General

Gig economy tips taxpayers should remember

The gig economy, also called sharing or access economy, is activity where taxpayers earn income providing on-demand work, services or goods. Often, it’s through a digital platform like an app or website. While there are many types of sharing economy businesses, ride-sharing and home rentals are two of the most popular.

Here are some things taxpayers should remember:

• Income from these sources is taxable, regardless of whether an individual receives information returns. This is true even if the work is full-time, part-time or if an individual is paid in cash.
• Taxpayers may also be required to make quarterly estimated income tax payments and pay their share of Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid taxes.

While providing gig economy services, it is important that the taxpayer is correctly classified.

• This means the business or the taxpayer must determine whether the individual providing the services is an employee or independent contractor.
• Taxpayers can use the worker classification page on IRS.gov to see how they are classified.
• Independent contractors may be able to deduct business expenses, depending on tax limits and rules. It is important for taxpayers to keep records of their business expenses.

Since income from the gig economy is taxable, it’s important that taxpayers remember to pay the right amount of taxes throughout the year to avoid owing when they file.

• An employer typically withholds income taxes from their employees’ pay to help cover income taxes their employees owe.
• Gig economy workers who are not considered employees have two ways to cover their income taxes:
o Submit a new From W-4 to their employer to have more income taxes withheld from their paycheck, if they have another job as an employee.
o Make quarterly estimated tax payments to help pay their income taxes throughout the year, including self-employment tax.

The Gig Economy Tax Center on IRS.gov answers questions and helps gig economy taxpayers understand their tax responsibilities.

The tax filing deadline has been postponed to Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The IRS is processing tax returns, issuing refunds and accepting payments. Taxpayers who mailed a tax return will experience a longer wait. There is no need to mail a second tax return or call the IRS.

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IRS extends July 15, other upcoming deadlines for tornado victims in parts of the South; Provides other relief

WASHINGTON – Victims of the April tornadoes, severe storms and flooding that took place in parts of Mississippi, Tennessee and South Carolina will have until Oct. 15, 2020, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for individual assistance. Currently, this includes Clarke, Covington, Grenada, Jasper, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lawrence, Panola and Walthall counties in Mississippi, Bradley and Hamilton counties in Tennessee and Aiken, Barnwell, Berkeley, Colleton, Hampton, Marlboro, Oconee, Orangeburg and Pickens counties in South Carolina.

Taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on April 12. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Oct. 15, 2020, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes 2019 individual and business returns that, due to COVID-19, were due on July 15. Among other things, this also means that affected taxpayers will have until Oct. 15 to make 2019 IRA contributions.

The Oct. 15 deadline also applies to estimated tax payments for the first two quarters of 2020 that were due on July 15, and the third quarter estimated tax payment normally due on Sept. 15. It also includes the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on April 30 and July 31.

In addition, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after April 12 and before April 27 will be abated as long as the deposits were made by April 27.

The IRS disaster relief page has details on other returns, payments and tax-related actions qualifying for the additional time.

The IRS automatically provides filing and payment relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Therefore, taxpayers do not need to contact the agency to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.

In addition, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. This also includes workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.

Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227, once normal operations resume. For information on services currently available from the IRS, visit the IRS operations and services page at IRS.gov/Coronavirus.

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2020 return normally filed next year), or the return for the prior year. This means that taxpayers can, if they choose, claim these losses on the 2019 return they are filling out this tax season.

Be sure to write the appropriate FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss. The numbers are 4536 for Mississippi, 4541 for Tennessee and 4542 for South Carolina. See Publication 547 for details.

The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by these storms and is based on local damage assessments by FEMA. For information on disaster recovery, visit disasterassistance.gov.

Avoiding Economic Impact Payment Scams

Here is a video tax tip from the IRS:

Avoiding Economic Impact Payment Scams English

Subscribe today: The IRS YouTube channels provide short, informative videos on various tax related topics in English, Spanish and ASL.

• www.youtube.com/irsvideos
• www.youtube.com/irsvideosmultilingua
• www.youtube.com/irsvideosASL

An extension to file is not an extension to pay taxes

For most taxpayers the filing and payment deadline was postponed July 15. Those who need more time to file beyond the postponed date, can request an extension to file. Taxpayers must request an extension to file by July 15. This gives them until October 15 to file their tax return. An extension to file is not an extension to pay. Taxes must be paid by July 15.

How to request an extension to file
To get an extension to file, taxpayers must do one of the following:
• File Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using Free File on IRS.gov.
• Submit an electronic payment with Direct Pay, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by debit, credit card or digital wallet and select Form 4868 or extension as the payment type.

An automatic extension of time to file will process when taxpayers pay all or part of their taxes electronically by the Wednesday, July 15 due date.

Although the tax filing deadline has been postponed to July 15, 2020, the IRS continues processing electronic tax returns, issuing direct deposit refunds and accepting electronic payments.

The agency is now is back to processing paper tax returns sent by mail. However, taxpayers who mailed a paper tax return will likely experience a longer wait time. Those who have already mailed a paper tax return but, it hasn’t yet been processed, should not file a second tax return or write the IRS to check the status of their tax return or Economic Impact Payment.

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IRS alert: Economic Impact Payments belong to recipient, not nursing homes or care facilities

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today alerted nursing home and other care facilities that Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) generally belong to the recipients, not the organizations providing the care.

The IRS issued this reminder following concerns that people and businesses may be taking advantage of vulnerable populations who received the Economic Impact Payments.

The payments are intended for the recipients, even if a nursing home or other facility or provider receives the person’s payment, either directly or indirectly by direct deposit or check. These payments do not count as a resource for purposes of determining eligibility for Medicaid and other federal programs for a period of 12 months from receipt. They also do not count as income in determining eligibility for these programs.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued FAQs on this issue, including how representative payees should handle administering the payments for the recipient. SSA has noted that under the Social Security Act, a representative payee is only responsible for managing Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. An EIP is not such a benefit; the EIP belongs to the Social Security or SSI beneficiary. A representative payee should discuss the EIP with the beneficiary. If the beneficiary wants to use the EIP independently, the representative payee should provide the EIP to the beneficiary.

The IRS also noted the Economic Impact Payments do not count as resources that have to be turned over by benefit recipients, such as residents of nursing homes whose care is provided for by Medicaid. The Economic Impact Payment is considered an advance refund for 2020 taxes, so it is considered a tax refund for benefits purposes.

The IRS noted the language in the Form 1040 instructions apply to Economic Impact Payments: “Any refund you receive can’t be counted as income when determining if you or anyone else is eligible for benefits or assistance, or how much you or anyone else can receive, under any federal program or under any state or local program financed in whole or in part with federal funds. These programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps). In addition, when determining eligibility, the refund can’t be counted as a resource for at least 12 months after you receive it.”

Additional information about EIPs and representative payees involving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits can be found at www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/#reppayee.

Additional information on EIPs can be found at www.irs.gov/eipfaq.

Local IRS Offices

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NATP

National Association of Tax Professionals