Latest IRS Updates and News Releases
Announcements & Upcoming Events: (updated - 10/29/13)
Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Business
Throughout October, SBA and Small Business Majority will hold a weekly Affordable Care Act 101 webinar. During the presentation, small business owners can learn about the law and what it means for their company and employees.
Thursday, October 31 - 11:00 am Pacific: Click to Register
October is Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month and NOAA Weather Radio Awareness Month
Washington’s Emergency Management Department encourages individuals and businesses to take time and take action to prepare for disasters. It is important to remember that during and immediately after a disaster event, First Responders may not be able to able to reach those in need for several hours, and possibly even days. By acting now and accepting responsibility for taking care of ourselves and our loved ones, we contribute to a quicker recovery and lessen the impact of disasters on our communities.
Check this list of ways you can prepare - choose one hour each month to complete the designated activity and write it on your planning calendar.
A NOAA Weather Radio is an "all-hazards" warning system, used not only for immediate flood and weather related events, but also hazards like tsunamis, volcanic activity, hazardous releases, AMBER child abduction alerts, and secondary hazards from terrorism and earthquakes. Weather radio receivers behave like smoke detectors, silently monitoring, and then alerting you to the initial warning message upon receipt, providing more time to respond to the event. NOAA Weather Radio is a service of the National Weather Service, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Dept of Commerce.
Protect Critical Infrastructure during Cyber Security Month
As increasing cyber threats challenge the nation’s infrastructure, such as power plants, power lines and emergency response systems, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office encourage businesses and consumers to take precautions in resisting cyber intrusions.
As part of National Cyber Security Awareness month the AGO and BBB have partnered with STOP.THINK.CONNECT.™ in an effort to help protect critical infrastructure.
What businesses can do:
- Keep clean computers. Unknown outside programs can open security vulnerabilities in home or business networks. Only install known and secure programs and keep computers clean by using reputable anti-virus software.
- Follow good password practices. Make passwords long and strong, with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols; change passwords routinely and always keep them private.
- When in doubt, throw it out. Never open suspicious links in emails, tweets, social media posts, online ads, messages or attachments. Learn how to utilize spam filters and how to prevent unwanted, harmful emails.
- Stay watchful and speak up. Stay vigilant and report unusual behaviors—on office computers or home computers.
One aim of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is to provide independent business owners with the resources to protect their intellectual property and customer data. In an era of growing cybercrime, a safe and secure Internet is vital to building a prosperous business. As a business owner, you can help make the Internet safer and more secure - consider the following ways you can make a difference to raise cybersecurity awareness.
Also see the IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft for information on protecting yourself and your employees from becoming ID theft victims, and when to contact IRS if you are a victim.
Small Business Workshops – Seattle SBA Education and Training Center
Small Business Taxes & Bookkeeping for the Small Business Owner - 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month - 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Learn about important information regarding your tax responsibilities as a small business owner. Topics covered:
- What taxes to pay and when they are due
- How to choose the right accountant and the right accounting software
- How to document expenses and activities
- How to take care of employee and contractor payroll taxes
- The difference between city, county, state, and federal taxation
- What the tax advantages are for the sole proprietor or for business entities in general
Workshops are held at the 4th & Battery Building - 2401 Fourth Avenue, Suite 450, Seattle
Please pre-register by calling 206-553-2664 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
SBA and SCORE also offer a variety of other workshops for small business owners – find out more here: http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/2/3157
Seattle SCORE Workshops
SCORE offers workshops designed to give you the skills necessary to start your own successful business.
Nov 6, Dec 4 -- Starting a New Business
Nov 15 – Is Entrepreneurship Right for You?
4th & Battery Building - 2401 Fourth Avenue, Suite 450, Seattle
Spokane SCORE Workshops
Spokane Regional Business Center (SRBC), 801 W. Riverside Avenue, Suite 444, Spokane
How to Start a Business – Nov 6 -- 8:00 am – 12:30 pm – Cost: $40 (Veterans attend FREE)
Check website for current listings and registration information.
Washington State Dept of Labor & Industries - Free Contractor Training Days
More than 25 different classes are offered on subjects including: safety, managing your claims to control your workers' compensation costs, public works contracting, business planning, risk management, marketing and more. See the link above for registration information.
Nov 8 – Vancouver -- Northwest Regional Training Center (www.NWRTC.org).
Dec 6 – Seattle -- Seattle Central Community College Wood Technology Center (www.seattlecentral.edu).
Employer's Introduction to L&I Workshops
This workshop is designed for new businesses or businesses that plan to hire workers for the first time. It explains an employer’s rights and responsibilities and provides an overview of the services and resources available at Labor and Industries.
Nov 5 -- Everett 9:00a to 12:00p
Nov 5 -- Tumwater 9:00a to 12:00p
Nov 5 – Moses Lake 9:00a to 12:00p
Nov 6 – Spokane 9:00a to 12:00p
Dec 4 – Tukwila 9:00a to 12:00p
New Business Tax Workshops – Washington State Department of Revenue
Learn the basics of Washington State taxes. This free workshop will help you understand your tax reporting responsibilities. Tax reporting classifications, deductions, sales tax collection, and recordkeeping requirements will be discussed. You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions regarding taxes that apply specifically to your business. To find out when the next workshop will be held in your area, and to register, see the link above. Can’t attend a workshop in person? Watch an online workshop or tutorial.
IRS Updates & News Releases:
Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.
IRS Operations Resumption Statement
The IRS started reopening operations on Oct. 17. We are assessing the impact of the 16-day shutdown on our national operations. At this point, we know we received a large amount of correspondence during the closure. We know there will be a substantial increase in demand for our phone services and many other operations. On Oct. 17, we started reopening our phone lines and our Taxpayer Assistance Centers, both of which will take time to ramp up to normal operating status. In addition, other business operations have started resuming, including the processing of billions of dollars of refunds for individuals and businesses and honoring transcript and authorization requests from third parties.
Given the high demand for services, the IRS encourages taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent, and to continue to use automated applications on the IRS website, www.IRS.gov, whenever possible. Taxpayers who need immediate assistance are encouraged to visit Taxpayer Assistance Centers in their area or try call centers but should be aware there will be delays. In the days ahead, we will continue assessing the effect of this unprecedented situation on IRS operations, and we will do everything we can to resume our normal operations as quickly as possible so that we can best serve the needs of the American taxpayer. We greatly appreciate the patience of taxpayers and tax professionals during this period.
2014 Tax Season to Start Later Following Government Closure; IRS Sees Heavy Demand As Operations Resume
The Internal Revenue Service today announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure. The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay and will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4.
About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown, with some major workstreams closed entirely during this period, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its tight timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season. There are additional training, programming and testing demands on IRS systems this year in order to provide additional refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention.
IRS Website Explains Tax Provisions of the Health Care Law; Provides Guide to Online Resources
The IRS has launched a new Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions website at www.IRS.gov/aca to educate individuals and businesses on how the health care law may affect them. The new home page has three sections, which explain the tax benefits and responsibilities for individuals and families, employers, and other organizations, with links and information for each group. The site provides information about tax provisions that are in effect now and those that will go into effect in 2014 and beyond.
Several other federal agencies have a role in implementing the health care law, including the Department of Health and Human Services, which has primary responsibility. To help locate additional online resources from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration, the IRS has issued a new Web-based flyer - Healthcare Law Online Resources (Publication 5093).
Drought-Stricken Farmers and Ranchers Have More Time to Replace Livestock; 38 States Affected
Farmers and ranchers who previously were forced to sell livestock due to drought, like the drought currently affecting much of the nation, have an extended period of time in which to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. Details on this relief, including a list of NDMC-designated counties, are available in Notice 2013-62,
IRS Reduces Return Photocopy Fee
Enhanced program efficiencies and improved technology have allowed the Service to reduce the tax return photocopy fee (Form 4506) from $57.00 per copy to $50.00, effective Oct. 1, 2013. Requests should normally be filled within 75 days. Please note that tax return transcripts often suffice in place of return copies – and transcripts are available for free.