News

Mar 15, 2017 – IRS Funding Information

The IRS releases refunds each weekday throughout the year. We provide the percentage of refunds that have not yet been funded by the IRS. We update these funding statistics at approximately 2:00pm eastern each weekday throughout the year.

As of today, the estimated percentage of refunds not yet released by the IRS are:

– for returns filed 02/07 and prior, most refunds have been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/08 – 02/20, approximately 10% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/21 – 02/28, approximately 15% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/01 – 03/01, approximately 25% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/02 – 03/06, approximately 35% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/07 – 03/07, approximately 40% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/08 – 03/08, approximately 60% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/09 – 03/09, approximately 95% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/10 and beyond, the IRS has released very few refunds.

    Mar 14, 2017 – IRS Funding Information

The IRS releases refunds each weekday throughout the year. We provide the percentage of refunds that have not yet been funded by the IRS. We update these funding statistics at approximately 2:00pm eastern each weekday throughout the year.

As of today, the estimated percentage of refunds not yet released by the IRS are:

– for returns filed 02/06 and prior, most refunds have been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/07 – 02/20, approximately 10% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/21 – 02/28, approximately 15% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/01 – 03/01, approximately 30% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/02 – 03/05, approximately 35% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/06 – 03/07, approximately 40% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/08 – 03/08, approximately 90% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/09 and beyond, the IRS has released very few refunds.

IRS takes down student financial aid data retrieval tool

The IRS alerted taxpayers that it has taken down its tool for retrieving tax return data used to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and the retrieval tool will not be operating for several weeks.

The data retrieval tool, which resides on fafsa.gov and StudentLoans.gov, normally allows individual taxpayers who are applying for student financial aid to complete the parts of FAFSA requiring tax return information online by accessing data from a prior year’s return and populating the FAFSA with that information. The IRS announced that the outage also affects taxpayers’ ability to access those data when applying for income-driven repayment plans for student loans.

The IRS said it shut down the system out of concern over the risk of identity theft from unauthorized users who may be able to access taxpayer return information using the data retrieval tool. Once these concerns are addressed, the IRS said it will reopen the system.

Meanwhile, the online FAFSA application and income-driven repayment plan applications remain operational. To get tax return information for the FAFSA application, which this year requires information from 2015 tax returns, taxpayers who do not have copies of those returns should try to get a copy of their return by accessing the tax software they used to prepare it, or, if they used a tax professional, they should contact the preparer and ask for the information.

Taxpayers can also use the Get Transcript online application but should review the rigorous identification and registration procedures before using that method. Taxpayers can also request a transcript by mail or by phone.

Income-driven repayment programs for student loans require borrowers to submit “alternative documentation” of their income, which refers to their most recently filed tax returns or pay stubs.

—Sally P. Schreiber (Sally.Schreiber@aicpa-cima.com) is a Tax Adviser senior editor.

– See more at: http://www.thetaxadviser.com/news/2017/mar/tax-return-retrieval-tool-for-fafsa-is-down-201716215.html#sthash.XnJuQuTs.dpuf

Mar 10, 2017 – IRS Funding Information

The IRS releases refunds each weekday throughout the year. We provide the percentage of refunds that have not yet been funded by the IRS. We update these funding statistics at approximately 2:00pm eastern each weekday throughout the year.

As of today, the estimated percentage of refunds not yet released by the IRS are:

– for returns filed 01/15 and prior, most refunds have been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 01/16 – 02/18, approximately 10% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/19 – 02/21, approximately 15% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/22 – 02/22, approximately 20% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/23 – 02/26, approximately 25% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/27 – 02/28, approximately 35% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/01 – 03/01, approximately 60% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/02 – 03/05, approximately 65% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/06 and beyond, the IRS has released very few refunds.

    Mar 09, 2017 – IRS Funding Information

The IRS releases refunds each weekday throughout the year. We provide the percentage of refunds that have not yet been funded by the IRS. We update these funding statistics at approximately 2:00pm eastern each weekday throughout the year.

As of today, the estimated percentage of refunds not yet released by the IRS are:

– for returns filed 01/15 and prior, most refunds have been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 01/16 – 02/18, approximately 10% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/19 – 02/21, approximately 15% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/22 – 02/22, approximately 20% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/23 – 02/24, approximately 25% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/25 – 02/25, approximately 30% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 02/26 – 02/28, approximately 35% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/01 – 03/01, approximately 60% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/02 – 03/03, approximately 65% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/04 – 03/04, approximately 95% have not yet been released by the IRS.

– for returns filed 03/05 and beyond, the IRS has released very few refunds.

Five Tax Tips on Unemployment Benefits

Taxpayers who received unemployment benefits need to remember that it may be taxable. Here are five key facts about unemployment:
1. Unemployment is Taxable. Include all unemployment compensation as income for the year. Taxpayers should receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments, by Jan. 31. This form shows the amount received and the amount of any federal income tax withheld.
2. There are Different Types. Unemployment compensation includes amounts paid under federal law or state law as well as railroad, trade readjustment and airline deregulation laws. Even some forms of disability payments can count. For more information, see IRS Publication 525.
3. Union Benefits May be Taxable. Benefits received from regular union dues as income might be taxable. Other rules may apply if a taxpayer contributed to a special union fund and those contributions to the fund are not deductible. In this case, report only income exceeding the amount of contributions made.
4. Tax May be Withheld. Those who receive unemployment can choose to have federal income tax withheld by using Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. Those choosing not to have tax withheld may need to make estimated tax payments during the year.
5. Visit IRS.gov for Help. Taxpayers facing financial difficulties should visit the IRS.gov page: “What Ifs” for Struggling Taxpayers. This page explains the tax effect of various life events such as job loss. For those who owe federal taxes and can’t pay, the Payments tab on IRS.gov provides some options. In many cases, the IRS can take steps to help ease financial burden.

Medical and Dental Expenses May Impact Your Taxes

Medical expenses can trim taxes. Keeping good records and knowing what to deduct make all the difference. Here are some tips to help taxpayers know what qualifies as medical and dental expenses:
• Itemize. Taxpayers can only claim medical expenses that they paid for in 2016 if they itemize deductions on a federal tax return.
• Qualifying Expenses. Taxpayers can include most medical and dental costs that they paid for themselves, their spouses and their dependents including:
o The costs of diagnosing, treating, easing or preventing disease.
o The costs paid for prescription drugs and insulin.
o The costs paid for insurance premiums for policies that cover medical care.
o Some long-term care insurance costs.
Exceptions and special rules apply. Costs reimbursed by insurance or other sources normally do not qualify for a deduction. More examples of what costs taxpayers can and can’t deduct are in IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.
• Travel Costs Count. It is possible to deduct travel costs paid for medical care. This includes costs such as public transportation, ambulance service, tolls and parking fees. For use of a car, deduct either the actual costs or the standard mileage rate for medical travel. The rate is 19 cents per mile for 2016.
• No Double Benefit. Don’t claim a tax deduction for medical expenses paid with funds from your Health Savings Accounts or Flexible Spending Arrangements. Amounts paid with funds from these plans are usually tax-free.
• Use the Tool. Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if they can deduct their medical expenses.
Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

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National Association of Tax Professionals