Taxpayer Advocate Service News
  1. TAS Tax Tip: Is the Person at Your Door Really From the IRS?

    Is the IRS knocking at your door

    In certain situations, the IRS may send an employee out to your residence or place of business to collect past due taxes or conduct an audit of your return. With in-person scams continuing to take place across the country, the Taxpayer Advocate Service wants you to know how and when the IRS may contact you in person to help you protect yourself against possible in-person scams.

    Eight things to know about in-person contacts from the IRS:

    1. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
    2. There are special circumstances when the IRS will come to your home or business.
      • These include:
        • When you have an overdue tax bill;
        • When the IRS needs to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment;
        • To tour a business as part of an audit; or As part of a criminal investigation.

    3. Revenue Officers are IRS employees who work cases that involve an amount owed or a delinquent tax return. Generally, Revenue Officer home or business visits are unannounced.
    4. Revenue Officers carry two forms of official identification, a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 card. Both forms of ID have a photo of the employee and serial numbers. You can (and should) ask to see both IDs before discussing any sensitive or personal information. You may also call the IRS at a phone number provided by the Revenue Officer to confirm his or her identity.
    5. The IRS can assign certain cases to private collection agencies (PCAs) after notifying you in writing. These PCAs will never visit you at your home or business.
    6. The IRS will not ask you to make a payment to anyone other than to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
    7. Revenue Agents are IRS employees conducting audits. They may call you to set up appointments, but not without having first notified you by mail. Therefore, by the time a Revenue Agent visits you at your home or business, you will be aware of the audit.
    8. An IRS Criminal Investigator may visit your home or business unannounced while conducting an investigation. However, these are federal law enforcement agents and they will not demand any sort of payment.

    When interacting with you, Revenue Officers have the responsibility to educate you about the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) and identify economic hardships if you have an outstanding federal tax debt and payment creates a hardship. They also have the responsibility to consider other means of resolving tax debts, including installment agreements and offers in compromise.

    IRS employees do not:

    • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
    • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
    • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers, or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

    If you believe you were visited by someone impersonating the IRS, you can find information on how to report scams here.

    Need help with a specific tax problem?

    The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayers' rights. We can offer you help if your tax problem is causing a financial difficulty, you’ve tried and been unable to resolve your issue with the IRS, or you believe an IRS system, process, or procedure just isn't working as it should. If you qualify for our assistance, which is always free, we will do everything possible to help you.
    Visit www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov or call 877-777-4778.

    Read more about the kinds of problems TAS handles and how we may be able to assist you with yours.

    For current information about IRS operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit irs.gov.

    Taxpayer Rights:

    For More Resources and Information:

    IRS

    Taxpayer Advocate Service

    You can also visit the TAS Tax Tips page throughout the tax filing season to get helpful information.

  2. November 10 is National EIP Registration Day: Millions of Americans still need to register no later than November 21 to get an Economic Impact Payment

    Non-Filers Should Register for their EIP by Nov. 21 Deadline

    Did you miss the deadline to register online for the Economic Impact Payment?

    You may still be eligible to receive a payment in 2021 if:

    • You did not register online, by mail and did not get a payment in 2020 or,
    • You received a payment, but it wasn’t the full amount of the Economic Impact Payment. The maximum credit is $1,200, or $2,400 if married filing jointly, plus $500 for each qualifying child.

    Then:

    • When you file a 2020 Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors, you may be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit. Save your IRS letter - Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment - with your 2020 tax records. You’ll need the amount of the payment in the letter when you file in 2021.

    Attention non-filers – the cutoff to register for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) is fast approaching. To claim your EIP, you should register using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool by 3 p.m. (Eastern Time) on November 21.

    Taxpayers who normally are not required to file a federal tax return have more time to claim the EIP this year. Taxpayers with incomes below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for single individuals who cannot be claimed as a dependent by someone else, do not typically have a filing requirement. For more details about filing requirements in general, see Table 1-1 in IRS Publication 17.

    IRS Nov. 10 ‘National EIP Registration Day’ (link)

    If you are unable to use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool, watch IRS.gov for more information about support from IRS partner groups inside and outside of the tax community, including those that work with low-income and underserved communities for available help options. Low Income Taxpayer Clinics

    Some Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) may be able to help individuals whose household income does not exceed 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines with completing the IRS Non-Filers tool or filing a 2019 tax return in order to claim the EIP.

    These LITCs have stepped forward to provide assistance to eligible taxpayers for claiming the EIP, subject to availability of services. Some LITCs serve only specific geographic areas, so it is recommended that taxpayers contact an LITC near them, when possible.

    Anyone who is not required to file a federal tax return but is eligible for an EIP, did not already register for an EIP, and did not already receive an EIP, must use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool to claim a payment by 3 p.m. (Eastern Time) on November 21. The IRS cannot issue EIPs after December 31, 2020. Using the tool and requesting direct deposit is recommended, so the IRS has time to process the information and issue EIPs to eligible taxpayers prior to that date.

    The extended claim date also applies to:

    Anyone using the Non-Filers tool can speed up the arrival of their payment by choosing to receive it by direct deposit. Those not choosing this option will get a check.

    Beginning two weeks after they register, people can track the status of their payment using the Get My Payment tool.

    If you miss this deadline, you will need to wait until next year and claim the payment as a credit (known as the Recovery Rebate Credit) by filing a 2020 tax return.

    Alternative claim submission instructions

    If you can't or don't want to submit the information online using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool, you can still use the tool to enter the required information and then print and mail in the document. Do not submit the information twice.

    If you submit a printed form, double-check that “EIP 2020” is at the top of the document. Mail the printed document to the IRS address for your state, without payment.

    The IRS won’t have the information necessary to issue you a payment unless you provide some basic information about yourself, your spouse, and any qualifying child under age 17. Entering your bank account information will allow the IRS to deposit your payment directly in your account. Otherwise, your payment will be mailed to you.

    Help Spread the Word

    If you have already received your EIP, you may be able to help your relatives and friends to receive theirs. If you’re reading this article and know others who may be in this particular position, as described above, and have not received their EIPs, let them know there is still time. Spread the word!

  3. TAS Tax Tip: Renew Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers before they expire


    Earlier this year, the IRS issued a reminder to certain Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) holders whose ITINs expire on December 31, 2020. An individual taxpayer’s failure to timely renew an ITIN may result in a delay of a refund claimed on a 2020 federal income tax return.

    The renewal process can take up to sixty days or more, so it is critical to begin the process of renewal now.

    Who needs to renew?

    • Taxpayers who expect to file a federal tax return during 2021 and whose ITIN contains the middle digits 88 (For example: 9NN-88-NNNN) or 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, or 99.

    Note: Taxpayer ITINs need to be renewed even if the taxpayer has used it in the last three years.

    The IRS may have already sent you a notice about this, but if you did not take action yet, please do so to avoid problems later.

    How do I renew an ITIN?

    • To renew an ITIN, a taxpayer must complete a Form W-7 and submit all required documentation. Taxpayers submitting a Form W-7 to renew their ITIN are not required to attach a federal tax return. However, taxpayers must still note a reason for needing an ITIN on the Form W-7. See the Form W-7 instructions for detailed information.

    • Taxpayers with an expiring ITIN have the option to renew ITINs for their entire family at the same time. Those who have received a renewal letter from the IRS can choose to renew the family's ITINs together, even if family members have an ITIN with middle digits that have not been identified for expiration. Family members include the tax filer, spouse and any dependents claimed on the tax return.

    See our Getting An ITIN help page or the IRS’s reminder page for more information about ways to submit the Form W-7 application package.

    How do I avoid errors?

    • Double check your Form W-7 for missing entries.
    • Ensure you attach all required documentation (e.g., medical records, school records, identification documents like a valid passport, etc.).
    • Ensure all required signatures are on the Form W-7.

    Resources

    Taxpayer Advocate Service Help

    The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is uniquely positioned to assist all taxpayers (and their representatives), including individuals, businesses, and exempt organizations. If you qualify for our help, an advocate will be with you at every turn and do everything possible to assist through the process.

    Currently, TAS is open to virtually serve taxpayers who find themselves in hardship situations or dealing with IRS tax problems they’ve been unable to resolve directly with the IRS. Visit our Contact Us page to learn more.

    You can also follow the Taxpayer Advocate Service across social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube for the latest news

  4. Blog de la NTA: ¿Cuáles son las consecuencias tributarias para los padres y trabajadores contratados para ayudar con el aprendizaje o el cuidado de niños? a distancia

    Suscríbase al Blog de la NTA y reciba actualizaciones sobre las últimas publicaciones del blog de la Defensora Nacional del Contribuyente Erin M. Collins. Se pueden encontrar blogs adicionales en www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/blog.

    In English

    Debido a la pandemia, muchas escuelas tradicionales han cambiado a la enseñanza a distancia. Sin embargo, por diversas razones, el aprendizaje a distancia puede no ser una opción adecuada para todas las familias. Para abordar las necesidades y circunstancias particulares de cada familia, como los problemas de salud, algunos han recurrido a los grupos de educación en el hogar (pequeños grupos de niños que comparten un espacio de aprendizaje dirigido por un instructor de grupo) o han contratado niñeras para cuidar a los niños más pequeños. Los padres que contratan instructores de grupos, niñeras y trabajadores domésticos similares pueden no estar familiarizados con los requisitos de presentación y retención de impuestos. Como resultado, pueden encontrarse con obligaciones o multas tributarias inesperadas. Es importante entender las consecuencias tributarias de contratar a un trabajador doméstico, incluso si  un trabajador es tratado como un “empleado” o un “contratista independiente” para los informes tanto federales como estatales.

    ¿Empleado o contratista independiente?

    Para los propósitos tributarios, los padres deben determinar si un instructor de grupo o una niñera es un empleado o un contratista independiente. Los padres deben considerar el grado de control que ejercen sobre el instructor de grupo o la niñera. Para ayudar a tomar esta determinación, el IRS emitió la Resolución Administrativa Tributaria (Rev. Rul.) 87-41, que enumera 20 factores que los contribuyentes deben considerar. Para simplificar el análisis, el IRS ha agrupado estos factores en tres categorías (consulte la Publicación 15-A del IRS, Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide (Guía tributaria suplementaria del empleador), en inglés:

    • control de comportamiento;
    • control financiero y
    • la relación entre las partes.

    En resumen, un trabajador se considera un empleado si el padre o madre conserva el derecho de controlar qué trabajo se realiza y cómo se hace. Por ejemplo, un empleado puede recibir instrucciones para trabajar en un horario determinado y recibir instrucciones específicas sobre cómo realizar su trabajo. Por el contrario, un contratista independiente conserva un control sustancial sobre la manera y los medios a través de los cuales se entrega un servicio o producto.

    Al aplicar los factores del IRS a una niñera o a un instructor de grupo con base en los hechos específicos, una niñera es más a menudo un empleado, mientras que un instructor de grupo es más probable que sea un contratista independiente. Esto se debe a que los padres generalmente establecen restricciones o instrucciones específicas dentro de las cuales opera la niñera, como la programación, las actividades diarias y los métodos disciplinarios. Mientras tanto, los instructores de grupos generalmente mantienen el control de instrucción sobre el entorno de aprendizaje en términos de lo que se enseña y cómo se realiza. Sin embargo, los resultados pueden variar según las circunstancias. Por ejemplo, los padres no pueden confiar en esta regla general si sus niñeras tienen más autonomía o si los instructores de grupos están microgestionados. (Y vale la pena señalar que un tutor contratado para brindar instrucción complementaria en una materia como álgebra o química generalmente se trataría como un contratista independiente).

    Los padres deben examinar quién establece el horario, quién proporciona los materiales educativos y de cuidado infantil, y cómo manejan específicamente los detalles del trabajo de su niñera o instructor de grupo. Cuanto más control ejerce un padre o madre sobre el acuerdo, más probable es que el trabajador sea un empleado. Después de considerar y aplicar todos los factores a la situación, los padres deberán decidir si la niñera o el instructor de grupo debe clasificarse como un empleado o un contratista independiente. La situación de cada padre o madre puede ser diferente. Tenga en cuenta que si un instructor de grupo o una niñera proporciona sus servicios a través de una empresa, la empresa generalmente se considera el empleador, no los padres.

    Al igual que los padres, los instructores de grupos tienen interés en cómo se clasifican, ya que su clasificación generará diferentes consecuencias tributarias para sí mismos. Las autoridades tributarias estatales pueden tener reglas específicas que también deben tenerse en cuenta. Los padres y los instructores de grupos que deseen más certeza pueden buscar ayuda del IRS para determinar la clasificación de los trabajadores completando y enviando el Formulario SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding (Determinación de la condición de trabajador para fines de impuestos federales sobre el empleo y retención de impuestos sobre los ingresos), en inglés. Como informó anteriormente el Defensor Nacional del Contribuyente, este proceso puede ser bastante largo y agobiante. Sin embargo, recibir una decisión oficial, aunque demorada, puede ser útil para resolver disputas entre padres e instructores de grupos.

    ¿Consecuencias tributarias para los padres, la niñera o el instructor de grupo?

     Es fundamental que los contribuyentes consideren cuidadosamente sus hechos y circunstancias particulares. No existe una respuesta única para todos.

    • Si los padres consideran que la niñera o el instructor de grupo es un contratista independiente, deben mantener registros y recibos cuidadosos de todas las cantidades pagadas. Los contratistas independientes son responsables de pagar todos los impuestos sobre el trabajo por cuenta propia y  presentar correctamente sus declaraciones. Los padres pueden referir a los contratistas independientes al Centro de Impuestos para Trabajadores Independientes del IRS, en inglés, para obtener más información sobre cómo hacer esto.
    • Sin embargo, si los padres consideran que la niñera o el instructor de grupo es un empleado, deberán considerar cómo presentar los formularios necesarios ante el IRS y retener y pagar los impuestos requeridos.Aquí hay algunas cosas clave que debe hacer de inmediato:
      • Las siguientes son algunas cosas clave que debe hacer de inmediato:
        • Primero, los padres deben solicitar un Número de identificación del empleador (EIN, por sus siglas en inglés), que debe incluirse en todas las presentaciones futuras ante el IRS.
        • Segundo, los padres deberán determinar si cumplen con el requisito de límite para pagar los impuestos sobre la nómina.
        • Para 2020, si se paga al menos $2,200 en salarios en efectivo a un empleado doméstico, deberá pagar los impuestos al Seguro Social y al Medicare.
        • Para cualquier trimestre calendario en 2019 o 2020, si se paga al menos $1,000 en salarios en efectivo a un empleado doméstico, deberá pagar los impuestos federales por desempleo.
      • Los padres también deben consultar con su estado sobre los requisitos y procedimientos para pagar el impuesto estatal por desempleo.
      • Después, los padres tendrán que hablar si ellos, como el empleador, retendrán y pagarán los impuestos, o si el empleado pagará los impuestos. Si los padres harán la retención, el empleado deberá presentar al empleador un Formulario W-4(SP) , Certificado de Retenciones del Empleado.
        • En general, los impuestos sobre la nómina se calculan como el 15.3 por ciento del salario, con el 7.65 por ciento pagado por el empleador y el 7.65 por ciento retenido por el empleador del salario del empleado.
        • La retención de los impuestos federales sobre los ingresos se puede calcular, en inglés, utilizando un Formulario W-4(SP) debidamente completado.
      • Por otro lado, los padres también deben verificar la ley estatal para determinar si están obligados a obtener el seguro de compensación laboral a través de un proveedor de seguro privado en caso de que un empleado se lesione mientras trabaja.
    • Una vez que finalice el año tributario:
      • Los padres deberán presentar un Formulario W-2, Wage and Tax Statement (Declaración de salarios e impuestos), en inglés, ante el IRS y un Formulario W-3,Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements  (Transmisión de declaraciones de salarios e impuestos), en inglés, ante la Administración del Seguro Social, y entregar el Formulario W-2 al empleado antes del 31 de enero.
      • Durante la temporada de presentación de impuestos, los padres deberán completar y presentar un Anexo H, Household Employment Taxes (Impuestos sobre el empleo doméstico), en inglés, con sus propias declaraciones, que se utilizará para calcular los impuestos sobre el empleo doméstico adeudados que se pagarán para el 15 de abril.
    • Para obtener instrucciones más detalladas, los padres pueden consultar el Manual de Impuestos Internos (IRM, por sus siglas en inglés) 4.23.10.10.5, Household Employment Taxes (Impuestos sobre el empleo doméstico) y la Publicación 926 del IRS, Household Employer’s Tax Guide (Guía tributaria para los empleadores de trabajadores domésticos), en inglés.

    A medida que todos navegamos por las nuevas circunstancias provocadas por la pandemia de la COVID-19, es posible que los impuestos no sean la primera preocupación de los padres. Sin embargo, los padres deben ser conscientes de las consecuencias tributarias federales (y estatales) de sus entornos de cuidado infantil o aprendizaje a distancia y deben consultar con un asesor tributario si es necesario. Las familias deben mantener registros y recibos cuidadosos y considerar el uso de una Cuenta de Gastos Flexibles (FSA, por sus siglas en inglés) para el cuidado de dependientes patrocinada por el empleador o la elegibilidad para el Crédito tributario por cuidado de hijos o dependientes, en inglés. Los padres que contraten instructores de grupos o niñeras deben estar informados sobre las consecuencias tributarias y deben estar preparados para cumplir con todos los requisitos tributarios.

    Para obtener más información, consulte la Publicación 926 del IRS, Household Employer’s Tax Guide (Guía tributaria para los empleadores de trabajadores domésticos), en inglés, y otras fuentes de información citadas en este blog.

    Enlace a esta publicación: https://go.usa.gov/x79KS, en inglés

    Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son únicamente las del Defensor Nacional del Contribuyente. El Defensor Nacional del Contribuyente presenta una perspectiva de contribuyente independiente que no necesariamente refleja la posición del IRS, el Departamento del Tesoro o la Oficina de Administración y Presupuesto.

  5. TAS Tax Tip: Taxpayers not normally required to file should register for an Economic Impact Payment by November 21, 2020

    Non-Filers Should Register for their EIP by Nov. 21 Deadline

    Did you miss the deadline to register online for the Economic Impact Payment?

    You may still be eligible to receive a payment in 2021 if:

    • You did not register online, by mail and did not get a payment in 2020 or,
    • You received a payment, but it wasn’t the full amount of the Economic Impact Payment. The maximum credit is $1,200, or $2,400 if married filing jointly, plus $500 for each qualifying child.

    Then:

    • When you file a 2020 Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors, you may be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit. Save your IRS letter - Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment - with your 2020 tax records. You’ll need the amount of the payment in the letter when you file in 2021.


    Taxpayers who normally are not required to file a federal tax return have more time to claim the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) this year. Taxpayers with incomes below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for single individuals who cannot be claimed as a dependent by someone else, do not typically have a filing requirement. For more details about filing requirements in general, see Table 1-1 in IRS Publication 17.

    Anyone who is not required to file a federal tax return but is eligible for an EIP, did not already register for an EIP, and did not already receive an EIP, must use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool to claim a payment by 3 p.m. (Eastern Time) on November 21. The IRS cannot issue EIPs after December 31, 2020. Using the tool and requesting direct deposit is recommended, so the IRS has time to process the information and issue EIPs to eligible taxpayers prior to that date.

    The extended claim date also applies to:

    Anyone using the Non-Filers tool can speed up the arrival of their payment by choosing to receive it by direct deposit. Those not choosing this option will get a check.

    Beginning two weeks after they register, people can track the status of their payment using the Get My Payment tool.

    If you miss this deadline, you will need to wait until next year and claim the payment as a credit (known as the Recovery Rebate Credit) by filing a 2020 tax return.

    Alternative claim submission instructions

    If you can't or don't want to submit the information online using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool, you can still use the tool to enter the required information and then print and mail in the document. Do not submit the information twice.

    If you submit a printed form, double-check that “EIP 2020” is at the top of the document. Mail the printed document to the IRS address for your state, without payment.

    The IRS won’t have the information necessary to issue you a payment unless you provide some basic information about yourself, your spouse, and any qualifying child under age 17. Entering your bank account information will allow the IRS to deposit your payment directly in your account. Otherwise, your payment will be mailed to you.

    Available Help Options

    Low Income Taxpayer Clinics

    Some Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) may be able to help individuals whose household income does not exceed 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines with completing the IRS Non-Filers tool or filing a 2019 tax return in order to claim the EIP.

    These LITCs have stepped forward to provide assistance to eligible taxpayers for claiming the EIP, subject to availability of services. Some LITCs serve only specific geographic areas, so it is recommended that taxpayers contact an LITC near them, when possible.

    IRS Nov. 10 ‘National EIP Registration Day’

    If you are unable to use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool, watch IRS.gov for more information about support from IRS partner groups inside and outside of the tax community, including those that work with low-income and underserved communities for available help options.

    Help Spread the Word

    If you have already received your EIP, you may be able to help your relatives and friends to receive theirs. If you’re reading this article and know others who may be in this particular position, as described above, and have not received their EIPs, let them know there is still time. Spread the word!