Small Business Taxes & ManagementTM--Copyright 2020, A/N Group, Inc.
The IRS has announced (IR-2020-34) that as part of a larger effort to ensure compliance and fairness, it will step up efforts to visit high-income taxpayers who in prior years have failed to timely file one or more of their tax returns.
Following the recent and ongoing hiring of additional enforcement personnel, IRS revenue officers across the country will increase face-to-face visits with high-income taxpayers who haven’t filed tax returns in 2018 or previous years. These visits are primarily aimed at informing these taxpayers of their tax filing and paying obligations and bringing these taxpayers into compliance.
For the current tax season, the IRS reminds taxpayers that everyone should file their 2019 tax return by the April 15 filing deadline regardless of whether they can pay in full. Six-month filing extensions are also available, although that does not extend the April deadline for paying any taxes owed.
“Taxpayers having delinquent filing or payment obligations should consult a competent tax advisor before waiting to be contacted by an IRS revenue officer, an IRS official said. "It is always worthwhile to take advantage of various methods of getting back into filing or payment compliance before being personally contacted by the IRS."
For the new visits taking place, high-income non-filers taxpayers are those who generally received income in excess of $100,000 during a tax year and did not file a tax return with the IRS. Taxpayers who exercise their best efforts in filing their tax returns and paying or entering into agreements to pay their taxes deserve to know that the IRS is aggressively pursuing others who have failed to satisfy their filing and payment obligations.
During the visits, IRS revenue officers will share information and work with the taxpayer to hopefully resolve the tax issue.
There are many payment options for people having trouble paying their tax bill. Payment plans can be set up quickly online.
Once returns are filed or an assessment occurs, there are various online payment options available at IRS.gov, including direct pay through a bank account or using a debit or credit card. Other ways to pay include the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (best option for businesses or large payments; enrollment required), Electronic Funds Withdrawal (using during e-filing), same-day wire (bank fees may apply), check or money order or cash (at a participating retail partner). Those who can’t pay immediately may be able to meet their tax obligation in monthly installments by applying for a payment plan (including installment agreements and those who owe less than $50,000), they can find out if they qualify for an offer in compromise (a way to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount), or request that the IRS temporarily delay collection until their financial situation improves.
For those who refuse to pay, the IRS has a number of options available under the law, ranging from a series of civil enforcement actions and, when appropriate, pursuing criminal cases against taxpayers. IRS compliance personnel are also now working more closely with IRS criminal investigators on priority compliance issues, including high-income cases.
If you're due a refund, filing is just as important. That refund isn't going to be there forever. You only have three years from the date the return should have been filed to claim that refund.
The IRS said "These compliance visits underscore the importance of people filing their taxes this April, even if they can't pay the full amount of tax due," said Hank Kea, Director of Field Collection Operations, Small Business/Self Employed Division. "Not filing because you don’t believe you can pay at the time of filing makes the problem worse, as interest and penalties mount over time. We have many payment options available on IRS.gov to help taxpayers. It's better to work on these issues up front rather than ignoring it and ultimately getting to the point of the IRS taking more serious action. Our continued use of ever-changing technologies, coupled with additional enforcement personnel, would suggest that waiting is not a viable option for delinquent taxpayers."
What's a revenue office's job? Revenue officers are trained IRS civil enforcement employees who work to resolve compliance issues, such as missing returns or taxes owed. Revenue officers conduct interviews to gather financial information and provide taxpayers with the necessary steps to become and remain compliant with the law. When necessary, they will take the appropriate enforcement actions to collect the amount owed, following the law while respecting taxpayer rights and following the law.
Don't be confused: Visits are not a scam. For this new initiative, these high-income taxpayers have typically received numerous letters from the IRS over an extended period of time, so they generally realize they have a tax issue.
Revenue officer visits shouldn't be confused with scams. Here's what to look for:
To further promote voluntary compliance with tax laws, the IRS is also using new ways to leverage existing processes and systems, including:
Increase the identification and case creation for individual and business non-filers. New cases will be assigned to IRS employees for appropriate resolution.
Automated Substitute for Return program (ASFR). This affects individual taxpayers who have not filed tax returns, but whose available income information shared with the IRS indicates a significant income tax liability. As part of the ASFR program, the IRS sends notices to these taxpayers alerting them to the potential liability.
Automated 6020(b) process. Promotes employment tax filing compliance by identifying business taxpayers with employment tax requirements who have not filed for a specific period. Ensuring businesses comply with their employment tax filing and payment requirements is another priority for the IRS.
Delinquent Return Refund Hold program (DRRH). Systemically holds an individual taxpayer's income tax refund when their account has at least one unfiled tax return within the five years surrounding that return.
In addition, the IRS is also working with key partners to better educate taxpayers and tax professionals on filing requirements.
The IRS reminds taxpayers that many non-filers are actually owed refunds, and they are also encouraged to look into filing their tax returns. The deadline for claiming refunds on 2016 tax returns is April 15, 2020.
For taxpayers who haven't filed in previous years, the IRS has current and prior year tax forms and instructions available on the IRS.gov Forms and Publications page or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer. Those who are unable to obtain these missing forms can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool. Alternatively, taxpayers can file Form 4506-T to request a wage and income transcript. This transcript shows data from information returns received by the IRS, such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098, Form 5498 and IRA contribution information. Taxpayers can use the information from the transcript to file their tax return.
Copyright 2020 by A/N Group, Inc. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The information is not necessarily a complete summary of all materials on the subject. Copyright is not claimed on material from U.S. Government sources.--ISSN 1089-1536
--Last Update 02/20/20