The IRS and its Security Summit partners from the national tax industry and state tax agencies announced the 8th annual National Tax Security Awareness Week, set to begin November 27. Protection of financial information and identity theft prevention are the focus of the week-long awareness campaign backed by the Security Summit. This coalition consists of the IRS, state agencies, tax professionals, and tax software companies whose goal is to promote private and public sector cooperation to increase knowledge of the threats tax preparers face. Drake Software® is proud to be an original member of the Security Summit and continues to hold membership with 23 other industry offices.
The National Tax Security Awareness Week Itinerary
Drake users have a lot to look forward to during this year’s National Tax Security Awareness Week:
- Partners of the Security Summit will have access to educational material in the form of IRS publications and e-posters to help spread security awareness.
- The IRS has a social media awareness campaign planned on all of the social channels used by the Security Summit.
- Press Releases sharing the central topics to National Tax Security Awareness Week will release daily, providing information to tax professionals about avoiding the dangers of tax schemes and identity theft.
During the end of the year and holiday season, increased online gift purchases and tax filing deadlines can present increased risk of losing private information by way of scams and fraud. The National Tax Security Awareness Week’s timing is designed to refresh tax preparers on how to avoid these situations which can appear in the form of identity thieves posing as charitable organizations or even the IRS using fake emails and text messages asking for personal tax information which they can use to file returns.
Both Drake Software and the IRS recommend tax professionals review their security measures this week and implement some of the strategies listed below to identify and thwart these theft attempts:
- Preparers should create data security and recovery plans to handle or prevent information breaches.
- Tax professionals can familiarize themselves with phone schemes where the caller pretends to be a new client.
- The FTC requires that tax preparers use multi-factor authentication to safeguard client data. Tax software accounts should also be protected with multi-factor authentication.
- Tax employees and professionals working remotely need to use a VPN.
The November 30 webinar, Developing a Written Security Information Plan, led by Jared Ballew, the Vice President of Government Relations at Drake Software and representatives from the IRS covers tax security to educate tax preparers on dangers and solutions from tax fraud. The registration link can be found on this IRS news release.
Additional Security Focuses for the Week
One topic at the forefront of this year’s National Tax Security Awareness Week is the IRS Identity Protection Pin program. This is a service taxpayers can use to help protect their tax returns. The pin is a six-digit code only the IRS, the filing individual, and a trustworthy tax provider should know. It guards social security information on tax refunds. If interested in this security measure, visit the IRS link here.
The Security Summit recognizes small businesses as the group most likely to be the victim of financial fraud and will cover ways to specifically protect them during tax security week. The 14039-B theft report form and W-2 income information scam and topics of conversation for small companies.
Resources and Information
Drake Software strives to offer our clients the best resources and security available in the industry. We published several blogs this year that are companion pieces for the tax preparer security topics covered this week. Read our blog posts on cybersecurity, employee retention credit scams and IRS security requirements for more preparation to fend off attacks on sensitive information.
The article from the IRS on National Tax Security Awareness Week can be found here.
– Article provided by Taxing Subjects.
The window for claiming a pandemic-driven tax credit is still open to taxpayers who didn’t take advantage of it during the main Covid outbreak. But closing dates are approaching, making filing a claim for eligible taxpayers (tax years 2020 or 2021) a priority for tax preparers.
For a historical background, we have to go back to 2020 as we faced national economic challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. The IRS established the Recovery Rebate Credit to help those taxpayers who may have missed one or more of the Economic Impact Payments – also known as stimulus payments – that were released in 2020 and 2021.
While it is likely that the vast majority of eligible taxpayers have already gotten their Economic Impact Payments directly or by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit, the IRS is concerned that there are still taxpayers who are due the credit, but haven’t received payment.
Any eligible taxpayers, however, must file a tax return to claim the credit – even if they had little or no income.
Who is Eligible and for How Long?
The Recovery Rebate Credit is available for the 2020 and 2021 tax years.
Taxpayers filing for 2020 must have been a U.S. citizen or resident alien in 2020 and cannot have been a dependent of another taxpayer during the tax year. In addition, qualified taxpayers must have a Social Security number issued before the due date of the tax return that’s valid for U.S. employment.
Taxpayers claiming the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit must file a tax return by May 17, 2024.
Those taxpayers filing for 2021 must have been a U.S. citizen or resident alien in 2021 and cannot have been a dependent of another taxpayer during that tax year. Additionally for 2021 filers, taxpayers must have a Social Security number issued before the due date of the tax return that’s valid for U.S. employment or claim a dependent with an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number.
Claims for the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit must be filed in a federal tax return by April 15, 2025.
The Recovery Rebate Credit can also be claimed on behalf of a taxpayer who has died. The 2020 credit can be claimed for someone who died in 2020, while both the 2020 and 2021 credits can be claimed for someone who died in 2021 or later.
Note that any Recovery Rebate Credit that is received cannot be counted as income when determining one’s eligibility for federal benefits. This includes Supplemental Security Income or SSI; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF; or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC.
If someone claims the credit, it has no bearing on their immigration status or their ability to get a green card or other immigration benefits.
Taxpayers who are unsure if they got the Economic Impact Payments can check their IRS Online Account to check for payments and amounts.
Source: IRS reminds eligible 2020 and 2021 non-filers to claim Recovery Rebate Credit before time runs out
– Article provided by Taxing Subjects.
The Internal Revenue Service has passed along an early Christmas present of sorts to many taxpayers by increasing the maximum contribution amounts for 401(k) plans in 2024.
The contribution hike covers those employees who take part in 401(k), 403(b), or most 457 plans. Participants in the federal Thrift Savings Plan are also included in the increase. Taxpayers who participate in any of these plans can now contribute up to $23,000 for 2024; that’s up from $22,500 under the previous rules. Catch-up contribution limits for these same taxpayers, however, stay at present levels.
For those with SIMPLE retirement accounts, contribution limits have been raised from $15,500 to $16,000.
The new rules also boost the limit on contributions to an IRA, raising the bar from $6,500 to $7,000. Despite legislation including an annual cost-of-living adjustment (via the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022), IRA 2024 catch-up contribution limits remain at $1,000 for those participants 50 and over.
Income Limits on Deduction Eligibility Increased.
A taxpayer’s eligibility to deduct their contributions to traditional IRAs or Roth IRAs, or to claim the Saver’s Credit can hinge on the filer’s income. In all three instances, these income ranges were increased by the IRS as well.
Deduction phase-out for traditional IRAs gets an overhaul from the new guidance. Affected taxpayers include Single covered by a retirement plan at work, and Married filing jointly with the spouse making the IRA contribution covered by a workplace retirement plan.
Complete details on these and deduction phase-outs – including those for Roth and SIMPLE plans, and the Saver’s Credit – are available in Notice 2023-75 on the IRS website. The Notice has technical guidance on all the cost-of-living adjustments set in motion by the SECURE Act 2.0 legislation.
Source: 401(k) limit increases to $23,000 for 2024, IRA limit rises to $7,000
– Article provided by Taxing Subjects.