Friday, January 15, 2016

Who Can Represent You Before the IRS?

Many people use a tax professional to prepare their taxes. Tax professionals with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) can prepare a return for a fee. If you choose a tax pro, you should know who can represent you before the IRS. There are new rules this year, so the IRS wants you to know who can represent you and when they can represent you. Choose a tax return preparer wisely.

Representation rights, also known as practice rights, fall into two categories:

  • Unlimited Representation
  • Limited Representation

Unlimited representation rights allow a credentialed tax practitioner to represent you before the IRS on any tax matter. This is true no matter who prepared your return. Credentialed tax professionals who have unlimited representation rights include:

Limited representation rights authorize the tax professional to represent you if, and only if, they prepared and signed the return. They can do this only before IRS revenue agents, customer service representatives and similar IRS employees. They cannot represent clients whose returns they did not prepare. They cannot represent clients regarding appeals or collection issues even if they did prepare the return in question. For returns filed after Dec. 31, 2015, the only tax return preparers with limited representation rights are Annual Filing Season Program Participants.

The Annual Filing Season Program is a voluntary program. Non-credentialed tax return preparers who aim for a higher level of professionalism are encouraged to participate.

Other tax return preparers have limited representation rights, but only for returns filed before Jan. 1, 2016. Keep these changes in mind and choose wisely when you select a tax return preparer.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 Standard Mileage Rates

Beginning on 1/1/2016, the standard mileage rates for cars, vans, pickups, and panel trucks will be 54 cents per mile for business miles, 19 cents per mile for medical or moving purposes, and 14 cents per mile for charitable purposes. The business expense rate is down 3.5 cents per mile from 2015, and the medical and moving expense rates are down four cents per mile from the 2015 rates. The charitable rate is set by law and remains unchanged from last year's rate. The portion of the business standard mileage rate treated as depreciation is 23 cents per mile for 2012 and 2013, 22 cents per mile for 2014, and 24 cents per mile for 2015 and 2016. When computing the allowance under a Fixed and Variable Rate (FAVR) plan, the standard vehicle cost cannot exceed $28,000 for autos or $31,000 for trucks and vans. Notice 2016-1, 2016-2 IRB .

ACA Information Reporting Deadlines Extended

Applicable large employers have until 3/31/16, to provide Form 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage) to each full-time employee. Form 1095-C is used to report information on health insurance coverage offered (or not offered) to employees. Additionally, the forms do not have to be filed with the IRS until 5/31/16, if filing on paper, or 6/30/16, if filing electronically. Similar extensions are provided for entities that must report information on Form 1095-B (Health Coverage). Individuals who file their personal income tax returns before receiving the applicable reporting forms and rely on other available information will not need to amend their returns once they receive Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C if the information is different. Notice 2016-4, 2016-3 IRB .

IRS Sent IP PIN Letters Erroneously Listing the Incorrect Year

The IRS announced that, due to an error, it sent out CP01A notices, dated 1/4/16, that incorrectly indicate the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) issued is to be used for filing the 2014 tax return when the IP PIN is actually to be used for the 2015 tax return. [ Note:  The IRS issues IP PINs to victims of tax-related identity theft to help them verify the taxpayer's identity. A return filed without the required IP PIN will be rejected.] The IRS emphasizes the IP PIN listed on the CP01A notice, dated 1/4/16, is valid for the 2015 returns. Taxpayers and their tax professionals should use this IP PIN number for 2015 tax returns. The announcement is available at .