Starting April 15, 2017 to December 31, 2017 our office hours are Monday thru Thursday 9:00AM to 5:00PM. January 2, 2018 we resume our January tax season office hours for the new 2018 season. Our Tax Professionals are available by appointment only.
Advanced notice – Denise will be out of the office for a tax conference August 6, 2017 to August 12, 2017.
Happy Summer/Fall to all our clients and friends!
I personally would like to thank all of you for all your support, kindness and patience you have given me this past tax season. The 2015 filing season was a little overwhelming for me. This past tax season, 2016 filing season, was the best and less stressed for me probably since I started my business. This is thanks to my awesome co-workers, Barb and Sarah, and you my fantastic clients. This year both Sarah and Barb will be celebrating their 2nd year anniversary working at Main Street. Sarah’s anniversary was in June. We celebrated over lunch at the Creamery, we decided to have ice cream/milk shakes first, then lunch (see the awesome selfie below). Barb will be celebrating her 2 years in September … I wonder what she would like to do for lunch. We really have a perfect team at Main Street and our clients are the cream of the crop. Thank you to each and every one of you for your years of loyalty and support.
I know Sarah and Barb feel the same as I; we hope you and your families have a wonderful, fun and safe summer/fall. We are looking forward to seeing all of you in 2018, if not before. Please call if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help you.
Sincerely Your Friend and Advocate,
From our official greeter “Boomer”
Boomer here! If you did not hear, in May I tore my other ACL. I am still working at Main Street on restricted duties. My greeting duties have been put on hold until my doctor and Mom says it is okay to run like a maniac again. Those who slipped treats under the door thank you so much. I just cannot wait until I am back to normal so I can see everyone. It is so hard to hear your voices and not be able to come out and say “hi”. When I tore my ACL my Mom did some research and found me a huge blow up collar on chewy.com’s web site so I would not have to wear the stupid “cone of shame”. I wore this huge collar during the first 2 weeks of my recovery. Sarah took a picture of me wearing the collar with my flowers from chewy.com. When Mom was ordering this pet medical apparatus, they found out about my upcoming surgery. My second day home from the hospital chewy.com sent me, not my Mom, ME get-well flowers! What an awesome company, great PR idea, and I really liked wearing the huge collar versus the cone of shame. Don’t misunderstand me I could not wait to get the huge collar off my neck.
Just as a reminder for those BB&T customers: Don’t forget to change your account number and routing number for all of those businesses or government agencies with whom you receive direct deposit or have auto withdrawals. Please contact any of the team players at Main Street Tax if you have questions or need assistance.
Watch out for all those scammers and bad people who want to steal your identity. Please read the items under “Security Awareness”. Sarah recently updated the “Security Awareness” section of Main Street’s web site. Please be sure you share this valuable information with your family, neighbors and friends; you can even share this information with your enemies if you so wish.
A reminder to our current clients, feel free to let others know how you feel about Main Street’s services and staff by leaving a testimonial. On Main Street’s web site, simply click on “Contact” and “Share Testimonial” and fill out the form.
Well I guess I better let you get to your reading. If you do have any questions on anything noted on our web site you can always ask me, but I think my Mom, Barb or Sarah might have a lot better answers for you. Feel free to call our office if you have any questions. I should be better in July, so feel free to stop in and visit me; just tell everyone you want to see me and as long as someone is not with a client they should bring me out to visit you.
I hope you and your family have a fun and safe summer! Looking forward to seeing you real soon!!
Hugs and Love, Boomer
With the filing season behind us the following is a list of items mandated by the government and will be needed every year we file your income tax returns:
- Bank Account Verification Form signed and dated – Under “Worksheets & Forms” on our web site you will find the bank verification form. If you want your refund directly deposited into your bank account or your income tax balance due or estimated tax payments withdrawn from your bank account, we will need this form completed by you and if filing a joint return, by your spouse.
- Copy of your driver’s license and if filing a joint return, a copy of your spouse’s driver’s license.
- Children under the age of 17 – we will need verification your child lived under your roof for the year. We will need a document dated 2017 which will note the child’s name along with your name as parent and your address. An example would be school records, medical bills, health insurance bills, etc. We should be able to use any document dated 2017 as long as the document notes these three items: child’s name, your name or your spouse’s name and the address where the child lives.
- If your child is attending college – we will need the Form 1098T and full year account statement from the college noting student’s name, amounts billed and payments received.
- Form 1095 (health insurance coverage) – As of this moment my crystal ball is real foggy as to where our government will go on mandating health care coverage. Stay tuned as to whether we will need Form 1095 for the 2017 filing season.
DID YOU KNOW THE IRS COULD HAVE YOUR PASSPORT TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) doesn’t have control over passports. The State Department doesn’t generally have access to taxpayer information because of privacy laws. To bridge the two, the law now requires the IRS to advise the State Department about seriously delinquent taxpayers. The State Department may then refuse to issue or renew a passport for a seriously delinquent taxpayer. The Secretary of State is also permitted to revoke any passport previously issued to a seriously delinquent taxpayer.
For purposes of the new law, a seriously delinquent tax debt is defined as “an unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax liability” greater than $50,000 which includes interest and penalties. The $50,000 limit will be adjusted each year for inflation and cost of living. The limit is not per year; it is the total tax debt.
There are some exceptions under the law. Tax debt which is being timely paid as part of an installment agreement or under an Offer in Compromise doesn’t count. It also does not include any tax debt for which a Collection Due Process hearing is timely requested in connection with a levy or a debt where the collection has been suspended due to an innocent spouse claim.
If you are seriously delinquent under the new law, the IRS is required to notify you in writing at the time that it certifies the debt to the State Department. The State Department will then hold your passport application or renewal for 90 days to allow you to resolve any errors, make full payment, or enter into a satisfactory payment plan. There is no grace period for resolving your debt before the State Department revokes an existing passport.
To get off the list, you must prove that the debt is fully satisfied, is legally unenforceable or is not a seriously delinquent tax debt under the statute (in case you’re wondering, that does not include debt that dips below $50,000 – once you’ve hit that threshold, you must either pay it down or meet one of the other criteria).
PA DRIVER’S LICENSE – FEDERAL REAL ID ACT:
Under another law federal agencies cannot accept driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by states that do not meet certain standards. PA is currently one of those states. PA is under a REAL ID enforcement grace period until October 10, 2017, which means that PA residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities through that date.
Under the federal REAL ID Act, beginning January 22, 2018, residents in states which have not come into compliance with federal requirements or obtained an extension will need to show an alternative form of identification such as a passport at airports and when accessing federal buildings and military bases. Penn DOT anticipates the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will continue to issue extensions to Pennsylvania until REAL ID products are available for residents. Under SB 133, no Pennsylvania resident will be required to get a REAL ID-compliant driver license or identification card, but residents who choose to do so will be able to use those forms of identification when the new federal requirements go into effect.
System, building infrastructure and process changes will be necessary for Pennsylvania to issue REAL ID-compliant products. Work will begin immediately and Penn DOT estimates REAL ID compliant driver licenses and identification cards will be available by March 2019. This will allow ample time for customers who want a REAL ID product to get one before the final DHS effective date of October 1, 2020.
DO YOU OWE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MONEY?
Congress passed legislation requiring the IRS to use private collection agencies to assist in collecting certain overdue tax accounts. The law does include strong protection of taxpayer rights and the taxpayer’s privacy must be fully maintained. Confidentiality requirements and restrictions required by law will be strictly enforced. If the taxpayer does not wish to work with an assigned private collection agency to settle their overdue tax account, they must submit a request in writing to the private collection agency. The Private Agencies cannot take any type of enforcement action against you to collect this debt; like filing a Federal Tax Lien or issuing a levy. Remember the IRS does have the legal authority to take these types of enforcement actions to collect an overdue account.
How will you know if your account was turned over to one of the Private Agencies? You will first receive a notice from IRS stating your overdue account was assigned to a private collection agency. You will then receive a notice from the private collection agency. You need to save both of these notices. Because of identity theft issues the notices will include numbers which both you and the private collection agency will use to identity each other. The four Private Collection Agencies selected are; CBE Group, Conserve, Performant, and Pioneer. If you are one of our clients the most important item to remember is if you receive the notice from IRS, you contact us.
BUSINESS DUE DATES FOR W-2 AND 1099 FORMS
This past filing season your W-2 forms and 1096/1099 forms were due January 31. This deadline will be the same for filing your 2017 W-2 forms and 1099 forms. Helpful hint related to the 1099 filing – Prior to anyone doing any work for your rental or your business you should request the supplier/vendor to complete a W-9 form. This would also include any supplier/vendor you rent equipment or property from. At the end of the year you can add up what you paid to those suppliers/vendors who you need to send a 1099 to. Enter the amount you paid to the vendor on the top of their signed Form W-9 and fax it to us. For the upcoming year we will need the information on or before January 13, 2018 so we can meet the deadline. If you are audited, we have been told the Internal Revenue Service now wants to see both the 1099MISC form you filed to the supplier/vendor and their signed Form W-9. In 2016 the penalty for “Failure to File” the 1099 forms has increased to $260.00 for each 1099 missed. This fee might increase for 2018. Please go to the “Worksheets & Forms” section of our web site and read the 1099 Instruction Sheet, which will give you additional information on who you should be sending a Form 1099 to.
TUITION (FORM 1098-T) AND BILLING STATEMENTS
If you have a child attending college we will need the 1098T from the college (this will be in your child’s name). We will also need the tuition and fees billing statements from the college for the full calendar year. We want to be sure we are not missing any qualified expenses. You may have to go on the school’s web site to retrieve the billing statements. The information will most likely be in the student’s name. The student most likely will have access to this information. Tax preparers are mandated by IRS to verify the numbers we enter on your return. The only way for us to verify this information is to review the billing account statement for the calendar and Form 1098T.
BEFORE BAD WEATHER AND DISASTER STRIKES – BE PREPARED!
Being prepared for the worst is always a good idea. Your plan shouldn’t only include bottled water, batteries and candles— but also your financial and family documents. While putting together your emergency kit, don’t neglect your financial kit:
- Store copies of important documents either in a safety deposit box at the bank or in a weather-proof box at home.
- Another option would be to put PDF copies on a password-protected USB drive or in cloud storage.
- Have accessible copies of insurance documents and contacts, bank statements, credit card bills, family records (birth, marriage, and death certificates), photocopies of credit and identification cards (e.g., passports, driver’s licenses), all tax records and any supporting documents.
- Take inventory of your home (and business) by photographing or videotaping all of the items inside and out. When taking inventory, also make it a habit to back up your computer, especially if you store important documents and pictures on it.
DONATING TO CHARITY
If you support certain causes throughout the year, your gift might be tax deductible and reduce any tax you owe. If you want to claim a tax deduction for your charitable donations, you must itemize your deductions. Also, the donations must meet certain requirements to qualify for a deduction.
- Qualified Charities: You can only deduct donations to qualified charities. Qualified charities meet exemption requirements under the IRS Tax Code 501(c)(3). The nonprofit organization is exempt from federal income tax if its activities have the following purposes: charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering amateur sports competition or preventing cruelty to children or animals.
- Monetary Donations: Gifts of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. You must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity to deduct any gift of money on your tax return.
- Household Goods: Donated used clothing and used household items generally must be in at least good used condition to be claimed as a tax deduction. If you claim a deduction of over $500 for an item, it doesn’t have to meet this standard as long as you include a qualified appraisal of the item with your tax return. Be sure to list all of the items you are donating. Taking pictures of your items might be helpful.
- Records Required: You must get an additional acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. Additional rules apply to the statement for gifts of that amount. This statement is in addition to the records required for deducting cash gifts.