2018 IRA and 401k Contribution Limits Announced

The IRS recently announced the inflation-adjusted contribution limits for 2018.

The 2018 401k limit, for those under 50 years of age, is $18,500 (a $500 increase from 2017).

The 2018 IRA limit, for those under 50 years of age, remains at $5,500.

More can be read here.

IRS Warns of New Phishing Scheme

The IRS released a warning recently regarding a dangerous new phishing scheme that combines the names of the IRS and the FBI in an attempted ransom-ware attack.
More can be read here.

Please remember that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers via email, social media or text messages. The IRS also does not call taxpayers demanding payments, or threaten to involve local law enforcement for failure to pay. The IRS has a number of helpful and informative pages on their website to assist you in identifying impersonated IRS contact. Click here to read more.

2016 National Taxpayer Advocate Report to Congress Available

In her recently released annual report, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson urges the IRS to move to a more taxpayer-centric focus and recommends tax code simplification to Congress.

She makes a series of proposals aimed at changing the culture at the IRS from one focused on enforcement to one of taxpayer trust and confidence, adding that the tax system should be designed around taxpayers are trying to comply instead of around those that are actively trying not to.
Her report also says that our tax code’s “complexity rewards taxpayers who can afford expensive tax advice and discriminates against taxpayers who cannot.”. She buttresses this statement with fact: Congress has made more than 5,900 changes in the tax code since 2001, on average more than one change per day.

The National Taxpayer Advocate is an independent organization within the IRS, whose job is to ensure that taxpayers are treated fairly and know and understand their rights.

A summary of the report can be read here. A link to the full report and the executive summary and  can be found here.

2017 Mileage Rates Released

The IRS recently released the mileage rates effective on January 1, 2017. They are:

  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The entire Notice can be read here.

Ohio Requires Driver’s License or State ID to E-file 2016 Tax Returns

In the ongoing fight against identity theft and fraud, Ohio will require either a driver’s license or state ID number to be entered with the other tax return data before an Ohio income tax return is electronically filed for 2016. Taxpayers will also have the option to indicate that they have neither of these forms of ID.

Taxpayers with EIC or Additional Child Tax Credits: Expect Refund Delays in 2017

The IRS is implementing new fraud safeguards in 2017 (for the 2016 tax return filing season). These safeguards require the IRS to hold refunds from taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Credit and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid-February 2017. Other new fraud and identity theft prevention tools may also delay taxpayer’s refunds without these credits. More can be read here.