llinois Taxpayers Are Eligible to Opt-In to the IRS’ Identity Protection PIN Program When 2020 Filing Season Begins

When the IRS begins the 2020 tax filing season, taxpayers in selected locations will be eligible to opt into the online Identity Protection PIN program.

Taxpayers will be eligible for this voluntary program if they filed a federal tax return last year from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington.

The IP PIN is a 6-digit number that adds another layer of protection for taxpayers’ Social Security numbers and helps protect against tax-related identity theft.

The IRS has issued IP PINs to confirmed identity theft victims since 2011. In recent years, the IRS has been expanding the program to taxpayers who are not confirmed identity theft victims but who may want this additional protection.

Taxpayers opting into the IP PIN program must use the online Get an IP PIN tool at IRS.gov/IPPIN.

The IRS has created a new publication – Publication 5367, Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program for Taxpayers – to help taxpayers understand the required steps. Please share with clients who are interested in this program. The publication is in English and Spanish. It can be printed and distributed, or the link may be shared.

Here are a few factors taxpayers should consider:

  • The identity verification process is, by design, rigorous. Not everyone will be able to authenticate their identities and obtain an IP PIN.
  • Taxpayers cannot call the IRS to obtain an IP PIN. The IRS is working on alternatives to the online process, but one is not yet in place.
  • A new IP PIN must be obtained each year from the online tool.
  • Taxpayers should never share their IP PIN with anyone but their tax preparer to file their tax return. The IRS will not call or email to request an IP PIN. People should be on guard against identity thieves seeking their IP PINs.

Before making this program available nationwide, the IRS is expanding it in phases to ensure there is no adverse impact on existing systems. After the 2020 filing season, the IRS will decide whether to add additional states or expand nationwide.

Until then, the IRS is seeking assistance from tax professionals and others to help inform taxpayers in the 20 locations of their eligibility. Your help in spreading the word is greatly appreciated. Again, the Get an IP PIN tool will be available at the start of the 2020 filing season.

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Weiss & Thompson, P.C., C.P.A.’S Receives 2019 Best of Arlington Heights Award

Arlington Heights Award Program Honors the Achievement

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS November 13, 2019 — Weiss & Thompson, P.C., C.P.a.’S has been selected for the 2019 Best of Arlington Heights Award in the Certified Public Accountant category by the Arlington Heights Award Program.

Each year, the Arlington Heights Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Arlington Heights area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 Arlington Heights Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Arlington Heights Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Arlington Heights Award Program

The Arlington Heights Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Arlington Heights area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Arlington Heights Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Arlington Heights Award Program

CONTACT:
Arlington Heights Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@townranking-decision-2019.com
URL: http://www.townranking-decision-2019.com

FIVE MINUTE TAX BRIEFING

PPC

Five-Minute Tax Briefing®
October 22, 2019
No. 2019-20

Social Security Wage Base Increases for 2020:  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that the maximum earnings subject to the Social Security component of the FICA tax will increase from $132,900 to $137,700 for 2020. This means that for 2020, the maximum Social Security tax that employers and employees will each pay is $8,537.40 ($137,700 x 6.2%). A self-employed person with at least $137,700 in net self-employment earnings will pay $17,074.80 ($137,700 x 12.4%) for the Social Security part of the self-employment tax. The Medicare component remains 1.45% of all earnings, and individuals with earned income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly, $125,000 for married filing separately) will pay an additional 0.9% in Medicare taxes. Other 2020 cost-of-living adjustments announced by the SSA are available at www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/prog_highlights/RatesLimits2020.html . SSA Release 10/10/19.

IRS Expands and Finalizes Section 199A Safe Harbor for Rental Real Estate

The IRS finalized a safe harbor revenue procedure under which a rental real estate enterprise will be treated as a trade or business for purposes of Code Sec. 199A. The procedure includes several changes from a proposed revenue procedure previously issued in Notice 2019-7, such as (1) allowing taxpayers to treat their interests in residential or commercial properties as separate rental real estate enterprises in one year and then treating their interests in all similar residential or all similar commercial properties as a single rental real estate enterprise in a future year; (2) allowing taxpayers with rental real estate enterprises that have been in existence for four or more years to qualify immediately under the 250-hour rental services test if the rental services have been provided in three of the five consecutive tax years ending with the tax year at issue; and (3) allowing an interest in mixed-use property to be treated as a single rental real estate enterprise or bifurcated into separate residential and commercial interests. Rev. Proc. 2019-38.

Five-Minute Tax Briefing


IRS Unveils New Tax Withholding Estimator: The IRS has unveiled its latest online tool, the “Tax Withholding Estimator.” The estimator, which replaces the “Withholding Calculator,” assists workers, retirees, self-employed individuals, and other taxpayers in determining how much income tax should be withheld from wages and pension payments. Among other things, the estimator features (1) plain language to improve user comprehension; (2) a mobile-friendly design; (3) enhanced tips and links on various tax credits and deductions; and (4) an automatic calculation of the taxable portion of any Social Security benefits. In addition, the tool makes it easier to enter wages and withholding for each job held by the taxpayer and his or her spouse. The IRS encourages all taxpayers to use the tool to do a “Paycheck Checkup” and review their withholding for 2019. The new estimator is available at www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-tax-withholding-estimator . News Release IR 2019-139.

Are You Applying Finance Charges? Should You Be?

Assessing finance charges is a complicated process. But if you have a lot of late payments coming in, you may want to consider it.

There are many reasons why your customers send in payments past their due dates. Maybe they missed or misplaced your invoice, or they’re disputing the charges. They might not be very conscientious about bill-paying. Or they simply don’t have the money.

Sometimes they contact you about their oversight, but more often, you just see the overdue days pile up in your reports.

You could use stronger language in your customer messages. Send statements. Make phone calls if the delinquency goes on too long. Or you could start assessing finance charges to invoices that go unpaid past the due date. QuickBooks provides tools to accommodate this, but you’ll want to make absolutely sure you’re using them correctly – or you’ll risk angering customers and creating problems with your accounts receivable.

Setting the Rules

Before you can start, you’ll need to tell QuickBooks how you’d like your finance charges to work. It’s at this stage that we recommend you let us work with you. There’s nothing overly difficult about understanding finance charges in theory: you apply a percentage of the dollar amount that’s overdue to come up with a new total balance. But setting up your QuickBooks file with the finance charge rules you want to incorporate may require some assistance. If it’s done incorrectly, you will hear from your customers.

Here’s how it works. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Finance Charge | Company Preferences.

Figure 1: Before you can start adding finance charges to overdue invoices, you’ll need to establish your company preferences.

What Annual Interest Rate percentage do you want to tack onto late payments? This is an issue we can discuss with you. Too low, and it’s not worth your extra time and trouble. To, high, and your customers may stop patronizing your business. And do you want to set a Minimum Finance Charge? Will you allow a Grace Period? If so, how many days?

You’ll need to assign an account to the funds that come in from interest charges. This needs to be an income account. In our example, it’s Other Income.

The next decision, whether to Assess finance charges on overdue finance charges, needs consideration – and some research. This may not be an option depending on the lending laws in the jurisdiction where your business is located. So again, if you want to charge interest on unpaid and tardy finance charges themselves, let’s talk.

When do you want the finance charge “countdown” to begin? When QuickBooks identifies a transaction that has not been paid within the stated terms, do you want the added charge to be applied based on the due date or the invoice/billed date?

Note: If your business sends statements rather than invoices, leave the Mark finance charge invoices “To be printed” box at the bottom of this window unchecked.

Applying the Rules

QuickBooks does not automatically add finance charges to your customers’ invoices. You’ll need to administer these additions yourself, though QuickBooks will handle the actual calculations. Open the Customers menu and select Assess Finance Charges to open this window:

Figure 2: You’ll determine who should have finance charge invoices created in the Assess Finance Charges window.

Make very sure that the Assessment Date is correct, as it has impact on QuickBooks’ calculations. Being even a day off makes a difference. Select the customers who should have finance charges applied by clicking next to their names in the Assess column. QuickBooks will display the Overdue Balance from the original invoice, as well as the Finance Charge it has calculated.

  • If you choose not to apply finances charges to a customer because he or she has provided a good reason for the late payment, be sure the box in the Assess column is unchecked.
  • If you want to change the finance charge due for a valid reason, you can type over the amount in the last column. This would be a rare occurrence and should be exercised only after consulting with us.

Important: If there is an asterisk next to a customer’s name, there are payments or credit memos that have not yet been applied to any invoice.

When everything is correct, click the Assess Charges button at the bottom. QuickBooks will create separate invoices for finance charges for each customer who owes them.

We can’t stress enough the importance of consulting with us before you start to work with finance charges enough. Keep your company file accurate and your customers happy by getting this complex accounting element right from the start.