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Taxpayers have a few more days to file Form 2290 in 2019

IRS Tax Tip 2019-118, August 28, 2019

Taxpayers who must file Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return, have more time to do so this year. That said, the deadline will be here before they know it. Taxpayers must file their 2019 Form 2290 by Tuesday, September 3. Normally, the due date is August 31. However, this year the weekend and a federal holiday extended the 2019 date.

All the information needed to file is on the Trucking Tax Center. Taxpayers can use the friendly URL IRS.gov/trucker.

Anyone who has registered or is required to register a heavy highway motor vehicle must file Form 2290. While some taxpayers who file this form are required to do so electronically, all 2290 filers can file online. These taxpayers can use their credit or debit card to pay the Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax.

Filing Form 2290 electronically helps speed up the return of an IRS-stamped Schedule 1 to the taxpayer as proof of payment. Taxpayers need Schedule 1 for state registration.

Taxpayers with questions can call the IRS Form 2290 Help Line. It is available between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST:

Taxpayers who want help in person must call 844-545-5640 to schedule an appointment at an IRS office.

The Trucking Tax Center is also available in Spanish.

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Tax pros: Follow the “Security Six” steps to help protect taxpayer data

IRS Tax Tip 2019-117, August 27, 2019

Tax professionals should review security steps to make sure they are fully protecting sensitive taxpayer data. All tax pros should give their data safeguards a thorough review. Part of this review is following the “Security Six” protections.

Here is more info about these basic protections that everyone – especially tax professionals handling sensitive data – should use:

  1. Anti-virus software
    • This software scans computer files or memory for certain patterns that may indicate there’s malicious software – also called malware – on the device.
    • Anti-virus vendors find new issues and update malware daily. This is why it’s important for users to install the latest updates of the software.
       
  2. Firewalls
    • Firewalls provide protection against outside attackers. The firewall shields computers and networks from malicious or unnecessary web traffic. This helps prevents malicious software from accessing the user’s system.
       
  3. Two-factor authentication
    • Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection beyond a password.
    • The returning user enters credentials like a username and password. Then, there’s another step, such as entering a security code.
       
  4. Backup software or services
    • Users should routinely back up critical files on their computers and hard drives to external sources.
       
  5. Drive encryption
    • Because tax professionals keep sensitive client data on their computers, users should consider drive encryption software.
    • Drive encryption is also knowns as disk encryption. It transforms data on the computer into unreadable files. This means only people who are authorized to access the data can do so.
       
  6. Virtual private network
    • Many tax firms’ employees must occasionally connect to unknown networks or work from home. So, the office should establish an encrypted virtual private network. This allows for a more secure connection.
    • A VPN provides a secure, encrypted tunnel to transmit data between a remote user over the internet and the company network.

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These tax tips can help new business owners find success

IRS Tax Tip 2019-116, August 26, 2019

Starting a business can be very rewarding. It can also be a little overwhelming. From business plans to market strategies, and even tax responsibilities…there are many things to consider. Here’s what new business owners can do to help get off to a good start.

  • Choose a business structure. The form of business determines which income tax return a business taxpayer needs to file. The most common business structures are:
    • Sole proprietorship: An unincorporated business owned by an individual. There’s no distinction between the taxpayer and their business.
    • Partnership: An unincorporated business with ownership shared between two or more people .
    • Corporation: Also known as a C corporation. It’s a separate entity owned by shareholders.
    • S Corporation: A corporation that elects to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits through to the shareholders.
    • Limited Liability Company: A business structure allowed by state statute.
       
  • Choose a tax year. A tax year is an annual accounting period for keeping records and reporting income and expenses. A new business owner must choose either:
    • Calendar year: 12 consecutive months beginning January 1 and ending December 31.
    • Fiscal year: 12 consecutive months ending on the last day of any month except December.
       
  • Apply for an employer identification number. An EIN is also called a federal tax identification number. It’s used to identify a business. Most businesses need an EIN.
     
  • Have all employees complete these forms:
  • Pay business taxes. The form of business determines what taxes must be paid and how to pay them.

Taxpayers interested in starting a business can find information for some industries on the Industries/Professions Tax Centers webpage. Each state has additional requirements for starting and operating a business. Prospective business owners should visit their state’s website for info about state requirements.

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Tax planning should include a Paycheck Checkup

IRS Tax Reform Tax Tip 2019-112, August 19, 2019

Year-round tax planning is important for everyone. Just because a taxpayer already filed their tax return doesn’t mean they don’t need to think about taxes for the rest of the year. In fact, what they do now may affect any tax they might owe next year. It could also affect the refund they expect.

Since federal taxes operate on a pay-as-you-go basis, taxpayers need to pay most of their tax during the year as they earn the income. Taxpayers should make sure they’re having the correct amount of tax withheld from their paychecks. It’s a good idea for taxpayers to do a Paycheck Checkup for these reasons:

  • Having too little withheld could lead to a smaller than expected refund.
  • Having too little withheld could even lead to an unexpected tax bill.
  • Employees who have too much tax withheld will see less money in each paycheck. Having more money in each paycheck may be more helpful than getting a large refund when they file.

Taxpayers can use the Tax Withholding Estimator to check their withholding. All taxpayers should use this tool to do a Paycheck Checkup ASAP if they haven’t already done so in 2019. Some taxpayers should do another Paycheck Checkup even if they already did one this year. This includes anyone whose personal or financial information changes due to a life event. Some life events that can affect withholding are:

  • Marriage
  • Having a baby
  • Getting a new job
  • Getting a raise at work

Taxpayers who want to change how much tax is withheld from their paycheck simply need to submit an updated Form W-4 to their employer. 

The IRS has several digital tools taxpayers can use to stay updated on important tax information that may help with tax planning. In addition to visiting the IRS.gov website, they can download the IRS2Go app, watch IRS YouTube videos, and follow the IRS on Twitter and Instagram.

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IRS Video Portal features tax info for small businesses and employers

IRS Tax Tip 2019-113, August 20, 2019

Small business owners and others with tax questions can check out the IRS Video Portal to get more information on a wide range of topics. Taxpayers can visit the site to find videos and recorded webinars on topics such as:

Starting a business

Business income

Employers

Filing and paying taxes

The IRS also posts videos on the portal for individuals, tax professionals, governments, and charities and non-profits. There’s also a playlist with videos in Spanish. 

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