AICPA-led Coalition Urges Expedited Small Business Funding Via Payroll

AICPA, Paychex, Intuit and IFA Say Speedy Relief Required to Prevent Layoffs Due to Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 22, 2020) – A coalition made up of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the International Franchise Association (IFA) and two leading payroll processing companies, Paychex and Intuit, issued the following open letter to President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza and members of Congress:

Our nation is taking unprecedented steps to address the current coronavirus pandemic, keep our citizens safe and American workers on the job. Broad governmental proposals for bank loans and direct loans are good steps, and fast action is required. We need to quickly take an additional step to ensure small businesses continue to keep their employees paid.

Small businesses are the heart of the American economy and employ roughly 60 million people. We know the impact that layoffs have on workers’ lives and business operations, so it’s critical we keep as many people on the payroll as possible.

The problem: It takes time to create new processes to distribute funds to small businesses – speed is of the essence here. An efficient and effective process would be to leverage established small business payroll processing that is already in place and can be marshalled immediately to protect jobs and preserve resiliency within the small business sector.

Payroll processors produce approximately 40 percent of all payroll payments in the United States, and their customers are mostly small businesses of 500 employees or less. We urge the federal government to use these existing systems to direct funds to small businesses so they can make payroll and not shut down due to restrictions caused by the pandemic. In this scenario, the federal government could set up a central payroll funding account that small business payroll processors could utilize so that millions of small businesses could continue paying workers during this time of crisis.

This direct funding of payroll accounts will not solve all the funding problems currently facing small businesses, but it’s a step in the right direction and has numerous benefits. It is a faster and more efficient process that does not require small businesses to get loans, and it ensures employees directly receive money. In addition, small businesses that use this federal funding facility would be required to maintain their workforce, which would dramatically reduce layoffs.

We believe multiple initiatives and tools are required to keep small businesses in operation. The direct payments and loans to small businesses will play an important role, but we recognize these will take weeks to implement. We are also convinced that proposed direct payments to individuals will not prevent small businesses from laying off employees. Small businesses need to make payroll now – the clock is ticking.

As the federal government focuses its attention on America’s economic engine – small businesses and their millions of employees – direct funding of their payroll can help. The payroll processing companies and the 45,000-plus CPA rms in America have long been partners in helping small businesses thrive in good times, and we have a role to play in the grave challenges we face today.

The program would not cover all small business employees, such as gig-economy workers, who would need to be supported through other measures. But we have the expertise and systems in place to help a significant part of the small business sector and its employees, many of whom are hourly workers who are most in need.

We want to help the federal government move quickly and aggressively, as we know that many employees who are laid off will not be rehired immediately. Small businesses will wind down operations, and it will be difficult to cycle back up.  The pandemic will pass, but the economic impact will last.  Ensuring we can rebound quickly is essential for the long-term health of our economy. 

About the American Institute of CPAs The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with more than 429,000 members in the United States and worldwide, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials, builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the profession.

About the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) is the most influential body of professional accountants, combining the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to power opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide. It represents 657,000 members and students across 179 countries and territories in public and management accounting and advocates for the public interest and

https://www.aicpa.org/press/pressreleases/2020/coalition-urges-expedited-small-business-funding-via-payroll-processors.html?j=266226&sfmc

Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave

The U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

The Act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

Key Takeaways

  • Paid Sick Leave for Workers

For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.

  • Complete Coverage

Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act.

  • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
  • Employers face no payroll tax liability.
  • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
  • Fast Funds

Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.

  • An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided
  • Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
  • Small Business Protection

Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.

  • Easing Compliance
    • Requirements subject to 30-day non-enforcement period for good faith compliance efforts.

To take immediate advantage of the paid leave credits, businesses can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes. If those amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS by submitting a streamlined claim form that will be released next week.

Background

The Act provided paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for COVID-19 related reasons and created the refundable paid sick leave credit and the paid child care leave credit for eligible employers. Eligible employers are businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees that are required to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave under the Act. Eligible employers will be able to claim these credits based on qualifying leave they provide between the effective date and December 31, 2020. Equivalent credits are available to self-employed individuals based on similar circumstances.

Paid Leave

The Act provides that employees of eligible employers can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 100% of the employee’s pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined, and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and seeking a medical diagnosis. An employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for an individual subject to quarantine, to care for a child whose school is closed or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 2/3 the employee’s pay. An employee who is unable to work due to a need to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, may in some instances receive up to an additional ten weeks of expanded paid family and medical leave at 2/3 the employee’s pay.

Paid Sick Leave Credit

For an employee who is unable to work because of Coronavirus quarantine or self-quarantine or has Coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis, eligible employers may receive a refundable sick leave credit for sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for a total of 10 days.

For an employee who is caring for someone with Coronavirus, or is caring for a child because the child’s school or child care facility is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may claim a credit for two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, for up to 10 days. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

Child Care Leave Credit

In addition to the sick leave credit, for an employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for a child whose school or child care facility is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may receive a refundable child care leave credit. This credit is equal to two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay, capped at $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate. Up to 10 weeks of qualifying leave can be counted towards the child care leave credit. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

Prompt Payment for the Cost of Providing Leave

When employers pay their employees, they are required to withhold from their employees’ paychecks federal income taxes and the employees’ share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The employers then are required to deposit these federal taxes, along with their share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, with the IRS and file quarterly payroll tax returns (Form 941 series) with the IRS.

Under guidance that will be released next week, eligible employers who pay qualifying sick or child care leave will be able to retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount of qualifying sick and child care leave that they paid, rather than deposit them with the IRS.

The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees.

If there are not sufficient payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified sick and child care leave paid, employers will be able file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less. The details of this new, expedited procedure will be announced next week.

Examples

If an eligible employer paid $5,000 in sick leave and is otherwise required to deposit $8,000 in payroll taxes, including taxes withheld from all its employees, the employer could use up to $5,000 of the $8,000 of taxes it was going to deposit for making qualified leave payments. The employer would only be required under the law to deposit the remaining $3,000 on its next regular deposit date.

If an eligible employer paid $10,000 in sick leave and was required to deposit $8,000 in taxes, the employer could use the entire $8,000 of taxes in order to make qualified leave payments and file a request for an accelerated credit for the remaining $2,000.

Equivalent child care leave and sick leave credit amounts are available to self-employed individuals under similar circumstances. These credits will be claimed on their income tax return and will reduce estimated tax payments.

Small Business Exemption

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible for an exemption from the leave requirements relating to school closings or child care unavailability where the requirements would jeopardize the ability of the business to continue. The exemption will be available on the basis of simple and clear criteria that make it available in circumstances involving jeopardy to the viability of an employer’s business as a going concern. Labor will provide emergency guidance and rulemaking to clearly articulate this standard.

Non-Enforcement Period

Labor will be issuing a temporary non-enforcement policy that provides a period of time for employers to come into compliance with the Act. Under this policy, Labor will not bring an enforcement action against any employer for violations of the Act so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act. Labor will instead focus on compliance assistance during the 30-day period.

For More Information

For more information about these credits and other relief, visit Coronavirus Tax Relief on IRS.gov. Information regarding the process to receive an advance payment of the credit will be posted next week. 

Special Web Page Regarding COVID-19

The IRS has established a special web page to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. The web page will be updated as new information becomes available.

For health information about the COVID-19 virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.coronavirus.gov). Other information about actions being taken by the U.S. government is available at https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus and in Spanish at https://gobierno.usa.gov/coronavirus.


Additionally, the IRS this week advised that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) can be used to pay for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related testing and treatment, without jeopardizing their status. This also means that an individual with an HDHP that covers these costs may continue to contribute to a health savings account (HSA). As stated in Notice 2020-15, health plans that otherwise qualify as HDHPs will not lose that status merely because they cover the cost of testing or treatment of COVID-19 before plan deductibles have been met. As in the past, any vaccination costs continue to count as preventive care and can be paid for by an HDHP.

Why Taxpayers Should Be Using Direct Deposit For Tax Refunds

With the filing season just around the corner, taxpayers should be aware of the benefits of using direct deposit for refunds. It’s easy, secure and the fastest way to get a tax refund.

Here are 10 quick facts about direct deposit.

  • It’s the best and fastest way for taxpayers to get their tax refund.
  • It’s free.
  • It’s secure.
  • Taxpayers can deposit their refund into not only one, but also two or three accounts.
  • Combining direct deposit with IRS e-file is the fastest way for taxpayers to receive their refund.
  • When using direct deposit, there’s no risk of having a paper check stolen or lost.
  • The IRS uses the same system to deposit tax refunds that Social Security and Veterans Affairs use to deposit benefits into millions of accounts.
  • It’s easy. Just follow the instructions in the tax software or on the tax form.
  • Taxpayers can use direct deposit even if they are filing by paper.
  • Direct deposit saves taxpayers money. It costs the IRS more than $1 for every paper refund check issued, but only a dime for each direct deposit made.

More information:
Direct Deposit
Direct Deposit Limits
Where’s My Refund

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All Taxpayers Should Know Their Rights

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights protects all taxpayers working with the IRS. In fact, they lay out the framework to make sure the IRS fairly and impartially carries out tax administration.

These rights are explained on IRS.gov and in Publication 1, Your Rights As A Taxpayer. They describe what taxpayers can expect if they need to work with the IRS on a personal tax matter, such as:
•Filing a return
•Paying taxes
•Responding to a letter
•Going through an audit
•Appealing an IRS decision

To help taxpayers understand their rights, here they are, along with links where people can go for more information.

1.The right to be informed
2.The right to quality service
3.The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax
4.The right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard 
5.The right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum
6.The right to finality
7.The right to privacy
8.The right to confidentiality
9.The right to retain representation
10.The right to a fair and just tax system


More information:
Publication 1, Your Rights As A Taxpayer, in Spanish
What the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Means for You
Taxpayer Advocate Service

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Taxpayers Should Know The Difference Between Standard and Itemized Deductions

It’s a good idea for people to find out if they should file using the standard deduction or itemize their deductions. Deductions reduce the amount of taxable income when filing a federal income tax return. In other words, they can reduce the amount of tax someone owes.

Individuals should understand they have a choice of either taking a standard deduction or itemizing their deductions. Taxpayers can use the method that gives them the lower tax. Due to tax law changes in the last couple years, people who itemized in the past might not want to continue to do so, so it’s important for all taxpayers to look into which deduction to take.

Here are some details about the two methods to help people understand which they should use:

Standard deduction
The standard deduction amount adjusts every year and can vary by filing status. The standard deduction amount depends on the taxpayer’s filing status, whether they are 65 or older or blind, and whether another taxpayer can claim them as a dependent. Taxpayers who are age 65 or older on the last day of the year and don’t itemize deductions are entitled to a higher standard deduction.

Most filers who use Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors, can find their standard deduction on the first page of the form.

Taxpayers who can’t use the standard deduction include:

  • A married individual filing as married filing separately whose spouse itemizes deductions.
  • An individual who files a tax return for a period of less than 12 months. This could be due to a change in their annual accounting period.
  • An individual who was a nonresident alien or a dual-status alien during the year. However, nonresident aliens who are married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien can take the standard deduction in certain situations.

Itemized deductions
Taxpayers may need to itemize deductions because they can’t use the standard deduction. They may also itemize deductions when this amount is greater than their standard deduction.

Taxpayers who itemize file Schedule A, Form 1040, Itemized Deductions or Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors.

A taxpayer may benefit by itemizing deductions for things that include:

  • State and local income or sales taxes
  • Real estate and personal property taxes
  • Mortgage interest
  • Mortgage insurance premiums
  • Personal casualty and theft losses from a federally declared disaster
  • Donations to a qualified charity
  • Unreimbursed medical and dental expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income

Individual itemized deductions may be limited. Form 1040, Schedule A Instructions can help determine what limitations may apply.

More information:
Publication 501, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information
How Much Is My Standard Deduction?
Topic No. 551 Standard Deduction

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Gathering Records Before Preparing Tax Return Makes Filing Go Smoother

As taxpayers are getting ready to file their taxes, one of the first things they’ll do is gather their records. To avoid refund delays, taxpayers should gather all year-end income documents before filing a 2019 tax return.

It’s important for folks to have all the needed documents on hand before starting to prepare their return. Doing so helps them file a complete and accurate tax return. Here are some things taxpayers need to have before they begin doing their taxes.

  • Social Security numbers of everyone listed on the tax return. Many taxpayers have these number memorized. Still, it’s a good idea to have them on hand to double check that the number on the tax return is correct. An SSN with one number wrong or two numbers switched will cause processing delays.
  • Bank account and routing numbers. People will need these for direct deposit refunds. Direct deposit is the fastest way for taxpayers to get their money and avoids a check getting lost, stolen or returned to IRS as undeliverable.
  • Forms W-2 from employers.
  • Forms 1099 from banks and other payers.
  • Any documents that show income, including income from virtual currency transactions. Taxpayers should keep records showing receipts, sales, exchanges or deposits of virtual currency and the fair market value of the virtual currency.
  • Forms 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement. Taxpayers will need this form to reconcile advance payments or claim the premium tax credit.
  • The taxpayer’s adjusted gross income from their last year’s tax return. People using a software product for the first time will need their 2018 AGI to sign their tax return.  Those using the same tax software they used last year won’t need to enter their prior year information to electronically sign their 2019 tax return.

Forms usually start arriving by mail or are available online from employers and financial institutions in January. Taxpayers should review them carefully. If any information shown on the forms is inaccurate, the taxpayer should contact the payer ASAP for a correction. Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Gathering records before preparing tax return makes filing go smoother. https://go.usa.gov/xdKB6

Taxpayers Should Remember These Tips When Searching For A Tax Preparer

The time of year to start preparing your tax return is upon us.  Each person must make a decision whether you self-prepare using a filing website or purchase a program; use a franchise chain company; or find a preparer. 

Here is a quick summary and thoughts:

  • Many of the popular online filing programs are advertising heavily right now, such as Intuit’s TurboTax.
    • They advertise that you have access to a free program, but that is for only simple returns (1 W-2). 
    • To get anything more complicated it starts at $40 (discounted from $60  ) and goes to $90.
    • These prices reflect only the Federal return as there is a $40 charge for each state. For many KC residents Federal, MO & KS = $120 for a basic TurboTax return.
    • They are also advertising access to CPAs and EAs (Enrolled Agents). In checking the job process, I learned Intuit is paying these contractors in Kansas less than $25 per hour which seems very low for someone providing highly specialized knowledge and services.
  • The well-known franchise chain company’s are H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax Service. 
    • They are heavily advertising their refunds they got for taxpayers and the free instant cash back services. 
    • You will see the Liberty Statue twirling the sign to stop in for tax preparation on the street. 
    • Generally, the franchise companies charge a per form and state fee that frequently adds up quickly to be more than the teaser rate to come into their office.  Sometimes there are still fees for these extra services they are selling and most people get direct deposit refunds in less than 7 days.
    • Many of the franchise owners are CPAs or EAs, but many of the tax preparation staff assisting the taxpayer only take a 2-4 week tax preparation course with a heavy emphasis on selling additional services.
  • Independent Preparers
    • See below for information from the IRS on finding a preparer
    • Many preparers charge an hourly rate or a flat fee for preparation of a return, so the more organized and prepared you are at the appointment the fee will usually be less
    • As indicated below – do your homework and do not fall for fancy advertising of large refunds guaranteed or “free” services

The tax filing season is upon us, and many people will be looking for someone to help them file a tax return. These taxpayers should choose their tax return preparer wisely. 

This is because it’s ultimately the taxpayer who is responsible for all the information on their income tax return. It’s important for people to remember that this is true no matter who prepares the return. Here are some tips for folks to remember when selecting a preparer. Taxpayers should:

Check the Preparer’s Qualifications. People can use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool helps taxpayers find a tax return preparer with specific qualifications. The directory is a searchable and sortable listing of preparers.

Check the Preparer’s History. Taxpayers can ask the local Better Business Bureau about the preparer. They should check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. There are some additional organizations about specific types of preparers:
•Enrolled Agents: Go to the verify enrolled agent status page on IRS.gov.
•Certified Public Accountants: Check with the State Board of Accountancy.
•Attorneys: Check with the State Bar Association.

Ask about Service Fees. People should avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of the refund or who boast bigger refunds than their competition.

Ask to e-file. The quickest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to electronically file their federal tax return and choose direct deposit.

Make Sure the Preparer is Available. Taxpayers may want to contact their preparer after this year’s April 15 due date. People should avoid “fly-by-night” preparers.

Provide Records and Receipts. Good preparers will ask to see a taxpayer’s records and receipts. They’ll ask questions to figure things like the total income, tax deductions and credits.

Never Sign a Blank Return. Taxpayers should not use a tax preparer who asks them to sign a blank tax form.

Review Before Signing. Before signing a tax return, the taxpayer should review it. They should ask questions if something is not clear. Taxpayers should feel comfortable with the accuracy of their return before they sign it. Once they sign the return, taxpayers are accepting responsibility for the information on it.

Review details about any refund. Taxpayers should make sure that their refund goes directly to them – not to the preparer’s bank account. The taxpayer should review the routing and bank account number on the completed return.

Ensure the Preparer Signs and Includes their PTIN. All paid tax preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. By law, paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN.

Report Abusive Tax Preparers to the IRS. Most tax return preparers are honest and provide great service to their clients. However, some preparers are dishonest. People can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer.

More information:
Need someone to prepare your tax return?

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Tax Withholding and New 2020 W4

How will this effect my 2020 Refund

Many companies will be asking you to complete a new revised W4.  While we were confused about the complexity of the old form, we can be more confused with the simplicity of the new form. Especially when our federal withholding goes down.

The new form incorporates more of a strategy of filing status and dependents against income using the new TCJA (Tax Cut and Jobs Act) tax rules.  The TCJA eliminated a lot of Itemized Filing (Schedule A) for taxpayers by raising the standard deduction.

This change made the tax withholding calculation tables become more skewed for employees working part-time or more than 1 job.  This is because the tables are estimating the earnings for each payroll as the earnings for the entire year.  Generally, working a part-time or second job the hours works are not enough to trigger federal withholding.

Because of this, you should review your withholding early and use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to determine how much withholding you should have. There is even a new feature allowing you to even customize the refund amount you want to receive.

If you need help with your W4 or to have a tax planning and withholding review, please call or email my office.

IRS Launches Improved Tax Withholding Estimator


The IRS launched a new and improved Tax Withholding Estimator, designed to help workers target the refund they want by having the right amount of federal income tax taken out of their pay. The Tax Withholding Estimator incorporates the changes from the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, that employees can fill out and give to their employers this year.

You can find the updated Tax Withholding Estimator and the redesigned 2020 Form W-4 on IRS.gov.

IRS YouTube Videos:

IR-2020-09, January 14, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has launched a new and improved Tax Withholding Estimator, designed to help workers target the refund they want by having the right amount of federal income tax taken out of their pay.

The Tax Withholding Estimator, now available on IRS.gov, incorporates the changes from the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, that employees can fill out and give to their employers this year.

The IRS urges everyone to see if they need to adjust their withholding by using the Tax Withholding Estimator to perform a Paycheck Checkup. If an adjustment is needed, the Tax Withholding Estimator gives specific recommendations on how to fill out their employer’s online Form W-4 or provides the PDF form with key parts filled out.

To help workers more effectively adjust their withholding, the improved Tax Withholding Estimator features a customized refund slider that allows users to choose the refund amount they prefer from a range of different refund amounts. The exact refund range shown is customized based on the tax information entered by that user.

Based on the refund amount selected, the Tax Withholding Estimator will give the worker specific recommendations on how to fill out their W-4. This new feature allows users who seek either larger refunds at the end of the year or more money on their paychecks throughout the year to have just the right amount withheld to meet their preference.

The new Tax Withholding Estimator also features several other enhancements, including one allowing anyone who expects to receive a bonus to indicate whether tax will be withheld. In addition, improvements added last summer continue to be available, including mobile-friendly design, handling of pension income, Social Security benefits and self-employment tax.

Starting in 2020, income tax withholding is no longer based on an employee’s marital status and withholding allowances, tied to the value of the personal exemption. Instead, income tax withholding is generally based on the worker’s expected filing status and standard deduction for the year. In addition, workers can choose to have itemized deductions, the Child Tax Credit and other tax benefits reflected in their withholding for the year.

It is important for people with more than one job at a time (including families in which both spouses work) to adjust their withholding to avoid having too little withheld. Using the Tax Withholding Estimator is the most accurate way to do this. As in the past, employees can also choose to have an employer withhold an additional flat-dollar amount each pay period to cover, for example, income they receive from the gig economy, self-employment, or other sources that is not subject to withholding.

For more information about the updated Tax Withholding Estimator and the redesigned 2020 Form W-4, visit IRS.gov.

What To Do If You Get A 1099-C Form For Student Loans

The IRS has issues guidance on Educational Institutions that went bankrupt and that they should not issue 1099-C for Cancellation of Debt or Student Loan Forgiveness.

So what do you do if you get a 1099-C…be sure to get all the facts on why it was issues and refer to the information below.  It helps to talk openly with your tax advisor and make sure they have all the information correct to determine if you have to report this on your tax return or not.

Revenue Procedure 2020-11 provides relief to additional taxpayers who took out federal or private student loans to finance attendance at a nonprofit or for-profit school.  The IRS will not assert that taxpayers within the scope of the revenue procedure must recognize gross income as a result of the discharge of their student loans.  Additionally, the IRS will not assert that a creditor must file information returns and furnish payee statements for the discharge of any indebtedness within the scope of the revenue procedure.  To avoid confusion, the IRS strongly recommends that these creditors not furnish students nor the IRS with a Form 1099-C.

Revenue Procedure 2020-11 will be in IRB 2020-6, dated February 3, 2020.