IRS News

IRS: Important Information on W-2/SSN Data Theft Scam

A dangerous email scam currently is circulating nationwide and targeting employers, including tax exempt entities, universities and schools, government and private-sector businesses. The scammer poses as an internal executive requesting employee Forms W-2 and Social Security Number information from company payroll or human resources departments. They may even send an initial “Hi, are you in today” message before the request.

The IRS has established a process that will allow employers and payroll service providers to quickly report any data losses related to the W-2 scam. See details at Form W-2/SSN Data Theft: Information for Businesses and Payroll Service Providers. If notified in time, the IRS can take steps to prevent employees from being victimized by identity thieves filing fraudulent returns in their names. There also is information about how to report receiving the scam email even if you did not fall victim.

As a reminder, tax professionals who experience a data breach also should quickly report the incident to the IRS. Tax professionals may contact their local stakeholder liaison. See details at Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals.

IRS Quick Alert: MeF Intermittent Timeouts

The IRS issued the following Quick Alert.

Starting on March 21st, 2017, MeF began experiencing intermittent timeout errors in the A2A and IFA transmission channels. This issue is affecting the Production and ATS environments. MeF has identified the problem and is working to resolve it as a top priority.

Effective March 28th, 2017, MeF will begin performing maintenance from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Eastern daily. During this time period transmitters may experience timeouts errors.

A QuickAlert will be sent when the issue has been resolved and the daily maintenance is no longer needed.

How does this impact you?  This could cause delays in acknowledgements.

 

Blog posted 03/28/2017        6:36 AM

Federal Reject IND-202

3/27 – 3:12pm EDT:

We are receiving reports of returns being rejected for Federal Reject Code IND-202 – ‘VendorControlNum’ in ‘FilinSecurityInformation’ in the Return Header must have a value. This is NOT widespread and only seems to be occurring on a small percentage of returns.

We recommend resubmitting these returns as we have seen in almost every scenario, the return was then accepted.  There are two ways to resend these returns:

(1) Select and resend them all at one time by going to:

  • Transmissions
  • Selecting Add Returns
  • Select the returns that were rejected for 202
  • Send to the IRS

Note:  You do not have to open the return prior to sending it again.

(2) You can open the returns and send them from inside the return, if you want to verify anything prior to sending them.

IRS Tax Tip: Adoption Credit

Adoption Tax Credit Facts to Consider

Taxpayers who have adopted or tried to adopt a child in 2016 may qualify for a tax credit. Here are ten important things about the adoption credit:

  1. The Credit. The credit is nonrefundable, which may reduce taxes owed to zero. If the credit exceeds the tax owed, there is no refund of the additional amount. In addition, if an employer helped pay for the adoption through a written qualified adoption assistance program, that amount may reduce any taxes owed.
  2. Maximum Benefit. The maximum adoption tax credit and exclusion for 2016 is $13,460 per child.
  3. Credit Carryover. If the credit exceeds the tax owed, taxpayers can carry any unused credit forward. For example, the unused credit in 2016 can reduce taxes for 2017. Use this method for up to five years or until the credit is fully used, whichever comes first.
  4. Eligible Child. An eligible child is an individual under age 18 or a person who is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.
  5. Qualified Expenses. Adoption expenses must be reasonable, necessary and directly related to the adoption of the child. Types of expenses may include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and travel.
  6. Domestic or Foreign Adoptions. Taxpayers can usually claim the credit whether the adoption is domestic or foreign. However, there are different rules regarding the timing of expenses for each type of adoption.
  7. Special Needs Child. A special rule may apply if the adoption is of an eligible U.S. child with special needs. Under this special rule, taxpayers can claim the tax credit, even if qualified adoption expenses were not paid.
  8. No Double Benefit. In some instances both the tax credit and the exclusion may be claimed but not for the same expenses.
  9. Income Limits. The credit and exclusion are subject to income limitations. These may reduce or eliminate the claimable amount..

Federal Reject Code IND-202 — Updated Information

Update:  You can now resend these returns.  Open each return (no changes required) and then you can either send from the Submission page or Add them to your Transmission page.


We are receiving reports of returns being rejected for Federal Reject Code IND-202 – ‘VendorControlNum’ in ‘FilinSecurityInformation’ in the Return Header must have a value.

Our development team is currently looking into this reject code. At this time there is no additional action on your end. We will provide updates to this blog as information becomes available.

Blog Posted 03/17/2017      7:37 AM EST

Software Updates – March 13th

  • The Health Insurance menu has been turned on for 1040-NR returns.
  • When completing the 1099-R, specifically the General Simplified Worksheet, the taxable amount that was carrying to Box 2a was displaying the incorrect Age Factor when the age was between 111-120. This caused confusion because Box 2a of the 1099-R showed one amount but the 1040 showed a different amount. The amount that pulled to the 1040 and included with the return was always correct.

IRS Tax Tip: IRS Can Help Taxpayers Get Form W-2

IRS Can Help Taxpayers Get Form W-2

Most taxpayers got their W-2 Forms by the end of January. Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, shows the income and taxes withheld from an employee’s pay for the year. Taxpayers need it to file an accurate tax return.

If a taxpayer hasn’t received their form by mid-February, here’s what they should do:

  • Contact their Employer. Taxpayers should ask their employer (or former employer) for a copy of their W-2. Be sure the employer has the correct address.
  • Call the IRS. If a taxpayer is unable to get a copy from their employer, they may call the IRS after Feb. 27. The IRS will send a letter to the employer on the taxpayer’s behalf. The taxpayer will need the following when they call:
    • Their name, address, Social Security number and phone number;
    • Their employer’s name, address and phone number;
    • The dates they worked for the employer; and
    • An estimate of their wages and federal income tax withheld in 2016. Use a final pay stub for these amounts.
  • File on Time. Taxpayers should file their tax return by April 18, 2017. If they still haven’t received their W-2, they should use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. They should estimate their wages and taxes withheld as best as possible. To request more time to file, use Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File. Taxpayers can also e-file a request for more time. Do it for free using IRS Free File. However, remember, an extension of time to file your return is not an extension of time to pay taxes owed.
  • Correct a Tax Return if Necessary. Taxpayers may need to correct their tax return if they get a missing W-2 after they file. If the tax information on the W-2 is different from what they originally reported, they may need to file an amended tax return. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to make the change.

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

IRS News Essentials: New report of phishing scam

Remember:  We only reach out to you in the following circumstances

(1) Replying to an email which will come from [email protected]

(2) Sending a software activation link which will come from [email protected]

We DO NOT lock your account under any circumstances.

If we include a link in an email, it would be during a response to your support email and it is typically a link from our blog which contains vitablog.taxslayerpro.com in the URL, along with the article name.


Security Summit Alert: Tax Professionals Warned of New Scam to “Unlock” Their Tax Software Accounts 

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating software providers.

The scam email comes with the subject line, “Access Locked.” It tells recipients that access to their tax prep software accounts has been “suspended due to errors in your security details.” The scam email asks the tax professional to address the issue by using an “unlock” link provided in the email.

However, the link will take the tax professional to a fake web page, where they are asked to enter their user name and password. Instead of unlocking accounts, the tax professionals actually are inadvertently providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers’ accounts and to steal client information.

The Security Summit partners, which includes the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax community, remind tax professionals and taxpayers to never open a link or an attachment from a suspicious email. These scams can increase during the tax season.

Tax professionals can review additional tips to protect clients and themselves at the Security Summit’s awareness campaign, Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself, on IRS.gov.

IRS E-News Special Edition “Where’s My Refund Information”

Where’s My Refund? will be updated on Feb. 18 for the vast majority of early filers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. Before Feb. 18, some taxpayers may see a projected deposit date or an intermittent message that the IRS is processing their return.

By law, the IRS is required to hold EITC and ACTC refunds until Feb. 15. However, taxpayers may not see those refunds until the week of Feb. 27. Due to differing timeframes with financial institutions, weekends and the Presidents Day holiday, these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27 — if there are no processing issues with the tax return and the taxpayer chose direct deposit

 

Reminder:  We DO NOT have access to refund information.

IRS News Essentials: Create Strong Passwords

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data: Create Strong Passwords

Passwords are often the key to the identification and authentication process for access to your computer, email and encrypted information, both received and transmitted. For this reason, it is critical to your business and the security of your client data that you have strong passwords and that you protect those passwords.

Here are some things you should consider in creating and protecting passwords:

  • Longer passwords are safe and more difficult to guess. A strong password should be a minimum of eight characters. It should include a combination of letters, numbers and symbols or special characters. Your password should include at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number and one symbol or character.
  • Personal information should not be included in your passwords.  Names of siblings, children, pets, etc., are generally available on social media, which makes it easier for cybercriminals to figure out your password.
  • Avoid using the same password for all of your information systems, accounts or devices. If someone does guess one password, they will not have access to all your systems, devices or data.
  • Substitute numbers and symbols for letters in words or phrases to make it more difficult to guess a password.

Do not share your password and be careful of attempts to trick you into revealing your password.