January 2015 Tax Snacks
Tax Snacks: Bite-size tax news and information on the fly
Dates to RememberFebruary 2:
- Forms W-2 and most Forms 1099 (see below for exceptions) must be provided to payment recipients/employees.
- Forms 1099-B and 1099-S, as well as Forms 1099-MISC that properly report amounts in boxes 8 or 14 (substitute payments in lieu of dividends or interest, and gross proceeds paid to an attorney) must be provided to payment recipients.
IRS Refund and Call Delays – the Verbal Slap-fest Continues between Congress and the IRS
In our last Tax Advisory, we pointed out some federal tax law changes that could be accurately described as a scathe-gram from Congress to the IRS. In the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, Congress cut the IRS budget by several hundred million dollars, and suggested the IRS focus a bit more on the “S” portion of its acronym (service). Specifically, it instructed the IRS to improve its taxpayer helpline and reduce its response times.
In response, and in light of the budget cuts and resulting loss of 1,800 people, the IRS instead foresees the following for 2015, based on a memo from IRS Commissioner John Koshinen and observations made by Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen:
- An “even lower level of telephone service than before.”
- The “possibility that fewer than half of taxpayers trying to call us will actually reach us.”
- An average 30 minute wait time, except for peak times, when it will increase.
- “During the upcoming filing season, it will not answer any tax-law questions except ‘basic’ ones.”
- Refunds, at least for people filing paper returns, will be delayed.
Ouch! I’m hopeful that if we looked hard enough we would find some area of government where the legislative branches and the executive branches work in a collaborative fashion. But taxation is not that area. This would, however, make good fodder for a television sitcom, which has the potential to be hilarious until we recall that both sides of this are being funded by us, the taxpayers – and I’m not so sure we are well served by either side.
—Stan Rose, Editor
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