Companies who promise to eliminate tax debt sometimes leave taxpayers high and dry

As the old saying goes: When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Taxpayers with outstanding tax bills might be tempted by businesses who advertise and offer to help them reduce their tax debt. These businesses, often called Offer in Compromise mills, make huge claims about reducing unpaid taxes for pennies on the dollar. Unfortunately, these companies sometimes don’t deliver and charge large fees.

An Offer in Compromise with the IRS can help some taxpayers who can’t pay their tax bill. An Offer in Compromise is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles a tax debt for less than the full amount owed. The offer program gives eligible taxpayers a path toward paying off their debt when they otherwise couldn’t or would face financial hardship.

The OIC mills that are dishonest take advantage of taxpayers’ lack of knowledge to make a quick buck. These OIC mills urge people to hire their company to file an OIC application, even though the taxpayer won’t qualify. They often charge big fees to prepare applications that they know the IRS will deny. This unfair practice wastes taxpayers’ time and money. Taxpayers who do qualify for an OIC can get the same deal working directly with the IRS, without the extra fees. The OIC mills that are dishonest are a problem all year long, but they step up their advertising after the filing season ends, when taxpayers are trying to resolve their tax issues.

Here’s what taxpayers considering an OIC should know:
Individual taxpayers can use the IRS’s Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool to see if they’re eligible. When a taxpayer is ready to apply, they can watch an OIC video playlist that will lead them through the steps and forms to calculate an appropriate offer based on their assets, income, expenses and future earning potential.

For questions and concerns call (847)593-7558 or

IRS increases mileage rate for remainder of 2022

The Internal Revenue Service today announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rate for the final 6 months of 2022. Taxpayers may use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and certain other purposes.

For the final 6 months of 2022, the standard mileage rate for business travel will be 62.5 cents per mile, up 4 cents from the rate effective at the start of the year. The new rate for deductible medical or moving expenses (available for active-duty members of the military) will be 22 cents for the remainder of 2022, up 4 cents from the rate effective at the start of 2022. These new rates become effective July 1, 2022. The IRS provided legal guidance on the new rates in Announcement 2022-13PDF, issued today.

In recognition of recent gasoline price increases, the IRS made this special adjustment for the final months of 2022. The IRS normally updates the mileage rates once a year in the fall for the next calendar year. For travel from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2022, taxpayers should use the rates set forth in Notice 2022-03PDF.

“The IRS is adjusting the standard mileage rates to better reflect the recent increase in fuel prices,”
said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We are aware a number of unusual factors have come into play involving fuel costs, and we are taking this special step to help taxpayers, businesses and others who use this rate.”

While fuel costs are a significant factor in the mileage figure, other items enter into the calculation of mileage rates, such as depreciation and insurance and other fixed and variable costs.

The optional business standard mileage rate is used to compute the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business use in lieu of tracking actual costs. This rate is also used as a benchmark by the federal government and many businesses to reimburse their employees for mileage.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

The 14 cents per mile rate for charitable organizations remains unchanged as it is set by statute.

Midyear increases in the optional mileage rates are rare, the last time the IRS made such an increase was in 2011.

Tax-Smart Strategies to Pay for College

The big advantage of 529 plans is that qualified withdrawals are always federal-income-taxfree and usually state-income-tax-free too. What you may not know is that not all 529 withdrawals are tax-free qualified withdrawals, even in years when you have heavy college costs. This article explains what we think are the six most important things to know about 529 withdrawals:

Point No. 1: You Usually Have Several Payment Options
Point No. 2: Watch Out for Withdrawals from 529 Accounts Funded with Custodial Account Money
Point No. 3: The IRS Knows about Withdrawals
Point No. 4: Withdrawals May Be Taxable Even in Years When Substantial College Costs Are Incurred
Point No. 5: When You Keep a Withdrawal, There Are Tax Consequences
Point No. 6: Withdrawals Not Used for Education Can Also Be Hit with a 10 Percent Penalty Tax

Read more at:

Advance Child Tax Credit

The IRS has shared a fact sheet with tips for the Advance Child Tax Credit and filing the 2021 tax return. Heres what to keep in mind when you file:
Tax preparers and their clients should carefully read advance CTC letter 6419: To help eligible taxpayers, the IRS sent letters to payment recipients to help ensure tax returns are accurate.
Make sure you are filing an accurate return. People who file an accurate tax return electronically with direct deposit will generally see their refunds within 21 days after the filing is accepted by the IRS. Incorrect entries could lead to an extensive delay.
To ensure people accurately complete their 2021 tax return, use the advance Child Tax Credit information in your IRS Online Account beginning January 31. When in doubt about the amount, check IRS Online Account.
A limited group of taxpayers may receive an IRS letter with an incorrect amount of the payments received. Those in this small, affected group generally involve people who moved or changed bank accounts in December 2021, and their checks were returned as undeliverable, or their direct deposits were rejected. The IRS encourages anyone who thinks the letter might not be accurate to rely on the amount of payments reflected in their Online Account.

The Online Account link:

2022 Retirement Plan Contribution Updates

The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased to $20,500. The maximum contribution from employee deferrals plus employer contributions is $61,000.

An over age 49 catch-up amount is unchanged at $6,500.

The maximum contribution is $61,000.

The amount individuals can contribute to SIMPLE retirement accounts also increases to $14,000 in 2022.

The over age 49 catch up remains at $3,000.

2022 Retirement Plan Contribution Updates

Limits on contributions to traditional and Roth IRAs remains unchanged at $6,000.

Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. If neither the taxpayer nor their spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, their full contribution to a traditional IRA is deductible. If the taxpayer or their spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced or phased out until it is eliminated. The amount of the deduction depends on the taxpayer’s filing status and income.

Traditional IRA income phase-out ranges for 2022 are:
$68,000 to $78,000 – Single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan
$109,000 to $129,000 – Married couples filing jointly. This applies when the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan.
$204,000 to $214,000 – A taxpayer not covered by a workplace retirement plan married to someone who’s covered.
$0 to $10,000 – Married filing a separate return. This applies to taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan

Roth IRA contributions income phase-out ranges for 2022 are:
$129,000 to $144,000 – Single taxpayers and heads of household
$204,000 to $214,000- Married, filing jointly
$0 to $10,000 – Married, filing separately

Saver’s Credit income phase-out ranges for 2022 are:
$41,000 to $68,000 – Married, filing jointly.
$30,750 to $51,000 – Head of household.
$20,500 to $34,000 – Singles and married individuals filing separately.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

Required Minimum Distributions:

Required minimum distribution (RMDs) were waived for the tax year 2020 only, so don’t forget to take your RMD for 2021 by Dec. 31, 2021!

If you turn 70 1⁄2 after 2019, you must begin taking RMDs from your traditional IRA by April 1st of the year following the year you reach age 72. For example, if you turned 72 in September 2021, you can either take your 2021 RMD in 2021 or you can wait until April 1, 2022. However, you must take your 2022 RMD by Dec. 31, 2022, which means you’ll have two RMDs to report on your 2022 return if you wait.

If you fail to take your RMD, you’re subject to a 50% excise tax on the amount not distributed. Don’t panic though! You can ask the IRS to waive the tax due to reasonable error if you take steps to remedy the shortfall. Contact our office and we’ll explain what needs to be done and prepare the necessary paperwork.

Charitable Contributions:

Ordinarily, if you choose to claim the standard deduction, you cannot deduct your charitable contributions. Good news though, if you don’t itemize deductions for 2021, you may deduct up to $300 ($600 if MFJ) on your 2021 tax return for cash contributions made to most charitable organizations.

If it’s better for you to itemize deductions, you can elect to apply a 100%-of-AGI deduction limit for cash contributions made to most charitable organizations during 2021. Without this election, the usual percentage limit applies (normally 60%), and the nondeductible amount carries over up to five years. We can discuss which AGI limit is best for you based on your specific facts and circumstances.

*Remember to obtain an acknowledgment letter from the charity before filing your return and retain a canceled check or credit card receipt for contributions of cash!!