IRS

Why unemployed Americans may owe the IRS next year

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic – and many who are claiming unemployment benefits may be faced with a surprise tax bill next year. The IRS requires people to report income received in the form of unemployment. Some states tax benefits, too. However, when you receive unemployment there’s typically no withholding, meaning individuals have to choose to have taxes withheld. And even then, it’s usually at a rate of 10 percent, which may not be enough for some people who have been receiving expanded unemployment benefits. “Unemployment withholding may not cover their actual tax liability,” Eric Bronnenkant, Head of Tax at Betterment, told FOX Business. “That $600 essentially allowed people to make more money on unemployment [than working, so] 10 percent is even less likely to cover their actual tax.” Additionally, Bronnenkant noted that people may choose not to have any money withheld because they need as much cash as possible for essential expenses. Others may look at it as a “next year problem,” he added. How prominent this issue will be next tax season depends on the future of the U.S. economy and the extent to which lawmakers decide to renew the expanded unemployment benefits in pending relief legislation. The additional $600, which was a policy under the CARES Act, expired at the end of July. The number of people receiving benefits was about 16 million as of July 25. But the tax issue stands to be problematic for many, especially those who are collecting benefits for the first time. According to a recent survey, 37% of Americans thought unemployment compensation was not considered taxable income. More than half of respondents did not know that they had to request to have taxes withheld from unemployment compensation. If you do not have taxes withheld from your checks, you may have to make quarterly estimated payments to the IRS. These payments are typically required of individuals who expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when their return is filed.

IRS launches ‘Get My Payment’ app to speed up coronavirus relief

The Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday launched an online tool to allow taxpayers to give the agency their direct deposit information to help speed up the coronavirus relief payments to Americans. The IRS’s “Get My Payment” app allows taxpayers who did not give the agency direct deposit information when filing taxes in 2018 or 2019 to submit their bank information through the portal in order to expedite their payment delivery. The majority of eligible Americans – more than 80 million, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – who filed their taxes in 2018 and/or 2019 and received a refund via direct deposit had received their stimulus relief payments by Wednesday. Those who do not file taxes are also now able to go to the IRS website and use the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” section to enter their bank information in order to receive their payment faster than they would via regular mail. Some Americans can expect to receive paper checks in the mail, but that method of delivery could take months. As part of the CARES Act, people who file their taxes as individuals are eligible for payments up to $1,200, and couples who file jointly are eligible for up to $2,400 plus an additional $500 per child under the age of 17. The amount decreases for individuals who earn an adjusted gross income of more than $75,000 and couples who earn more than $150,000 a year, by $5 for every $100 in income above those marks. This means the payment is less the higher their earnings are, with it being reduced to zero for individuals who make $99,000 or more and couples who make $198,000 or more. People who file as heads of household are eligible for payments of up to $1,200 plus $500 per child under 17. That amount is reduced for people who earn an adjusted gross income of more than $112,000 a year. The extent to which it is decreased depends on how many children they have. Payment amounts may also be offset by any past due child support payments that have been reported to the Treasury Department. The payments do not count as taxable income. Similarly, they do not count for determining eligibility for federal programs like Supplemental Security Income. Click here for more information:

Definitely something to look into if you’re eligible!

Equifax Given Huge IRS Fraud-Prevention Contract Following Massive Security Breach

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has awarded Equifax a $7.25 million fraud-prevention contract following the company’s massive security breach which affected over 140 million consumers. According to Politico, “The IRS will pay Equifax $7.25 million to verify taxpayer identities and help prevent fraud under a no-bid contract issued last week.” “The credit agency will ‘verify taxpayer identity’ and ‘assist in ongoing identity verification and validations’ at the IRS, according to the award,” Politico’s reported. “The notice describes the contract as a ‘sole source order,’ meaning Equifax is the only company deemed capable of providing the service. It says the order was issued to prevent a lapse in identity checks while officials resolve a dispute over a separate contract.” In September, it was reported that Equifax had been the victim of a large cyberattack, which potentially left over 140 million consumers’ personal information vulnerable. Following the attack, Equifax blamed the attack on a single employee who failed to implement a patch. However, according to Tech Crunch, “a patch for that vulnerability had been available for months before the breach occurred.” The company faced further controversy following the discovery that Equifax’s Terms of Service included a clause in their security assistance website which barred consumers from being able to sue the company before they removed it following consumer backlash. It was also revealed that the company had been encouraging consumers to visit the wrong security website, a fake, which could have easily been used as a phishing scam and taken more information.

Wow..   Be afraid..

Obama’s IRS ‘misled’ Obamacare customers: Audit

The Obama administration “misled” Americans into thinking signing up for Obamacare would be cheaper than it really was, according to an inspector general’s report Thursday that said the IRS dramatically understated the actual cost of enrolling. IRS officials sent the letters to try to prod Americans to comply with the 2010 health law’s “individual mandate” that penalizes them for not holding coverage. But as part of the letters, the IRS said most people could find plans for $75 a month or less once government subsidies were figured in. That was untrue — in fact, the average cost was more than twice that figure, at $168 a month, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said. “Many of the nearly 7.5 million taxpayers who receive letters and seek insurance may feel misled if the actual cost of their insurance is much higher than the $75 per month detailed in their notification letter,” the inspector general concluded. The IRS said it was only using numbers provided by Department of Health and Human Services and verified by the Treasury Department. They said the $75 figure was true for some taxpayers. The inspector general said it asked for that documentation but never received it. Auditors said their own analysis found the HHS studies were based on a smaller sample and was limited to those who chose lower-coverage plans with fewer benefits. According to the new audit, federal regulations require agencies to present accurate information.

Imagine that!

‘After School Satan Club’ Received Fast-Tracked Tax-Exempt Status from IRS

Documents obtained by Judicial Watch show the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) fast-tracked tax-exempt status for an “After School Satan Club” in Tacoma, Washington, while the federal agency was discovered to be either denying conservative and Christian groups the same status or making them wait for years. According to the watchdog group that uncovered the IRS scandal during the Obama administration, the After School Satan Club at Point Defiance Elementary in Tacoma applied for its tax-exempt status designation on October 21, 2014 and received it only 10 days later on October 31, 2014.

Holy crap!!  This is one of those stories you really need to read.  To read the rest of this shocking story, click on the text above.

7,000 IRS documents may detail Obama-era targeting of tea party groups

There are 7,000 previously unacknowledged IRS documents that could contain information about the targeting of tea party groups, the agency has admitted in a court filing. The IRS told of the documents’ existence this week in a court filing responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch. However, the IRS has not agreed to a schedule for those documents’ public release. “Our attorneys knew that there were more records to be searched but the Obama IRS ignored this issue for years,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. Although the IRS maintains high-level officials did not know it was going on, the agency has acknowledged and apologized for giving heightened scrutiny starting in 2010 to tax-exemption requests made by groups with “tea party” and other conservative-identifying terms in their names. Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin said in a statement Thursday evening that the IRS, having “magically [found]” the documents, must now “immediately release all these new documents, so the American people can finally begin to see what the IRS has been hiding regarding their scandalous abuse of power.”

Agreed!!

Court says IRS must prove it stopped tea party targeting

A federal appeals court slapped the IRS with yet another rebuke Friday, ruling that it did, in fact, discriminate against tea party groups and insisting the tax agency prove that it’s permanently stopped the unconstitutional targeting of groups because of their political leanings. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said tea party groups can’t sue individual IRS employees such as former senior executive Lois G. Lerner, but said the tax agency itself has not sufficiently proved that it has banned any future targeting. The three-judge panel sent the case back to a lower court for a more thorough ruling. The IRS had insisted it “voluntarily” ceased the targeting, so the case was moot. But Judge David B. Sentelle, writing for the appeals court, said that was clearly not the case because some organizations were still awaiting approval years after they applied. And he flatly rejected the IRS’s explanation that those groups couldn’t be processed because they were suing the IRS, calling that a classic catch-22. “The IRS is telling the applicants in these cases that ‘we have been violating your rights and not properly processing your applications. You are entitled to have your applications processed. But if you ask for that processing by way of a lawsuit, then you can’t have it,’” Judge Sentelle wrote. “We would advise the IRS: if you haven’t ceased to violate the rights of the taxpayers, then there is no cessation. You have not carried your burden, be it heavy or light.” The IRS didn’t have an immediate comment on the ruling Friday morning. Hundreds of groups were subjected to the targeting, which saw the IRS pull their tax-exempt status applications out of the usual process, based on agents’ suspicions about their connection to conservative causes. The groups then had their applications delayed while IRS agents asked probing — and potentially unconstitutional — questions about their activities. After being caught, the IRS announced it was suspending “until further notice” its use of targeting lists to single out applications. The appeals court Friday said that suggests the IRS thinks it could restart the use of the lists. And Judge Sentelle said that doesn’t begin to scratch the other issues of long delays and unconstitutional questions asked of the groups.

IRS releases list of groups targeted in scandal – 3 years later

Three years after the IRS admitted officials singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny, the tax-collecting agency has released a near-complete list of the organizations targeted. And it numbers in the hundreds — for the first time showing the extent to which the agency slow-walked applications for tax-exempt status. The new list shows a total of 426 organizations, far higher than what the Treasury Department’s inspector general believed there to be in May 2013, when he identified 298 groups. The names span the gamut, covering well-known groups like Tea Party Patriots but also lower-profile local outfits like the Louisiana Campaign for Liberty, Patriots of Charleston, the Asheville Tea Party, Inc. and many more. The Washington Times first reported on the list, which the IRS filed last month after being prodded by federal judges. The document was produced as part of a class-action lawsuit being led by Tea Party groups. According to the Times, 60 of the groups’ names contained the word “tea,” 33 contained the word “patriot,” eight used the word “Constitution” and 26 others had the word “liberty” in the title. A lawyer representing NorCal Tea Party Patriots as part of the lawsuit said the list may have increased in number so dramatically since 2013 as the IRS targeted more liberal groups after the investigation began so as to try and soften the perception of bias. “Based on these changes, which to date remain unexplained, a very real possibility — if not probability — exists that the IRS modified its targeting in light of the investigations, packing its own internal lists of targeted groups to support its preferred narrative, including by adding ideologically diverse groups,” Edward D. Greim told The Times. Regardless of the backstory, a federal judge earlier this year scolded the IRS for allegedly holding up requests for information. “The lawsuit has progressed as slowly as the underlying applications themselves: at every turn the IRS has resisted the plaintiffs’ requests for information regarding the IRS’s treatment of the plaintiff class, eventually to the open frustration of the district court,” Circuit Court Judge Raymond Kethledge said in a March ruling. “Among the most serious allegations a federal court can address are that an Executive agency has targeted citizens for mistreatment based on their political views. No citizen—Republican or Democrat, socialist or libertarian—should be targeted or even have to fear being targeted on those grounds,” Kethledge said. House Republicans ramped up pressure on the IRS in May, introducing a measure to censure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen — and remove him from office without a pension. Tea Party Patriots on Monday renewed their call for Koskinen’s impeachment.

And we agree with that position. Commissioner John Koskinen has shown himself to NOT be an honest public servant, and has shown NO interest in reforming his out-of-control, corrupt, and fascist federal agency.

IRS took $43M from Americans under ‘structuring’ law without evidence

The IRS has seized $43 million from more than 600 individuals by accusing them of violating “structuring” laws even when there has been no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, according to testimony heard at the House Ways and Means Committee today. In 2012, two armed IRS agents went to the farm of Randy Sowers, a dairy farmer for over three decades, to notify him that the IRS had seized the business’ bank account, which held more than $60,000. The agents told Sowers the IRS had done so because of structuring laws. When an individual conducts a cash transaction in excess of $10,000, according to federal law, the bank must file a currency transaction report with the Treasury Department. It is unlawful for an individual to break up or “structure” cash deposits into amounts below $10,000 to avoid federal currency reporting. “At that point, I had never before heard the term ‘structuring,’ and I had no idea that depositing cash in the bank could even potentially be a federal crime,” Sowers said. “Nobody from the bank or the government warned me that under-$10,000 bank deposits could lead to the seizure of our bank account. Indeed, nobody from the government contacted me about our bank deposits until after they seized our bank account.” “I was shocked that the government would even consider bringing criminal charges when I had done nothing wrong,” Sowers said. “The IRS agents who came to the farm told me that the judge who approved the seizure had given them the authority to take anything up to $243,455—the amount of cash deposited in the account over a period of eight months.”

Holy crap!!  This sort of thing should NEVER happen in America!!  The IRS has gotten WAY out of control, and it is time that it was abolished altogether.  To read the rest of this shocking story, click on the text above.  Awful..

IRS chief won’t appear at House hearing on his impeachment

The commissioner of the IRS declined on Monday to appear at a congressional hearing this week examining whether he deserves to be impeached, but said in a written statement that allegations against him “are without merit.” IRS chief John Koskinen has not had time to prepare for Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing because of travel and because he is also getting ready for an unrelated hearing, the agency said in a statement. Instead, Koskinen submitted a seven-page statement to the Judiciary panel defending himself. Some conservative Republicans have been pushing for Koskinen’s removal because they say he has prevented congressional investigators from gathering evidence about how the IRS treated conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. A leader of that effort, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, will testify Tuesday to the Judiciary Committee. The IRS says it has cooperated over numerous hearings and has submitted over a million pages of documents. The Justice Department has found no evidence of criminal behavior by the IRS. And the IRS inspector general concluded that while data containing requested agency emails has been destroyed, there is no proof that that was done purposely. The GOP election-year impeachment effort seems highly unlikely to succeed. It has not won forceful backing from House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has drawn lukewarm support from other Republicans and is opposed by Democrats.

Agreed. It won’t go anywhere. But, having these hearings, and holding that self-righteous, arrogant prick’s feet to the fire is the right thing to do…and long overdue.