Monday, October 31, 2016

January 31 filing deadline for Forms W-2


The Internal Revenue Service today reminded employers and small businesses of a new Jan. 31 filing deadline for Forms W-2. The IRS must also hold some refunds until Feb. 15.

A new federal law, aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud, will accelerate the W-2 filing deadline for employers to Jan. 31. For similar reasons, the new law also requires the IRS to hold refunds involving two key refundable tax credits until at least Feb. 15. Here are details on each of these key dates.

New Jan. 31 Deadline for Employers
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted last December, includes a new requirement for employers. They are now required to file their copies of Form W-2, submitted to the Social Security Administration, by Jan. 31. The new Jan. 31 filing deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation such as payments to independent contractors.

Some Refunds Delayed Until at Least Feb. 15
Due to the PATH Act change, some people will get their refunds a little later. The new law requires the IRS to hold the refund for any tax return claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15. By law, the IRS must hold the entire refund, not just the portion related to the EITC or ACTC.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Seven Things Employers Can Think About Now



If your organization is an applicable large employer, you must report information about the health care coverage you offered to your full-time employees. As an employer, it’s not too early to start thinking about these seven facts related to your information reporting responsibilities under the health care law.

1. The health care law requires ALEs to report information about health insurance coverage offered to its full-time employees and their dependents as well as to the IRS.

2. ALEs must report information about themselves, the coverage they offered – if any – and the individuals covered under the policy.

3. ALEs are required to furnish a statement to each full-time employee that includes the same information provided to the IRS by January 31, 2017.

4. ALEs that file 250 or more information returns during the calendar year must file the returns electronically.

5. ALEs must file Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage with the IRS annually, no later than February 28, 2017 or March 31, 2017 if filed electronically. Forms 1095-C are filed accompanied by the transmittal form, Form 1094-C.

6. Self-insured employers that are applicable large employers, and therefore are also subject to the information reporting requirements for offers of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, must combine reporting under both provisions by filing a single information return, Form 1095-C, and transmittal, Form 1094-C.

7. The ACA Assurance Testing System opens November 7, 2016 for tax year 2016 testing. Software developers – including employers and issuers who passed AATS for tax year 2015 – will not have to retest for tax year 2016; the Tax Year Software Packages will be moved into Production status.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due to Inflation Adjustments


The Internal Revenue Service today announced the tax year 2017  annual inflation adjustments for more than 50 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes. Revenue Procedure 2016-55 provides details about these annual adjustments. The tax year 2017 adjustments generally are used on tax returns filed in 2018.


  • The standard deduction for married filing jointly rises to $12,700 for tax year 2017, up $100 from the prior year. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $6,350 in 2017, up from $6,300 in 2016, and for heads of households, the standard deduction will be $9,350 for tax year 2017, up from $9,300 for tax year 2016.
  • The personal exemption for tax year 2017 remains as it was for 2016: $4,050.  However, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $261,500 ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $384,000 ($436,300 for married couples filing jointly.)
  • For tax year 2017, the 39.6 percent tax rate affects single taxpayers whose income exceeds $418,400 ($470,700 for married taxpayers filing jointly), up from $415,050 and $466,950, respectively. The other marginal rates – 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent – and the related income tax thresholds for tax year 2017 are described in the revenue procedure.
  • The limitation for itemized deductions to be claimed on tax year 2017 returns of individuals begins with incomes of $287,650 or more ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly).


Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Disaster Perparedness


The Internal Revenue Service today offered advice to taxpayers who may be affected by storms or other natural disasters. The IRS also reminded taxpayers that the agency is here to help including offering a special toll-free number to taxpayers in federally-declared disaster areas, staffed with IRS specialists trained to handle disaster-related issues.

Don’t Forget to Update Emergency Plans
Because a disaster can strike any time, be sure to review emergency plans annually. Personal and business situations change over time as do preparedness needs.

Create Electronic Copies of Key Documents
Taxpayers can help themselves by keeping a duplicate set of key documents including bank statements, tax returns, identifications and insurance policies in a safe place such as a waterproof container and away from the original set.

Document Valuables
It’s a good idea to photograph or videotape the contents of any home, especially items of higher value. Documenting these items ahead of time will make it easier to   quickly claim any available insurance and tax benefits after the disaster strikes

Check on Fiduciary Bonds
Employers who use payroll service providers should ask the provider if it has a fiduciary bond in place. The bond could protect the employer in the event of default by the payroll service provider.

In the case of a federally declared disaster, an affected taxpayer can call 1-866-562-5227 to speak with an IRS specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Monday, October 24, 2016

Offshore Voluntary Compliance Efforts Top $10 Billion


As international compliance efforts pass several new milestones, the Internal Revenue Service reminds U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed offshore accounts that they should use existing paths to come into full compliance with their federal tax obligations.
Updated data shows 55,800 taxpayers have come into the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) to resolve their tax obligations, paying more than $9.9 billion in taxes, interest and penalties since 2009. In addition, another 48,000 taxpayers have made use of separate streamlined procedures to correct prior non-willful omissions and meet their federal tax obligations, paying approximately $450 million in taxes, interest and penalties.
“The IRS has passed several major milestones in our offshore efforts, collecting a combined $10 billion with 100,000 taxpayers coming back into compliance,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “As we continue to receive more information on foreign accounts, people’s ability to avoid detection becomes harder and harder. The IRS continues to urge those people with international tax issues to come forward to meet their tax obligations.”
Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the network of inter-governmental agreements (IGAs) between the U.S. and partner jurisdictions, automatic third-party account reporting has entered its second year. More information also continues to come to the IRS as a result of the Department of Justice’s Swiss Bank Program. As part of a series on non-prosecution agreements, the participating banks continue to provide information on potential non-compliance by U.S. taxpayers.
OVDP offers taxpayers with undisclosed income from foreign financial accounts and assets an opportunity to get current with their tax returns and information reporting obligations. The program encourages taxpayers to voluntarily disclose foreign financial accounts and assets now rather than risk detection by the IRS at a later date and face more severe penalties and possible criminal prosecution.

Courtesy of IRS

For information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Friday, October 21, 2016

Become a Tax Volunteer


The IRS is looking for people to provide free tax help in 2017. Become a tax volunteer and make a difference in your community.

The IRS sponsors the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. These two programs offer free tax help across the country for people with low-to-moderate incomes. This year, VITA and TCE volunteers prepared more than 3.7 million federal tax returns at no cost to families across the country.

As a volunteer, you’ll join a program that’s helped millions of people file tax returns at no charge for more than 40 years. Your help will make a difference. It’s people helping people. It's that simple.

Courtesy of IRS

For information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Thursday, October 20, 2016

When should I hire an Accountant?


There are good reasons for hiring an accountant at different stages of your company's growth. From a business plan to company formation, loan application to government audit, an accountant can make life easier for you at each step.

That doesn't mean you always need to employ an accountant full-time or hire one on a retainer basis. Sometimes just a couple of hours of their time will be enough.

Like all small business owners who are looking to save money, you may think you can’t afford an accountant. But look at how long it would take you to do certain tasks (such as taxes), and ask yourself, is that a good use of your time?

If you involve an accountant while you're writing your business plan, they will be able to use accounting software to add financial projections and other reports to it. This will help you create a business plan that's realistic, professional and more likely to succeed.

Not all businesses have the same legal structure – there are different types that are determined by a number of factors. Some might be called limited companies, limited liability partnerships or corporations, others could be sole traders or proprietors. These vary from one country to another.
You should carefully consider each type before deciding which one best suits you.

Small business accounting can quickly become complex if you do it on your own. If you feel you're losing control of who owes you money and how much, an accountant can help you get back on track.

You may also want to measure key business metrics, such as the ratio of salaries and other employee payments to total revenue. An accountant can help here by managing your payroll and producing graphs so you can see how the ratio changes over time.

As a small business owner, no doubt one of the things you like best is that you have control. You can set your own working hours, craft your business strategy, regulate your workload (at least to some extent) and determine your own finances. And being the master of all of these things is a wonderful and liberating feeling.

But sometimes it can stop you from delegating. Business owners can feel overworked, partly due to a reluctance to allow other people to help out. You might feel that no one can possibly know your business as well as you do, therefore nobody can handle any part of your business as well as you can.

Inability to delegate can mean you’re left feeling overworked and stressed. At some point you will have to let go, and learn to trust other people to handle some parts of your business so that you can look after the rest.

Courtesy of Xero

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Accounting Tips for Small Business


There’s no shortage of details to consider when you’re a small business owner. Getting the back-office basics of accounting in order early on – tracking revenues, expenses and costs – will keep you out of the weeds of paperwork and cash flow snafus, and onto the important work of growing your business.

To keep moving toward your long-term goals and improve profits, get your small business accounting in order with these essential tips:
Separate Business and Personal Expenses
Track Every Expense
Accurately Record Deposits
Understand When It Pays to Pay
Dedicate Time to Update Your Books
Keep Tabs on Labor Costs
Expect Major Expenses
Maintain Inventory Records
Follow Up on Invoices and Receivables

Bookkeeping is a necessary chore of all businesses, helping you manage your operations and prevent an audit by giving the IRS what they need.

Courtesy of FundEra

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Extension Filers Have Until March 15 to File


The IRS is now offering this expanded relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for either individual assistance or public assistance. Moreover, taxpayers in counties added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief.

The IRS is taking this step due to the unusual factors involving Hurricane Matthew and the interaction with the Oct. 17 extension deadline.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Oct. 4, 2016. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until March 15, 2017, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes the Jan. 17 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments. For individual tax filers, it also includes 2015 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until today, Oct. 17, 2016. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2015 returns were originally due on April 18, 2016, those are not eligible for this relief.

A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected including the Oct. 31 and Jan. 31 deadlines for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. It also includes the special March 1 deadline that applies to farmers and fishermen who choose to forgo making quarterly estimated tax payments.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Monday, October 17, 2016

IRS Announces Position on Unilateral APA Applications Involving Maquiladoras


The Internal Revenue Service today announced that U.S. taxpayers with maquiladora operations in Mexico will not be exposed to double taxation if they enter into a unilateral advance pricing agreement (APA) with the Large Taxpayer Division of Mexico’s Servicio de Administraci√≥n Tributaria (SAT) under terms discussed in advance between the U.S. and Mexican competent authorities.
Maquiladoras typically operate in Mexico as contract manufacturers of foreign multinationals.
This announcement represents the culmination of two years of collaboration between the competent authorities to address SAT’s current inventory of approximately 700 pending unilateral APA requests in the maquiladoras industry.  It is an important step forward in strengthening ties between the two governments and providing certainty in the taxation of multinationals.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Friday, October 14, 2016

Many Victims of Hurricane Matthew Qualify for Late-Filing Penalty Relief


The Internal Revenue Service today advised taxpayers affected by Hurricane Matthew but not yet covered by a federal disaster declaration with individual assistance that they may qualify for relief from penalties if they are unable to meet Monday’s extended deadline for filing 2015 tax returns.

The IRS noted that additional individual assistance areas could be added to the federal disaster area in coming days based on continuing damage assessments by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These additional disaster declarations will pave the way for additional extensions and other relief from the IRS. This means that the IRS will automatically provide retroactive extensions and other relief to any locality added to the federal disaster area at a later date. In areas with disaster declarations for individual assistance, taxpayers will have until  March 15, 2017 to file returns otherwise due on Monday, October  17.

“The hurricane and flooding have hit many different states hard, and the timing of this is especially tough for taxpayers and tax professionals planning to file by the Oct. 17 extension deadline,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We have been watching this situation unfold and remain in close touch with FEMA. We will do everything we can to work with taxpayers who are in affected areas.”

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Double Check ACA Information on Your Return


If you received an extension of time to file your 2015 federal tax return, you have until Oct. 17 to double check your return and information on it that is related to the Affordable Care Act. The health care law includes  the individual shared responsibility provision and the premium tax credit that may affect your return.

Many people already have minimum essential coverage. If this applies to you, you'll simply report your coverage when you file your tax return by checking a box on your Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

Most taxpayers simply need to check a box on their tax return to indicate you had health coverage for all of 2015. For any month that you or anyone in your family did not have minimum essential coverage, you need to either claim or report a coverage exemption or make a shared responsibility payment when you file your tax return.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

IRS Gives Tax Relief to Victims of Hurricane Matthew


North Carolina storm victims will have until March 15, 2017, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments, with similar relief expected soon for Hurricane Matthew victims in other states, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. All workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization also qualify for relief.

Following this week’s disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the IRS said that affected taxpayers in Beaufort, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Hoke, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt and Robeson counties will receive this and other special tax relief. Locations in other states are expected to be added in coming days, based on damage assessments by FEMA.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Oct. 4, 2016. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until March 15, 2017, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes the Jan. 17 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments. For individual tax filers, it also includes 2015 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until Oct. 17, 2016. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2015 returns were originally due on April 18, 2016, those are not eligible for this relief.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Don't forget today is the last day to register to VOTE


Who Can Vote?

You can vote in U.S. elections if you:
Are a U.S. citizen
Meet your state’s residency requirements
You can be homeless and still meet these requirements.
Are 18 years old on or before Election Day
You can register to vote before you turn 18 if you will be 18 by Election Day. Check your state’s registration age requirements.
Register to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline
The one exception is for residents of North Dakota, which doesn’t have voter registration.

Who CAN’T Vote?
Non-citizens, including permanent legal residents
For President in the general election: U.S. citizens residing in U.S. territories
Some people with felony convictions. Rules vary by state. Check with your state elections office about the laws in your state.
Some people who are mentally incapacitated. Rules vary by state.

Whose Options Are Limited Due to Primaries, Caucuses or Political Party?
No one’s. In the general election, you can vote for any Presidential candidate on the ballot from any party:

Whether you voted in your state’s primaries or caucuses or not
Regardless of who you voted for in the primaries or caucuses
Regardless of whether you’re registered with a political party or not

Who May Have Problems Voting Due to State or Local Requirements?
People who don’t present the types of Voter ID required in their state
People who have changed their name or permanent address and have not updated their voter registration
People whose name or address on their Voter ID doesn’t match the name or address on their voter registration
People who go to vote on Election Day at a polling place that is not their assigned polling location

Who May Have Problems Voting Due to Logistics?
Voters with disabilities or language barriers. Make sure you know your rights and the options available to help you vote.
Voters who can’t get to the polls on Election Day. Whether you live overseas, have a disability or injury limiting your mobility, are traveling for business, or attend college out of state, be sure you’re aware of the options available to you for Absentee and Early Voting.

If you need to register to vote, visit Vote.USA.gov.

Courtesy of usa.gov

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tax-filing Extension Expires Oct. 17 for Millions of Taxpayers


The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers whose tax-filing extension runs out on Oct. 17 to double check their returns for often-overlooked tax benefits and then file their returns electronically using IRS e-file or the Free File system.

Fewer than a third of the 13 million taxpayers who requested an automatic six-month extension this year have yet to file. Although Oct. 17  is the last day for most people, some still have more time, including members of the military and others serving in combat zone localities who typically have until at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to both file returns and pay any taxes due.

In addition, taxpayers in several disaster area localities who already had valid extensions now have more time to file. Currently, taxpayers in parts of Florida, Louisiana and West Virginia qualify for this relief. For details, see the disaster relief page on IRS.gov. However, like other extension filers, these taxpayers were required to pay what they owe by April 18.  

The IRS continues to monitor the impact of Hurricane Matthew and will be watching for federal disaster declarations in affected areas that could affect the Oct. 17 deadline.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Friday, October 7, 2016

IRS Now Accepting ITIN Renewal Applications


The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers affected by recent changes involving the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program that they can now begin submitting their ITIN renewal applications to the IRS.

Under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 passed by Congress and signed into law last year, any ITIN not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will no longer be valid for use on a tax return as of Jan. 1, 2017.

If a taxpayer has an ITIN that is scheduled to expire and needs to file a tax return, it’s important not to delay. By submitting the application package in the next few weeks ITIN taxpayers may avoid unnecessary delays and allow for smoother and faster processing.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Terms to Know about Offers of Health Coverage


Here are definitions of key terms related to health coverage you might offer to employees:

Affordable coverage: If the lowest-cost self-only only health plan is 9.5 percent or less of your full-time employee’s household income, then the coverage is considered affordable. Because you likely will not know your employee’s household income, for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions, you can determine whether you offered affordable coverage under various safe harbors based on information available to you as the employer.

Minimum essential coverage: For purposes of reporting by applicable large employers, minimum essential coverage means coverage under an employer-sponsored plan. It does not include fixed indemnity coverage, life insurance or dental or vision coverage.

Minimum value coverage: An employer-sponsored plan provides minimum value if it covers at least 60 percent of the total allowed cost of benefits that are expected to be incurred under the plan.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Charitable donations and taxes


There are a lot of good reasons to make donations to charity, but most boil down to one simple fact: Giving feels good. It’s no surprise, then, that many Americans give money or property to organizations they care about. In fact, some give quite a bit.

Whether you’re a minor donor or a philanthropist, you probably give because you want to help. Still, taking maximum advantage of tax breaks for your charitable efforts can make a difference to your bottom line—and involves following some fairly straightforward rules for deducting your donations:

Itemize deductions. To claim charitable donations on your tax return, you need to itemize deductions on Schedule A. Before making this move, be sure that itemizing will reduce your tax bill more than taking the standard deduction

Keep proof of your gift. If you gave cash, hold on to a bank statement, cancelled check or credit-card receipt showing the amount of the donation. For gifts of cash or property worth more than $250, also keep the written acknowledgement from the charity showing the date and value of the donation.

Clothing or household items must be in good shape. Second-hand clothes and the like must be in at least “good used condition.” You can deduct only the value they would sell for in a thrift shop—not what you paid for them.

Fill out form 8382 when you deduct gifts of items worth more than $500.

Get an independent appraisal when giving valuable property. When you claim a donation of furniture, jewelry or other item worth more than $5,000, the IRS wants independent verification of its value.

Courtesy of TruboTax

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Do I need an Accountant?


As a small-business owner, up until this point, you may have managed your money successfully. Software programs like QuickBooks make it possible, even if you don’t have much financial knowledge or experience.

However, as your business — and revenue — grow, managing your financials may become a task you don’t have the time or knowledge to manage. Specifically, when it comes avoiding legal and compliance issues.

An accountant can talk to you in straight terms, weed through terminology, and teach you how to manage your own finances. In addition, you don’t want to miss key information or make mistakes early that could cost you down the road. An accountant can start you and your business off on the right track.

An accountant can advise you early on so that you can comply with all tax regulations. More importantly, an accountant can inform you of tax credits and deductions you can take, and predict the taxes you’ll owe.

Managing your books is preventing you from accomplishing tasks that could directly grow your business (for example, acquiring new clients or moving into new markets) or managing your business effectively (such as dealing with performance issues or troubleshooting service problems). Hire an accountant so you can focus on winning more business, innovating, building your team, and other development activities.

Accountants can create detailed, accurate reports that keep your investors happy and allow you to focus on tasks like growing the business. Additionally, if you are looking for a loan or funding from an investor, you will need to present a polished business plan. An accountant can help you flesh out the financial portion of your plan

If you want to grow through an acquisition, sell off parts of the business, or sell the entire business, an accountant can walk you through the process and determine how to structure the transaction so that you aren’t hit with overwhelming taxes.

Courtesy of QuickBooks

For more information contact Neikirk, Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999

Monday, October 3, 2016

Drought-Stricken Farmers and Ranchers Have More Time to Replace Livestock


Farmers and ranchers who previously were forced to sell livestock due to drought, like the drought currently affecting much of the nation, have an extended period of time in which to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

Farmers and ranchers who due to drought sell more livestock than they normally would may defer tax on the extra gains from those sales. To qualify, the livestock generally must be replaced within a four-year period. The IRS is authorized to extend this period if the drought continues.

The one-year extension of the replacement period announced today generally applies to capital gains realized by eligible farmers and ranchers on sales of livestock held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes due to drought. Sales of other livestock, such as those raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes, and poultry are not eligible.

The IRS is providing this relief to any farm located in a county, parish, city, or district, listed as suffering exceptional, extreme or severe drought conditions by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), during any weekly period between Sept. 1, 2015, and Aug. 31, 2016.

Courtesy of IRS

For more information contact Neikirk. Mahoney and Smith at 502-896-2999