Blog

Are you eligible for the Premium Tax Credit?

The premium tax credit can help make purchasing health insurance coverage more affordable for people with moderate incomes

Are you eligible for the Premium Tax Credit?

The premium tax credit can help make purchasing health insurance coverage more affordable for people with moderate incomes.

Question 1: Did you or a family member enroll in insurance through the Marketplace?

If you answer no to question 1, you are not eligible for PTC.

If you answer yes to question 1, move on to the next question.

Question 2: Are you and every member of your family eligible for coverage through an employer or government plan?

If you answer yes to question 2, you are not eligible for PTC.

If you answer no to question 2, move on to the next question.

Footnote about question 2: there are special rules about what it means to be eligible for employer or government coverage. See Publication 974 for more information.

Question 3: Is your household income at least 100 percent, but no more than 400 percent, of the federal poverty line for your family size?

If you answer no to question 3, you are not eligible for PTC.

If you answer yes to question 3, move on to the next question.

Footnote about question 3: Under special circumstances, you may be able to claim the PTC even though your income is below 100 percent of the federal poverty line. See the instructions for Form 8962 for more information.

Question 4: Can you be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return?

If you answer yes to question 4, you are not eligible for PTC.

If you answer no to question 4, move on to the next question.

Question 5: Is your filing status Married Filing Separately?

If you answer yes to question 5, you are not eligible for PTC.

If you answer no to question 5, move on to the next question.

Footnote about question 5: There are exceptions to the married filing separately rule. Certain victims of domestic abuse and spousal abandonment can claim the premium tax credit using the married filing separately filing status. See the instructions for Form 8962 for more information.

Question 6: Were all the premiums paid?

If you answer no to question 6, you are not eligible for PTC.

If you answer yes to question 6, you may be allowed a premium tax credit.  See Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit, and the Form 8962 instructions for more information.

When are quarterly estimated tax payments due in 2017?

For estimated tax purposes, the year is divided into four payment periods. Each period has a specific payment due date. If you do not pay enough tax by the due date of each payment period, you may be charged a penalty even if you are due a refund when you file your income tax return at the end of the year.

When are quarterly estimated tax payments due in 2017?

If you mail your estimated tax payment and the date of the U.S. postmark is on or before the due date, the IRS will generally consider the payment to be on time.

When to Pay Estimated Tax
Payment Period Due Date
January 1 – March 31 April 15
April 1 – May 31 June 15
June 1 – August 31 September 15
September 1 – December 31 January 15* of the following year. *See January payment in Chapter 2 of Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax
Fiscal year taxpayers If your tax year does not begin on January 1, see the special rules for fiscal year taxpayers in Chapter 2 of Publication 505
Farmers and Fishermen See Chapter 2 of Publication 505

Note: If the due date for making an estimated tax payment falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the payment will be on time if you make it on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

Special Tax Benefits Still Available in 40 Designated Empowerment Zones

Eligible businesses can still claim Empowerment Zone tax benefits through the end of this year. Empowerment Zones are certain urban and rural areas where employers and other taxpayers qualify for special tax benefits.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Agriculture designated 40 economically distressed locations as empowerment zones. Find a list of them in the instructions to IRS Form 8844. Partnerships and S corporations must file this form to claim the credit. All others are generally not required to complete or file this form if their only source for this credit is a partnership, S corporation, estate, trust, or cooperative. Instead, they can report this credit directly on Form 3800, General Business Credit. The following exceptions apply. You are an estate or trust and the source credit can be allocated to beneficiaries. For more details, see the instructions for Form 1041, Schedule K-1, box 13, code K. You are a cooperative and the source credit can or must be allocated to patrons. For more details, see the instructions for Form 1120-C, Schedule J, line 5c.

 

Empowerment Zones Urban areas

Parts of the following urban areas were empowerment zones. You can find out if your business or an employee’s residence is located within an urban empowerment zone by using the EZ/RC Address Locator at www.hud.gov/crlocator.

  • Pulaski County, AR
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Fresno, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA (city and county)
  • Santa Ana, CA
  • New Haven, CT
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Miami/Dade County, FL
  • Chicago, IL
  • Gary/Hammond/East Chicago, IN
  • Boston, MA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Detroit, MI
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • St. Louis, MO/East St. Louis, IL
  • Cumberland County, NJ
  • New York, NY Syracuse, NY
  • Yonkers, NY
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Columbus, OH
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Philadelphia, PA/Camden, NJ
  • Columbia/Sumter, SC
  • Knoxville, TN
  • El Paso, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Norfolk/Portsmouth, VA
  • Huntington, WV/Ironton, OH

 

Key Empowerment Zone tax benefits include:

  • Empowerment Zone Employment Credit. Eligible employers can claim this credit on Form 8844. It is worth up to $3,000 and is available to businesses based on wages paid to each qualified employee who both lives and works in an empowerment zone,
  • Increased expensing for qualifying depreciable property,
  • Tax-exempt bond financing,
  • Deferral of capital gains tax on the sale of qualified assets sold and replaced, and
  • Partial exclusion of capital gains tax on certain sales of qualified small business stock.

 

2016 health coverage tax information forms

IRS Extends Due Date for Employers and Providers to Issue Health Coverage Forms to Individuals

On November 18, 2016, the IRS extended the 2017 due date for providing 2016 health coverage information forms to individuals. Insurers, self-insuring employers, other coverage providers, and applicable large employers now have until March 2, 2017 to provide Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to individuals, which is a 30-day extension from the original due date of January 31.

Notice 2016-70, also extends transition relief from certain penalties (IRC Sections 6721 and 6722) to providers and employers that can show that they have made good-faith efforts to comply with the information-reporting requirements for 2016 for incorrect or incomplete information reported on the return or statement.  This Notice also provides guidance to individuals who, as a result of these extensions, might not receive a Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C by the time they file their 2016 tax returns.is also abating penalties for inadvertent errors and omissions where there was a good-faith effort to comply with the reporting requirements.

The due dates for filing 2016 information returns with the IRS remain unchanged for 2017. The 2017 due dates are February 28 for paper filers and March 31 for electronic filers. This chart can help you understand the upcoming deadlines.

Due to these extensions, individuals may not receive Forms 1095-B or 1095-C by the time they are ready to file their 2016 individual income tax return. While information on these forms may assist in preparing a return, the forms are not required to file. Taxpayers can prepare and file their returns using other information about their health insurance and do not have to wait for Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to file.

Health Care Form Deadlines

The IRS extended the 2017 due date for employers and coverage providers to furnish information statements to individuals.  The due dates to file those returns with the IRS are not extended. This chart can help you understand the upcoming deadlines.

Action 2017 Reporting Due Dates for…
Applicable Large Employers – Including Those That Are Self-Insured Self-insured Employers That Are Not Applicable Large Employers Coverage Providers  – other than Self-Insured Applicable Large Employers*
Provide 1095-B to responsible individuals Not Applicable** Mar. 2 Mar. 2
File 1094-B and  1095-B with the IRS Not Applicable** Paper: Feb. 28

E-file: Mar. 31*

 

Paper: Feb. 28

E-file: Mar. 31*

 

Provide 1095-C to full-time employees Mar. 2 Not Applicable Not Applicable
File 1095-C and 1094-C with the IRS Paper: Feb. 28

E-file: Mar. 31*

 

Not Applicable Not Applicable

 

2016 IRA Year- End Reminders

Whether you are still working or retired, you should periodically review your IRAs. Here are few things to remember about year end IRA tips for 2016.

 

IRA Contribution limits

If you’re still working, review the 2016 IRA contribution and deduction limits to make sure you are taking full advantage of the opportunity to save for your retirement. You can make 2016 IRA contributions until April 18, 2017.

 

IRA Excess contributions

If you exceed the 2016 IRA contribution limit, you may withdraw excess contributions from your account by the due date of your tax return (including extensions). Otherwise, you must pay a 6% tax each year on the excess amounts left in your account.

IRA Required minimum distributions

If you are age 70½ or older this year, you must take a 2016 required minimum distribution by December 31, 2016 (by April 1, 2017, if you turned 70½ in 2016). You can calculate the amount of your IRA required minimum distribution by using our Worksheets. You must calculate the required minimum distribution separately for each IRA that you own other than any Roth IRAs, but you can withdraw the total amount from one or more of your non-Roth IRAs. Remember that you face a 50% excise tax on any required minimum distribution that you fail to take on time.

Uber and AirBNB Tax Information

If you use one of the many online platforms available to rent a spare bedroom, provide car rides, or to connect and provide a number of other goods or services, you’re involved in what is sometimes called the sharing economy.

An emerging area of activity in the past few years, the sharing economy has changed how people commute, travel, rent vacation places and perform many other activities. Also referred to as the on-demand, gig or access economy, sharing economies allow individuals and groups to utilize technology advancements to arrange transactions to generate revenue from assets they possess – (such as cars and homes) – or services they provide – (such as household chores or technology services). Although this is a developing area of the economy, there are tax implications for the companies that provide the services and the individuals who perform the services.

This means if you receive income from a sharing economy activity, it’s generally taxable even if you don’t receive a Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions, Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or some other income statement. This is true even if you do it as a side job or just as a part time business and even if you are paid in cash. On the other hand, depending upon the circumstances, some or all of your business expenses may be deductible, subject to the normal tax limitations and rules.

Uber Tax Tips

  1. Pay Self-Employment Tax
  2. Tax deductions for your car

 

Other tax deductions for ride-share drivers

Commissions you pay to the ride-share company are a business expense, as is any cost you may have to pay for technology installed in your car. Other tax deductions include:

  • Car washes and interior cleaning
  • Water, gum or snacks for passengers
  • Tolls and parking fees

In addition, ride-sharing companies typically require use of a smartphone.

  • The portion of your mobile phone expenses attributable to your ride-share work can be used to reduce your self-employment income.
  • For simplicity’s sake, it may make sense to have a dedicated phone for work.

AirBNB Tax Tips

  1. Learn About 14 Day Rule
  2. Learn About Exceptions for Rooms

  3. Don’t Panic if You Get an IRS Letter

  4. Keep Flawless Records of Rental Periods

  5. Document All Business Expenses

  6. Apportion Mortgage Interest and Taxes if You Rent Room Only

  7. Fill Out Form W-9 Taxpayer Identification Number

  8. Deduct the Guest-Service or Host-Service Fees

  9. Learn About Applicable Occupancy Taxes

  10. Pay Self-Employment Taxes

 

If you receive rental income for the use of a house or an apartment, including a vacation home, it must be reported on your return in most cases. You may deduct certain expenses, but special rules and limits often apply. These deductible expenses, which may include mortgage interest, real estate taxes, casualty losses, maintenance, utilities, insurance and depreciation, reduce the amount of rental income that is subject to tax.

If you use the dwelling unit for both rental and personal purposes, you generally must divide your total expenses between the rental use and the personal use based on the number of days used for each purpose. You won’t be able to deduct your rental expense in excess of the gross rental income limitation.

There’s a special rule if you use a dwelling unit as a personal residence and rent it for fewer than 15 days. In this case, don’t report any of the rental income and don’t deduct any expenses as rental expenses. If you provide substantial services that are primarily for your tenant’s convenience, such as regular cleaning, changing linen, or maid service, you report your rental income and expenses on Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Business, or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040), Net Profit From Business. Use Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income, if your rental activity is a partnership (including a partnership with your spouse unless it is a qualified joint venture). Substantial services don’t include such things as heat and light, cleaning of public areas, or trash collection.

Health Flexible Spending Arrangements 2017 FSA Limits

FSAs provide employees a way to use tax-free dollars to pay medical expenses not covered by other health plans. Because eligible employees need to decide how much to contribute through payroll deductions before the plan year begins, many employers this fall are offering their employees the option to participate during the 2017 plan year.

Interested employees wishing to contribute during the new year must make this choice again for 2017, even if they contributed in 2016. Self-employed individuals are not eligible.

An employee who chooses to participate can contribute up to $2,600 during the 2017 plan year. Amounts contributed are not subject to federal income tax, Social Security tax or Medicare tax. If the plan allows, the employer may also contribute to an employee’s FSA.

Throughout the year, employees can then use funds to pay qualified medical expenses not covered by their health plan, including co-pays, deductibles and a variety of medical products and services ranging from dental and vision care to eyeglasses and hearing aids. Interested employees should check with their employer for details on eligible expenses and claim procedures.

Under the use or lose provision, participating employees often must incur eligible expenses by the end of the plan year, or forfeit any unspent amounts. But under a special rule, employers may, if they choose, offer participating employees more time through either the carryover option or the grace period option.

Under the carryover option, an employee can carry over up to $500 of unused funds to the following plan year — for example, an employee with $500 of unspent funds at the end of 2017 would still have those funds available to use in 2018. Under the grace period option, an employee has until 2½ months after the end of the plan year to incur eligible expenses — for example, March 15, 2018, for a plan year ending on Dec. 31, 2017. Employers can offer either option, but not both, or none at all.

When Can I file my 2016 Taxes in 2017?

Tax season will begin Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, and reminded taxpayers claiming certain tax credits to expect a longer wait for refunds. This is the first day that you can file a 2016 tax return.

The IRS will begin accepting electronic tax returns that day, with more than 153 million individual tax returns expected to be filed in 2017. The IRS again expects more than four out of five tax returns will be prepared electronically using tax return preparation software.

 

When can I file my 2016 Tax Return?

Many software companies and tax professionals will be accepting tax returns before Jan. 23 and then will submit the returns when IRS systems open. The IRS will begin processing paper tax returns at the same time. There is no advantage to filing tax returns on paper in early January instead of waiting for the IRS to begin accepting e-filed returns.

 

When can I claim the earned income tax credit?

You can claim when earned income tax credit when you file your 2016 tax return. The IRS reminds taxpayers that a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15. In addition, the IRS wants taxpayers to be aware it will take several days for these refunds to be released and processed through financial institutions. Factoring in weekends and the President’s Day holiday, the IRS cautions that many affected taxpayers may not have actual access to their refunds until the week of Feb. 27.

 

What is the 2017 Tax Deadline?

The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017, rather than the traditional April 15 date. In 2017, April 15 falls on a Saturday, and this would usually move the filing deadline to the following Monday — April 17. However, Emancipation Day — a legal holiday in the District of Columbia — will be observed on that Monday, which pushes the nation’s filing deadline to Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Under the tax law, legal holidays in the District of Columbia affect the filing deadline across the nation.

 

When will you get your 2016 tax refund?

Beginning in 2017, a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid-February. Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC — until at least Feb. 15. This change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent fraud. After refunds leave the IRS, it takes additional time for them to be processed and for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds to bank accounts and products. The IRS reminds taxpayers many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the three-day holiday weekend involving President’s Day may affect their refund timing.

 

2016 Earned Income Tax Credit Refund Check

The IRS will begin to release EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15. However, the IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely won’t arrive in bank accounts or debit cards until the week of February 27.

 

Refund Timing for Earned Income Tax Credit

Be careful not to count on getting an EITC refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. You don’t need to wait until Feb. 15 to file your tax return. While the IRS must hold the refund until Feb. 15, it will begin taking the steps it normally does to process your tax return once the filing season starts.

When will EITC Refund arrive in bank account?

The IRS will begin to release EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15. However, the IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely won’t arrive in bank accounts or debit cards until the week of February 27 — if there are no processing issues with the tax return and the taxpayer chose direct deposit. This additional period is due to several factors, including banking and financial systems needing time to process deposits.

 

Check Status of 2016 EITC Refund

Check Where’s My Refund on IRS.gov or the IRS mobile app, IRS2Go, after February 15 for your personalized refund status. Taxpayers will not see a refund date on Where’s My Refund ‎or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so taxpayers should not contact or call them about refunds before the end of February.

It takes additional time for refunds to be processed after leaving the IRS, and for financial institutions to accept and deposit them to bank accounts and products like debit cards. Also many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the three-day holiday weekend involving President’s Day affects their refund timing.

 

Additional Child Tax Credit Refund

In addition to the earned income tax credit, the refunds will be delayed for the additional child tax credit refunds as well. This applies to the entire refund, even the portion not associated with these credits.

 

IRS Tax Refund Security Measures

To better protect taxpayers, the IRS recently upgraded its identity verification process for certain online self-help tools. The purpose is to prevent taxpayer impersonations and account takeovers by identity thieves. All IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers will offer appointment service by December 2016. If you believe your tax issue cannot be handled online or by phone, always check IRS.gov for days and hours of service as well as services offered at the IRS TAC location you plan to visit. For most services you must call to make an appointment.

Remember, while the IRS will begin to issue EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15, you should not count on actually seeing your refund until the week of Feb. 27 — if you chose direct deposit or a debit card and there are no processing issues with your tax return. Your refund should only be deposited directly into accounts that are in your own name, your spouse’s name or both, if it’s a joint account. These are some of the reasons a financial institution may reject a direct deposit, resulting in a paper check. Also, no more than three electronic refunds can be directly deposited into a single financial account or pre-paid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund.

 

Will calling the IRS help me get my refund any faster?

Calling the IRS will not speed up your refund.  Phone and walk-in representatives can only research the status of your refund if it has been 21 days or more since you filed electronically, more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return, or Where’s My Refund? directs you to contact us. If we need more information to process your tax return, we will contact you by mail. Otherwise Where’s My Refund? has the most up to date information available about your refund. Use the IRS2Gomobile app or use the Where’s My Refund? tool. Both are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

 

 

 

2016 ITIN Renewal Individual Tax Identification Number

Some taxpayers will need to receive new ITIN numbers in 2016. The new law will mean ITINs that have not been used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will no longer be valid for use on a tax return unless renewed by the taxpayer.

 

ITIN Law Changes

In addition, ITINs issued prior to 2013 that have been used on a federal tax return in the last three years will need to be renewed starting this fall, and the IRS is putting in place a rolling renewal schedule, described below, to assist taxpayers.

 

Renewing ITIN Number

Processing delays are likely for filers with expired Individual Tax Identification Numbers. There are two reasons an ITIN would expire December 31, 2016. If you have not used your ITIN on a U.S. tax return at least once for tax years 2013, 2014 or 2015 or If your ITIN has the middle digits 78 or 79 (9NN-78-NNNN or 9NN-79-NNNN.

You can renew your ITIN now if it expired and you plan to use it on a U.S. tax return. No action is needed by expired ITIN holders who don’t need to file a tax return next year. There are new documentation requirements when applying for or renewing an ITIN for certain dependents. To avoid delays, ensure accurate W-7 and valid ID documents are submitted. Find more information at IRS.gov/ITIN.

Who Has to Renew an ITIN

The IRS emphasizes that no action is needed by ITIN holders if they don’t need to file a tax return next year. There are two key groups of ITIN holders who may need to renew an ITIN so it will be in effect for returns filed in 2017:

  • Unused ITINs. ITINs not used on a federal income tax return in the last three years (covering 2013, 2014, or 2015) will no longer be valid to use on a tax return as of Jan. 1, 2017. ITIN holders in this group who need to file a tax return next year will need to renew their ITINs. The renewal period begins Oct. 1, 2016.
  • Expiring ITINs. ITINs issued before 2013 will begin expiring this year, and taxpayers will need to renew them on a rolling basis. The first ITINs that will expire under this schedule are those with middle digits of 78 and 79 (Example: 9XX-78-XXXX). The renewal period for these ITINs begins Oct. 1, 2016. The IRS will mail letters to this group of taxpayers starting in August to inform them of the need to renew their ITINs if they need to file a tax return and explain steps they need to take. The schedule for expiration and renewal of ITINs that do not have middle digits of 78 and 79 will be announced at a future date.

Do I need an ITIN?

You must obtain an ITIN if:

1. You do not have an SSN and are not eligible to obtain one.

And

2. You identify with one of the following categories.

• Nonresident alien who is required to file a U.S. tax return.
• U.S. resident alien who is (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return.
• Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien.
• Dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder.

 

How to Renew an ITIN

Only ITIN holders who need to file a tax return need to renew their ITINs. Others do not need to take any action.

Starting Oct. 1, 2016, ITIN holders can begin renewing ITINs that are no longer in effect because of three years of nonuse or that have a middle digit of 78 or 79.  To renew an ITIN, taxpayers must complete a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, follow the instructions and include all information and documentation required. To reduce burden on taxpayers, the IRS will not require individuals renewing an ITIN to attach a tax return when submitting their Form W-7. Taxpayers are reminded to use the newest version of the Form W-7 available at the time of renewal which will be posted in September (Use version “Rev. 9-2016”).

There are three methods taxpayers can use to submit their W-7 application package to renew their ITIN. They can:

  • Mail their Form W-7 — along with the original identification documents or certified copies by the agency that issued them — to the IRS address listed on the form (identification documents will be returned within 60 days),
  • Use one of the many IRS authorized Certified Acceptance Agents or Acceptance Agents around the country, or
  • In advance, call and make an appointment at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in lieu of mailing original identification documents to the IRS

You can call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 if you are in the United States or 267-941-1000 (not a toll-free number) if you are outside the United States. This service allows you to check the status of your application seven weeks after submitting Form W-7 and your tax return.