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Monday December 22, 2014

Washington News

Washington Hotline

IRS Ready for Income Tax Returns

On January 31 the IRS announced that it is prepared to receive 2013 income tax returns. The return season will be from that date until Tuesday, April 15, 2014, unless taxpayers file for an extension.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen stated, "Tens of millions of people will file their taxes in the next few weeks, and we encourage taxpayers to visit IRS.gov as the best place to get quick help. We continue to add features and make it more user-friendly to help taxpayers. People can get everything from answers to tax questions about preparing their tax return to checking the status of their refund after they file."

Commissioner Koskinen noted that there were delays in the tax filing season due to the 16 day closure of the government during October of last year. Approximately 75% of those who file will receive a refund. About 90% of the refunds are expected to be processed within 3 weeks of filing.

Koskinen also highlighted the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. He noted that many individuals with low and moderate incomes up to a limit of $51,567 may qualify for the EITC. The IRS.gov website has been enhanced with an "EITC Assistant" and taxpayers can learn more about the program by logging on. Individuals with low and moderate incomes may qualify for a credit. The credit is based on multiple factors and individuals with three qualifying children may benefit from a credit up to $6,044. The credit is refundable.

The IRS also has updated its smartphone app, IRS2Go. Koskinen noted, "The new version of IRS2Go provides taxpayers with another way to quickly get information and help around the clock. The IRS is focused on providing taxpayers with convenient self-service tools like IRS2Go, which provides details on everything from tax refunds to free tax assistance."

The smartphone app will be used by many taxpayers to monitor refund status. In addition, lower income taxpayers or seniors may use IRS2Go to locate the nearest location for IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE).

Baucus to China, Wyden to Finance


On February 6th, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) was confirmed on a 96-0 vote as Ambassador to China. The confirmation vote was anticipated and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is expected to assume the leadership of the Senate Finance Committee.

Ranking member of the committee Orrin Hatch (R-UT) noted that he had always had an excellent relationship with Baucus and anticipates a similar working relationship with Wyden. Hatch noted that Sen. Baucus "bent over backwards, and so did I, to make this relationship work. There were times when we didn't agree but we were always congenial about it."

Baucus leaves his SFC position with major unfinished business with respect to tax reform. He published a press release with a brief summary of his efforts to move tax reform forward.

1. Discussion Drafts – SFC released drafts on international tax reform, tax administration, cost recovery and accounting and energy.

2. Summer Campaigns – Baucus and House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) traveled throughout the nation last summer to meet with business leaders and citizens to promote tax reform.

3. Option Papers – Ten different tax reform option papers were reviewed by Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch together with other committee members.

4. Citizen Input – There were 16,000 comments on www.TaxReform.gov by American taxpayers.

In a press interview, Sen. Wyden suggested that he would proceed with the efforts to renew the tax extenders. Wyden stated, "Clearly, if you don't take steps to address extenders, that could be very damaging to some key parts of our economy."

Editor's Note: Ranking Member Hatch and House Ways and Means Chairman Camp both have stated they prefer to hold back extenders as an incentive to pass comprehensive tax reform. However, as the November election nears, it is very unlikely that there will be a tax reform bill in 2014. Because both Wyden and Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) support a separate tax extenders bill, it is possible that there could be a tax extenders bill by mid-year. If this occurs, then nonprofits will have an opportunity to prepare IRA Rollover marketing plans for this fall. If the extenders bill does not pass until November, the IRA Rollover marketing campaign will be highly compressed.

Published February 7, 2014


Previous Articles

Will myRA Boost Retirement Saving?

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Budget Bill Cuts IRS Funding

Obama and Paul Support Economic Zones

Washington Developments in 2014

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