Archive for the ‘Company News’ Category

Congress Delays “Extender” Legislation Again

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by Bill Morgan No Comments

On December 3, the House of Representatives passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771). The bill would extend 56 tax provisions which expired or were reduced at the end of 2013. The bill extends the provisions for 2014.

Since many of the provisions in the House‐passed bill are also in the Senate extender bill, it is expected to pass
the Senate shortly and be sent to the President before the lame‐duck session ends. Among the provisions expected to be extended are:

  • Election for itemizers to deduct sales taxes in lieu of state income tax.
  • Mortgage insurance premium deduction as mortgage interest.
  • Tuition deduction.
  • $250 teacher supply deduction.
  • Residential energy credit.
  • American Opportunity Tax Credit.
  • Reduced earnings threshold for refundable child tax credit.
  • 179 Expense deduction.  For the last few years, the so-called Section 179 expense deduction was set at $500,000.  This meant that businesses could immediately depreciate up to $500,000 for the cost of qualifying business assets. The deduction was limited to earned income and was reduced dollar-for‐dollar once the qualifying assets hit $2 million.  Without an extender the amount reverts to$25,000 for 2014.
  • Bonus Depreciation. Businesses could also write off 50% of qualified new property purchased and placed in service in 2013. It was restricted to new assets, which meant that the first use of the property had to begin with the taxpayer.  This provision was not extended and expired at the end of 2013.  Congress is expected to extend bonus depreciation for assets placed in service in 2014.

State Tax Cut Proposal

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by Bill Morgan No Comments

Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant, has proposed a sliding tax credit for Mississippi taxpayers, which would be based on a filer’s eligibility for the federal earned income tax credit.

The sliding tax credit is designed to help low-to-moderate income families and would be equal to 15% of the federal earned income tax credit. Governor Bryant says that he is open to input from the State Legislature regarding his proposal. He also said the State of Mississippi’s fiscal condition is strong enough to consider a tax cut.

Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions for Individuals & Families

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by Bill Morgan No Comments

The Affordable Care Act, or health care law, contains health insurance coverage and financial assistance options for individuals and families. The IRS administers the tax provisions included in the law. Visit HealthCare.gov for more information on coverage options and financial assistance.

What do I need to know about the health care law?

The Individual Shared Responsibility Provision requires you and each member of your family to have qualifying health insurance (called minimum essential coverage), have an exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment when you file your federal income tax return.

If you get your insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for a Premium Tax Credit. Filing electronically is the easiest way to file a complete and accurate tax return. Electronic Filing options include free Volunteer Assistance, IRS Free File, commercial software and professional assistance.

Contact the professionals at M.M. Winkler & Associates for your tax filing needs and questions about the Affordable Care Act.

Five Easy Ways to Spot a Scam Phone Call

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by Bill Morgan No Comments

IR-2015-05, Jan. 22, 2015

WASHINGTON — Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain near the top of the annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for the 2015 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.

“If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don’t pay immediately, it’s a scam artist calling,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail. Taxpayers have rights, and this is not how we do business.”

The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so. This year for the first time, the IRS will issue the individual Dirty Dozen scams one at a time during the next 12 business days to raise consumer awareness.

Phone scams top the list this year because it has been a persistent and pervasive problem for many taxpayers for many months. Scammers are able to alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. They often leave “urgent” callback requests. They prey on the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English. Scammers have been known to impersonate agents from IRS Criminal Investigation as well.

“These criminals try to scare and shock you into providing personal financial information on the spot while you are off guard,” Koskinen said. “Don’t be taken in and don’t engage these people over the phone.”

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of roughly 290,000 contacts since October 2013 and has become aware of nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively paid over $14 million as a result of the scam, in which individuals make unsolicited calls to taxpayers fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials and demanding that they send them cash via prepaid debit cards.

The IRS continues to warn the public to be alert for telephone scams and offers five tell-tale warning signs to tip you off if you get such a call. These callers claim to be with the IRS. The scammers often demand money to pay taxes. Some may try to con you by saying that you’re due a refund. The refund is a fake lure so you’ll give them your banking or other private financial information.

These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may even know a lot about you. They may alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a sign of a scam.

The IRS does not:

1. Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.

2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

3. Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

Remember, the IRS currently does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issues. For information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov.

Losses from Tornadoes, Severe Storms, Flooding & Other Casualty Losses

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by Bill Morgan No Comments

Generally, you may deduct casualty losses relating to your home, household items, vehicles, and business and income‐producing property on your federal income tax return.  You may not deduct casualty losses covered by insurance unless you file a timely claim for reimbursement, and you reduce the loss by the amount of any reimbursement or expected reimbursement.

For property held by you for personal use, once you have subtracted any salvage value and any insurance or other reimbursement, you must subtract $100 from each casualty or theft event.  Then add up all those amounts and subtract 10% of your adjusted gross income from that total to calculate your allowable casualty or theft losses for the year. Losses on business and income‐producing property are not subject to these reductions.

Casualty losses are generally deducible in the year the casualty occurred.  However, if you have a casualty loss from a federally declared disaster, you can choose to treat the loss as having occurred in the year immediately
preceding the tax year in which the disaster happened, and you can deduct the loss on your return or amended return for that preceding tax year. The loss is the “lesser of” the fair market value of the property immediately before the loss reduced by its fair market value immediately after the loss, or the adjusted basis of the property immediately before the loss.