Deanna Bloodworth, Certified Public Accountant, PLLC

Deanna Bloodworth, Certified Public Accountant, PLLC


Refund Scams - Did You Know?

As tax filing season ends and individuals start receiving their refunds, taxpayers should be aware of a refund scam that may be making the rounds.

The scammer starts by stealing taxpayer information through hacks, uses the stolen information to file a tax return, and then gets the refund deposited into the victim's account. They then contact the victim and pretend to be the IRS saying that it was a mistaken deposit and to return the money to them. The scammers may make threats for you to return the 'erroneous deposit' using a recorded call message, or pose as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS.

The IRS has established procedures for taxpayers to follow in the genuine case of a mistaken refund that can be found here:
Possible Reasons for 2021 IRS Tax Refund Delays

Most taxpayers who file their returns electronically and request direct deposit generally receive their IRS refunds within 21 days. However, a variety of factors can result in longer return processing times. The IRS recently reminded taxpayers of the most common causes of tax refund delays, including:

- The return was mailed on paper instead of filed electronically. Filing a paper return typically doubles the expected wait time for a refund.
- The IRS needs more information to process the return. In this case, you will generally receive an IRS letter requesting the information.
- The return did not include banking information for direct deposit, so the IRS must mail a paper check.
- The return includes a request for an Injured Spouse refund allocation.

The IRS cannot provide information about refund status until at least 21 days after a return was electronically filed, or six weeks after a paper return was mailed.

IRS Where's My Refund Tool:
Filing Extensions and Minimizing Penalties – Did You Know?

Taxpayers who request an automatic extension to file their 2021 federal income tax returns may file anytime up until October 17th, 2022. Remember, however, that an IRS extension is only an extension to file tax returns, NOT an extension to pay any tax owed. Taxes not paid by the April 18th payment deadline may be subject to late penalties and interest charges.

Electronic payments may be made using the IRS online payment portal (link below). The IRS urges those who cannot pay what they owe at this time to pay whatever amount they can, and then apply for an installment plan to pay off the remaining balance.

You should still file your taxes, even if you can't pay, as the failure-to-file penalty may be 10 times more than the failure-to-pay penalty.

IRS Online Payment Portal:
Multiple IRS Deadlines Fall on April 18th – Important Reminders

2021 INDIVIDUAL FEDERAL TAX RETURN FILING: U.S. resident individual and joint tax filers, along with U.S. citizens must file 2021 Form 1040 or 1040-SR and pay any tax due. If you cannot file your return by the deadline, request an automatic filing extension to October 17th. However, if you expect to owe tax, estimate the amount and pay it by April 18th to avoid late payment penalties.

FIRST 2022 QUARTERLY ESTIMATED TAX PAYMENTS: If you earn income and either do not pay federal taxes through paycheck withholding or do not expect your withholding to cover your 2022 tax obligations, you may need to make quarterly estimated tax payments. In particular, this requirement applies to many self-employed taxpayers and “gig economy” workers. The first quarterly estimated payments for 2022 are due on April 18th, 2022.

DEADLINE FOR 2021 IRA AND HSA CONTRIBUTIONS: You may be able to treat contributions made by April 18th to your IRA or health savings account (HSA) as 2021 contributions, provided you have not reached your 2021 contribution limit.

2021 FEDERAL TAX AND 2022 ESTIMATED TAX DEADLINES FOR CORPORATIONS: Corporations must file their 2021 federal income tax returns and pay any tax due, and also make their first 2022 estimated income tax payments, by April 18th.

The IRS urges taxpayers who cannot pay the tax they owe to file by the April 18th deadline and pay what they can. By making a payment in any amount now and setting up a payment plan, you may be able to reduce penalties and interest charges.
Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Reporting – Did You Know?

Taxpayers with foreign accounts, such as bank accounts or mutual funds, generally must disclose this information on their tax returns. In most cases, U.S. individuals, trusts, estates and businesses with foreign accounts that totaled over $10,000 any time in 2021 must also file a foreign bank accounts report, or FBAR by April 15, 2022.

The official name of the FBAR form is FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. FinCEN stands for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a separate agency from the IRS. You must submit the FBAR directly to FinCEN – you cannot file it with your tax return. The standard FBAR filing deadline is April 15, although filers typically qualify for an automatic extension to October 15.
Tax Refund Myths – Did You Know?

There can be uncertainty around the timeline for receiving IRS tax refunds. Here are a few common questions related to these myths, along with real-world answers.

Q: Can I get a more accurate refund date by calling the IRS or my tax return preparer?
A: No. The IRS Where's My Refund online portal (link below) and the IRS2Go app provide the most accurate information available on the timeline for your tax refund.

Q: Can I find out my refund date by ordering a tax transcript from the IRS?
A: This popular myth is false. Use the Where's My Refund portal or IRS2Go app to get an estimated date for your refund.

Q: The Where's My Refund Portal or IRS2Go app does not show a refund deposit or mailing date. Does this mean that the system is not working?
A: Generally, if these sources cannot provide a refund date, it just means that the IRS has not finished processing your return. While the IRS issues most refunds within 21 days for electronically filed returns, processing can take longer for a variety of reasons.

Q: What does it mean if Where's My Refund shows a different refund amount than I expected?
A: Most likely, the IRS had to make an adjustment to your return. You will receive an official IRS or U.S. Treasury letter explaining any change to your refund amount.

Q: If I get a 2021 tax refund, does that mean my withholding amounts are correct for 2022?
A: Not necessarily. Regardless of your refund amount, it is always good to check the IRS Withholding Estimator Tool (link below) periodically to make sure you are staying on track.

IRS Where's My Refund portal:
IRS Withholding Estimator tool:
Federal Tax Extensions - Did You Know?

If you file for an extension on your federal income tax return, you have until Oct 15th, 2022 to file your taxes but you still have to pay any taxes due by April 18th, 2022. Bear in mind that this extension applies only to FILING your return; the payment due date will remain as April 18th. Failing to pay the full amount you owe by April 18th may result in late fees, interest or other penalties.

If you are a US citizen or green card holder living overseas, or active military on duty outside the United States on the regular due date of the return, you may be able to get an automatic two month extension to file your return and pay any taxes due.
Unclaimed 2018 IRS Refunds Deadline – Did You Know?

The IRS has issued a reminder that time is running out to claim your 2018 tax refund if you did not file a 2018 federal return. The deadline to file a 2018 IRS return and claim your refund is April 18, 2022. Filing a missed 2018 return may also qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if you meet the requirements.

By law, there is a limited three year window to claim a refund. After that date, unclaimed 2018 federal tax refunds will become the property of the U.S. Treasury.
Reporting Cryptocurrency Transactions - Did You Know?

If you had any involvement with cryptocurrency or other virtual currencies in 2021, you generally must disclose this activity on your tax return. Form 1040 includes the question, “At any time during 2021, did you receive, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any financial interest in any virtual currency?”

Among other situations, you must check the “YES” box for the virtual currency question if any of the following occurred in 2021:

- You received cryptocurrency as payment for property, goods or services.
- You used cryptocurrency to pay for property, goods or services.
- You received cryptocurrency for mining or staking activities, or as the result of a “hard fork.”
- You purchased cryptocurrency through a trading platform or from another individual.
- You sold cryptocurrency for cash or exchanged it for another real or virtual currency.
- You gave away or received cryptocurrency in a transaction that did not qualify as a bona fide gift.

Because the IRS designates cryptocurrency as property, any cryptocurrency transaction could have tax impacts. If you received cryptocurrency as income, it should be reported just like you would if you had gotten the payment in cash. Other cryptocurrency transactions may involve a taxable capital gain. Capital gains must be reported separately from ordinary income, and may be taxed at different rates.

The U.S. Treasury has significantly stepped up enforcement of cryptocurrency tax rules since 2020, so the IRS urges all taxpayers to fully disclose their transactions. A tax professional can help you properly report your cryptocurrency activities, and figure any resulting income or capital gains tax.
2021 IRA Contributions Deadline

If you choose to contribute money to your IRA by April 18, 2022, you may designate the contribution for the tax year 2021. Americans of any age may make 2021 IRA contributions, up to $6,000 if they are under 50, or up to $7,000 if they are 50 or older.

Many taxpayers may deduct contributions to a traditional IRA. However, if you or your spouse is covered by a workplace retirement plan, your contributions may be only partially deductible or non-deductible, depending on your income. Roth IRA contributions are not deductible, but taxpayers can receive qualified distributions from their Roth IRAs tax free.

Taxpayers who contribute to IRAs or ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts may also qualify for the Saver's Tax Credit. The credit amount depends on a taxpayer's income and filing status. Because credits lower tax on a dollar-for-dollar basis, they may result in greater tax savings than deductions. Eligible taxpayers may claim both the traditional IRA contribution deduction and the Saver's Credit.

If you make an IRA contribution by the April 18th deadline and want to designate it for 2021, you must inform the financial institution of this choice. A tax professional can help you properly document and report your retirement plan contributions, to ensure that you get all the tax benefits you deserve.

Contact information, map and directions, contact form, opening hours, services, ratings, photos, videos and announcements from Deanna Bloodworth, Certified Public Accountant, PLLC, Accountant, 431 Nursery Road, Suite C700, The Woodlands, TX.


Disaster Preparation Reminders – Did You Know?

September is National Preparedness Month, the perfect time for all Americans to check their readiness for storms, floods, fires and other disasters. To help with that checkup, the IRS recently reminded taxpayers of important steps to include in their disaster preparation plans.

Store key documents in a secure, waterproof and fireproof container. These documents include birth certificates and/or Certificates of Naturalization, Social Security cards, tax returns, home deeds and vehicle titles. If you do not have a suitable storage option in your home, you may wish to rent a safe deposit box. In either case, make copies of these documents and store the copies in a separate location from the originals, such as at a relative's home. You may also wish to scan documents if you have access to a secure digital storage option.

To facilitate making insurance claims and/or claiming disaster loss tax deductions, individuals and businesses should maintain accurate inventories of their valuables. One simple way to document your possessions is to regularly take photos or videos around your home. Store the photos or videos securely, and include written notes like the year, make and model of key items.

Recovering from a disaster is always challenging. However, the right preparation can make the process a little simpler, and less stressful.


IRS Fourth Quarter Interest Rates for 2023 – Did You Know?

The IRS recently announced an interest rate increase for the fourth quarter of this year, October 1 - December 31. For that period, the annual interest rate for individual taxpayers will rise to 8%. Individual taxpayers who owe overdue tax will be charged interest at an annual rate of 8% on any unpaid balance beginning October 1, with interest compounded daily.

If you have not yet paid your 2022 tax, or tax from a previous year, paying as much as you can as soon as possible will help minimize the effect of this rate increase.


Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments - Reminder

If you are making quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS, the due date for the June 1st - August 31st, 2023 quarter of year is September 15th, 2023.

For payments made using IRS Direct Pay, you can make payments until 11:45PM EST, and for payments using a credit or debit card, payments can be made up to midnight on the due date.


Tax Planning and Possible Benefits for New Parents – Did You Know? (2/2)

If you welcome a new child to your home in 2023, whether through birth, adoption or taking in a relative like a grandchild, then you may qualify for new tax benefits. Now is the time to take steps to preserve your eligibility for these tax-saving opportunities.

Adoptive parents may qualify for the Adoption Tax Credit for eligible expenses incurred during the adoption process. If you cannot yet obtain a Social Security number (SSN) for the adopted child, you will need an adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN) to claim the credit.

If you pay for childcare services for your new child so that you can work or attend school, you may qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Credit. This credit can be as much as 35% of eligible care expenses, but you must keep detailed records of those costs. In addition, if your child does not meet the eligibility requirements for the Child Tax Credit (for example, because the child has an individual taxpayer ID number instead of an SSN), you may be able to claim the Credit for Other Dependents.

A tax professional can help you determine whether you may qualify for these credits or other tax benefits available to expanding families. Because a new child can affect your taxes in so many ways, it is a good idea to check up on your paycheck withholding amounts. The IRS Withholding Estimator (link below) helps you figure out how much tax should be withheld from your pay, and also provides instructions to request a change in your withholding if necessary.

IRS Withholding Estimator:


Tax Planning and Possible Benefits for New Parents – Did You Know? (1/2)

If you welcome a new child to your home in 2023, whether through birth, adoption or taking in a relative like a grandchild, then you may qualify for new tax benefits. However, there are some important steps to take now to preserve your eligibility for these opportunities.

First, if possible, obtain a Social Security number (SSN) for your new child. In most cases, you can request an SSN when you file for a birth certificate. If the child does not qualify for an SSN for any reason, then you can generally obtain an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) instead. Having a tax identification number for your child ensures that the IRS can verify the change in your household size, which may affect your taxes in a number of ways.

Two of the most valuable tax benefits that may be available to new parents are the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). You must have an SSN for each of your dependent children in order to claim these credits. The CTC is a per-child credit, so even if you received the credit in past years, your credit amount may increase with a new child in 2023. For the EITC, both the credit amount and the income limit increase as the number of qualifying children increases (up to 3 children). Therefore, the addition of a new child in 2023 could make you eligible for the credit even if you were not eligible in previous years.

A tax professional can help you determine whether you may qualify for the CTC and/or EITC, and if so, what steps you should take now to preserve your eligibility for the credits.


Impersonation of IRS Personnel – Did You Know?

Criminals constantly develop new tax-related scams to steal taxpayers' money and/or identities. Taxpayers can protect themselves by learning some of the tricks these scammers employ. Here are three of the most common ways that scammers try to impersonate the IRS.

- BY MAIL. Scammers may send a letter on what appears to be official IRS letterhead paper, typically delivered in a cardboard envelope. The letter includes bogus contact information that connects the taxpayer to the scammers instead of the IRS. Many of these letters include the phrase, "in relation to your unclaimed refund." Official IRS communications do not use this language.

- BY EMAIL OR TEXT MESSAGE. Many scammers send email or text messages where they claim to work for the IRS, offering to help a taxpayer claim a refund or fix a tax problem. These messages often include links to bogus websites that exist only to steal a taxpayer's personal information, and/or trick them into paying a fraudulent fee.

- IN PERSON. Some scam artists come right to a taxpayer's door, claiming to be IRS agents and sometimes displaying fake ID badges. The IRS recently announced that it is ending nearly all unannounced in-person visits to taxpayers. In most cases, the taxpayer will instead receive a letter inviting them to set up an in-person appointment. Therefore, so-called IRS agents who arrive without warning are likely to be scammers.

In any situation where there are signs of a possible scam, do not reply to the message, click on any links or allow suspected impostors into your home. Instead, call an official IRS number like 1-800-829-1040 to inquire about the matter.


End of Most Unannounced IRS Visits to Taxpayers – Did You Know?

The Commissioner of the IRS recently reported that the agency will discontinue nearly all unannounced visits to homes and businesses by revenue officers. This policy change is expected to improve safety, reduce confusion by allowing taxpayers to better prepare to meet with IRS personnel, and help protect taxpayers from scammers who impersonate IRS agents.

Previously, unarmed revenue officers have made unannounced visits to certain taxpayers, to work with them to resolve tax debts and/or file delinquent returns. Effectively immediately, those visits will generally be replaced with a mailed letter to set up a meeting, labeled IRS Letter 725-B. Taxpayers who receive this letter should follow the instructions to make an appointment.

Going forward, unannounced visits will generally only occur with the most serious tax cases. A tax professional can help taxpayers who receive Letter 725-B, or face another tax problem, get ready to meet with IRS agents and work toward resolving the issue.


Summer Life Events and Taxes – Did You Know? (2/2)

People often make life changes during the summer, both short-term and long-term. Many of these changes may require adjustments to your tax planning, and some create opportunities for significant tax savings.

Students who work part-time over the summer may have more federal income tax withheld from their pay than they owe. Make sure that working youngsters in your home are prepared to file a federal tax return next spring to claim any refund they have coming. Taxpayers of all ages who take on gig economy work should also be aware that they may owe self-employment tax. In general, any extra income may necessitate adjusting your withholding or estimated tax payments. The IRS Withholding Estimator tool (link below) can help you with the calculations.

Summer home improvements projects that reduce energy use, like installing Energy Star-certified windows, may make you eligible for the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit. Tax credits also exist for clean energy conversions, like installing rooftop solar panels. All of these tax-reducing opportunities require carefully documenting each expense.

A tax professional can help you determine whether you qualify for tax savings based on your summer activities.

IRS Withholding Estimator:


Summer Life Events and Taxes – Did You Know? (1/2)

People often make life changes during the summer, both short-term and long-term. Many of these changes may require adjustments to your tax planning, and some create opportunities for significant tax savings.

If you get married this summer or fall, taking a few steps now will help keep your tax filing simple next spring. First, make sure to report any name changes to the Social Security Administration. Second, if your new life together involves a relocation, notify the IRS of your new address. Also remember that marriage means a change in your tax filing status, which may necessitate an adjustment to your tax withholding or estimated tax payments. The IRS Withholding Estimator (link below) can help you stay on track.

Summertime can also mean paying for additional childcare so you can work, or sending your kids to summer camps. If you qualify, you may be able to claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit for a portion of these expenses. A tax professional can help you determine how summer life changes may affect your taxes, and how to best take advantage of tax saving opportunities.

IRS Withholding Estimator:


Educator Expense Deduction – Did You Know?

If you are an eligible educator, you may deduct up to $300 from trade or business expenses. Joint return filers who are both educators may deduct up to $300 per spouse.

You may qualify for this deduction if you work as a teacher, counselor, principal or aide for grades K-12 in a public or private school. You generally must work at the school for at least 900 hours during the school year.

Eligible classroom expenses include:
- Books, supplies and materials that you purchase for classroom use
- Classroom equipment, including computers, peripherals and software
- Items such as hand sanitizer and masks purchased to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Tuition and fees for professional development courses may also qualify for the Educator Expense Deduction. However, you may get a larger tax benefit by claiming the Lifelong Learning Credit or a different deduction for these costs. A tax professional can help you find the most advantageous way to report all your qualified expenses.


Hobby or Business - Did You Know?

Recent years have seen a rise in the number of people pursuing “side hustles,” such as delivery driving, dog walking and online craft selling. Many of these activities could be classified as either hobbies or business ventures, depending on how you pursue them. Since different tax rules apply for businesses and hobbies, it is important to know how the IRS will likely classify your side gig. The IRS considers a variety of questions, including:

- Do you depend on the activity for your livelihood?
- Do you pursue the activity in a professional, businesslike manner, and keep detailed records?
- Is the activity currently profitable for you, and if not, is there good reason to believe it will become consistently profitable in future years?
- Do you have the knowledge and skills needed to pursue the activity as a business?
- Do you approach the activity in a way that shows the intent to make a profit, such as changing methods to boost revenues?

In many cases, business income is subject to both income and self-employment tax, whereas hobbies may be subject to income tax. However, pursuing an activity as a business may enable you to reduce your taxable income by deducting business expenses, such as supplies, business vehicle use, and home office costs. A tax professional can help you determine how your side gigs should be classified, and how to account for that classification in your tax planning.


Unclaimed 2019 Tax Refunds – Did You Know?

The IRS estimates that 1.5 million Americans are entitled to 2019 federal tax refunds that they have not claimed. The deadline to still file a 2019 return is July 17, 2023 and after that date, any unclaimed refunds become the property of the U.S. Treasury.

Even if you owed little or no tax for 2019, you may still be entitled to an IRS refund if you qualified for a refundable tax credit, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Affordable Care Act Premium Tax Credit (PTC). The IRS estimates that not including refundable credits, the median unclaimed 2019 refund is $893, which means that half of the available refunds are greater than that amount.

A tax professional can help you determine your eligibility for 2019 tax credits, prepare a 2019 tax return and file the return.


New Identity Theft Mail Scam – Did You Know?

Scammers constantly develop new ways to impersonate the IRS and steal the money and/or identities of taxpayers. Most often, these scams come in the form of text messages, emails or phone calls. However, the IRS recently issued a new warning about a scam that uses traditional mail delivery.

In this new scam, taxpayers receive a letter by postal mail, or in a cardboard envelope from another delivery service. Printed on what appears to be IRS letterhead, the letter states that the taxpayer has an unclaimed tax refund. However, the phone number and address shown do not belong to the IRS. The letter asks the taxpayer for sensitive personal information, including their Social Security number (SSN), telephone number and photos of their driver's license. The scammers then use this information to steal the person's identity.

Legitimate IRS letters do not ask for personal information in this way. The scam letters also often have awkward phrases like, "Try to be watching your email." If you receive a suspicious letter that claims to be from the IRS, do NOT respond. Instead, call a legitimate IRS phone number, such as 800-829-1040, to find out whether the notice is genuine.


Business Travel Expense Deductions – Did You Know?

If you have business income, including earnings from self-employment activities like freelance, independent contract or gig economy work, you may be able to deduct business travel expenses on your tax return. In general, the expenses must relate to travel by you or one of your employees for business (not personal) purposes. The expenses also cannot be extravagant; they should be ordinary and necessary for your trade or business.

Potentially deductible expenses may include:
- Air, train or bus fare, or costs associated with traveling by personal or company car
- Fares (including tips) for taxi or rideshare services between an airport or train station and a hotel, or between a hotel and a work location
- Shipping costs for baggage, display materials or product samples
- Expenses (including tips) for lodging, meals, dry cleaning or laundry services
- Communication costs, such as business mobile phone service roaming charges

The IRS requires business travelers to maintain detailed records of all deductible expenses. A business tax professional can help you identify and document your eligible business travel expenses, so that you can claim your full deduction while staying within the rules.


Summer Income Tax Reminder - Did You Know? (2/2)

Americans of all ages with summer income from self-employment may need to pay estimated tax on a quarterly basis in order to avoid IRS penalties. Alternatively, if you have self-employment earnings but also work as an employee, the IRS Withholding Estimator tool (link below) can help you determine the correct withholding amount to cover your income and self-employment tax responsibilities.

You may also qualify to reduce your tax by deducting business expenses. A tax professional can help you comply with record keeping requirements, and fully prepare for any tax implications of your summer endeavors.

IRS Withholding Estimator:


Summer Income Tax Reminder - Did You Know? (1/2)

Students and other people who earn summer income, including gig economy and other self-employment income, should prepare now for potential federal tax obligations.

They may normally have taxes withheld from their paychecks by their employer after filling out a Form W-4. However, if the job is regarded as self-employment, like baby-sitting or lawn care can be, they should keep good records of all expenses to help maximize potential deductions.

In the case of lawn care, potential deductible expenses may include business cards, fliers, fuel, equipment rentals, chemicals, work mileage, etc.

In addition, minors and young adults with self-employment earnings (including gig economy income) of at least $400 must file a federal tax return and may owe self-employment tax in addition to federal income tax. A tax professional can help advise on potential deductible expenses and required tax filings.


Overseas Tax Filing & Quarterly Installment Deadlines - Reminder

If you are a U.S Citizen or Green Card Holder living abroad and have not filed your taxes yet, the deadline is coming up on June 15th, 2023.

If you are making quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS, the due date for the April 1 – May 31 quarter of year is also June 15th.

For payments made using IRS Direct Pay, you can make payments until 11:45PM EST, and for payments using a credit or debit card, payments can be made up to midnight on the due date.


Business Accessibility Tax Credits – Did You Know?

The IRS offers a variety of tax benefits for businesses that improve accessibility for people with disabilities and/or hire workers with disabilities. Small businesses with 30 or fewer full-time employees and annual revenues of $1 million or less may qualify to claim the Disabled Access Credit. The maximum credit amount is 50% of the cost of access improvements such as ramps, automatic doors and interpretive services like braille signage or audio interfaces.

Businesses of all sizes may also qualify for the Barrier Removal Tax Deduction. This program enables businesses to deduct up to $15,000 a year for eligible expenses to remove barriers that make it difficult for people with disabilities and the elderly to move around facilities. Ordinarily, businesses must depreciate such construction costs over a number of years.

In addition, businesses that hire veterans, workers with disabilities or other people who traditionally face obstacles to employment may qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. This credit may amount to as much as 40% of a qualifying employee's first-year wages.

A business tax professional can help you develop a strategy to take advantage of all the tax benefits available for boosting the accessibility of your business.


National 529 Day on Monday, May 29th - Did You Know?

If you put money in a 529 account for education, withdrawal of earnings are tax-free if used for qualified educational expenses. Qualified educational expenses include tuition, fees, housing, meals and books. Many states offer a full or partial tax deduction for 529 plan contributions. They may also offer incentives and promotions to encourage families to open and contribute to 529 accounts this coming Monday for National 529 Day.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) also expanded eligibility for 529 savings plans. Up to $10,000 per year may be used for Kindergarten through Grade 12 education (public, private, or religious schools).


Small Business Clean Energy Tax Credits – Did You Know?

The IRS recently reminded taxpayers of the clean energy tax credits available to small businesses in 2023. These credits include:

- SOLAR POWER CREDIT: Small businesses may get a credit as high as 30% of the cost of switching to solar power, which can greatly reduce or even eliminate electricity bills.
- ENERGY EFFICIENCY CREDITS: Owners of buildings that house small businesses may claim a credit of up to $5 per square foot for efficiency improvements that reduce energy usage and utility bills.
- CLEAN COMMERCIAL VEHICLE CREDIT: This credit may be as high as 30% of the cost to acquire commercial trucks and vans classified as clean vehicles. Clean vehicles include plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as vehicles powered by fuel cells.

These credits are nonrefundable, so you cannot claim a credit amount greater than the tax your business owes. Nevertheless, they could reduce your enterprise's tax bill. A business tax professional can help you determine whether your business qualifies for these credits, and if so, help you develop a plan to maximize your tax savings.


Direct Deposit for Amended Returns - Did You Know?

Taxpayers may need to file amended tax returns for a variety of reasons. For example, they may have made significant errors on their original returns, or neglected to claim deductions or credits available to them. Until recently, the IRS only issued tax refunds related to amended returns by paper check. Now, taxpayers who file amended returns electronically may request direct deposit to receive refunds more quickly, and eliminate the risk of paper checks getting lost or damaged in the mail.

If needed, a tax professional can help you file an accurate amended return electronically, and set up direct deposit.


Letters from the IRS - Did You Know?

If the IRS needs to contact a taxpayer, the agency will generally send a letter in the mail rather than emailing or calling. Taxpayers may receive IRS letters for many reasons, including:

- The taxpayer owes tax and did not pay it with their return or set up a payment plan.
- The IRS has a question about a tax return or needs more information to process it.
- The IRS has made an adjustment to a tax return or refund amount.
- The IRS needs to verify a taxpayer's identity.

If you receive an IRS letter in the mail, do not ignore it, but also do not panic. Some IRS notices do not require the taxpayer to take any action, while others advise the taxpayer of an issue that can be readily resolved. In many cases, you will not need to respond to the letter. For example, if an IRS notice simply informs you of a minor change made to your return or your refund amount, you can just file it with your tax records for future reference.

However, if the letter asks you to provide the IRS with additional information, you should respond as quickly as possible. Pay special attention to whether the notice includes a deadline to respond. Taxpayers who fail to reply to an IRS letter by a specified deadline may face penalties or forfeit their appeal rights.

You have the right to appeal any IRS decision about your tax return or the amount of tax you owe. If you do not understand an IRS notice or believe the IRS has made an error, a tax professional can help you figure out the situation and plan your next steps.


Tax Debt Settlement Scams – Did You Know?

When a taxpayer owes more tax than they can pay without extreme hardship, the IRS sometimes accepts an offer-in-compromise (OIC). Under an OIC agreement, the taxpayer may settle their tax debt for less than the full amount owed.

However, the IRS warns taxpayers to watch out for "OIC mills," agencies that churn out stacks of OIC applications, costing the taxpayers they supposedly represent thousands of dollars. Many of these agencies make unrealistic claims in radio, TV and internet ads about settling tax debts for "pennies on the dollar." Often, a taxpayer gets talked into paying an OIC mill to file an application that the agency knows will be rejected, because the taxpayer does not qualify for the OIC program. Even when the IRS accepts an application from an OIC mill, the excessive fees charged by the agency may still cause the taxpayer great financial harm.

If you are considering an OIC to settle your tax bills, do not believe the hype. You may check your eligibility using the IRS' Offer In Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool with the link below. Working with a trusted tax professional can also determine whether you qualify for the OIC program, as well as help you prepare an application with a better chance of being accepted.

Offer In Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool:


Filing Extensions and Minimizing Penalties – Did You Know?

Taxpayers who request an extension to file their 2022 federal income tax returns may file anytime up until October 16th, 2023. Remember, however, that an IRS extension is only an extension to file tax returns, NOT an extension to pay any tax owed. Taxes not paid by the April 18th payment deadline may be subject to late penalties and interest charges.

Electronic payments may be made using the IRS online payment portal (link below). The IRS urges those who cannot pay what they owe at this time to pay whatever amount they can, and then apply for an installment plan to pay off the remaining balance.

If you are required to file, you should still file your taxes, even if you can't pay, as the failure-to-file penalty may be 10 times more than the failure-to-pay penalty.

IRS Online Payment Portal:


Reducing Fees & Penalties - Did You Know?

If you are required to file your taxes, you should still file, even if you can't pay, as the failure-to-file penalty may be 10 times more than the failure-to-pay penalty. If you are unable to pay in full, try to file your tax return by the deadline of April 18th, 2023 and pay as much as you can.

In addition, April 18th is also the due date for Tax Year 2023 first quarter estimated tax payments for those making estimated payments.


Reporting Foreign Income and Assets – Did You Know?

The IRS generally requires taxpayers to report both their income from foreign sources and any assets they hold outside the U.S. (such as a foreign bank account). Foreign income may include earned income like wages, a salary or self-employment earnings, as well as unearned income like interest or dividends. Taxpayers who qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion or Foreign Tax Credit must still report their income on a U.S. tax return to claim these benefits.

Even if you did not receive any income from foreign sources in 2022, you may still need to report foreign assets like bank and investment accounts on your tax return. In most cases, you must also file an FBAR form (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) if the total value of your foreign assets exceeded $10,000 at any point in 2022. The FBAR filing deadline is April 15, 2023, however, if you are unable to meet this deadline, FinCEN offers an automatic extension until Oct. 15, 2023. Note that the FBAR is NOT an IRS form, and cannot be filed with your tax return. Instead, FBAR forms must be submitted separately to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).


IRS Filing Deadline is April 18th – Filers in Disaster Areas May Have Additional Time

The general filing and payment deadline for 2022 federal tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

If you live in a region covered by a federal disaster declaration, you may have additional time to file your return and pay any tax due. The IRS has extended the deadline for residents of certain counties in Alabama and Georgia affected by severe storms, along with many areas of California, to October 16, 2023. Arkansas and Mississippi residents affected by the storm may also now have until July 31 to file and pay payments. The IRS disaster relief webpage (link below) lists all counties and regions that have been granted extended deadlines.

IRS Disaster Relief Page:


IRS Online IRS Account Setup Scams – Did You Know?

Each year, the IRS issues a list of the most prevalent scams that put taxpayers' identities and hard-earned money at risk. Some dangerous scams relate to IRS online accounts. Many taxpayers find that setting up an online account helps them stay on top of their taxes and make better planning decisions. Unfortunately, this IRS service has also drawn the attention of digital scammers.

In one common scheme, the scammer contacts a taxpayer, posing as a representative of a supposedly helpful service for people with limited computer skills. The scammer offers to help the taxpayer set up an online IRS account, asking for sensitive information like the taxpayer's address, photo ID, and Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification number (ITIN). The scammer then sells this information to criminals, who use it for tax fraud and other forms of identity theft.

The IRS warns taxpayers that ANY such offer is a scam. Most people can readily set up their own IRS online accounts by following the instructions at If you do need help, only seek it from a trusted person, like a family member or tax professional.

IRS Online Account:

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431 Nursery Road, Suite C700
The Woodlands, TX

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Assessment Advisors Assessment Advisors
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Reach out to our team of veteran business tax assessment professionals today. Our services are tailo