Thursday, April 14, 2016

Official IRS app lets you track your refund

The Internal Revenue Service app IRS2GO allows taxpayers to check on the status of their tax refund and access other features.  IRS2GO also allows payments through an ACH debit from your checking or savings account (which is known as IRS Direct Pay), by debit card with a flat rate service fee ranging from $2.50 to $3.95, or by credit card with percentage based fees.  Government Technology has some more details about the app:
Where's My Tax Refund?
IRS Mobile App Simplifies Federal Tax Refund Tracking IRS2Go proves useful to taxpayers looking for refund answers and assistance in tax filing.
The IRS is trying to take some of the sting out of tax time with a mobile app that allows for simplified payment and refund tracking services.
The official application, called IRS2Go, allows users to check the status of their refunds, make payments and access free tax preparation services from a compatible smartphone.
Mobile users are also tied into a host of other resources, like instructional videos and tax tips through the agency’s social media pages and direct contact functions.
Refund status is reportedly available to taxpayers as soon as 24 hours after filing electronically and roughly four weeks after filing a return by mail...
The app, which was originally announced in January 2011, is available through the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

IRS warns about identity theft

The IRS announced that there was a 400 percent increase in phishing and malware activity earlier this tax season.  Be reminded that the IRS doesn't call, threaten, or email taxpayers about their taxes.  Normally they send letters.  Here are two of the scams the IRS says to watch out for:
Phone Scams: Phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent years as scam artists threaten taxpayers with police arrest, deportation and license revocation, among other things.
Phishing: Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will never send taxpayers an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS.  Be wary of strange emails and websites that may be nothing more than scams to steal personal information.

Friday, April 8, 2016

General Assembly OKs military waivers

The Georgia General Assembly approved two tax or administrative measures that are favorable to members of the military and their spouses during the final days of the legislative session.

HB 821, the “Military Spouses and Veterans Licensure Act” allows military spouses and servicemembers who have recently left the military to practice a state-licensed profession before a permanent license is issued. The professional licensing board for each profession is supposed to adopt rules before July 2017 to grant temporary or expedited licenses to these individuals. This should help military families earn income while their permanent license is pending. This affects such professions as psychologists, architects, and accountants.  The City of Decatur, like other local governments in Georgia, normally requires a state-licensed professional to provide proof of their state license before a local business license is issued.  Decatur would honor any temporary or expedited license issued to individuals in these circumstances.

HB 991, the “Returning Heroes Act,” is intended to forgive tax penalties on troops who are deployed while the taxes become past due.  Both bills must be signed by Governor Deal in order to become law.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Time running out for $29 million in refunds

Over 30,000 Georgians may be due a refund on their 2012 federal income taxes. Taxpayers have until April 18 to file a 2012 return to obtain the refund that they are due. The Newnan Times Herald reports:

IRS has $29 million for Georgia taxpayers 

Refunds totaling $950 million may be waiting for an estimated one million taxpayers in the nation who did not file a federal income tax return for 2012. In Georgia, over $29 million in unclaimed refunds awaits 34,300 individuals. However, to collect the money, a return for 2012 must be filed with the IRS no later than Monday, April 18. 
“Time is running out if you want to get your refund,” said IRS Spokesman Mark Green. “Taxpayers should review their 2012 statements for refundable credits and withholdings. We want all taxpayers to get the refund they’re due. We estimate that the median unclaimed refund for tax-year 2012 in Georgia is $642”, added Green. 
“In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund,” said Green. “If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.” 
There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund. 
Some people may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or make quarterly estimated payments. In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If no return is filed to claim a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. 
For 2012 tax returns, the window closes on April 18 (or April 19 for taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts). The law requires the tax return to be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by that date…

Monday, April 4, 2016

General Assembly adopts tax changes

On the final day of its legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly approved several bills involving taxes.

The most significant was Senate Bill 369, which authorizes up to a ½ percent sales tax increase in Atlanta for MARTA expansion, a ¾ percent sales tax increase in Fulton County for transportation, and up to a ½ percent sales tax increase in Atlanta for transportation improvements and congestion reduction. State Senator Brandon Beach said on the final night of the legislative session that Fulton County and cities outside of Atlanta could authorize an additional ¼ percent sales tax for transit. In other words, both Atlanta and Fulton County could each increase their sales tax rate by 1 percent with differing ratios going toward mass transit and roads.

Narrower bills dealing with ad valorem tax breaks for specific industries also passed. House Bill 769 provides a personal property tax exemption to boat dealers and all-terrain vehicle dealers. HB 769 was sent to the governor on April 1. HB 935 authorizes a freeport property tax exemption to fulfilment centers such as Amazon or Walmart that ship merchandise ordered by consumers online or by phone. HB 937 gives a sales tax break for the new Falcons stadium and other projects of "competitive regional significance."

HB 960 makes several changes to taxes administered by the state. Section 1 of the bill clarifies matters of taxpayer confidentiality. Section 2 changes the interest rate calculation for state-issued tax refunds. Section 3 changes the interest charged on past due state taxes from 1 percent to the annual prime loan bank rate. Section 4 changes the penalties for failing to file a return for taxes held in trust for the state. Section 5 amends procedures for tax tribunals. HB 960 is the result of a study committee that found the interest rates were too high.  Neither SB 369 nor HB 960 have been sent to the governor yet.

The House of Representatives did not approve income tax rate reductions (SB 280 and SR 756) or property tax assessment caps (SB 298 and SB 259) proposed by the Senate.