Monday, April 30, 2012

Tax Exempt Bonds Releases First Ever Online Compliance Questionnaire

Tax Exempt Bonds (TEB) initiated a questionnaire project to evaluate the compliance and record retention policies, procedures, and practices of issuers of qualified school construction bonds (QSCBs). TEB sent out notices to 111 issuers of QSCBs selected to complete the questionnaire.

For the first time ever, completion of a TEB questionnaire is completely online. Paper copies of the questionnaire are not available. 

Issuers that received a letter to complete the questionnaire also received instructions on how to access and complete the online questionnair

While access to the online questionnaire is restricted to only those issuers selected for the project, others may view the questions here.

Click here for more information about the QSCB Questionnaire Project.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Failure to File or Pay Penalties: Eight Facts

The number of electronic filing and payment options increases every year, which helps reduce your burden and also improves the timeliness and accuracy of tax returns. When it comes to filing your tax return, however, the law provides that the IRS can assess a penalty if you fail to file, fail to pay or both.

Here are eight important points about the two different penalties you may face if you file or pay late.

1. If you do not file by the deadline, you might face a failure-to-file penalty. If you do not pay by the due date, you could face a failure-to-pay penalty.

2. The failure-to-file penalty is generally more than the failure-to-pay penalty. So if you cannot pay all the taxes you owe, you should still file your tax return on time and pay as much as you can, then explore other payment options. The IRS will work with you.

3. The penalty for filing late is usually 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a return is late. This penalty will not exceed 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.

4. If you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax.

5. If you do not pay your taxes by the due date, you will generally have to pay a failure-to-pay penalty of ½ of 1 percent of your unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month after the due date that the taxes are not paid. This penalty can be as much as 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.

6. If you request an extension of time to file by the tax deadline and you paid at least 90 percent of your actual tax liability by the original due date, you will not face a failure-to-pay penalty if the remaining balance is paid by the extended due date.

7. If both the failure-to-file penalty and the failure-to-pay penalty apply in any month, the 5 percent failure-to-file penalty is reduced by the failure-to-pay penalty. However, if you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax.

8. You will not have to pay a failure-to-file or failure-to-pay penalty if you can show that you failed to file or pay on time because of reasonable cause and not because of willful neglect.

Friday, April 13, 2012

E-Pay Options Available to People Facing April 17 Deadline; Penalty Relief for Unemployed Taxpayers; Expanded Payment Plans for Those Who Can’t Pay

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that 2011 federal income tax returns, extension requests and tax payments are due by April 17, 2012. For people unable to pay their taxes in full by that date, payment agreements and other relief are usually available and can even be requested online.
Taxpayers will avoid late filing penalties if they file either their income tax return or a request for a tax-filing extension by midnight on Tuesday. The late-filing penalty, normally five percent per month based on the unpaid balance, applies to returns filed after the deadline. Taxpayers should file, even if they can’t pay the full amount due.

Any payment made by April 17 will reduce or eliminate interest and late-payment penalties that apply to payments made after that date. The current interest rate is three percent per year, compounded daily, and the late-payment penalty is normally 0.5 percent per month.

Whether paying tax in full or in part, the fastest and easiest way to do so is by using one of the electronic payment options. E-pay options include:

• Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). This free service gives taxpayers a safe and convenient way to pay individual and business taxes by phone or online. To enroll or for more information, call 800-316-6541 or visit

• Electronic funds withdrawal. E-file and e-pay in a single step.

• Credit or debit card. Both paper and electronic filers can pay their taxes by phone or online through any of several authorized credit and debit card processors. Though the IRS does not charge a fee for this service, the card processors do. For taxpayers who itemize their deductions, these convenience fees can be claimed on Schedule A Line 23.

Taxpayers who choose to pay by check or money order should make the payment out to the “United States Treasury.” Write “2011 Form 1040,” name, address, daytime phone number and Social Security number on the front of the check or money order. To help insure that the payment is credited promptly, also enclose a Form 1040-V payment voucher.

In many cases, those struggling with unpaid taxes qualify for one of several relief programs, including those recently expanded under the IRS "Fresh Start" initiative. These include the following:

• Most people can set up a payment agreement with the IRS on line in a matter of minutes. Those who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement to set up a monthly payment agreement for up to six years. Taxpayers can choose this option even if they have not yet received a bill or notice from the IRS. Alternatively, taxpayers can request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465-FS. This form can be downloaded from and mailed along with a tax return, bill or notice.

• Most unemployed filers and self-employed individuals whose business income dropped substantially can apply for a six-month extension of time to pay. Eligible taxpayers will not be charged a late-payment penalty if they pay any tax, penalty and interest due by Oct. 15, 2012. Taxpayers qualify if they were unemployed for any 30-day period between Jan. 1, 2011 and April 17, 2012. Self-employed people qualify if their business income declined 25 percent or more in 2011, due to the economy. Income limits and other special rules apply. Apply using Form 1127-A.

• Some struggling taxpayers may qualify for an offer-in-compromise. This is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. Generally, an offer will not be accepted if the IRS believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through a payment agreement. The IRS looks at the taxpayer’s income and assets to make a determination regarding the taxpayer’s ability to pay.

Details on all filing and payment options are on

Amended Returns: Eight Facts

If you discover an error on your federal income tax return after you e-filed or mailed it, you may want or need to amend your return. Perhaps you are eligible for a deduction or credit and you missed it the first time?

Here are eight key points the IRS wants you to know about when considering whether to file an amended federal income tax return.

1. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to file an amended income tax return.

2. Use Form 1040X to correct previously filed Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. An amended return cannot be e-filed; you must file it by paper.

3. Generally, you do not need to file an amended return to correct math errors. The IRS will automatically make that correction. Also, do not file an amended return because you forgot to attach tax forms such as W-2s or schedules. The IRS normally will send a request asking for those.

4. Be sure to enter the year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X. Generally, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.

5. If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the appropriate IRS campus. The 1040X instructions list the addresses for the campuses.

6. If the changes involve another schedule or form, you must attach that schedule or form to the amended return.

7. If you are filing to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X. You may cash that check while waiting for any additional refund.

8. If you owe additional 2011 tax, file Form 1040X and pay the tax before the due date to limit interest and penalty charges that could accrue on your account.

Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return, without regard to extensions.