Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

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Archive for the ‘IRS’ Category

Expect IRS To Increase Standard Mileage Rate

Posted by taxguru on May 20, 2022

In normal years, IRS adjusts its standard mileage deduction rate once a year for those taxpayers who don’t want to keep track of their actual expenses, as well as for employee reimbursements.

The standard rate, which has been 58.5 cents per mile for business purposes since the beginning of 2022, is intended to include the operating and ownership costs of an “average” car based on prior year (2021) costs. These include such things as fuel, insurance, oil changes, repairs, registration, washing, and tires. It also includes a factor for the depreciation of the vehicle.

Having been in the tax business for over 45 years, I can remember some years where fuel prices shot up as quickly as they are currently doing. In some of those cases, IRS increased their mileage rates mid-year. Sometimes this was as of July 1, while in other cases it was as of October 1. This meant that taxpayers had to keep track of and report their business miles separately for each time period.

I haven’t seen anything from IRS indicating that this will happen this year, but, given the insane price increases in gasoline and diesel we have been dealing with all over the country, it seems inevitable. The higher purchase prices for both new and used vehicles makes an increase in the depreciation component of the standard mileage rate also very likely.

Whether IRS raises its standard deduction rate or not, this is a perfect example of why it is important for everyone to keep track of their actual vehicle expenses because they will almost certainly be higher than whatever standard rate IRS allows for 2022.

Posted in IRS, Vehicles, inflation | Comments Off on Expect IRS To Increase Standard Mileage Rate

IRS Interest Rates Continue To Rise

Posted by taxguru on May 20, 2022

Unlike most State tax agencies, which don’t ever change the interest rates that they charge on late tax payments (Arkansas has always been 10%) or adjust them annually (California, et al), IRS modifies its rates every three months to stay in sync with the overall financial markets.

As anyone would have expected, IRS has just announced that, as of July 1, it will be bumping up the rate it will be charging to 5% from the current 4%.

Here is their press release: IRS interest rates increase for the third quarter of 2022

If you want to consider a good side to this, besides charging taxpayers more on late tax payments, this also means that IRS will be paying taxpayers more for delayed refunds. Those millions of people who still have tax returns stuck in the IRS backlog of unprocessed returns will be earning much more from IRS than any banks are currently paying on savings accounts.

Posted in IRS, inflation, interest | Comments Off on IRS Interest Rates Continue To Rise

Are IRS computer systems impossible to fix?

Posted by taxguru on March 9, 2022

Nobody should hold their breath expecting the wizards at IRS to get their act together with their computer systems any time this century.

A client just sent me this link to Americans For Tax Reform‘s handy list of just some of the IRS’s failed attempts to modernize their computer systems.

40 Years of Failure: IRS Unable to Fix Computer System

I remember 30 plus years ago, rather than hire outside tech experts to help them, they thought they could save money by drafting employees from various IRS departments, who had zero IT skills, to design more modern systems.  I don’t recall how many millions or billions of dollars they wasted on this project, but the whole thing had to be scrapped.

It may be amusing, but it’s definitely not funny when you consider how much money they have wasted and how much aggravation, expense and hassle their incompetence has cost all of us who are on the receiving end of their screw-ups.

Posted in computers, IRS | Comments Off on Are IRS computer systems impossible to fix?

Who knows when IRS will catch up with their backlog?

Posted by taxguru on March 5, 2022

This last item from the most recent issue of The Kiplinger Tax Letter is a bit depressing for all of us hoping that IRS will get back to normal in regard to processing returns and correspondence anytime soon.

“IRS will have trouble wiping out its backlog of 2020 returns and other filings,
despite its hopes of catching up amid the temporary personnel moves it made recently.
The agency shifted 1,200 personnel from other areas to assist with the backlog.
But there are over 20 million filings by individuals and corporations from last year
to sort through. IRS is begging Congress for more funding, but even if the agency
does get the money, any relief for taxpayers won’t be immediate. It will take months
or longer to hire new workers in this tight labor market and to onboard them.”

This will be the messiest Tax Season ever, to-date; something I have actually said each of the past two years.

Update 3/7/22
I’m much less optimistic about any timely resolution to the IRS backlog after reading the following in this morning’s newsletter from NCPE Fellowship.

“IRS to Hire 10,000 Workers to Help With Tax Return Backlog

The backlog includes at least 10 million individual tax returns and 4 million business tax returns going back to last year

The IRS is taking steps to relieve the backlog of tax returns.

The agency plans to hire 10,000 new full-time workers to play a direct role in that mission, according to Politico.

There are millions of unprocessed tax returns and other mail from individual and business taxpayers, according to the union that represents most of the IRS workforce.

The hiring process is scheduled to run through Dec. 31, 2023 and was first reported by the Washington Post.

In an effort to hire 5,000 new employees has fallen flat with less than 200 workers brought on board.

The new plan “sounds like an extension of that plan and its logic,” said Chad Hooper, president of the Professional Managers Association, a group that represents non-union personnel.

While he didn’t have the details of the plan, Hooper seemed skeptical about how easily it could be fulfilled.

“It’s unclear where the IRS believes these future employees are,” Hooper said.

There is a massive accumulation of paperwork going back to last year still awaiting processing, according to the report.

The mountain of paperwork includes at least 10 million individual tax returns and 4 million business tax returns, holding up refunds and credits going back to last year.

Starting this month, the IRS shifted 1,200 workers from their current jobs to deal with the backlog.

The IRS workforce currently sits at about 80,000, according to its website.”

Posted in IRS | Comments Off on Who knows when IRS will catch up with their backlog?

Inflation Hits IRS

Posted by taxguru on February 23, 2022

Every three months, IRS looks at the current inflation rate and determines how much interest they will be charging taxpayers on late tax payments and paying out to taxpayers for delayed refunds. For the past seven quarters – since July 1, 2020 – it has been three percent (3.0%) APR. It’s not per day. It’s an annual rate.

As we all know, inflation is currently at its highest pace since Jimmy Carter’s reign. IRS has just announced in this press release that, as of April 1, their main interest rate will be a whopping four percent (4.0%) APR.

As I remind clients who are upset about the IRS’s lengthy delays in sending out refunds, their money will be earning a much higher return from IRS that it would in a bank, where they are still paying less than one percent on savings accounts. It’s the silver lining to a bad situation.

Three months from now, I expect to be writing a similar post about IRS raising their interest rate again, to five or six percent.

Posted in inflation, interest, IRS | Comments Off on Inflation Hits IRS

Millions of Tax Returns Unprocessed by IRS

Posted by taxguru on February 19, 2022

Since almost all of our clients file their returns on extended due dates – normally October 15 – many of them are currently among the 23.7 million return backlog that IRS has admitted to.

Here is what I have had to send to a number of clients who are wondering why they haven’t received their refunds after more than four months.

“IRS is currently dealing with a backlog of almost 24 million 2020 and earlier year tax returns that need to be processed.  There has been a lot of press about this, such as this article.

Is the Massive IRS Backlog Impacting This Tax Season?

The latest news is that they have not processed any returns received after April 2021 and they are asking people not to send in extra copies because that will just make matters worse for them.

It’s a mess on several levels.  Many of us tax pros are hoping IRS delays this year’s Tax Day from April 18 until at least a few months later in order to give themselves time to get caught up with the prior year returns before they receive millions more 2021 returns.

I hope this helps you understand what’s going on.”

Posted in IRS | Comments Off on Millions of Tax Returns Unprocessed by IRS

Tax Day is April 18 for 2021 1040s

Posted by taxguru on January 10, 2022

It’s been a few years since the official tax return deadline has been the classic April 15 we have all grown up with and associated with income taxes in this country. Due to holiday and weekend issues, we aren’t returning to the 15th this year either.

As explained in this IRS news release, the filing deadline is Monday, April 18 for taxpayers in every state except Maine and Massachusetts. Because of their Patriots’ Day holiday, they have an extra day, until April 19.

Not that IRS needs any more help complicating the tax system, but what would the deadlines look like if every State were to come up with their own special holidays around the time of April 15? It would be craaazy.

As we have learned over the past few years, the April 18 date is not cast in stone. It is subject to change if we have more disruptive events happen between now and then.

Posted in IRS, TaxDay | Comments Off on Tax Day is April 18 for 2021 1040s

Looting the Looters

Posted by taxguru on January 5, 2022

There has been a lot of media coverage of the IRS’s Publication 17 tax guide mention of the fact that illegal income is required to be reported on income tax returns. This isn’t anything new – remember Al Capone? – but is getting a lot of attention due to the widespread smash and grab gangs hitting stores all around the country.

It didn’t take long for self identified Rogue Cartoonist Ben Garrison of Grrr Graphics to come up with a great illustration of this.

Posted in Crooks, IRS | Comments Off on Looting the Looters

2022 IRS Inflation Adjustments

Posted by taxguru on November 10, 2021

IRS has officially calculated the various increases for 2022 that are required to be adjusted annually.

IRS News Release with some of the “most popular” changes

Revenue Procedure 2021-45 with all of the details (29 Page PDF)

Not mentioned in either of the above referenced documents is the fact that there should be a huge asterisk with the disclaimer that all of these figures are subject to changes at the whim of the rulers currently in power.  With all of the threats to retroactively increase all tax rates coming from DC, we can only hope that the IRS assumptions of 2022 rates will actually survive.

One noteworthy change for 2022 is the annual Gift Tax exclusion, which can only be increased in $1,000 increments after multiple years of inflation.  For 2022, it will be raised from the current $15,000 per donor (giver) per donee (recipient) to $16,000.  Many people design their long-term gifting strategies based on these annual exclusion amounts.

[Update 11-30-2021]: The good folks at TheTaxBook have produced this handy one page summary of the most popular inflation adjustment amounts for 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Posted in inflation, IRS | Comments Off on 2022 IRS Inflation Adjustments

IRS Spying Negotiations Continue

Posted by taxguru on October 19, 2021

Mallard.Fillmore.Perpetual.IRS.Audit(10-15-2021)

When the Dims proposed allowing IRS to spy on everyone’s bank account that has at least $600 in it, I had a sneaking suspicion that using such an insanely low threshold so as to encompass everybody was a negotiating tactic. It would eventually lead to people feeling a sense of relief when the break-point for IRS spying was raised to a higher level.

As this news story shows, the second phase of this “negotiation” with the public has been announced by the Dims, raising  the “spying is acceptable” threshold to $10,000. This actually isn’t as big a compromise as it may seem at first blush. It doesn’t mean balances of $10,000 or more, which would exempt a lot of accounts.  It is $10,000 or more total deposits and withdrawals during a year.  That works out to a little more than $192 per week.  That would put a lot more accounts into the IRS crosshairs.

IRS.Spies.On.Banks(10-26-2021)

Their ultimate goal is to make everyone comfortable with the concept of IRS examining every aspect of all of our finances. Once the spying mechanism is accepted as a valid government procedure, even if it begins at $10,000, it will then be an easy step for that number to be lowered.  The camel’s nose under the tent cliché fits here.

This process reminds me of the old joke about negotiating a price for sex.

Current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other wacko Dims can’t stop screaming about the fact that every single person in this country is a dastardly tax cheat and the only way to close the wildly exaggerated Tax Gap is to give IRS even more powers to ignore the Constitution and do whatever it takes to squeeze more money out of everybody.  Dims have never been shy about their guiding philosophy of the ends justifying the means approach to accomplishing their goals, even if those are flagrantly unconstitutional.

Lisa Benson cartoon

Posted in IRS | Comments Off on IRS Spying Negotiations Continue