Renewing Your ITIN? Things You’ll Need

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (November 4, 2016) Some Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) expire at the end of 2016. The Internal Revenue Service issues an ITIN to those who have a filing or reporting requirement but don’t have and are not eligible to get a Social Security number. If you need to renew your ITIN, you should submit a complete application this fall to avoid delays.

The following list includes the documents you’ll need to renew your ITIN:

1. Form W-7. You must submit a completed Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (Rev 9-2016). You don’t need a completed tax return for the renewal application. You must include the identification documents with the form.
2. Proof of foreign status and identity. Several documents satisfy this requirement. These are:

• Passport. (Note: You can use a passport as a stand-alone document for dependents with a U.S. date of entry. Otherwise, an additional ID from the list below is required)
• National ID card (must show photo, name, current address, date of birth and expiration)
• U.S. driver’s license
• Birth certificate (required for dependents under 18)
• Foreign driver’s license
• U.S. state ID card
• Foreign voter’s registration card
• U.S. military ID card
• Foreign military ID card
• Visa
• U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification
• Medical records (only dependents under 6)
• School records (dependents under 14, or under 18 if a student)

Only original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency are accepted. If you would rather not mail original documents, you may use the IRS Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA) Program or make an appointment at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

3. Dependent requirements. If you need to renew your ITIN, you have the option to renew ITINs for your entire family at the same time. For dependents from countries other than Canada or Mexico or dependents of U.S. military members overseas, a passport with a U.S. entry date may serve as stand-alone identification. Along with the passport, dependent applications require:

• U.S. medical records for dependents under age 6, or
• U.S. school records for dependents under age 18
• U.S. school records for dependents age 18 and over or,
o Rental statement with the applicant’s name and U.S. address or
o Utility bill with the applicant’s name and U.S. address or
o Bank statement with applicant’s name and U.S. address

To claim certain credits and to receive a timely refund, renew your ITIN before you file your taxes.

Additional IRS Resources:
• Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
• IR-2016-100, IRS Works to Help Taxpayers Affected by ITIN Changes; Renewals Begin in October
• IR-2016-129, IRS Now Accepting ITIN Renewal Applications; Taxpayers Encouraged to Act Soon to Avoid Processing Delays in 2017
• ITIN Expiration Frequently Asked Questions

To share this tip on social media, got to #IRStaxtip: #Renewing Your ITIN? Things You’ll Need. http://go.usa.gov/xkz2p#IRS

 

Employers Face New Jan. 31 W-2 Filing Deadline; Some Refunds Delayed Until Feb. 15

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Nov. 1, 2016) — The Internal Revenue Service reminds employers and small businesses of a new Jan. 31 filing deadline for Forms W-2. The IRS also must hold some refunds until Feb. 15.

A new federal law, aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud, will accelerate the W-2 filing deadline for employers to Jan. 31. For similar reasons, the new law also requires the IRS to hold refunds involving two key refundable tax credits until at least Feb. 15. Here are details on each of these key dates.

New Jan. 31 Deadline for Employers
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted last December, includes a new requirement for employers. They are now required to file their copies of Form W-2, submitted to the Social Security Administration, by Jan. 31. The new Jan. 31 filing deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation such as payments to independent contractors.

In the past, employers typically had until the end of February, if filing on paper, or the end of March, if filing electronically, to submit their copies of these forms. In addition, there are changes in requesting an extension to file the Form W-2. Only one 30-day extension to file Form W-2 is available and this extension is not automatic. If an extension is necessary, a Form 8809 Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns must be completed as soon as you know an extension is necessary, but by January 31. Please carefully review the instructions for Form 8809, for more information.

“As tax season approaches, the IRS wants to be sure employers, especially smaller businesses, are aware of these new deadlines,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We are working with the payroll community and other partners to share this information widely.”

The new accelerated deadline will help the IRS improve its efforts to spot errors on returns filed by taxpayers. Having these W-2s and 1099s earlier will make it easier for the IRS to verify the legitimacy of tax returns and properly issue refunds to taxpayers eligible to receive them. In many instances, this will enable the IRS to release tax refunds more quickly than in the past.

The Jan. 31 deadline has long applied to employers furnishing copies of these forms to their employees and that date remains unchanged.

Some Refunds Delayed Until at Least Feb. 15
Due to the PATH Act change, some people will get their refunds a little later. The new law requires the IRS to hold the refund for any tax return claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15. By law, the IRS must hold the entire refund, not just the portion related to the EITC or ACTC.

Even with this change, taxpayers should file their returns as they normally do. Whether or not claiming the EITC or ACTC, the IRS cautions taxpayers not to count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. Though the IRS issues more than nine out 10 refunds in less than 21 days, some returns are held for further review.

For more information, please visit www.irs.gov.

 

In 2017, IRS Says Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due to Inflation, Others Remain Unchanged

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 26, 2016) — The Internal Revenue Service has announced the tax year 2017 annual inflation adjustments for more than 50 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes. Revenue Procedure 2016-55 provides details about the annual adjustments. The tax year 2017 adjustments generally are used on tax returns filed in 2018. The tax items for tax year 2017 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following dollar amounts:

• The standard deduction for married filing jointly rises to $12,700 for tax year 2017, up $100 from the prior year. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $6,350 in 2017, up from $6,300 in 2016. For heads of households, the standard deduction will be $9,350 for tax year 2017, up from $9,300 for tax year 2016.

• The personal exemption for tax year 2017 remains as it was for 2016: $4,050. However, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $261,500 ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $384,000 ($436,300 for married couples filing jointly.)

• For tax year 2017, the 39.6 percent tax rate affects single taxpayers whose income exceeds $418,400 ($470,700 for married taxpayers filing jointly), up from $415,050 and $466,950, respectively. The other marginal rates – 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent – and the related income tax thresholds for tax year 2017 are described in the revenue procedure.

• The limitation for itemized deductions to be claimed on tax year 2017 returns of individuals begins with incomes of $287,650 or more ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly).

• The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2017 is $54,300 and begins to phase out at $120,700 ($84,500, for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption begins to phase out at $160,900). The 2016 exemption amount was $53,900 ($83,800 for married couples filing jointly). For tax year 2017, the 28 percent tax rate applies to taxpayers with taxable incomes above $187,800 ($93,900 for married individuals filing separately).

• The tax year 2017 maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,318 for taxpayers filing jointly who have three or more qualifying children, up from a total of $6,269 for tax year 2016. The revenue procedure has a table providing maximum credit amounts for other categories, income thresholds and phase-outs.

• For tax year 2017, the monthly limitation for the qualified transportation fringe benefit is $255, as is the monthly limitation for qualified parking.

• For calendar year 2017, the dollar amount used to determine the penalty for not maintaining minimum essential health coverage is $695.

• For tax year 2017 participants who have self-only coverage in a Medical Savings Account, the plan must have an annual deductible that is not less than $2,250 but not more than $3,350; these amounts remain unchanged from 2016. For self-only coverage, the maximum out of pocket expense amount is $4,500, up $50 from 2016. For tax year 2017, participants with family coverage, the floor for the annual deductible is $4,500, up from $4,450 in 2016; however, the deductible cannot be more than $6,750, up $50 from the limit for tax year 2016. For family coverage, the out-of-pocket expense limit is $8,250 for tax year 2017, an increase of $100 from tax year 2016.

• For tax year 2017, the adjusted gross income amount used by joint filers to determine the reduction in the Lifetime Learning Credit is $112,000, up from $111,000 for tax year 2016.

• For tax year 2017, the foreign earned income exclusion is $102,100, up from $101,300 for tax year 2016.

• Estates of decedents who die during 2017 have a basic exclusion amount of $5,490,000, up from a total of $5,450,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2016.

For more information, visit www.irs.gov.

 

 

Comptroller Franchot Announces Opening of New Taxpayer Call Center in Salisbury

Facility will enable quicker responses to taxpayers’ questions, add up to 25 jobs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 19, 2016) – At today’s Board of Public Works meeting, Comptroller Peter Franchot announced plans to open his agency’s first remote customer call center to assist taxpayers during the 2017 tax season. The new center, which will open in early January adjacent to the existing Salisbury Branch Office at Sea Gull Square, will enhance the agency’s ability to assist taxpayers in a timely manner and add up to 25 jobs to the local economy.

“This new center will substantially increase our capacity to respond more quickly to taxpayers’ calls – especially during the busy tax season — and boost Salisbury’s local economy with some new jobs,” Comptroller Franchot said.

The new center’s staff will assist Marylanders with tax questions and tax payment options. During the busy tax season from January through April, the agency’s current Taxpayer Services unit in Annapolis typically swells from 35 to 75 employees to handle the volume of taxpayer inquiries. Some of the new Salisbury jobs will be permanent and others will be temporary during the tax season.

Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach praised Comptroller Franchot for his broad vision and his ability to work with multiple constituencies to benefit Maryland taxpayers.

“We are pleased that the Maryland Comptroller’s Office is creating its first remote customer call center in the state at Sea Gull Square on the campus of Salisbury University,” President Dudley-Eshbach said. “The Lower Eastern Shore will benefit from the 25 professional jobs to be offered at the center. SU students, we hope, also will have opportunities to learn there with internships in communications, public service and other fields.”

Salisbury Mayor Jake Day said the city is proud to welcome an expansion of the Comptroller’s Office.

“Maryland taxpayers from the Eastern Shore are grateful for the services provided from this office without requiring trips over the Bay Bridge,” Mayor Day said. “We thank the talented team in the Comptroller’s Office and Comptroller Franchot for his continued, focused and dedicated service to Maryland, the Eastern Shore and Salisbury.”

Training for the new hires will begin at the Salisbury office and continue in Annapolis later this fall. The call center will not be open to the public, but anyone with a tax question or in need of free tax help can stop by the neighboring Salisbury Branch Office at Unit 182, 1306 S. Salisbury Blvd., weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Anyone interested in one of the positions may go to https://www.jobaps.com/MD/ for more information and to apply.

 Media Contacts: Peter Hamm, 410-260-7060 (office), 443-414-3083 (cell) Alan Brody, 410-6346 (office), 443-924-1473 (cell)

IRS Reminds Extension Filers of Oct. 17 Deadline

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 14, 2016) — Millions of taxpayers ask for an extra six months to file their taxes every year. The Internal Revenue Service says if you are one of them, then you should know that Monday, October 17, is the extension deadline in 2016. This is because October 15 falls on a Saturday. If you have not yet filed, here are some things to keep in mind about the extension deadline and your taxes:

• Try IRS Free File or e-file. You can still e-file your tax return for free through IRS Free File. The program is available only on IRS.gov through Oct. 17. IRS e-file is easy, safe and the most accurate way to file your taxes.

• Use Direct Deposit. If you are due a refund, the fastest way to get it is to combine direct deposit and e-file. Direct deposit has a proven track record; eight out of 10 taxpayers who get a refund choose it.

• Use IRS Online Payment Options. If you owe taxes, the best way to pay them is with IRS Direct Pay. It’s the simple, quick and free way to pay from your checking or savings account. You also have other online payment options. Check them out by clicking on the “Payments” tab on the IRS.gov home page.

• Refunds. As you prepare to file your 2015 return, keep in mind next year’s taxes. IRS is urging taxpayers to check their tax withholding as the year winds down. New factors may delay tax refunds in 2017. For more on what you can do now, see our Aug. 31 news release.

• Don’t Overlook Tax Benefits. Be sure to claim all the tax breaks you are entitled to. These may include the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Saver’s Credit. The American Opportunity Tax Credit can help offset college costs.

• Keep a Copy of Your Return. Be sure to keep a copy of your tax return and supporting documents for at least three years. Among other things, this will make filing next year’s return easier. When you e-file your 2016 return, for example, you will often need the adjusted gross income (AGI) amount from your 2015 return.

• File On Time. If you owe taxes, file on time to avoid a potential late filing penalty. If you owe and can’t pay all of your taxes, pay as much as you can to reduce interest and penalties for late payment. You might also consider an installment agreement where you can pay over time.
• More Time for the Military. Military members and those serving in a combat zone generally get more time to file. If this applies to you, you typically have until at least 180 days after you leave the combat zone to both file returns and pay any taxes due.

• More Time in Disaster Areas. If you have an extension and live or work in a disaster area, you often have more time to file. Currently, taxpayers in parts of Louisiana and West Virginia have additional extensions beyond Oct. 17. See the disaster relief page on IRS.gov for details.

• Try Easy-to-Use Tools on IRS.gov. Use the EITC Assistant to see if you’re eligible for the credit. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to get answers to common tax questions. The IRS Tax Map gives you a single point to get tax law information by subject. Find them all here.

For more information, visit www.irs.gov.

 

 

Comptroller Franchot Warns Maryland Taxpayers of Phone Scam Threatening Arrest

Taxpayers Advised to Not Respond to Messages

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 7, 2016) – Comptroller Peter Franchot warns taxpayers to stay vigilant and safeguard their personal information by being alert to a new phone scam aimed at scaring people into paying money.

A taxpayer alerted the agency’s Compliance Division Friday morning that he had received two suspicious phone calls supposedly from the Comptroller’s Office and threatening arrest if he didn’t pay his tax bill. Field Enforcement agents are investigating the phone numbers provided by the taxpayer.

“If anyone calls you asking for personal information or worse yet, threatening you with arrest, don’t respond and hang up immediately,” Comptroller Franchot said. “The staff of my agency would never treat Maryland taxpayers that way. These crooks are trying to scare you by taking your money and stealing your identity. They are shameless, unscrupulous predators trying to destroy your financial sanctity.”

Neither the Comptroller’s Office nor the Internal Revenue Service calls taxpayers and ask for personal information or Social Security numbers.

The Comptroller’s Office warns taxpayers to also not reply to emails requesting confidential information, especially your Social Security number, birth date, salary information or home address. If you receive an email asking for a copy of your W-2 form, you should immediately contact your employer. You also may call 1-800-MD-TAXES or email mdcomptroller@comp.state.md.us.

Media Contact: Barbara Sauers, 410-260-7438 (office) and 410-212-9414 (cell)

Water Main Break Prompts Closure of Comptroller’s Office in Baltimore

Regular Hours in Nearby Annapolis, Towson, Landover, Upper Marlboro and Wheaton 

Update 10/7/16: The Baltimore office has reopened for normal business hours today after a water main break Thursday.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 6, 2016) –  Taxpayers in need of free state tax assistance can call the taxpayer services line from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-MD TAXES, or 410-260-7980.

MEDIA CONTACT: Barbara Sauers, 410-260-7438 (office), 410-212-9414 (cell)

Comptroller’s Office Receives Anti-Fraud Award

New Analytics 50 Awards honor executives who use analytics to solve business challenges

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 3, 2016) – The Maryland Comptroller’s Office has been selected by a national panel recognizing the agency for its work in identifying tax fraud and identity theft. Created by Drexel University and CIO.com, the Analytics 50 Awards selected 50 executives who use analytics to solve business challenges. The Comptroller’s Office was chosen for its “innovative use of analytics to create and deliver business value” by judges for Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and CIO.com, an information technology media company.

“The state-of the art technology used by my agency, together with the diligent work of my team of investigators, has helped to halt the brazen filing of radioactive state tax returns,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot. “I’m very proud of our efforts to root out fraudsters who try to cheat Marylanders and steal the money our state needs for schools, roads and many worthy programs.”

The Comptroller’s Office was selected for its ability to uncover fraudulent tax returns. For the 2015 tax year, the agency prevented $38.6 million in about 35,000 fraudulent refunds from being issued. For current tax season, the agency was able to detect fraudulent returns filed by 61 private tax preparers at 68 locations throughout the region and out of state.

“As the perpetrators of this type of fraud have proliferated in recent years and their methods have become highly sophisticated, the Comptroller of Maryland sought a new strategy with analytic modeling,” said Andrew Schaufele, director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates.

“We are extremely impressed with the company honorees and to learn how the use of innovative analytics has played a pivotal role in providing organization solutions across industries,” said Dr. Murugan Anandarajan, department head of Decision Sciences and MIS at Drexel University.

The Analytics 50 selectees represent a broad spectrum of industries, ranging from pharmaceuticals and healthcare to sports and media. The winners will be recognized November 9 at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Hamm 410-260-7060 (office) and 443-414-3083 (cell) Alan Brody 410-260-6346 (office) and 443-924-1473 (cell)

Comptroller’s Office to Hold Job Fairs in Baltimore City

Job seekers can apply for customer service positions at expos in Park Heights, East Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (September 28, 2016) – The Comptroller of Maryland will hold two upcoming job fairs in Baltimore City to seek qualified applicants for vacant customer service positions that are essential to agency operations.
The job fairs will be held on:

Wednesday, October 26
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
C.C. Jackson Recreation Center
4910 Park Heights Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21215

Tuesday, November 15
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Humanim Building (Former American Brewery)
1701 North Gay St.
Baltimore, MD 21213

Agency personnel will answer questions from job seekers and accept applications at the fairs for both full-time positions and temporary positions for tax season. Prospective applicants attending the job fairs also may inquire and apply for supervisory positions and any other vacant position advertised.

View the flyer here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Alan Brody (410) 260-6346 (office), (443) 924-1473 (cell)

IRS Says New Private Debt Collection Program to Begin Next Spring

IRS to Contract with Four Agencies, Focus on Keeping Taxpayer Rights Protected

ANNAPOLIS, MD (September 27, 2016) – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced plans to begin private collection of certain overdue federal tax debts next spring and has named four contractors to implement the new program. They are:

• CBE Group, 1309 Technology Parkway, Cedar Falls, IA
• Conserve, 200 CrossKeys Office Park, Fairport, NY
• Performant, 333 N Canyons Parkway, Livermore, CA
• Pioneer, 325 Daniel Zenker Drive, Horseheads, NY

The program, authorized under a federal law enacted by Congress last December, enables the contractors to collect outstanding inactive tax receivables. The agencies must respect taxpayers’ rights, including abiding by the consumer protection provision of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The IRS will give each taxpayer and their representative written notice that their account is being transferred to a private collection agency. The agency then will send a second, separate letter to the taxpayer and their representative confirming this transfer. Private collection agencies will be able to identify themselves as contractors of the IRS collecting taxes.

Private collection agencies will not request payment on a prepaid debit card. Taxpayers can learn about electronic payment options at https://www.irs.gov/. Payment by check should be made out to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection agency.

For more information, visit the IRS’ Private Debt Collection web page.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Peter Hamm, 410-260-7060 (office), 443-414-3083 (cell) Alan Brody, 410-260-6346 (office), 443-924-1473 (cell)