Treasury Proposes To Strike Nearly 300 Tax Regulations

From Forbes.com

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has proposed the repeal of nearly 300 tax regulations that are "unnecessary, duplicative or obsolete and force taxpayers to navigate needlessly complex or confusing rules." Tax Regulations are issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and provide the official interpretation of the Tax Code.

The proposal is a follow-up to an Executive Order issued by President Trump on April 21, 2017, charging the Treasury with reviewing certain tax regulations to ensure that the tax system is "simple, fair, efficient, and pro-growth." The April order did not attempt to tackle an overhaul of the entire Tax Regs system but rather targeted all significant tax regulations issued on or after January 1, 2016. [...]

Nearly a year later, Treasury proposes to eliminate 298 tax regulations, which, according to Secretary Mnuchin "serve no useful purpose to taxpayers." Those regulations fall into three categories:

  • Regulations interpreting provisions of the Code that have been repealed;
  • Regulations interpreting provisions that have been significantly revised and the existing regulations do not account for these revisions; and
  • Regulations that are no longer applicable.

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New Tax Scam Methods: "Erroneous Tax Refunds"

From Forbes.com

Thieves are using phishing and other schemes to steal client data from tax professionals. Then, using that data, they file fraudulent tax returns and use the taxpayers' real bank accounts to deposit erroneous tax refunds. Finally, the thieves, posing as IRS or other law enforcement, call attention to the error and ask taxpayers to return the money to them.

Why are thieves going to such lengths? They know it is more difficult to identify and halt fraudulent tax returns when they are using real client data such as income, dependents, credits, and deductions. Additionally, it's harder to track when criminals can find alternative ways to get the fraudulent refunds delivered to themselves rather than the real taxpayers - no more stealing checks out of mailboxes.

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If this happens to you - and you do have a bogus tax refund in your bank account - here's how the IRS wants you to return the funds and avoid being scammed:

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If you are calling the IRS, be prepared to verify your identity

From IRS.com

The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers and tax professionals that they will be asked to verify their identities if they call the IRS. This is part of the agency’s efforts to keep taxpayer data secure from identity thieves. Days before and after Presidents Day mark the peak period for taxpayer phone calls to the IRS. To avoid the rush, callers should be prepared to verify their identities if they need to call the agency.

IRS call center professionals take great care to make certain that they only discuss personal information with the taxpayer or someone the taxpayer authorizes to speak on their behalf. To ensure that taxpayers do not have to call back, the IRS reminds taxpayers to have the following documents ready:

  • Social Security numbers and birth dates for those who were named on the tax return in question
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if the taxpayer has one in lieu of a Social Security number (SSN)
  • Filing status – Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate
  • The prior-year tax return. Telephone assistors may need to verify taxpayer identity with information from the return before answering certain questions
  • A copy of the tax return in question
  • Any IRS letters or notices received by the taxpayer
  • By law, IRS assistors will only speak with the taxpayer or to their legally designated representative.

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Tracking your Refund

From IRS.com

Did you know you can get fast answers about your refund by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool available on IRS.gov and through the IRS2Go app?

More than 70 percent of taxpayers will receive a refund this year. The Internal Revenue Service issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, and the fastest way to get a refund is to use IRS e-file and direct deposit.

Questions about tax refunds are the most frequent reason people call the IRS. But the time around Presidents Day is a peak period for telephone calls to the IRS, resulting in longer than normal hold times. IRS telephone assistors can only research a refund’s status if it has been 21 days or more since the taxpayer filed electronically, six weeks since they mailed a paper return or if “Where’s My Refund?” directs a taxpayer to call.

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