Tax Updates

Hurricane Irma Tax Relief

Hurricane Irma victims in parts of Florida have until January 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments, the IRS announced in IR-2017-150.

This includes an additional filing extension for taxpayers with valid extensions to October 16, and businesses with extensions to September 15. This includes the September 15, 2017, and January 16, 2018, deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments.

Hurricane Irma victims in the entire state of Georgia have until January 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments, the IRS announced in IR-2017-156.

This includes an additional filing extension for taxpayers with valid extensions to October 16, and businesses with extensions to September 15. This includes the September 15, 2017, and January 16, 2018, deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments.

Tax Season ID Theft Concerns

Tax season is a good time to remind you about the dangers of tax identity theft. IRS impersonation schemes continue to flourish. But the IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by e-mail or social media to request personal or financial information. The initial contact with taxpayers is always through the U.S. mail. If you receive an e-mail or social media solicitation that appears to come from the IRS, imposters may be trying to steal your identity.

Filing Tips

Sometimes identity thieves file fraudulent tax refund claims using stolen personal information. If a thief files for a refund before you do, your refund will likely be delayed. The IRS typically takes about 180 days to resolve a typical ID theft case. Your first line of defense against fraudulent tax refund claims is to file as early as possible.

If Fraud Strikes

Victims will receive a notice from the IRS if more than one tax return is filed under their Social Security numbers or if the income reported on their tax returns is less than the amounts reported on their W-2 and 1099 forms. If this happens to you, respond immediately by calling the number on the notice.

If you didn’t receive an IRS notice but believe your personal information has been stolen, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245. Fill out an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit and call your accountant for further guidance.

 

Identity Theft Fact Sheets

The IRS has released Fact Sheet 2012-7 and Fact Sheet 2012-8 that provide taxpayers with more information on identity theft.These fact sheets cover the steps of how to prevent identity theft and what to do when your tax records have been compromised.

The IRS implemented their IRS Servicewide Identity Protection (IP) Program that places identity theft indicators on a taxpayer’s account after the taxpayer has been a victim of identity theft and provided IRS with certain substantiation documentation. Hundreds of thousands of these indicators have been placed on taxpayer accounts.

IF YOU WERE ISSUED AN IDENTITY PROTECTION PIN (IP PIN), PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHEN PREPARING YOUR RETURNS AS IT MUST BE INCLUDED ON YOUR RETURN BEFORE FILING IT.

NYS Telephone WARNINGS

Should you receive phone calls from 518-457-5181 or 518-457-0578, be aware that these are scam artists.  These phone numbers are for taxpayers making incoming calls to the Tax Department.  The Tax Department does not use these phone numbers for outgoing calls.

Estimated refund dates:

So far, the IRS has not provided specific details on when you will get you refund.  The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Where’s My Refund? has the most up to date information available about your refund. The tool is updated once a day so you don’t need to check more often.

However, it’s possible your tax return may require additional review and take longer.

  • The easiest way to check your refund status is by using IRS automated tools.
  • IRS phone and walk-in representatives can research the status of your refund only if it’s been 21 days or more since you filed electronically, more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return or if Where’s my refund? directs you to contact the IRS.

You can use Where’s My Refund? to start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after we have received your e-filed return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. Where’s My Refund? has a tracker that displays progress through 3 stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund Sent.

Below are some of the tax law changes that are in effect for 2016 & 2017.

Some may be prior tax laws that have been extended.  Tax laws change daily, therefore this information is provided as a reference and is not intended to be a direct quotation of the tax laws.

Foreign Financial Assets

If you had foreign financial assets in 2016, you may have to file Form 8938 with your return.

2016 Mileage Rates                                                                          2017 Mileage Rates

  • Optional Standard Mileage Rate ………. 54.0 cents                             53.5 cents
  • Medical Mileage Rate ……………………….19.0 cents                             17.0 cents
  • Moving Mileage Rate ………………………. 19.0 cents                             17.0 cents
  • Charity Mileage Rate ……………………….. 14.0 cents                             14.0 cents

Tax Brackets:

Tax brackets for 2017 remain at 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and NOW 39.6%.

2016 Standard Deduction Amounts:

  • Single ………………………………… $6,300
  • Married Filing Jointly …………$12,600
  • Married Filing Separately …… $ 6,300
  • Head of Household ……………..$ 9,300

Personal Exemption Amounts:

For 2016, the Personal Exemption Amount is $4,050.

Social Security/Medicare Limits for 2016:

Social Security Tax Wage Base Limit…………$118,500

Medicare Tax Wage Base Limit……………………NONE

Social Security/Medicare Limits for 2017:

Social Security Tax Wage Base Limit…………$127,200

Medicare Tax Wage Base Limit……………………NONE

Kiddie Tax for 2016:

Net Unearned income not subject to the “Kiddie Tax”…….$2,100

Estate Tax for 2016:

Resident Federal Estate Tax Exemption………………..$5.45 Million

Non-resident Federal Estate Tax Exemption………………..$60,000

Maximum Estate Tax Rate……………………40%

Annual Gift Exclusion for 2016:

Amount you can each give each recipient…………$14,000

All Unemployment Benefits ARE Taxed!

Retirement Plan Contributions for 2016 and 2017:

In order to maximize the tax benefits of your retirement contributions the following amounts reflect the maximum contributions for the respective years.

Type of Retirement Plan 2016 2017
Individual Retirement Account (IRA) $5,500 $5,500
Catch-up amount, age 50 and older $1,000 $1,000
401K $18,000 $18,000
Catch-up amount, age 50 and older $6,000 $6,000
SIMPLE Plan $12,500 $12,500
Catch-up amount, age 50 and older $3,000 $3,000
SEP IRA contribution limit $53,000 $54,000

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