No Comments

Discover What’s New This Tax Filing Season: Expert IRS Updates & Fraud Protection Guide

Discover What's New This Tax Filing Season: Expert IRS Updates & Fraud Protection Guide

Magazine, Making Money

Ethnic Media Services (EMS) recently collaborated with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to host a comprehensive briefing, led by Kevin Morehead, Deputy Commissioner of the IRS’s Wage and Investment Division. This session aimed to illuminate the latest developments in the ongoing tax filing season, providing crucial updates and insights to streamline the process for taxpayers.

Mr. Morehead underscored the significant endeavor of preparing for the nation’s filing season, noting an estimated 146 million returns anticipated to be processed by the IRS before the April 15 deadline. He emphasized the IRS’s extensive preparations, initiated early the previous year, which focused on implementing improvements, including those facilitated by the Inflation Reduction Act.
Among the key updates introduced this tax season is the Direct File service, now available in 12 states. This service enables eligible taxpayers to file their taxes directly with the IRS online, free of charge. Mr. Morehead emphasized that Direct File not only saves time but also enhances accuracy, potentially reducing errors that could lead to processing delays or IRS notices.

Furthermore, Mr. Morehead emphasized the IRS’s dedication to enhancing customer experience, with increased assistance available through toll-free helplines and a customer callback feature aimed at reducing wait times. He assured attendees that the IRS is fulfilling its commitments and expects to maintain service quality throughout the filing season.

As of March 8th, the IRS had already received and processed millions of returns, issuing billions of dollars in refunds. Mr. Morehead reminded taxpayers of the upcoming filing deadline on April 15, with exceptions for residents of Maine and Massachusetts, who have until April 17. Taxpayers needing more time can request an extension until October 15, although it’s important to note that an extension to file does not extend the payment deadline.
Encouraging electronic filing as the preferred method, Mr. Morehead highlighted the benefits of choosing direct deposit for refunds, citing reduced errors and faster processing times. He also mentioned the availability of several free filing options, including Direct File, which saw a successful full-scale launch following initial testing.
In conclusion, the briefing provided valuable insights into the IRS’s efforts to streamline the tax filing process and enhance taxpayer experience. With new services like Direct File and continued improvements in customer assistance, taxpayers are encouraged to take advantage of these resources for a hassle-free filing experience.
Mr. Morehead elaborated on the Direct File service, highlighting its convenience and eligibility criteria. Taxpayers falling into specific categories, such as those reporting income from jobs generating W-2 forms, claiming certain tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Child Tax Credit, and opting for standard deductions along with deductions for educator expenses and student loan interest, are eligible to use Direct File.
Direct File allows taxpayers to initiate their tax returns and complete them at their own pace, anytime before the April filing deadline. Designed to be user-friendly, the service provides transparency by displaying the calculations behind each step, ensuring completeness and accuracy. Additionally, taxpayers can access support from specialized IRS customer service representatives via live chat in both English and Spanish, enhancing the overall filing experience.
For taxpayers in the 12 pilot states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming, Direct File offers a straightforward option for filing simple returns electronically until the April deadline. After completing federal returns, taxpayers in states with income tax requirements, such as Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New York, will be guided to complete their state taxes using a state-sponsored tool.

In addition to Direct File, Mr. Morehead outlined other free filing options provided by the IRS. The Free File Alliance enables taxpayers with an income of $79,000 or less in 2023 to electronically file their taxes for free using software from commercial tax-filing companies. This year, offers an IRS Free File product in Spanish, and IRS Free File Fillable Forms are available at no cost to taxpayers at any income level.
Furthermore, taxpayers can access free tax assistance from IRS-certified volunteers through programs like Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), which cater to low-to-moderate-income individuals and elderly taxpayers, respectively. These volunteers offer support in communities nationwide, providing guidance on tax preparation and electronic filing.

For military personnel and veterans, the IRS partners with the Department of Defense to offer the Military OneSource (MOS) Tax Program, providing free return preparation and electronic filing software for federal and state income tax returns, with no income limit.

Finally, Mr. Morehead emphasized the importance of choosing a reputable tax professional for those seeking paid preparers, directing taxpayers to the IRS directory of federal tax return preparers. He also cautioned against potential scams and identity theft, urging taxpayers to be vigilant and prioritize the security of their personal and financial information.

In conclusion, taxpayers were encouraged to explore the various filing options and resources available through the IRS to ensure a smooth and secure tax filing process, from initiation to refund tracking.
Mr. Morehead further emphasized the importance of tracking refunds through the “Where’s My Refund?” application on, describing it as the best method for taxpayers to check the status of their refunds. Available in both English and Spanish, this tool provides three crucial pieces of information: confirmation of the IRS receiving the tax return, approval of the tax return and refund, and the issuance date of the approved tax refund. Importantly, information for returns from tax years 2023, 2022, and 2021 is accessible through this tool, thanks to improvements funded by the Inflation Reduction Act.

These enhancements include detailed refund status messages in plain language, seamless mobile access through the IRS2Go app, and notifications indicating whether the IRS requires additional information. Mr. Morehead then shifted the discussion to potential scams surrounding refunds, urging taxpayers to remain vigilant.
He cautioned against a current scam involving deceptive mailings purporting to be from the IRS, urging recipients to be wary of false claims regarding unclaimed refunds. Additionally, he warned against unethical tax preparers, known as “ghost preparers,” who may promise inflated refunds or charge excessive fees without signing the returns they prepare.

Mr. Morehead also addressed phone scams targeting taxpayers, particularly recent immigrants, where scammers impersonate IRS agents and demand immediate payment through gift cards or wire transfers, often accompanied by threats of arrest or deportation.

To combat these scams, Mr. Morehead reiterated that the IRS does not initiate contact via email, text message, or social media to request personal or financial information. He encouraged taxpayers to report any suspicious activity and seek more information on tax scams and consumer alerts on the IRS website.
Furthermore, Mr. Morehead reminded taxpayers who have not filed tax returns for 2020 to check their records, as they may be entitled to refunds. The IRS plans to provide detailed state-by-state information to assist these taxpayers in claiming any unclaimed refunds.

Finally, Mr. Morehead highlighted the IRS’s commitment to providing assistance to taxpayers, including extended hours and Saturday events at Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the country. These efforts aim to accommodate more taxpayers in person, ensuring they receive the help they need to navigate the tax filing process effectively.

In conclusion, Mr. Morehead reiterated the IRS’s dedication to facilitating a smooth and secure tax filing experience for taxpayers, offering guidance, resources, and support to address any challenges they may encounter.
Moreover, Mr. Morehead emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant against identity theft and fraudulent tax filing. Scammers may attempt to use stolen personal information to file fake tax returns, posing a significant threat to individuals’ financial well-being. Besides, fraudulent activities can complicate the tax filing process and trigger audits or investigations by the IRS.

As a precautionary measure, Mr. Morehead recommended obtaining an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN). This unique six-digit number adds an extra layer of security to taxpayers’ accounts, reducing the risk of fraudulent filings. Taxpayers can apply for an IP PIN through the IRS website, enhancing their protection against identity theft-related tax fraud.

Furthermore, Mr. Morehead reiterated the IRS’s commitment to tax compliance and enforcement. Rigorous compliance measures and audit procedures are in place to ensure that all taxpayers fulfill their responsibilities. Non-compliance can result in significant penalties and interest, underscoring the importance of accurate and timely tax filing.

In conclusion, while the IRS offers invaluable tax assistance services to navigate the complexities of tax obligations, it’s equally crucial for taxpayers to remain vigilant against identity theft and fraudulent activities. By staying informed, utilizing available resources, and taking proactive steps to protect their identities, individuals can safeguard their financial interests and contribute to a fair and equitable tax system.

#TaxFiling #IRSUpdates #TaxSeason #DirectFile #IRSAssistance #TaxpayerResources #IdentityTheft #FraudPrevention #IRSAlerts #TaxCompliance #FinancialSecurity #TaxRefunds #TaxScams #IRSProtection #TaxpayerAssistance #IRSservices

You might also like

More Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed