The IRS initiates radio silence as the October 15 due date looms less than two weeks away for individuals who requested a 6-month extension of time to file their 2012 income tax returns. Essentially all IRS services will be unavailable until government operations resume.
During this time "no live telephone customer service assistance will be available" and "walk-in taxpayer assistance centers will be closed." However, for those masochists out there, the automated telephone system will still be available. As if that is some kind of consolation.
The IRS has been kind enough to remind us that although the current budget crisis has sent much of the IRS on an indefinite hiatus, your tax obligations are afforded no such luxury. From irs.gov:
"Due to the current lapse in appropriations, IRS operations are limited. However, the underlying tax law remains in effect, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal.
Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do so by law. The IRS will accept and process all tax returns with payments, but will be unable to issue refunds during this time."
There's nothing like waiting until the last minute... and then waiting another day.
Late on January 1, 2013, the fix for the fiscal cliff passed the house and senate. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which we can only assume is so named to commemorate the valiant way in which congress has protected American taxpayers by selflessly stepping up in the final hour to do the damned job it was elected to do, extends and/or makes permanent many of the Bush-era tax cuts for those making less than $400,000 ($450,000 married).
Here are the highlights of the bill:
In addition to these highlights, a host of other "Bush-era" credits and incentives have been extended or made permanent.
However, the bill did not address the sequestration (across-the-board spending cuts) but rather, postponed the deadline by two months.
While some may say the 11th-hour grandstanding by congress was unnecessary and entirely avoidable had they exercised marginally more maturity than a bunch of procrastinating college freshman, and that the air of self-congratulatory celebration after what was essentially a kick-the-can solution to the arguably more difficult decisions to be made on spending cuts was patronizing at best, one does have to admit that the ATRA of 2012 will result is less tax for most Americans. In other words, it could have been worse.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act which was passed today to prevent us from going over the "fiscal cliff" is apparently just a stop-gap measure.
Tax increases were not as bad as many feared and spending cuts were few and far between. The major effect of the law will be to delay "sequestration" (automatic across the board budget reductions). Congress will probably revisit tax policy and spending cuts when it tackles the expected increase in the nations's debt limit in February.
Call us for our take on how the law will effect you.
Beginning this year we are introducing client portals to our website.
Federal and State laws keep getting stricter about maintaining the security of tax clients social security numbers (and for good reason).
Attaching documents to emails is no longer considered secure.
Beginning this year you will be able to send and receive documents and information to us via secure portals on our website.
You will then have access to them “in the cloud” whenever you wish.
Call if you would like to know more.
This year the IRS will upgrade it’s tracking tool for your tax return.
The tool will display progress through three stages.
1. Return Received
2. Refund Approved and
3. Refund Sent
You can access the IRS refund tracker here.