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March 02, 2021
Tax Briefing(s)

The IRS has released new Form 7202, Credits for Sick Leave and Family Leave for Certain Self-Employed Individuals. The form allows eligible self-employed individuals to calculate the amount to claim for qualified sick and family leave tax credits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) ( P.L. 116-127). They can claim the credits on their 2020 Form 1040 for leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, and on their 2021 Form 1040 for leave taken between January 1, 2021, and March 31, 2021.


The IRS is urging employers to take advantage of the newly-extended employee retention credit (ERC), which makes it easier for businesses that have chosen to keep their employees on the payroll despite challenges posed by COVID-19. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (Division EE of P.L. 116-260), which was enacted December 27, 2020, made a number of changes to the ERC previously made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) ( P.L. 116-136), including modifying and extending the ERC, for six months through June 30, 2021.


The IRS has announced that lenders who had filed or furnished Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Information, to a borrower, reporting certain payments on loans subsidized by the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (Administrator) as income of the borrower, must file and furnish corrected Forms 1099-MISC that exclude these subsidized loan payments.


The IRS is providing a safe harbor for eligible educators to deduct certain unreimbursed COVID-19-related expenses. The safe harbor applies to expenses for personal protective equipment, disinfectant, and other supplies used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom, paid or incurred after March 12, 2020. All amounts remain subject to the $250 educator expense deduction limitation.


With some areas seeing mail delays, the IRS has reminded taxpayers to double-check before filing a tax return to make sure they have all their tax documents, including Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and Forms 1099. Many of these forms may be available online. However, when other options are not available, taxpayers who have not received a W-2 or Form 1099, or who received an incorrect W-2 or 1099, should contact the employer, payer, or issuing agency directly to request the documents before filing their 2020 tax returns.


The IRS has highlighted how corporations may qualify for the new 100-percent limit for disaster relief contributions, and has offered a temporary waiver of the recordkeeping requirement for corporations otherwise qualifying for the increased limit. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 ( P.L. 116-260) temporarily increased the limit, to up to 100 percent of a corporation’s taxable income, for contributions paid in cash for relief efforts in qualified disaster areas.


The IRS has announced that tax professionals can use a new online tool to upload authorization forms with either electronic or handwritten signatures. The new Submit Forms 2848 and 8821 Online tool is now available at the IRS.gov/TaxPros page. The new tool is part of the IRS's efforts to develop remote transaction options that help tax practitioners and their individual and business clients reduce face-to-face contact.


The IRS has urged taxpayers to e-file their returns and use direct deposit to ensure filing accurate tax returns and expedite their tax refunds to avoid a variety of pandemic-related issues. The filing season opened on February 12, 2021, and taxpayers have until April 15 to file their 2020 tax return and pay any tax owed.


The 2016 filing season has closed with renewed emphasis on cybersecurity, tax-related identity theft and customer service. Despite nearly constant attack by cybercriminals, the IRS reported that taxpayer information remains secure. The agency also continued to intercept thousands of bogus returns and prevent the issuance of fraudulent refunds.


Passage of the “Tax Extenders” undeniably provided one of the major headlines – and tax benefits – to come out of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act), signed into law on December 18, 2015. Although these tax extenders (over 50 of them in all) were largely made retroactive to January 1, 2015, valuable enhancements to some of these tax benefits were not made retroactive. Rather, these enhancements were made effective only starting January 1, 2016. As a result, individuals and businesses alike should treat these enhancements as brand-new tax breaks, taking a close look at whether one or several of them may apply. Here’s a list to consider as 2016 tax planning gets underway now that tax filing-season has ended.


The IRS always urges taxpayers to pay their current tax liabilities when due, to avoid interest and penalties. Taxpayers who can’t pay the full amount are urged to pay as much as they can, for the same reason. But some taxpayers cannot pay their full tax liability by the normal April 15 deadline (April 18th in 2016 because of the intersection of a weekend and a District of Columbia holiday).


Yes, the IRS can impose penalties if a tax return is not timely filed or if a tax liability is not timely paid. As with all IRS penalties, the rules are complex. However, a taxpayer may avoid a penalty if he or she shows reasonable cause.


The IRS expects to receive more than 150 million individual income tax returns this year and issue billions of dollars in refunds. That huge pool of refunds drives scam artists and criminals to steal taxpayer identities and claim fraudulent refunds. The IRS has many protections in place to discover false returns and refund claims, but taxpayers still need to be proactive.


There are three main types of IRS audits: correspondence audits, office audits, and field audits (listed in order of increasing invasiveness). Correspondence audits are initiated (and generally conducted) by postal mail. Office audits require a taxpayer and/or its representative to appear in an IRS office; and a field audit involves IRS examiners paying a visit to the taxpayer's place of business.


Employers and other organizations must obtain an employer identification number (EIN) to identify themselves for tax administration purposes, such as starting a new business, withholding taxes on wages, or creating a trust. Entities apply for an EIN by filing IRS Form SS-4. Page two of the form advises whether an applicant needs an EIN.