The IRS announced it is opening the 2019 individual income tax return filing season on January 27. Even if you typically don’t file until much closer to the April 15 deadline (or you file for an extension), consider filing as soon as you can this year.

a black-ink pen lying next to tax withholding forms for a tax return

The reason: You can potentially protect yourself from tax identity theft — and you may obtain other benefits, too.


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One of the most laborious tasks for small businesses is managing payroll. It’s critical you not only withhold the right amount of taxes from employees’ paychecks, but also that you pay them over to the federal government on time.

a teal sticky note with the words "sign here" on top of a tax withholding document; for a blog post about payroll tax penalty for small businesses

If you willfully fail to do so, you could personally be hit with the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty, also known as the 100% penalty. The penalty applies to the Social Security and income taxes required to be withheld by a business from its employees’ wages. Since the taxes are considered property of the government, the employer holds them in “trust” on the government’s behalf until they’re paid over.

The reason the penalty is sometimes called the “100% penalty” is because the person liable for the taxes (called the “responsible person”) can be personally penalized 100% of the taxes due. Accordingly, the amounts the IRS seeks when the penalty is applied are usually substantial, and the IRS is aggressive in enforcing it.


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On Tuesday, September 17, 2019, Tropical Storm Imelda made landfall in Texas. Over the course of a few days, several cities in the Gulf Coast region endured heavy rain, which left various areas, streets and highways underwater. The PKF Texas office and our team members were safe, however, other Texans unfortunately were impacted by Imelda.

If you’re self-employed and don’t have withholding from paychecks, you probably have to make estimated tax payments. These payments must be sent to the IRS on a quarterly basis. The third 2019 estimated tax payment deadline for individuals is Monday, September 16.

open calendar book to emphasize importance of September 16 tax deadline

Even if you do have some withholding from paychecks or payments you receive, you may still have to make estimated payments if you receive other types of income, such as Social Security, prizes, rent, interest and dividends.


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In the past few months, many businesses and employers nationwide have received “no-match” letters from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The purpose of these letters is to alert employers if there’s a discrepancy between the agency’s files and data reported on W-2 forms, which are given to employees and filed with the IRS. Specifically, they point out that an employee’s name and Social Security number (SSN) don’t match the government’s records.

According to the SSA, the purpose of the letters is to “advise employers that corrections are needed in order for us to properly post” employees’ earnings to the correct records. If a person’s earnings are missing, the worker may not qualify for all of the Social Security benefits he or she is entitled to, or the benefit received may be incorrect. The no-match letters began going out in the spring of 2019.


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The IRS’s staffing shortages have been well publicized and audits of individuals have decreased in the past several years. But it’s a mistake to assume that the agency has stopped scrutinizing not-for-profits and conducting audits when it deems necessary. If your organization receives an IRS audit letter, you need to know what the process involves and how you can help resolve it as quickly as possible.

Image of a man in a blue shirt writing audit letters on pieces of paper with a pen


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Not-for-profit trade associations, or 501(c)(6) organizations, exist to promote their members’ common interests and improve business conditions or “one or more lines of interest.” Whether the association is a local chamber of commerce, a real estate board or a large professional group, associations’ tax-exempt status is contingent on their sponsoring certain types of activities — and avoiding others.

When they fail to do so, the IRS may take action.


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The IRS just released its audit statistics for the 2018 fiscal year, and fewer taxpayers had their returns examined as compared with prior years.

However, even though a small percentage of tax returns are being chosen for audit these days, that will be little consolation if yours is one of them.


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It’s that time of year when many people who filed their tax returns in April are checking their mail or bank accounts to see if their refunds have landed. According to the IRS, most refunds are issued in less than 21 calendar days.

However, it may take longer — and in rare cases, refunds might not come at all.


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