December 2015 Tax Snacks


Tax Snacks: Bite-size tax news and information on the fly

Dates to Remember

December 31:

Any and all year-end tax planning must be implemented!

January 15:

Fourth quarter individual estimated tax payments are due.

February 1:

Forms W-2 and most Forms 1099 are due to recipients.
New Forms 1095-C (reporting health insurance coverage) are due to recipients.

February 16:

Forms 1099-B (reporting stock sales) are due to recipients.

When it comes to the Criminal Investigation unit – Don’t mess with the IRS!

Most of our interaction with the IRS involves accountants and office workers, like ourselves, and anyone’s greatest risks consist of an increased tax bill, perhaps some bad coffee, or an inadvertent paper cut. But there is a division within the IRS that is responsible for pursuing some unusually nasty stuff, and most of us never encounter them. According to the Internal Revenue Manual, the Special Agents in the Criminal Investigation division must qualify via physical fitness training, as well as with rifles, shotguns, .40 caliber Glock handguns, expandable batons and pepper spray. Not that they need such props… they have formal procedures to follow in the event that one of their “subjects” is injured in a “weaponless control technique,” which I’m guessing involves some hand-to-hand combat moves, rather than merely swapping someone’s “real” coffee for decaf, as you or I might do to subdue someone.

The Criminal Investigation unit recently released its 2015 annual business report, and it makes for some interesting reading. Although it does not describe dust-ups that employ their nunchaku skills, it provides a lot of insight into their breadth of duties (ID theft, fraud, refund theft and tax evasion, to name a few) and successes (93% conviction rate, and billions in forfeited assets), and provides numerous stories of criminals that were caught. Their predecessors famously brought down Al Capone, and they continue to do more of the same, but with much less fanfare.

Several TV shows have featured attorneys or politicians as main characters (L.A. Law, Boston Legal, West Wing), and I’ve held out hope that a truly fascinating show about accountants will be created. Deep down, I guess I know bean counters probably can’t pull that off. But if they do, it likely will include some members of this group!

Form 1095-C: A new “Obamacare” filing requirement for many employers

Form 1095-C, and its companion transmittal form, 1094-C, are forms that have not been required to be filed until now. Oversimplifying, Form 1095-C is used by “applicable large employers” (generally those who employ at least 50 employees) to report various information regarding health insurance coverage offered to employees. Each form is specific to one employee, who must receive his or her Form 1095-C by February 1. (Employers must file a copy with the IRS by the end of February, if paper-filing; and by the end of March, if e-filing.) To say the least, the rules and requirements related to these forms are complex. Your accountant may be able to field general questions regarding these forms, while payroll processors will tend to be more familiar.

More information may be found at the links below:

Disclaimer of Liability: This publication is intended to provide general information to our clients and friends. It does not constitute accounting, tax, or legal advice; nor is it intended to convey a thorough treatment of the subject matter.