Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Email and Digital Signatures Now Accepted by IRS due to coronavirus

The Internal Revenue Service is now accepting email and digital signatures on tax documents to make it easier for tax professionals and taxpayers to communicate with the agency during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The IRS stated in a Memo dated March 27, 2020, that, effective immediately, it would “begin temporarily accepting images of signatures (scanned or photographed) and digital signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liability.”
In Addition, The IRS Is Letting Its Employees Accept Documents Through Email, Transmitting Documents
To Taxpayers Using SecureZip Or Other
“Established Secure Messaging Systems.”
The categories of documents included in the scope of this memorandum are:
  1. extensions of statute of limitations on assessment or collection,
  2. waivers of statutory notices of deficiency and consents to assessment,
  3. agreements to specific tax matters or tax liabilities (closing agreements), and
  4. any other statement or form needing the signature of a taxpayer or representative traditionally collected by IRS personnel outside of standard filing procedures (for example, a case specific Power of Attorney).
Questions on whether this memorandum applies to a specific form or document should be addressed to the applicable Business Operating Division’s policy office.
The IRS will accept images of signatures (scanned or photographed) in one of the following file types: tiff, jpg, jpeg, pdf, Microsoft Office suite, or Zip.
The IRS will accept Digital Signatures that use encryption techniques to provide proof of
original and unmodified documentation on one of the following file types: tiff, jpg, jpeg, pdf, Microsoft Office suite, or Zip.

Additional Methods to Receive Documents Electronically

To eliminate mailing documents to the extent possible, IRS employees should use all existing and previously allowable means of receiving and transmitting documents, such as, eFax or established secured messaging systems.
“The IRS is continuing to monitor methods to lessen the burden on taxpayers and professionals during this period,” said Sunita Lough, IRS deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, in a statement Monday. “We greatly appreciate the patience, support and valuable comments we continue to receive from the tax professional community as we move forward.” 

Have an IRS Tax Problem?

Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.
for a FREE Tax HELP Contact us at:
www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
Toll Free at 888 8TAXAID (888-882-9243)











COVID-19 Tax Relief Fails to Extend to Certain Foreign Information Return Filing Deadlines

On March 25, 2020, we posted IRS FAQs Answer Filing, Payment Postponement Questions, where we discussed that the IRS has launched a webpage entitled Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers, which answers Filing, Payment Postponement Questions in Notice 2020-18.

Then upon closer analysis it became evident that this COVID-19 tax relief fails to extend certain foreign information return filing deadlines.

Day Pitney has an alert that discusses whether the filing deadline for an information return is affected by the income tax return filing extension largely depends on whether the information return's due date is explicitly tied to the taxpayer's income tax return due date.

Day Pitney has evaluated whether the due dates for the foreign information returns have been extended and provide a list by Form, in tabular format, as to what is covered by the emergency COVID-19 Tax Relief allowing filings to be postponed to July 15, 2020 and which Foreign Information Return Filing have been extended by this relief.
Have an IRS Tax Problem?

Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.
for a FREE Tax HELP Contact us at:
www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
Toll Free at 888 8TAXAID (888-882-9243)


Friday, March 27, 2020

Tax Paying Non-Resident Aliens Cut Out of COVID-19 Stimulus Package

According to Law360, thousands of tax-paying immigrants won’t be eligible for stimulus checks under the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package that sailed through the Senate, which excludes “nonresident aliens” and those without Social Security numbers.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act specifically mandates that people considered “nonresident aliens” won’t be eligible for the $1,200 per adult and $500 per child benefit that Congress is hoping to slip into people’s bank accounts sometime this spring.

It requires check receivers to have filed their 2018 or 2019 taxes with a “valid identification number,” which the bill specifically defines as a Social Security number, although other taxpayer identification numbers exist.

It’s A Move That Cuts Of Thousands Of Immigrants off
From Accessing The Relief Caused By Massive Layoffs Across The Country As Business Is Rolled Back And People Are Asked To Remain At Home To Prevent The Spread Of

CORONAVIRUS: How Missouri cases breakdown by age

COVID-19, The Disease Caused By The Novel Coronavirus.
The United States leads the world in number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon, surpassing much larger China and heavily afflicted Italy.

“Immigrant workers and families who are paying taxes have been cut out from receiving a single dollar,” NILC Executive Director Marielena HincapiĆ© said in a statement. “ Since no other relief package appears imminent, the stakes are high for millions of low-wage workers and immigrants, who also need economic support and access to health care.”

Many immigrants don’t have Social Security numbers, but they do pay taxes, using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN. The identification number was created specifically for those that don’t have and aren’t eligible for a Social Security number, so that they can still pay taxes.
The Language Blocking “Nonresident Aliens”
From Eligibility Delivers Another Blow To Immigrants Hoping To Receive A Stimulus Check.
“Nonresident alien” is a tax term, not an immigration one, and the Internal Revenue Service defines it as any immigrant who does not have a green card and hasn’t passed the substantial presence test.

The substantial presence test is a complicated standard that requires counting up the number of days that the immigrant was actually in the United States over the past three years. They have to prove that they were in the country for at least 31 days of the current year and 183 days over the last three years, including the current one, but not all the days count.
  • Only one-third of the days from the year before the current one count toward that total, and
  • Only one-sixth of the days from the year before that.
  • The method does allow immigrants to count each day they were present in the United States in the current year as a full day.
Immigrants who do a lot of traveling or spend chunks of time outside the country in past years or in the current one fail the test and are taxed differently than U.S. citizens and residents, at a flat 30% rate, according to the IRS.

A Tax Planning Idea for These Nonresident Aliens Is for Them to Make Sure That They Spend At Least 183 Days This Year
and Thereby Qualify As Resident Aliens.

But even then, the IRS can whop taxpayers with nonresident alien status for other reasons, including if they find that they have a “closer connection” to a foreign country than to the United States.

Because it’s a tax term, it’s unclear exactly how many immigrants fall under the umbrella of “nonresident alien,” but it’s a broad one, encompassing thousands of taxpayers at the least.
Have an IRS Tax Problem?

Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.
for a FREE Tax HELP Contact us at:
www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
Toll Free at 888 8TAXAID (888-882-9243)

IRS Practitioner Priority Service Line & E-Services Help Desk line are CLOSED!

Due to staff limitations, Practitioner Priority Service line, the e-Services Help Desk line and the e-Services FIRE and AIR system help desks are closed until further notice.

We are temporarily suspending acceptance of new Income Verification Express Services (IVES) requests at this time and are experiencing delays with existing IVES processing as well as CAF number authorizations.
Practitioners With E-Services Accounts And With Client Authorization Can Access The Transcript Delivery System To Obtain Prior-Year Transcripts.

Taxpayers should use Where’s My Refund? and Get Transcript, both common requests.

The IRS Is Unable To Answer Any Questions
As Yet On Stimulus Payments.

Normal operations will resume as soon as possible. Please check IRS.gov for updates.

Have an IRS Tax Problem?

Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.
for a FREE Tax HELP Contact us at:
www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
Toll Free at 888 8TAXAID (888-882-9243)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

IRS Unveils New COVID-19 Temporarily Suspension of Key Compliance Efforts in People First Initiative

To help people facing the challenges of COVID-19 issues, the Internal Revenue Service announced in IR-2020-59 on March 25, 2020 a sweeping series of steps to assist taxpayers by providing relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions.

“The IRS Is Taking Extraordinary Steps To Help The People Of Our Country,” Said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

“In addition to extending tax deadlines and working on new legislation, the IRS is pursuing unprecedented actions to ease the burden on people facing tax issues. During this difficult time, we want people working together, focused on their well-being, helping each other and others less fortunate.”

“The new IRS People First Initiative provides immediate relief to help people facing uncertainty over taxes,” Rettig added “We are temporarily adjusting our processes to help people and businesses during these uncertain times. We are facing this together, and we want to be part of the solution to improve the lives of all people in our country.”

These new changes include issues ranging from postponing certain payments related to Installment Agreements and Offers in Compromise to collection and limiting certain enforcement actions. The IRS will be temporarily modifying the following activities as soon as possible; the projected start date will be April 1 and the effort will initially run through July 15. During this period, to the maximum extent possible, the IRS will avoid in-person contacts. However, the IRS will continue to take steps where necessary to protect all applicable statutes of limitations.

“IRS employees care about our people and our country, and they have a strong desire to help improve this situation,” Rettig said. “These new actions reflect just one of many ways our employees are working hard every day to assist the nation. We care, a lot. IRS employees are actively engaged, and they have always delivered for their communities and our country. The People First Initiative is designed to help people take care of themselves and is a key part of our ongoing response to the coronavirus effort.”

More specifics about the implementation of these provisions will be shared soon. Highlights of the key actions in the IRS People First Initiative include:

Existing Installment Agreements – For taxpayers under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 are suspended. Taxpayers who are currently unable to comply with the terms of an Installment Payment Agreement, including a Direct Deposit Installment Agreement, may suspend payments during this period if they prefer. Furthermore, the IRS will not default any Installment Agreements during this period.  By law, interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.

New Installment Agreements – The IRS reminds people unable to fully pay their federal taxes that they can resolve outstanding liabilities by entering into a monthly payment agreement with the IRS. 

Offers in Compromise (OIC) – The IRS is taking several steps to assist taxpayers in various stages of the OIC process:

  • Pending OIC applications – The IRS will allow taxpayers until July 15 to provide requested additional information to support a pending OIC. In addition, the IRS will not close any pending OIC request before July 15, 2020, without the taxpayer’s consent.
  • OIC Payments – Taxpayers have the option of suspending all payments on accepted OICs until July 15, 2020, although by law interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.
  • Delinquent Return Filings - The IRS will not default an OIC for those taxpayers who are delinquent in filing their tax return for tax year 2018. However, taxpayers should file any delinquent 2018 return (and their 2019 return) on or before July 15, 2020.
  • New OIC Applications – The IRS reminds people facing a liability exceeding their net worth that the OIC process is designed to resolve outstanding tax liabilities by providing a “Fresh Start.”

Non-Filers –The IRS reminds people who have not filed their return for tax years before 2019 that they should file their delinquent returns. More than 1 million households that haven’t filed tax returns during the last three years are actually owed refunds; they still have time to claim these refunds. Many should consider contacting a tax professional to consider various available options since the time to receive such refunds is limited by statute. Once delinquent returns have been filed, taxpayers with a tax liability should consider taking the opportunity to resolve any outstanding liabilities by entering into an Installment Agreement or an Offer in Compromise with the IRS to obtain a “Fresh Start.”

Field Collection Activities - Liens and levies (including any seizures of a personal residence) initiated by field revenue officers will be suspended during this period. However, field revenue officers will continue to pursue high-income non-filers and perform other similar activities where warranted.

Automated Liens and Levies – New automatic, systemic liens and levies will be suspended during this period.

Passport Certifications to the State Department – IRS will suspend new certifications to the Department of State for taxpayers who are “seriously delinquent” during this period. These taxpayers are encouraged to submit a request for an Installment Agreement or, if applicable, an OIC during this period. Certification prevents taxpayers from receiving or renewing passports.

Private Debt Collection – New delinquent accounts will not be forwarded by the IRS to private collection agencies to work during this period.

Field, Office and Correspondence Audits – During this period, the IRS will generally not start new field, office and correspondence examinations. We will continue to work refund claims where possible, without in-person contact. However, the IRS may start new examinations where deemed necessary to protect the government’s interest in preserving the applicable statute of limitations.

  • In-Person Meetings - In-person meetings regarding current field, office and correspondence examinations will be suspended. Even though IRS examiners will not hold in-person meetings, they will continue their examinations remotely, where possible. To facilitate the progress of open examinations, taxpayers are encouraged to respond to any requests for information they already have received - or may receive - on all examination activity during this period if they are able to do so.
  • Unique Situations - Particularly for some corporate and business taxpayers, the IRS understands that there may be instances where the taxpayers desire to begin an examination while people and records are available and respective staffs have capacity. In those instances when it’s in the best interest of both parties and appropriate personnel are available, the IRS may initiate activities to move forward with an examination -- understanding that COVID-19 developments could later reduce activities for an agreed period.
  • General Requests for Information - In addition to compliance activities and examinations, the IRS encourages taxpayers to respond to any other IRS correspondence requesting additional information during this time if possible. 

Earned Income Tax Credit and Wage Verification Reviews – Taxpayers have until July 15, 2020, to respond to the IRS to verify that they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit or to verify their income. These taxpayers are encouraged to exercise their best efforts to obtain and submit all requested information, and if unable to do so, please reach out to the IRS indicating the reason such information is not available. Until July 15, 2020, the IRS will not deny these credits for a failure to provide requested information. 

Independent Office of Appeals – Appeals employees will continue to work their cases. Although Appeals is not currently holding in-person conferences with taxpayers, conferences may be held over the telephone or by videoconference. Taxpayers are encouraged to promptly respond to any outstanding requests for information for all cases in the Independent Office of Appeals.

Statute of Limitations - The IRS will continue to take steps where necessary to protect all applicable statutes of limitations. In instances where statute expirations might be jeopardized during this period, taxpayers are encouraged to cooperate in extending such statutes. Otherwise, the IRS will issue Notices of Deficiency and pursue other similar actions to protect the interests of the government in preserving such statutes. Where a statutory period is not set to expire during 2020, the IRS is unlikely to pursue the foregoing actions until at least July 15, 2020.

Practitioner Priority Service – Practitioners are reminded that, depending on staffing levels and allocations going forward, there may be more significant wait times for the PPS. The IRS will continue to monitor this as situations develop.

“The IRS will continue to review and, where appropriate, modify or expand the People First Initiative as we continue reviewing our programs and receive feedback from others,” Rettig said.

“We Are Committed To Helping People Get Through This Period, And Our Employees Will Remain Focused On These And Other Helpful Efforts In The Days And Weeks Ahead.

I ask for your personal support, your understanding, and your patience, as we navigate our way forward together. Stay safe and take care of your families, friends and others.”

Can't Pay Your Taxes?

Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.
for a FREE Tax HELP Contact us at:
www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid