AIR System to go Down for Maintenance, IRS Says

AIR System to go Down for Maintenance, IRS Says

The Internal Revenue Service says its Affordable Care Act Information Returns system—also known as AIR—will be unavailable over the weekend while maintenance is carried out.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies, self-insured companies, and large businesses and businesses that provide health insurance to their employees must submit information returns to the IRS reporting on individual’s health insurance coverage. Users are required to file electronically if submitting 250 or more information returns.

The IRS warns the AIR system, which is used by software developers, employers, insurance issuers or carriers, government agencies and some third parties to file information returns relating to the Affordable Care Act.

The system will be unavailable from 10 a.m. EST on Saturday, Oct. 17 until 3 p.m. EST.

During that time, users are asked not to attempt to access the Application to Application (A2A) or the User Interface (UI) Channels for the duration of the maintenance period.

The information returns affected by this maintenance outage include:

  • Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns
  • Form 1095-B, Health Coverage
  • Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns
  • Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage

The IRS apologizes for any inconvenience the maintenance outage may cause.

Source: IRS QuickAlerts for Electronic ACA Information Returns

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Treasury Says SBA Has Simpler Forgiveness Application for Certain PPP Loans

Treasury Says SBA Has Simpler Forgiveness Application for Certain PPP Loans

The Treasury Department last week announced that the Small Business Administration is making it easier to request Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness for loans that are $50,000 or less.  

What is the Paycheck Protection Program?

The Paycheck Protection Program was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 to help businesses keep employees on the payroll amid state-wide shutdowns, occupancy restrictions, reduced customer foot traffic, and other hardships arising from the pandemic. While the SBA stopped accepting applications for new PPP loans in August, businesses can still request loan forgiveness.

“The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 60% of the forgiven loan must have been used for payroll),” the SBA explains on its “Paycheck Protection Program” webpage. If a business doesn’t keep (or rehire) employees at their current salary levels for the period prescribed by the program, the amount forgiven will be reduced.   

According to the Treasury release, small businesses with a loan totaling $50,000 or less can use the new, simpler application to request loan forgiveness.

Where can I find the simpler PPP loan forgiveness application?

Treasury includes links to the new form, its instructions, and an Interim Final Rule:

In addition to helping businesses more easily apply for loan forgiveness, Treasury says, “SBA and Treasury have also eased the burden on PPP lenders, allowing lenders to process forgiveness more swiftly.”

Source: Paycheck Protection Program; SBA and Treasury Announce Simpler PPP Forgiveness for Loans of $50,000 or Less

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Recorded Seminars Available from 2020 Tax Forums

Recorded Seminars Available from 2020 Tax Forums

The Internal Revenue Service has made some 18 new seminars available that were originally recorded during the 2020 Nationwide Tax Forums.

The seminars, available on IRS Nationwide Tax Forums Online, cost $29 per seminar.

The self-study seminars provide vital information by way of interactive videos, PowerPoint slides, and audio transcripts.

The list of new 2020 seminars include:

  • Advocating for Immigrant Taxpayers
  • Advocating for Taxpayers with Collection Information Statements
  • Be Tax Ready – Understanding Eligibility Rules for EITC, AOTC, CTC and Head of Household Filing Status
  • Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015’s Centralized Partnership Audit Regime (The)
  • Charities & Tax-Exempt Organizations Update
  • Créditos Reembolsables (In Spanish)
  • Diligence in Practice before the IRS: Record-Keeping Federal Ethics for the Tax Professionals: Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and Circular 230
  • Impact of Non-filing and Non-payment
  • IRS Key Enforcement Issues
  • Keys to Mastering Due Diligence Requirements and Audits
  • Keynote Address
  • Preparation of Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return
  • Retirement Plan Distributions, Loans and More
  • Tax Changes from a Forms Perspective
  • Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) Update: Opportunity Zones
  • Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) Update: Qualified Business Income Deduction
  • Update from the IRS Independent Office of Appeals

These 18 courses are available in addition to more than 60 previously recorded sessions from prior years that are also available for credit or to audit. All are available for the same $29 price.

The IRS Nationwide Tax Forums Online is registered with the IRS Return Preparer Office and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy as a qualified sponsor of continuing education. For a fee, CPAs, Enrolled Agents and Annual Filing Season Program participants taking NTFO seminars can earn continuing education credits.

To earn credit, users need to create an account, answer review questions throughout the class and pass short tests at the end of the seminars.

NTFO seminars can also be audited for free. Tax pros who choose to audit seminars will not have access to the review questions or the final examination. They will not receive credit for the seminars.

For more information please visit IRSTaxForumsOnline.com. Please note that this link leads to an external website.

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IRS Adds New Tech to Balance-Due Notices

IRS Adds New Tech to Balance-Due Notices

It’s a first for the Internal Revenue Service. The agency is adding barcode technology to the printed notices that are sent to millions of taxpayers that let them know they owe Uncle Sam money.

The notices—known as CP14 and CP14 IA notices—inform taxpayers they owe money on unpaid taxes and what their payment options are. These letters now include QR barcodes to help taxpayers to go directly to IRS.gov and securely access their account, set up a payment plan or contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

The QR codes will start appearing on the notices this month.

Taxpayers need only to scan the QR code on the notice to give them the direct access to information needed to resolve their account balance online—without the need to directly contact the IRS.

“These codes will give taxpayers immediate access to the most important information for them to pay their balances, set up payment agreements or reach out for help,” said Darren Guillot, the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Deputy Commissioner for Collection and Operations Support. “We understand there’s a lot of information on the web, and we want to give taxpayers more secure tools that can more easily help them resolve their tax situations.”

In most years, the IRS sends some 8 million CP14 notices to taxpayers. They are the first legal notice taxpayers get alerting them there’s a balance due. Adding a QR code to the notice gives taxpayers an up-front option for resolution.

“This will help make the entire process easier for taxpayers,” Guillot said.

If this effort proves successful, the IRS says it will consider adding QR codes to other balance-due notices in the future.

SourceIR-2020-233

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Curtain is Set to Come Down on 2020 Tax Season

Curtain is Set to Come Down on 2020 Tax Season

Taxpayers who filed an extension are reminded that the deadline to file their 2019 taxes is looming. Oct. 15 is the deadline to file those tax returns.

Those who still owe tax due are urged to pay as soon as possible to reduce any penalties and interest.

The Internal Revenue Service says taxpayers and tax pros alike should continue to use electronic options to support social distancing and speed processing of tax returns, refunds and tax payments.

Some taxpayers have more time.

While Oct. 15 is the deadline to file, some taxpayers actually have still more time to file, including:

  • Members of the military and others serving in a combat zone. They typically have 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file returns and pay any taxes due.
  • Taxpayers in federally declared disaster areas who already had valid extensions. For details, see the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

Choose the direct route for refunds.

The quickest and safest way for taxpayers to get their refunds is to have them deposited electronically into their banks or other financial accounts. Taxpayers can use direct deposit to deposit their refund into one, two or even three accounts. Direct deposit is much faster than waiting for a paper check to arrive in the mail.

Once they’ve filed, taxpayers should use the Where’s My Refund? tool on IRS.gov or download the IRS2Go mobile app to track the status of a refund.

Owe federal taxes? Pay electronically.

Taxpayers can make federal tax payments online, by phone or with their mobile device and the IRS2Go app. When paying federal taxes electronically, taxpayers should remember:

  • Electronic payment options are the optimal way to make a tax payment.
  • They can pay when they file electronically using tax software online. If using a tax preparer, taxpayers should ask the preparer to make the tax payment through an electronic funds withdrawal from a bank account.
  • IRS Direct Pay allows taxpayers to pay online directly from a checking or savings account for free, and to schedule payments up to 365 days in advance.
  • Taxpayers can choose to pay with a credit card, debit card or digital wallet option through a payment processor. No fees go to the IRS.
  • The IRS2Go app provides the mobile-friendly payment options, including Direct Pay and Card Payment Providers on mobile devices.
  • Taxpayers may also enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System and have a choice of paying online or by phone by using the EFTPS Voice Response System.
  • Taxpayers can go to gov/account to securely access information about their federal tax account. They can view the amount they owe, access their tax records online, review their payment history and view key tax return information for the most recent tax return as originally filed.

Several payment options are available on IRS.gov/payments to help taxpayers who can’t pay their tax bill in full. Some of those options can offer smaller penalties.

Taxpayers should know:

  • Though interest and late-payment penalties continue to accrue on any unpaid taxes after the original July 15 due date, the failure to pay tax penalty rate is cut in half while an installment agreement is in effect.
  • The usual penalty rate of 0.5% per month is reduced to 0.25% per month. For the calendar quarter beginning Oct. 1, 2020, the interest rate for underpayment is 3%.

Got questions? Answers to many taxpayer questions can be found using the Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA), a tax law resource that uses a series of questions and responses. More answers can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions on IRS.gov. 

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