2019 Tax Season To Begin January 28th

The 2019 tax season begins on January 28, 2018.


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Yesterday, the IRS announced the 2019 Tax Filing Season will begin on Monday, January 28, 2018. This means individual tax returns can be filed beginning on that date. The IRS News Release can be found here.

Do you need help filing your 2018 taxes?  Please fill out the following form and we can discuss your situation.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge, CPA

President

Hodge Group, LLC

Taxes in the Sharing Economy


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The “Sharing Economy” is a term that loosely covers things like Uber/Lyft drivers, making money on eBay/Amazon or other online sources, as well as bartering. The tax implications of the sharing economy are sometimes hard to determine but the IRS recently released a video with general explanations. A link is below.

Please feel free to leave me your thoughts:

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge
Founder

Hodge Group LLC
3943 N. Austin Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634

773.237.6369

Earned Income Credit – Some Documents You May Need


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Taxpayers who claim the Earned Income Credit (EIC) can now claim up to 3 children and get additional monies for these dependents.  This is a change starting in 2016; in prior years there was a limit of 2 dependent children to determine the credit amount.

A key item to claiming the children is the ‘Residency Test’ to prove the child lived with the taxpayer(s) for more than half of the year in the United States (children who live in US Territories such as Guam or Puerto Rico do not count).  A question that often comes up is ‘How Do I Prove My Child Lives With Me?’.

Since this test is a requirement of getting the EIC, you’ll need to bring documents to your tax preparer.  The IRS has recommended as many of the following as you can provide, if the backup document(s) include the child’s name and address:

  • Health Provider Statement
  • Medical Records, including records obtained when going to a doctor/dentist
  • School Records or Statements
  • Landlord or Property Management Statement
  • Employer Statement (taxpayers sometimes need to fill out insurance forms stating the names/ages of people living within the household)
  • Child Care Providers annual statements
  • Statements from a Place of Worship (listing family members and their annual donation amount)
  • Placement Agency Statement

Other documents have been used – I’ve personally seen the following:7K0A0079

  1. Collection of envelopes addressed to the children, especially Christmas, Birthday and/or Holiday cards
  2. Photographs of children in front of their home
  3. Bank statements
  4. Statements showing balances in Education Fund plans

Be sure to bring as many documents as you can as backup and remember this is for each child claimed!

Please feel free to leave your thoughts below:

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge
Founder

Hodge Group LLC
3943 N. Austin Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634

773.237.6369

Some 2016 Federal Tax Refunds Will Be Delayed


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If you are claiming the Earned Income Credit (EIC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), your refund will be delayed until after February 15, 2017.

Part of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 requires the IRS to allow more time to review returns with these credits and verify information, including but not limited to:

  • Income
  • Social Security Number(s)
  • Names (must match the Social Security Database)
  • Historical information (did taxpayer claim the same individuals in prior years)

Anyone claiming these credits should note the IRS has cautioned taxpayers not to expect their refunds until at least the week of February 27, 2017.  Also the delay applies to your entire refund, not only the portions associated with the EIC and/or the ACTC.

If you are expecting a refund including either or both of these credits, you should take the delay into account especially if you normally use your refund to pay bills, make a major purchase, etc.  You can check the status of your federal refund online here.

Some tax changes (including the delays mentioned above) can be seen below:

2016 Tax Highlights Video

Thoughts or questions?  Please let me know using the form below.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge
Founder

Hodge Group LLC
3943 N. Austin Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634

773.237.6369

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2016 Individual Income Tax Returns Can Be Filed Starting January 23, 2017


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mark-your-calendar

The IRS announced today that tax returns for 2016 (filed in 2017) will be accepted starting Monday, January 23, 2017.  You may file returns before that date but the IRS will not be processing returns until January 23rd.

Returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) will be reviewed more closely and any refunds claiming these credits will not be issued until at least February 15, 2017 and the IRS cautions taxpayers with these credits may not get refunds until February 27, 2017, at the earliest.

Normally Individual Income Tax returns are due by April 15th but that day falls on a Saturday so the deadline will be Tuesday, April 18, 2017 due to the preceding day, April 17, being a legal holiday (Emancipation Day) in the District of Columbia and the IRS will not process returns on that day, even in offices outside of DC.

Your tax preparer can begin tax preparation in January but remember your returns will not be accepted by the IRS until January 23rd and some refunds may be delayed so please keep this in mind when preparing your taxes this year.

Thoughts or questions?  Please let me know using the form below.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge
Founder

Hodge Group LLC
3943 N. Austin Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634

773.237.6369

www.thehodgegroup.com

www.taxbillappeals.com – Property Tax Bill Appeals for Cook County IL

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IRS Tool For Amended Return Status


Recently, the IRS unveiled a tool to aid taxpayers on the status of an amended return.  You will need a couple of things to access it:IMG_1267

  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Zip Code

The IRS recommends waiting at least 3 weeks after sending in your paperwork before checking the status.

In my experience, it can take at least 6 weeks to process an amended return but perhaps the IRS is making this a point of emphasis so maybe information will be available in 3 weeks.

If you’re looking for info on your amended return, recommend using this tool – the link is above, and also here:  https://www.irs.gov/Filing/Individuals/Amended-Returns-%28Form-1040-X%29/Wheres-My-Amended-Return-1

If you need help with your taxes, including amended returns, please reach out to me using the form below.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge, CPA
President

The Hodge Group
4118 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

773.237.6369

www.thehodgegroup.com

www.taxbillappeals.com – Property Tax Bill Appeals for Cook County IL

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More Tax Related E-mail Scams in 2016


Here we are on January 15, 2016 (as I write this post) and already have received 2 new types of e-mail scams regarding your taxes.  I tend to get a number of them every year with my business and after reporting them to the IRS (if you don’t know how, follow this link), I try to publish the info on my Facebook and Linked In pages as well as here to let everyone know.  This post will be updated as we go through 2016 with any additional scams that I personally receive or I get copies of from friends or clients.

Back on January 10th, an email from “Turbotax(dot)services(at)myturbotax(dot)inuit(dot)com” that was sent to recipients, instead of my email and the header was “Your TurboTax Identity Verification”.  Please note I don’t use Turbo Tax (copyright of the Intuit Corporation) so I wouldn’t be getting an email from them about my Turbo Tax Identity…  Anyway, the email wanted me to ‘download the attached form and follow the instructions on your sreen’ (sic).  Normally these downloads are infected with Malware and/or the ask you to fill out a form that contains all your personal info so it’s a treasure trove for identity theft…7K0A0021

The next e-mail arrived last evening (Jan 14 2016) from ‘epayment(dot)ealert(at)mail(dot)com with the subject of “YOUR TAX EXEMPTION NOTIFICATION” (their caps).  The email showed on my email program as being from IRS Tax Revenue.  The e-mail (copied below) read:

Our records indicate that your resident address has been compromised.

As a result you are exempted from United States of America Tax reporting and withholdings on interest paid to you on your account and other financial benefits.

To protect yourgeneral-icons-23 exemption from tax on your account and other financial benefits, you need to recertify your exemption status and enable us confirm your records with us.

Therefore, you are to authenticate the following by completing the attachment IRS Tax Refund Form.

Please complete IRS Tax Refund Form (attached) and click the Submit Botton, to enable us confirm your records immediately.

If your records are not confirmed on time, you will lose your tax exempt benefits and your account or any other financial benefits will be subject to US tax reporting and back up withholding*

*If back up withholding applies, we are required to withhold 30% of the interest/benefits paid to you.

We appreciate your cooperation in helping us protect your exempt status and also confirm our records.

Sincerely,

Isabella Charlotte,

IRS Public Relations

 

How interesting a person from IRS Public Relations thinks I may be tax exempt because my resident address has been compromised?!!  Plus she wants me to confirm it?

Obviously another scam…  I certainly didn’t download the ‘2015 IRS Tax Refund form’ (another irony – I’ve not even filed my 2015 taxes yet!).

Be sure to read any emails carefully but don’t click on any links or attachments.  You can forward emails to ‘phishing@irs.gov’ and include the whole email so they get to see the headers, date/time, etc.

Anyone receive different scams?  Would love to hear from you – please fill out the contact form below.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge, CPA
President

The Hodge Group
4118 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

773.237.6369

www.thehodgegroup.com

www.taxbillappeals.com – Property Tax Bill Appeals for Cook County IL

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Connect on LinkedIn.