IR-2024-192: IRS.gov offers Free File service, other resources; provides extension filers summertime help ahead of October deadline 

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IRS Newswire July 22, 2024

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Issue Number:    IR-2024-192

Inside This Issue


IRS.gov offers Free File service, other resources; provides extension filers summertime help ahead of October deadline 

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers who requested an extension of time to file their taxes to consider using IRS Free File and other resources on IRS.gov to help them file over the summer rather than waiting for the October deadline. There’s no need to wait if taxpayers are ready to file.

While taxes may not be top of mind during summer, taking advantage of the resources available at IRS.gov can help individuals avoid a possible deadline crunch later this fall. The online tools are available any time, so taxpayers can use them at their convenience.

The IRS makes Free File easy and simple

With 24/7 access to e-filing, qualified taxpayers who requested an extension until Oct. 15 can prepare and e-file their tax returns at no cost with IRS Free File. To use this free service, individuals must have an Adjusted Gross Income of $79,000 or less and can file with a trusted IRS Free File partner.

Explore IRS online services anytime, anywhere

In addition to Free File, IRS.gov is available 24/7 to:

  • Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool for answers to most individual tax law questions.
  • Create or sign into an IRS Online Account to view tax records, manage communication preferences, make payments and more.
  • File and pay electronically as soon as possible to reduce penalties and interest for those who have not filed yet and owe.
  • Make payments or set up payment plans online at IRS.gov/payments.
  • Find the most up-to-date information about tax refunds using the Where’s My Refund? tool.

Automatic extensions for disaster-affected areas

In addition to the regular extension, which allows taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file, victims of some disasters may get additional time to file their taxes. The IRS has the authority to provide special tax relief to residents and businesses in the affected areas. This relief may include postponing various taxpayer deadlines, such as filing and payment deadlines.

Taxpayers in these designated disaster areas are often granted automatic filing and payment extensions, so they do not need to take additional steps to secure the extension. The IRS typically publishes detailed information about the specific tax relief measures applicable to each disaster situation on its Tax Relief in Disaster Situations page.

Taxpayer Assistance Centers are ready to help

IRS.gov’s Taxpayer Assistance Center Locator tool can help taxpayers find their closest IRS office to meet with an expert, learn about its hours and see the services available to taxpayers. All visits are by appointment only, individuals must call 844-545-5640 to schedule.

Get free local tax preparation

Taxpayers who have disabilities, have limited English-speaking abilities, or make $64,000 or less a year can take advantage of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs in their local area. These programs offer free basic tax return preparation services for eligible taxpayers. A special locator tool can help taxpayers find a site in their area.

Tax relief for military

Taxpayers who are serving in the armed forces are encouraged to use MilTax for free tax return preparation and access to e-filing software. This program requires no income limit and is available to all military members and some veterans. Military members serving abroad can postpone most tax deadlines, and those who qualify can get automatic extensions of time to file and pay their taxes.

Ask an expert

During the post-tax season, tax professionals remain committed to helping clients swiftly and accurately complete and file their taxes. While most tax professionals offer honest and reliable services, some do not and may do harm to taxpayers. It’s important to choose wisely when picking a qualified tax preparer. For this reason, it is highly recommended that taxpayers thoroughly review the IRS’ recommended guidelines for selecting a tax preparer and learn how to identify and avoid unethical “ghost” preparers.

Subscribe to IRS Tax Tips

Taxpayers can stay well-informed about tax-related matters by subscribing to IRS Tax Tips. This service provides individuals with concise and easy-to-understand articles that are delivered directly to their email from the IRS. The articles cover a wide range of tax topics, including in-depth discussions on year-round tax planning and comprehensive insights into understanding taxpayer rights.

IRS.gov offers accessibility options

IRS.gov is dedicated to making sure forms and publications are accessible to individuals with visual impairments or other accessibility needs. Taxpayers who require accessibility assistance can fill out Form 9000, Alternative Media Preference, to pick their preferred format for receiving IRS tax notices, including options like Braille, large print, audio or electronic formats. For those who have limited English-speaking abilities, many IRS.gov pages are now available in multiple languages.

More helpful links:

 

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IR-2024-191: IRS provides relief to Hurricane Beryl victims in Texas; various deadlines postponed to Feb. 3, 2025 

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IRS Newswire July 22, 2024

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Issue Number:    IR-2024-191

Inside This Issue


IRS provides relief to Hurricane Beryl victims in Texas; various deadlines postponed to Feb. 3, 2025 

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today tax relief for individuals and businesses in 67 Texas counties affected by Hurricane Beryl that began on July 5, 2024. 

These taxpayers now have until Feb. 3, 2025, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. 

The IRS is offering relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This means that individuals and households that reside or have a business in Anderson, Angelina, Aransas, Austin, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson Calhoun, Cameron, Camp, Cass, Chambers, Cherokee, Colorado, Dewitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Freestone, Galveston, Goliad, Gregg, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hidalgo, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Matagorda, Milam, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Panola,  Polk, Refugio, Robertson, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Webb, Wharton and Willacy counties qualify for tax relief. 

The same relief will be available to any other counties added later to the disaster area. The current list of eligible localities is always available on the Tax relief in disaster situations page on IRS.gov. 

Filing and payment relief 

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred from July 5, 2024, through Feb. 3, 2025 (postponement period). As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Feb. 3, 2025, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. 

This means, for example, that the Feb. 3, 2025, deadline will now apply to: 

  • Any individual, business or tax-exempt organization that has a valid extension to file their 2023 federal return. The IRS noted, however, that payments on these returns are not eligible for the extra time because they were due last spring before the hurricane occurred. 
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on Sept. 16, 2024, and Jan. 15, 2025.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on July 31 and Oct. 31, 2024, and Jan. 31, 2025. 

In addition, penalties for failing to make payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after July 5, 2024, and before July 22, 2024, will be abated, as long as the deposits are made by July 22, 2024. 

The Disaster assistance and emergency relief for individuals and businesses page has details on other returns, payments and tax-related actions qualifying for relief during the postponement period.  

The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. These taxpayers do not need to contact the agency to get this relief. 

It is possible an affected taxpayer may not have an IRS address of record located in the disaster area, for example, because they moved to the disaster area after filing their return. In these unique circumstances, the affected taxpayer could receive a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS for the postponement period. The taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated. 

In addition, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227. This also includes workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization. Disaster area tax preparers with clients located outside the disaster area can choose to use the Bulk Requests from Practitioners for Disaster Relief option, described on IRS.gov. 

Additional tax relief 

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the prior year (the 2023 return filed this year). Taxpayers have extra time – up to six months after the due date of the taxpayer’s federal income tax return for the disaster year (without regard to any extension of time to file) – to make the election. For individual taxpayers, this means Oct. 15, 2025. Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number – 4798-DR − on any return claiming a loss. See Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts, for details. 

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents. See Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, for details. 

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow. 

The IRS may provide additional disaster relief in the future. 

The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by these storms and is based on local damage assessments by FEMA. For information on disaster recovery, visit disasterassistance.gov. 

Reminder about tax return preparation options

  • MilTax, a Department of Defense program, offers free return preparation software and electronic filing for federal tax returns and up to three state income tax returns. It’s available for all military members and some veterans, with no income limit.

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IRS video tax tip: IRS Tax Help for People with Disabilities

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IRS Tax Tips July 19, 2024

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Issue Number: IRS Tax Help for People with Disabilities


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IRS Tax Help for People With Disabilities English | ASL

Subscribe today: The IRS YouTube channels provide short, informative videos on various tax related topics.                                                                                                                                                                                

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IR-2024-190: Treasury, IRS issue updated guidance on required minimum distributions from IRAs, other retirement plans; generally retains proposed rules

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IRS Newswire July 18, 2024

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Issue Number:    IR-2024-190

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Treasury, IRS issue updated guidance on required minimum distributions from IRAs, other retirement plans; generally retains proposed rules

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service today issued final regulations updating the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules.

The final regulations reflect changes made by the SECURE Act and the SECURE 2.0 Act impacting retirement plan participants, IRA owners and their beneficiaries. At the same time, Treasury and IRS issued proposed regulations, addressing additional RMD issues under the SECURE 2.0 Act.

While certain changes were made in response to comments received on the proposed regulations issued in 2022, the final regulations generally follow those proposed regulations.

Specifically, Treasury and IRS reviewed comments suggesting that a beneficiary of an individual who has started required annual distributions should not be required to continue those annual distributions if the remaining account balance is fully distributed within 10 years of the individual’s death as required by the SECURE Act. However, Treasury and IRS determined that the final regulations should retain the provision in the proposed regulations requiring such a beneficiary to continue receiving annual payments.

The new proposed regulations include provisions for which Treasury and IRS are soliciting public comments, including provisions addressing other changes relating to RMDs made by the SECURE 2.0 Act. For details on how to submit comments, see the proposed regulations.

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IR-2024-189: IRS enhances FATCA registration website by requiring users to authenticate their identities

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IRS Newswire July 17, 2024

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Issue Number:    IR-2024-189

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IRS enhances FATCA registration website by requiring users to authenticate their identities

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced the agency will enhance the identity authentication process that financial institutions can use to register under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). 

Taxpayers as of July 14 are required to sign in or register with either of the IRS’ credential service providers, Login.gov or ID.me, to access the FATCA registration system. FATCA requires most U.S. taxpayers holding financial assets outside the U.S. and certain foreign financial institutions to report assets and financial accounts to the IRS.

Taxpayers who already have a Login.gov or an ID.me profile will be able to sign in to the FATCA Registration System as long as the email matches that of the responsible officer or point of contact on the FATCA registration.

Taxpayers that don’t already have a Login.gov or ID.me profile will need to create one to access the system. The new authentication requirement complies with National Institute of Standards and Technology digital identity guidelines.

To create a new profile with either Login.gov or ID.me, the taxpayer will need to verify an email address, create a password and set up multi-factor authentication to secure their FATCA account. Both ID.me and Login.gov have help desks to assist taxpayers who have difficulty using the systems.

For questions and assistance regarding Login.gov, please visit the Login.gov help center. For questions and assistance regarding ID.me, please visit Verifying for the Internal Revenue Service – ID.me Help Site.

 

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