Here you'll find items of current interest — new programs, recent guidance, or timely reminders. Or jump to the latest news about IRS forms and publications.
E-File Opens for 2009
This year, the IRS and its partners in the Free File Alliance are offering a new option, Free File Fillable Tax Forms, which allows free electronic filing of tax returns for virtually everyone.
Taxpayers who use e-file and who choose direct deposit can receive their refund in as few as 10 days. That's because with e-file, there's no paper return going to the IRS. IRS e-file allows taxpayers to file their returns now and pay later if they owe taxes. It allows taxpayers to file both federal and most state returns at the same time. And with direct deposit, there's no paper refund going to the taxpayer. So it’s all electronic and much faster than paper.
For more information, see news release IR 2009-5, E-File Opens for 2009 With New Features to Expand Taxpayer Access, Help Speed Refunds.
Recovery Rebate Credit Available This Year
The recovery rebate credit is a one-time benefit for people who didn't receive the full economic stimulus payment last year and whose circumstances may have changed, making them eligible now for some or all of the unpaid portion.
For more information, see the Recovery Rebate Credit Information Center.
The IRS warns taxpayers to be on the alert for e-mails and phone calls they may receive which claim to come from the IRS or other federal agency and which mention their tax refund or economic stimulus payment. These are almost certainly a scam whose purpose is to obtain personal and financial information — such as name, Social Security number, bank account and credit card or even PIN numbers — from taxpayers which can be used by the scammers to commit identity theft. The e-mails and calls usually state that the IRS needs the information to process a refund or stimulus payment or deposit it into the taxpayer's bank account. The e-mails often contain links or attachments to what appears to be the IRS Web site or an IRS "refund application form." However genuine in appearance, these phonies are designed to elicit the information the scammers are looking for.
The IRS does not send taxpayers e-mails about their tax accounts. Additionally, the way to get a tax refund or stimulus payment, or to arrange for a direct deposit, is to file a tax return.
For more information on consumer scams, see Suspicious e-Mails and Identity Theft.
Political Activity Compliance Initiative Continues
The Political Activities Compliance Initiative (PACI) once again will be in effect for the 2008 election season. The PACI program seeks to educate section 501(c)(3) organizations, such as charities and churches, about the federal law concerning political campaign activity and to enforce the law in this area. By law, organizations exempt from tax under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) may not “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
In June 2007, the IRS released a Report on the Political Activity Compliance Initiative for the 2006 election cycle. This report, PACI 2006, follows the report on prohibited political campaign intervention in the 2004 election cycle, which was issued in February 2006.
For more information, see:
IRS Seeks Public Comments on Draft Instructions to the 2008 Form 990
The instructions apply to the redesigned Form 990 that most exempt organizations will file for their 2008 tax years (returns filed in 2009). The final version of the redesigned Form 990 was unveiled in December 2007 (IRS news release IR-2007-204).
For more information, see IR-2008-60, IRS Issues Draft Instructions for 2008 Form 990.
Tax Benefits and Economic Stimulus Payment Information for Armed Forces Members
The Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003 has various benefits related to military service. Several earlier tax law provisions gave breaks to those serving in combat areas. Tax Information for Members of the U.S. Armed Forces has links to these details, information on the economic stimulus payments and more.
Tax Shelter Updates
Read up on these milestones in the IRS campaign against abusive tax avoidance transactions.
Why Pay Taxes? — The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments
The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments (PDF 405K) addresses some of the more common false "legal" arguments made by individuals and groups who oppose compliance with the federal tax laws. These arguments are grouped under six general categories, with variations within each category. Each contention is briefly explained, followed by a discussion of the legal authority that rejects the contention. The second section deals with frivolous arguments encountered in collection due process cases. The final section illustrates penalties imposed on those pursuing frivolous cases.