Make A Mistake? Amend Your Tax Return

Don’t worry if you made a mistake on your tax return or forgot to claim a tax credit or deduction. You can fix it by filing an amended return. Here are 10 tips that you should know about amending your federal tax return:

  1. When to amend. You should amend your tax return if you need to correct your filing status, the number of dependents you claimed, or your total income. You should also amend your return to claim tax deductions or tax credits that you did not claim when you filed your original return. The instructions for Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, list more reasons to amend a return.
  2. When NOT to amend. In some cases, you don’t need to amend your tax return. The IRS usually corrects math errors when processing your original return. If you didn’t include a required form or schedule, the IRS will send you a request for the missing item.
  3. Form to use. Use Form 1040X to amend a federal income tax return that you previously filed. Make sure you check the box at the top of the form that shows which year you are amending. Since you can’t e-file an amended return, you’ll need to file your Form 1040X on paper and mail it to the IRS.
  4. More than one year. If you file an amended return for more than one year, use a separate 1040X for each tax year. Mail them in separate envelopes to the IRS. See “Where to File” in the instructions for Form 1040X for the correct address to use.
  5. Form 1040X. Form 1040X has three columns. Column A shows amounts from the original return. Column B shows the net increase or decrease for the amounts you are changing. Column C shows the corrected amounts. You should explain what you are changing and the reasons why on the back of the form.
  6. Other forms or schedules. If your changes involve other tax forms or schedules, make sure you attach them to Form 1040X when you file the form. Failure to do this will cause a delay in processing.
  7. Amending to claim an additional refund. If you are waiting for a refund from your original tax return, don’t file your amended return until after you receive the refund. You may cash the refund check from your original return. Amended returns take up to 12 weeks to process. You will receive any additional refund you are owed.
  8. Amending to pay additional tax. If you’re filing an amended tax return because you owe more tax, you should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible. This will limit any interest and penalty charges.
  9. When to file. To claim a refund, you generally must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original tax return. You can also file it within two years from the date you paid the tax, if that date is later than the three-year rule.
  10. Track your return. You can track the status of your amended tax return three weeks after you file with ‘Where’s My Amended Return?’ This tool is available on IRS.gov or by phone at 866-464-2050.
**This message was distributed automatically from the IRS Tax Tips mailing list. For more information on federal taxes please visit IRS.gov.

If we prepared your return & you found a mistake, we will prepare & file an amended return at no additional charge. We will also amend returns prepared outside our office for a minimal fee. To keep up with the changing tax laws
visit the Tax Resources page of our website, or email us your questions.

Email: info@mccpas.com     Phone: (913)239-9130     Fax: (913)239-0520

Five Easy Ways to Spot a Scam Phone Call

The IRS continues to warn the public to be alert for telephone scams and offers five tell-tale warning signs to tip you off if you get such a call. These callers claim to be with the IRS. The scammers often demand money to pay taxes. Some may try to con you by saying that you’re due a refund. The refund is a fake lure so you’ll give them your banking or other private financial information.

These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may even know a lot about you. They may alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

The IRS respects taxpayer rights when working out payment of your taxes. So, it’s pretty easy to tell when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

  1. Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
    2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
    3. Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
    4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
    5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what to do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to talk about payment options. You also may be able to set up a payment plan online at IRS.gov.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to TIGTA at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
  • If phone scammers target you, also contact the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” to report the scam. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

Remember, the IRS currently does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issues. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

**This message was distributed automatically from the IRS Tax Tips mailing list. For more information on federal taxes please visit IRS.gov.


 

If you do get IRS correspondence that you’re not sure what to do with, let us take a look at it. We’re happy to research the issue and even respond on our clients’ behalf if appropriate. Let us know if we can help you!

Email: info@mccpas.com     Phone: (913)239-9130     Fax: (913)239-0520

Use IRS Social Media Tools

Social media is a great way to connect with family and friends. It’s also a great way to get tax information. But with all of the scams and fraud going around, it’s important to know which sources are valid and safe.

Check out these IRS social media tools that can help you keep up-to-date with your taxes. You can also use them to get the latest news on tax changes, initiatives, products and services. And of course, you can follow McAuley & Crandall, PA on Facebook, Twitter, or visit our website to stay informed!

 

  • Twitter.  IRS tweets include tax-related tips, news for tax professionals and more. Follow us @IRSnews, @IRStaxpros and @IRSenEspanol.
  • IRS2Go. IRS2Go is a free app where you can check your refund status, get tax updates or follow the IRS on Twitter. You can download it free from the iTunes app store or the Google Play Store.
  • YouTube. IRS YouTube Channels offer short videos on many tax topics. Videos are available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language.
  • Tumblr.  The IRS Tumblr blog provides the most up-to-date tax news.
  • Facebook.  The IRS Return Preparer Facebook page has useful posts for tax professionals.
  • Podcasts.  Short IRS podcasts provide useful tips on many tax topics. The audio files are available from the Multimedia Center page on IRS.gov.

Protecting your privacy is a top priority at the IRS. The IRS uses social media tools to share public information, not to answer personal tax or account questions. You should never post your Social Security number or any other confidential information on social media sites.

For more on IRS social media tools, visit IRS.gov and click on ‘Social Media.’

*This message was distributed automatically from the IRS Tax Tips mailing list. 

IRS Updates Phone Scams Warning

The IRS is again warning the public about phone scams that continue to claim victims all across the country. In these scams, thieves make unsolicited phone calls to their intended victims. Callers fraudulently claim to be from the IRS and demand immediate payment of taxes by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The callers are often hostile and abusive.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has received 90,000 complaints about these scams. TIGTA estimates that thieves have stolen an estimated $5 million from about 1,100 victims. To avoid becoming a victim of these scams, you should know:

  • The IRS will first contact you by mail if you owe taxes, not by phone.
  • The IRS never asks for credit, debit or prepaid card information over the phone.
  • The IRS never insists that you use a specific payment method to pay your tax.
  • The IRS never requests immediate payment over the telephone.
  • The IRS will always treat you professionally and courteously. 

Scammers may tell would-be victims that they owe money and that they must pay what they owe immediately. They may also tell them that they are entitled to a large refund. Other characteristics of these scams include:

  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may know the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  • Scammers spoof caller ID to make the phone number appear as if the IRS is calling.
  • Scammers may send bogus IRS emails to victims to support their bogus calls.
  • Victims hear background noise of other calls to mimic a call site.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up. Others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and caller ID again supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you with a payment issue if you owe taxes.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or don’t think that you owe any taxes, then call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
  • If scammers have tried this scam on you, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

The IRS encourages you to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. Visit the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov, to learn how to report tax fraud and for more information on what you can do to avoid becoming a victim.

*This message was distributed automatically from the IRS Tax Tips mailing list.


 

Government correspondence is something we handle on a regular basis. If you get a notice from the IRS that you’re unsure of, or you just don’t understand, you can fax/email it to us or drop it off for one of our CPA’s to investigate further.

Email: info@mccpas.com     Phone: (913)239-9130     Fax: (913)239-0520

Deducting Moving Expenses

If you move because of your job, you may be able to deduct the cost of the move on your tax return. You may be able to deduct your costs if you move to start a new job or to work at the same job in a new location. The IRS offers the following tips about moving expenses and your tax return.

In order to deduct moving expenses, your move must meet three requirements:

  1. The move must closely relate to the start of work. Generally, you can consider moving expenses within one year of the date you start work at a new job location. Additional rules apply to this requirement.
  2. Your move must meet the distance test.  Your new main job location must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job location. For example, if your old job was three miles from your old home, your new job must be at least 53 miles from your old home.
  3. You must meet the time test. After the move, you must work full-time at your new job for at least 39 weeks the first year. If you’re self-employed, you must meet this test and work full-time for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first two years at the new job site. If your income tax return is due before you’ve met this test, you can still deduct moving expenses if you expect to meet it.

See Publication 521, Moving Expenses, for more information about these rules. It’s available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

If you can claim this deduction, here are a few more tips from the IRS:

  • Travel. You can deduct transportation and lodging expenses for yourself and household members while moving from your old home to your new home. You cannot deduct your travel meal costs.
  • Household goods and utilities.  You can deduct the cost of packing, crating and shipping your things. You may be able to include the cost of storing and insuring these items while in transit. You can deduct the cost of connecting or disconnecting utilities.
  • Nondeductible expenses. You cannot deduct as moving expenses any part of the purchase price of your new home, the cost of selling a home or the cost of entering into or breaking a lease. See Publication 521 for a complete list.
  • Reimbursed expenses. If your employer later pays you for the cost of a move that you deducted on your tax return, you may need to include the payment as income. You report any taxable amount on your tax return in the year you get the payment.
  • Address Change. When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Post Office. To notify the IRS file Form 8822, Change of Address.

Premium Tax Credit – Changes in Circumstances.  If you purchased health insurance coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may receive advance payment of the premium tax credit in 2014. It is important that you report changes in circumstances, such as when you move to a new address, to your Marketplace. Other changes that you should report include changes in your income, employment, family size, or eligibility for other coverage. Advance credit payments provide premium assistance to help you pay for the insurance you buy through the Marketplace. Reporting changes will help you get the proper type and amount of premium assistance so you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance.

*This message was distributed automatically from the IRS Tax Tips mailing list.


 

Have questions about moving deductions, or deductions in general? We can help you identify which deductions are allowed that will help you the most. Email us or contact our office to make an appointment.

Email: info@mccpas.com     Phone: (913)239-9130

Back-to-School Tax Credits

Are you, your spouse or a dependent heading off to college? If so, here’s a quick tip from the IRS: some of the costs you pay for higher education can save you money at tax time. Here are several important facts you should know about education tax credits:  

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit.  The AOTC can be up to $2,500 annually for an eligible student. This credit applies for the first four years of higher education. Forty percent of the AOTC is refundable. That means that you may be able to get up to $1,000 of the credit as a refund, even if you don’t owe any taxes.
  • Lifetime Learning Credit.  With the LLC, you may be able to claim a tax credit of up to $2,000 on your federal tax return. There is no limit on the number of years you can claim this credit for an eligible student.
  • One credit per student. You can claim only one type of education credit per student on your federal tax return each year. If more than one student qualifies for a credit in the same year, you can claim a different credit for each student.  For example, you can claim the AOTC for one student and claim the LLC for the other student.
  • Qualified expenses.  You may include qualified expenses to figure your credit.  This may include amounts you pay for tuition, fees and other related expenses for an eligible student. Refer to IRS.gov for more about the additional rules that apply to each credit.
  • Eligible educational institutions.  Eligible schools are those that offer education beyond high school. This includes most colleges and universities. Vocational schools or other postsecondary schools may also qualify.
  • Form 1098-T.  In most cases, you should receive Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, from your school. This form reports your qualified expenses to the IRS and to you. You may notice that the amount shown on the form is different than the amount you actually paid. That’s because some of your related costs may not appear on Form 1098-T. For example, the cost of your textbooks may not appear on the form, but you still may be able to claim your textbook costs as part of the credit. Remember, you can only claim an education credit for the qualified expenses that you paid in that same tax year.
  • Nonresident alien. If you are in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, you usually file your federal tax return as a nonresident alien. You can’t claim an education credit if you were a nonresident alien for any part of the tax year unless you elect to be treated as a resident alien for federal tax purposes. To learn more about these rules see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Income limits. These credits are subject to income limitations and may be reduced or eliminated, based on your income.


 

We’re here to help if you have any questions about education-related credits, or other tax credits that could help you. Our knowledgeable CPA’s can meet with you to discuss your unique situation and offer advice. Contact our office to make an appointment, or you may contact your preparer directly.

Email: info@mccpas.com     Phone: (913)239-9130     Fax: (913)239-0520

Job Hunting Expenses

Many people change their job in the summer. If you look for a new job in the same line of work, you may be able to deduct some of your job hunting costs.

Here are some key tax facts you should know about if you search for a new job:

  • Same Occupation.  Your expenses must be for a job search in your current line of work. You can’t deduct expenses for a job search in a new occupation.
  • Résumé Costs.  You can deduct the cost of preparing and mailing your résumé.
  • Travel Expenses.  If you travel to look for a new job, you may be able to deduct the cost of the trip. To deduct the cost of the travel to and from the area, the trip must be mainly to look for a new job. You may still be able to deduct some costs if looking for a job is not the main purpose of the trip.
  • Placement Agency. You can deduct some job placement agency fees you pay to look for a job.
  • First Job.  You can’t deduct job search expenses if you’re looking for a job for the first time.
  • Work-Search Break.  You can’t deduct job search expenses if there was a long break between the end of your last job and the time you began looking for a new one.
  • Reimbursed Costs.  Reimbursed expenses are not deductible.
  • Schedule A.  You usually deduct your job search expenses on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. You’ll claim them as a miscellaneous deduction. You can deduct the total miscellaneous deductions that are more than two percent of your adjusted gross income.
  • Premium Tax Credit. If you receive advance payment of the premium tax credit in 2014 it is important that you report changes in circumstances, such as changes in your income or family size, to your Health Insurance Marketplace. Advance payments of the premium tax credit provide financial assistance to help you pay for the insurance you buy through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Reporting changes will help you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance so you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance.

For more on job hunting refer to Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions on IRS.gov. You can also call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to get it by mail.

 

This message was distributed automatically from the IRS Tax Tips mailing list. For more information on federal taxes please visit IRS.gov.

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