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Get Your Prior Years Tax Information from the IRS

Sometimes taxpayers need a copy of an old tax return, but can't find or don't have their own records. There are three easy and convenient options for getting tax return transcripts and tax account transcripts from the IRS: on the web, by phone or by mail. There are eight things you need to know about getting federal tax return information from a previously filed tax return.

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1. You can order transcripts online or by phone for the current tax year as well as the past three tax years. Earlier tax years must be requested with Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript.

2. A tax return transcript shows most line items from your tax return as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. It does not reflect any changes made after the return was filed.

3. A tax account transcript shows any later adjustments either you or the IRS made after the tax return was filed. This transcript shows basic data, including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income.

4. To request either transcript online from irs website use our online tool called Order a Transcript. To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts in the recorded message. When you use these automated self-service options, the selected transcript will be mailed to your current address of record. To have your transcript mailed to a different address, complete and mail Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. The IRS does not charge a fee for transcripts.

5. To request a 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ tax return transcript through the mail, complete IRS Form 4506T-EZ. Businesses, partnerships and individuals who need transcript information from other forms or need a tax account transcript must use the Form 4506T.

6. If you order online or by phone, you should receive your tax return transcript within five to 10 calendar days from the time the IRS receives your request. Allow 30 calendar days for delivery of a tax account transcript if you order by mail using Form 4506T or Form 4506T-EZ.

7. If you still need an actual copy of a previously processed tax return, it will cost $57 for each tax year you order. Complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, and mail it to the IRS address listed on the form for your area. Copies are generally available for the current year as well as the past six years. Please allow 60 days for actual copies of your return.

8. Visit this website to determine which form will meet your needs. Forms 4506, 4506T and 4506T-EZ can be downloaded from irs website or by calling the IRS forms and publications order line at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Links:


YouTube Videos:

How to Request a Copy of Your Tax Return at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqPCTDUssk8

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Top Tips Every Taxpayer Should Know about Identity Theft

Identity theft often starts outside of the tax administration system when someone’s personal information is unfortunately stolen or lost. Identity thieves may then use a taxpayer’s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund. In other cases, the identity thief uses the taxpayer’s personal information in order to get a job. The legitimate taxpayer may be unaware that anything has happened until they file their return later in the filing season and it is discovered that two returns have been filed using the same Social Security number.

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Here are the top 13 things the IRS wants you to know about identity theft so you can avoid becoming the victim of an identity thief.

1. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The IRS does not send emails stating you are being electronically audited or that you are getting a refund.

2. If you receive a scam e-mail claiming to be from the IRS, forward it to the IRS at phishing@irs.govphishing@irs.gov .

3. Identity thieves get your personal information by many different means, including:

* Stealing your wallet or purse

* Posing as someone who needs information about you through a phone call or e-mail

* Looking through your trash for personal information

* Accessing information you provide to an unsecured Internet site.

4. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but does not begin with ‘www.irs.gov,’ forward that link to the IRS at phishing@irs.govphishing@irs.gov .

5. To learn how to identify a secure website, visit the Federal Trade Commission at www.onguardonline.gov/tools/recognize-secure-site-using-ssl.aspx.

6. If your Social Security number is stolen, another individual may use it to get a job. That person’s employer may report income earned by them to the IRS using your Social Security number, thus making it appear that you did not report all of your income on your tax return. When this occurs, you should contact the IRS to show that the income is not yours. Your record will be updated to reflect only your information. You will also be asked to submit substantiating documentation to authenticate yourself. That information will be used to minimize this occurrence in future years.

7. Your identity may have been stolen if a letter from the IRS indicates more than one tax return was filed for you or the letter states you received wages from an employer you don’t know. If you receive such a letter from the IRS, leading you to believe your identity has been stolen, respond immediately to the name, address or phone number on the IRS notice.

8. If your tax records are not currently affected by identity theft, but you believe you may be at risk due to a lost wallet, questionable credit card activity, or credit report, you need to provide the IRS with proof of your identity. You should submit a copy of your valid government-issued identification – such as a Social Security card, driver’s license, or passport – along with a copy of a police report and/or a completed IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, which should be faxed to the IRS at 978-684-4542. Please be sure to write clearly. As an option, you can also contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit, toll-free at 800-908-4490. You should also follow FTC guidance for reporting identity theft at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

9. Show your Social Security card to your employer when you start a job or to your financial institution for tax reporting purposes. Do not routinely carry your card or other documents that display your Social Security number.

10. For more information about identity theft – including information about how to report identity theft, phishing and related fraudulent activity – visit the IRS Identity Theft and Your Tax Records Page, which you can find by searching "Identity Theft" on the IRS.gov home page.

11. IRS impersonation schemes flourish during tax season and can take the form of e-mail, phone websites, even tweets. Scammers may also use a phone or fax to reach their victims. If you receive a paper letter or notice via mail claiming to be the IRS but you suspect it is a scam, contact the IRS at http://www.irs.gov/contact/index.html to determine if it is a legitimate IRS notice or letter. If it is a legitimate IRS notice or letter, reply if needed. If the caller or party that sent the paper letter is not legitimate, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. You may also fax the notice/letter you received, plus any related or supporting information, to TIGTA. Note that this is not a toll-free FAX number 1-202-927-7018.

12. While preparing your tax return for electronic filing, make sure to use a strong password to protect the data file. Once your return has been e-filed, burn the file to a CD or flash drive and remove the personal information from your hard drive. Store the CD or flash drive in a safe place, such as a lock box or safe. If working with an accountant, you should ask them what measures they take to protect your information.

13. If you have information about the identity thief that impacted your personal information negatively, file an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov. The IC3 gives victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. IC3 sends every complaint to one or more law enforcement or regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over the matter

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New Rules Require Rental Property Owners to Issue 1099s

The recently enacted Small Business Jobs Act contained one provision that may have escaped the notice of taxpayers who own rental property, but will affect them starting in January. Under the provision, owners of property who receive rental income will be required to issue Forms 1099 to service providers for payments of $600 or more during the year.

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The act subjects recipients of rental income from real estate to the same information-reporting requirements as taxpayers engaged in a trade or business. Thus, rental income recipients making payments of $600 or more to a service provider in the course of earning rental income are required to provide an information return (typically, Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income) to the IRS and to the service provider. This provision will apply to payments made after Dec. 31, 2010, and will cover, for example, payments made to plumbers, painters or accountants in the course of earning the rental income.

While rental property owners will not actually issue the required 1099s until early 2012, they need to start keeping adequate records of payments starting Jan. 1, 2011, so they will be prepared to issue correct 1099s. They will also need to obtain the name, address and taxpayer identification number of the service provider, using Form W-9 or a similar form.

Exceptions The law provides exceptions for individuals who can show that the requirement will create a hardship for them. The IRS is directed to issue regulations on this, but has not done so yet, so there is currently no guidance on what constitutes sufficient hardship to qualify for the exception or how a taxpayer would demonstrate that hardship.

The law also contains an exception for individuals who receive rental income of "not more than a minimal amount." Again, the IRS is directed to issue regulations to determine what constitutes "not more than a minimal amount" but has not done so yet.

If such guidance is not forthcoming before Jan.1, all individuals who receive rental income should start keeping records of payments to service providers so they are prepared to issue 1099s in 2012. The law also contains an exception for members of the military or employees of the intelligence community if substantially all their rental income comes from renting their principal residence on a temporary basis.

Information Return Penalties Taxpayers should also be aware that in addition to creating a new reporting requirement, the act increases the penalties for failure to file a correct information return. The first-tier penalty increases from $15 to $30; the second-tier penalty increases from $30 to $60; and the third-tier penalty increases from $50 to $100. For small business filers (with average annual gross receipts under $5 million), the calendar- year maximum increases from $25,000 to $75,000 for the first-tier penalty; from $50,000 to $200,000 for the second-tier penalty; and from $100,000 to $500,000 for the third-tier penalty. The minimum penalty for each failure due to intentional disregard increases from $100 to $250.

The increased penalties apply to information returns required to be filed on or after Jan. 1, 2011.

Expanded 1099 Reporting After 2011 Currently, payments to corporations are excepted from the 1099 information reporting requirements, but starting for payments after Dec. 31, 2011, businesses (including, now, individuals who receive rental income) will be required to file an information return for all payments aggregating $600 or more in a calendar year to a single payee, including corporations (other than a payee that is a tax-exempt corporation). This change was made by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was enacted in March. That act also expanded the information reporting requirements to include gross proceeds paid in consideration for property.

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