includes protections for individuals who elect breast reconstruction in connection with a mastectomy. WHCRA provides that group health plans and health insurance issuers that provide coverage for medical and surgical benefits with respect to mastectomies must also cover certain post-mastectomy benefits, including reconstructive surgery and the treatment of complications (such as lymphedema).

The Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VPCP) designed to encourage employers to voluntarily comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by self-correcting certain violations of the law, there are 19 categories of transactions covered, acceptable methods for correcting violations and examples of potential violations and corrective actions.

The Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP) gives plan administrators a way to avoid potential higher civil penalty assessments by satisfying the program’s requirements and voluntarily paying a reduced penalty amount.

Electronic Filing – is meant to simplify and expedite the submission, receipt and processing of the form 5500 and Form 5500-SF.

For additional information call DOL at 866-444-3272 or visit www.dol.gov/EBSA.

Janice Washington, Director AZ SBDC Network  Their mission is to provide high quality, high-impact one-on-one counseling, resource assistance and training to preserve and create small business jobs and revenue and to facilitate capital formation throughout Arizona.

Core Services include:

·         One-on-one confidential counseling at not cost

·         Customized training to meet needs of business owners in urban and rural areas

·         Easily accessible information resources and guidance

·         Dynamic, interactive website with linked resources

AZSBDC Special Initiatives:

·         Incubator Support

·         Technology and Innovation

·         Veterans Assistance

·         Financial Education

·         Profit Mastery, NxLevel

·         International Trade

·         Procurement (PTAC) Mission is to increase the number of businesses that are capable of participating in the government marketplace. They can help identify contractual opportunities with Fed, State and Local governments; identify potential marketing opportunities; assist with bidding opportunities; and advise clients regarding post-award functions.

·         Business Continuity/Disaster Readiness

·         Performance Improvement Systems

Craig Jordan – US Small Business Administration – The SBA provides aid, counsel, and support to small business through resources such as the SBDC, SCORE, and lenders.  The advantages of an SBA loan include longer terms and a cap on interest rates.  They also back the lenders and guarantee the loans.  For a list of SBA Lenders, visit www.sba.gov/AZ.  You can locate Arizona lenders under the section titled “What’s New”.  Be sure to check out the website for other resources as well.

Craig introduced SBA resources focusing on the introductory  free clinics held at the SBA Arizona District Office to help small businesses understand SBA Loans and the 8a program on the first Wednesday of every month.  Loan Clinic at 9 am, and Selling to the Federal Government at 1 pm.  SBA is also hosting an Emerging Leaders program in April. This course is focusing on seasoned Native American and Urban businesses inclusive of developing a strategic 5 year growth plan.

Kristine Beaird - Phoenix Community Development and Investment Corp (PCDIC) Arizona’s Business Loan Alliance is a groundbreaking, $12 million loan collaborative designed to help small business owners secure the capital they need to flourish. Loans range from $50,000 to $500,000 and carry favorable rates and terms for creditworthy companies that lack adequate equity investment or sufficient collateral to secure a conventional loan.

The Business Loan Alliance, made up of a diverse group of public and private entities, has committed a total of $12 million to creatively kick-start the flow of capital in this challenging business climate. The purpose of the pilot program is to generate and attract greater investment for Arizona business owners. The pilot program will operate for approximately 12 months or until the funds are fully deployed. Qualified loans may be eligible for a guaranty of up to 20 percent from SCF Arizona.

For more information, please contact Kristine Beaird or refer to http://www.phoenixnewmarkets.org/loan-programs/business-loan-alliance-program.


Amy Belcher-Benesch – Arizona Department of Revenue 

Amy introduced AZDOR’s CREU (Community Resources and Education Unit). Diane Sosinski and Amy were happy to announce that DOR has committed to outreach once again after a hiatus from 2009 until now. Diane and Amy are a feverishly rebuilding the materials and strategizing their efforts. Their target will be social networking promotions and communication releases and establishing on-line resources and a “library” through DOR websites. The library will consist of educational presentations on a variety of subjects that can be accessed at anytime for the more casual learning needs of the community. There is also the possibility of more structured learning opportunities through webinars that may follow later as well. CREU is planning to have some materials ready after June 2013 with the library growing with subsequent releases after that time.

Cheryl Lopez – Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) Small Business Services (SBS) has a dual focus: First – to provide information on business licensing and statewide resources for every stage of business development and second – to serve as an advocate by developing policies and programs addressing the needs of small businesses.  SBS works closely with entrepreneurs, government officials, community leaders and business organizations, focusing on support and opportunities for Arizona’s small, minority-, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises.

The Arizona Entrepreneur’s Edge, the state’s official resource guide for starting, operating and growing a business in Arizona, has been updated and is now available online. It is searchable and printable. The resource guide provides general information for new business owners and serves as a reference and directory for established businesses of all sizes. Topics covered include business planning and research, business assistance and counseling, financial options and funding sources, business structures and registration, business license and tax information, labor guidelines and workforce assistance, technology business development, procurement, certifications and service provider programs and resources across the state.

ACA’s free online Checklist Program is designed to help individuals easily navigate information on what they need to know, who they need to contact, and where they need to go to license their business in Arizona. The Checklist guides individuals through a series of brief questions to create a customized business checklist.  From the customized business checklist, an individual is able to link over, and either apply online, or download their license applications. It includes telephone numbers and addresses of all state, county and city/town licensing offices. It also includes contact information to statewide resources and assistance to accelerate their business growth.Contact Cheryl Lopez, Program Manager, 602-845-1295, to make sure your agency or nonprofit is listed and description/contact information is up-to-date.

Margie Reis Labombarde – Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS. We help taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and recommend changes to prevent problems.

TAS Criteria includes:

Economic

  • Suffering economic harm
  • Facing adverse IRS action
  • Will suffer irreparable injury
  • Will incur significant cost

 Systemic

  • Significant delay past normal processing time
  • No response by promised date
  • Systemic or procedural failure

Our Form

Form 911 Download it on our website: www.irs.gov/advocate

Other Programs

How to Contact Us

1-877-777-4778 National Taxpayer Advocate Case Intake Line

602-636-9500 Local Taxpayer Advocate Office

Issues & Status

Issue – No new issues identified.

Issue Status Report – No previous issues raised

Roundtable & Comments

Each of the attendees had an opportunity to provide an introduction. Many of the attendees expressed their thanks for offering this event and indicated that there was a lot of valuable information shared and the networking with other participants was also very helpful to them.


Next Scheduled Meeting

Tentatively scheduled for August 21, 2013.  Please mark your calendars now!  This will be held via Webinar/phone.

February 2013

The Southwest Area 2013 Small Business Forum Webinar Series

Join us for a series of 3 “free” conference call sessions that will be jammed packed with resource information that is valuable to small business owners.

Forum #1: 2013 Filing Season Readiness Webinar – February 28, 2013

10:00 a.m. Arizona time, New Mexico time; 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Texas time  Registration is Free.  Access webinar the convenience of your home or office using your computer and your phone.

Is your Small Business ready for filing season 2013? During this forum, we will share with you:

How to choose a tax preparer

What forms are obsolete for 2012

New changes to the home office deduction

Business tax updates

Take note of the changes already in place for 2012 and new changes for 2013.

To register for the February 28th forum use the following link: 
https://events.na.collabserv.com/register.php?id=8669c859e3&l=en-US

Topic materials will be sent prior to the event. This Small Business Forum is for small business organization representatives and small business owners.

Practitioners are welcome to attend the Forums, but CPE will not be issued. If you have, any questions please email:joni.k.sterling@irs.gov

IRS Tax Tips on Business Blog

Check out our regular Tax Tips featured on the blog at www.growaz.org or http://azcvoices.com/business/.

Follow IRS on Twitter for current information:

Click here to Follow us on Twitter! or follow @BillB_IRS for local updates.

Other sources of information:

Click here to Check out IRS on YouTube 

“Like” us on  Facebook 

Got tax questions?  Check out the latest IRS videos at:

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/about-us/events/

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer numerous small business events throughout the community Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites -   Phoenix Metro Area Network,Southern Arizona Network - for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

Alert: High Demand for “Where’s My Refund?”

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Statement-on-Where’s-My-Refund-Tool

Many requests could limit the availability of this tool; taxpayers should check on refunds once a day. The IRS alerted taxpayers and the tax community it is experiencing high traffic on “Where’s My Refund?” as more tax returns come in. The heavy volume of refund inquiries means that the IRS anticipates both “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov and the refund feature on the IRS2go phone app will have limited availability during busier periods.

Due to the large number of inquiries and to avoid service disruptions, the IRS strongly urges taxpayers to only check on their refunds once a day. IRS systems are only updated once a day, usually overnight, and the same information is available whether on the Internet, IRS2go smartphone app or on IRS toll-free lines. While “Where’s My Refund?” is updated nightly, your account will not change that frequently.

Nine out of 10 taxpayers typically receive refunds in less than 21 days when they use e-file with direct deposit.  The IRS expects to see the number of tax returns — and related refund inquiries — steadily increase around the President’s Day holiday week.  See the full article for tips to help taxpayers with their refund questions.  Also see What to Expect for Refunds in 2013 for details on the new look of Where’s My Refund? for 2013.

IRS Intensifies National Crackdown on Identity Theft; Part of Wider Effort to Protect Taxpayers, Prevent Refund Fraud

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Intensifies-National-Crackdown-on-Identity-Theft-January-2013

Continuing a year-long enforcement push against refund fraud and identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service announced the results of a massive national sweep in recent weeks targeting identity theft suspects in 32 states and Puerto Rico, which involved 215 cities and surrounding areas. The coast-to-coast effort against 389 identity theft suspects led to 734 enforcement actions in January, including indictments, complaints and arrests. The effort comes on top of a growing identity theft effort that led to 2,400 other enforcement actions against identity thieves during fiscal year 2012.

To help taxpayers, the IRS has a special section on IRS.gov dedicated to identity theft issues, including YouTube videos, tips for taxpayers and a special guide to assistance. For victims, the information includes how to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit. For other taxpayers, there are tips on how taxpayers can protect themselves against identity theft. Taxpayers looking for additional information can consult the special identity protection page on IRS.gov. A map of Enforcement Actions Taken in January 2013 can also be found on IRS.gov.

IRS YouTube Videos
ID Theft: Protect Yourself from Identity Theft:  English | Spanish | ASL
ID Theft: Are You a Victim of Identity Theft?:  English | Spanish | ASL

Podcasts
ID Theft: Protect Yourself from Identity Theft:  English | Spanish
ID Theft: Are You a Victim of Identity Theft?:  English | Spanish

Tips for Taxpayers, Victims about Identity Theft and Tax Returns

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tips-for-Taxpayers,-Victims-about-Identity-Theft-and-Tax-Returns

The Internal Revenue Service is taking additional steps during the 2013 tax season to protect taxpayers and help victims of identity theft and refund fraud.  Stopping refund fraud related to identity theft is a top priority for the tax agency. The IRS is focused on preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as possible. The IRS has more than 3,000 employees working on identity theft cases – more than twice the level of a year ago. We have trained more than 35,000 employees who work with taxpayers to recognize and provide assistance when identity theft occurs.

Taxpayers can encounter identity theft involving their tax returns in several ways. One instance is where identity thieves try filing fraudulent refund claims using another person’s identifying information, which has been stolen. Innocent taxpayers are victimized because their refunds are delayed.  See the full article for tips to protect you from becoming a victim, and steps to take if you think someone may have filed a tax return using your name.

IRS To Accept Tax Returns with Education Credits, Depreciation

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-To-Accept-Tax-Returns-with-Education-Credits,-Depreciation-Next-Week

Starting Sunday, Feb. 10, the IRS will start processing tax returns that contain Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization. And on Thursday, Feb. 14, the IRS plans to start processing Form 8863, Education Credits. This step clears the way for almost all taxpayers to start filing their tax returns for 2012. These forms affected the largest groups of taxpayers who weren’t able to file following the Jan. 30 opening of the 2013 tax season.

The IRS will start accepting the remaining forms affected by the January legislation the first week of March.  A specific date will be announced later. Most of those in this group file more complex tax returns and typically file closer to the deadline or obtain an extension. A full list of the forms that will be accepted the first week of March is available on IRS.gov.

Many Business Tax Filers Can Now File for 2012

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Many-Business-Tax-Filers-Can-File-for-2012-Starting-Feb.-4

Many businesses are now able to file their 2012 federal income tax returns. Filers of forms affected by January tax law changes will need to wait until late February or early March. The Feb. 4 opening covers non-1040 series business returns for calendar year 2012, including  Form 1120  filed by corporations, Form 1120S filed by S corporations, Form 1065  filed by partnerships, Form 990 filed by exempt organizations and most users of Form 720 , Quarterly Excise Tax Return. This includes both electronic filers and paper filers.  While many businesses are now able to file, there are a number of business forms still being updated for 2012. A full list of the affected forms is available on IRS.gov.

Do Your Taxes and E-File for Free with Free File

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Do-Your-Taxes-and-EFile-for-Free-with-Free-File

All taxpayers have a fast, safe and free option when it comes to preparing their own federal taxes. It’s called Free File, and it’s available only at IRS.gov.  Free File offers brand-name tax software to people who earned $57,000 or less last year, which is 70 percent of all taxpayers. For those who earned more, there are free online fillable forms. Both options allow people to file returns electronically and use direct deposit, which is the fastest way to get refunds. The nation’s leading tax software companies have partnered with the IRS to make their products available for free through IRS.gov. Each company sets its own eligibility criteria, generally based on income, state residency, age, military service or eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  There is also a software option that is available in Spanish for people who earned $30,000 or less.

Free File does the hard work for you. The software asks questions; you provide the answers. It picks the right forms, does the math and helps you find all the tax benefits for which you are eligible.

IRS YouTube Videos:
Welcome to Free File!: English

File Your 1040EZ Using Free File:  English | Spanish | ASL

Podcasts:

File Your 1040EZ Using Free File: English | Spanish

IRS Adds Tumblr to Its List of Social Media Platforms

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Adds-Tumblr-to-Its-List-of-Social-Media-Platforms

The Internal Revenue Service has added Tumblr to its list of social media platforms. People who want tax information now have another way of accessing helpful tax tips, videos, podcasts and more at Tumblr.  Tumblr is a microblogging platform where users access and share text, photos, videos and other information from their browser, smartphone, tablet or desktop. The IRS plans to use Tumblr to help share information about important programs to help taxpayers, such as late tax law changes, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Free File. The Tumbler site also makes it easy for partner groups and others to share tax information from the IRS.

For more IRS social media links, go to IRS New Media.

Recent Articles from e-News for Small Businesses

Remind employees about the Earned Income Tax Credit

EITC Information for Employers is a one-stop resource for EITC information, including links to products like payroll stuffers and posters.

Retirement plans phone forum

Free phone forum features IRS employees discussing retirement plan topics:

Feb. 28, Overview of the 2012 Cumulative List of Plan Qualification Changes

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses

If you would like to receive e-News for Small Businesses, please visit this link to subscribe:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses

Recommend e-News for Small Businesses

If you already receive e-News for Small Businesses, you can share it with a business acquaintance, colleague or employee. Just forward this link to them to view a sample edition and subscribe.

January 2013

IRS Tax Tips on Business Blog

Check out our regular Tax Tips featured on the blog at www.growaz.org or http://azcvoices.com/business/.

Follow IRS on Twitter for current information:

Click here to Follow us on Twitter! and follow @BillB_IRS for local updates.

2013 tax calendar for small businesses and self-employed

A new IRS CalendarConnector 2 feature lets users select event categories to customize the desktop calendar tool.

Other sources of information:

  • “Like” us on  Facebook 
  • Got tax questions?  Check out the latest IRS videos at:

Find Local Small Business Events

http://www.azcommerce.com/about-us/events/

Many organizations dedicated to supporting the Arizona small business community offer numerous small business events throughout the community Check the Arizona Service Providers Network member’s websites -   Phoenix Metro Area Network,Southern Arizona Network - for a detailed, updated list of events.

Greater Phoenix SCORE Workshops

http://greaterphoenix.score.org/localworkshops

SCORE mentors and representatives from the local business community conduct a variety of regularly scheduled, low-cost educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for establishing and managing a successful business.

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

IRS Announces Simplified Option for Claiming Home Office Deduction Starting This Year; Eligible Home-Based Businesses May Deduct up to $1,500; Saves Taxpayers 1.6 Million Hours A Year

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Simplified-Option-for-Claiming-Home-Office-Deduction-Starting-This-Year

The Internal Revenue Service today announced a simplified option that many owners of home-based businesses and some home-based workers may use to figure their deductions for the business use of their homes. The new optional deduction, capped at $1,500 per year based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet, will reduce the paperwork and recordkeeping burden on small businesses by an estimated 1.6 million hours annually.

The new option provides eligible taxpayers an easier path to claiming the home office deduction. Currently, they are generally required to fill out a 43-line form (Form 8829) often with complex calculations of allocated expenses, depreciation and carryovers of unused deductions. Taxpayers claiming the optional deduction will complete a significantly simplified form. Though homeowners using the new option cannot depreciate the portion of their home used in a trade or business, they can claim allowable mortgage interest, real estate taxes and casualty losses on the home as itemized deductions on Schedule A. These deductions need not be allocated between personal and business use, as is required under the regular method. Business expenses unrelated to the home, such as advertising, supplies and wages paid to employees are still fully deductible. Current restrictions on the home office deduction, such as the requirement that a home office must be used regularly and exclusively for business and the limit tied to the income derived from the particular business, still apply under the new option.

The new simplified option is available starting with the 2013 return most taxpayers file early in 2014. Further details on the new option can be found in Revenue Procedure 2013-13, posted today on IRS.gov. Revenue Procedure 2013-13 is effective for taxable years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2013, and the IRS welcomes public comment on this new option to improve it for tax year 2014 and later years. There are three ways to submit comments.

IRS Plans Jan. 30 Tax Season Opening For 1040 Filers

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Plans-Jan.-30-Tax-Season-Opening-For-1040-Filers

Following the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), the Internal Revenue Service announced it plans to open the 2013 filing season and begin processing individual income tax returns on Jan. 30.  The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on that date after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems. This will reflect the bulk of the late tax law changes enacted Jan. 2. The announcement means that the vast majority of tax filers — more than 120 million households — should be able to start filing tax returns starting Jan 30.  The IRS estimates that remaining households will be able to start filing in late February or into March because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes. This group includes people claiming residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits. Most of those in this group file more complex tax returns and typically file closer to the April 15 deadline or obtain an extension.

Annual Inflation Adjustments for 2013

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Annual-Inflation-Adjustments-for-2013

The Internal Revenue Service announced annual inflation adjustments for tax year 2013, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes from the recently passed American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The tax items for 2013 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include: new tax rate of 39.6 percent for individuals whose income exceeds $400,000 ($450,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return); increases/changes to the standard deduction and personal exemption; indexing the Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amounts for inflation; maximum Earned Income Credit amount; basic exclusion amount for estates of decedents who die during 2013; changes to the aggregate fringe benefit exclusion amount for transit passes and transportation in a commuter highway vehicle.  See the full article for details.

National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers Annual Report to Congress; Focuses on Tax Reform, IRS Funding and Identity Theft

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/National-Taxpayer-Advocate-Delivers-2012-Annual-Report-to-Congress

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her 2012 annual report to Congress, identifying the need for tax reform as the overriding priority in tax administration. The Advocate also expressed concern that the Internal Revenue Service is not adequately funded to serve taxpayers and collect tax, and identified ways in which this chronic underfunding harms taxpayers and the public. She also found that the IRS is not doing enough to assist victims of tax-related identity theft and return preparer fraud.

Hardwood Timber Industry Audit Technique Guide

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Audit-Techniques-Guides-(ATGs)

This guide for those in the Hardwood Timber Industry is now complete and on IRS.gov.

Recent Articles from e-News for Small Businesses

Remind employees about the Earned Income Tax Credit

EITC Information for Employers is a one-stop resource for EITC information, including links to products like payroll stuffers and posters.

2013 tax calendar for small businesses and self-employed

A new IRS CalendarConnector 2 feature lets users select event categories to customize the desktop calendar tool.

2013 income tax withholding tables

Updated withholding tables show new rates in effect for 2013 and supersede tables issued on Dec. 31.

Employers should start using the revised withholding tables and correct the amount of Social Security tax withheld as soon as possible, but not later than Feb. 15.

Related links:

IR-2013-1, IRS Provides Updated Withholding Guidance for 2013

Notice 1036, Early Release Copies of the 2013 Percentage Method Tables for Income Tax Withholding

Employment tax reminders

The Form 944 instructions have information for employers who want to opt in or opt out of filing the annual Form 944 vs. the quarterly Form 941.

New resource from the Small Business Administration

The SBA.gov Build Your Business Plan tool guides users through the process of creating a basic, downloadable business plan.

Impuestos de Negocio para Empleados por Cuenta Propia

The recent Spanish language small business webinar is now available on the IRS video portal.

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