Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency | Internal Revenue Service

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS also offered a step-by-step explanation for how to return the funds and avoid being scammed.

Following up on a Security Summit alert issued Feb. 2, the IRS issued this additional warning about the new scheme after discovering more tax practitioners’ computer files have been breached. In addition, the number of potential taxpayer victims jumped from a few hundred to several thousand in just days. The IRS Criminal Investigation division continues its investigation into the scope and breadth of this scheme.

These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers’ real bank accounts for the deposit.

Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.

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Budget deal restores tax credits for EV charging stations, electric motorcycles, fuel-cell cars–Green Car Reports

Fears that Congress would kill the federal tax credit for purchase of a plug-in electric car were laid to rest in December when that incentive survived the $1.5 billion tax-cut bill.

Now Congress has added back a handful of other tax credits related to electric cars and greener transportation in the $400 billion budget bill it passed in the wee hours of Friday morning, quickly signed by the president.

The 652-page Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (HR 1892) restores a tax credit for installation of alternative-vehicle fueling property that had expired at the end of 2016.

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Taxpayers who purchased or installed a home charging station for electric cars during 2017 will find the forms and rules for individual returns here.

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Resources for Tax Law Changes | Internal Revenue Service

 

IRS Creates Special IRS.gov Page for Tax Reform

To help the tax community track information related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the IRS has created a special page on IRS.govto highlight provisions of the new law. The frequently updated page will include a “one-stop” listing of new legal guidance, news releases, Frequently Asked Questions, and other information related to TCJA.

Tax professionals should bookmark the page and check it regularly for the latest information as the IRS works to implement changes.

Directive Number 11072.1: Civil Immigration Enforcement Actions Inside Courthouses

Purpose/Background. This Directive sets forth U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy regarding civil immigration enforcement actions inside federal, state, and local courthouses.

New York Cancels Private Prison Care Packages Program | The Marshall Project

By TAYLOR ELIZABETH ELDRIDGE

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New York corrections officials said Friday they have suspended a program that forced families and friends to send care packages to prisoners only through select private vendors, amid an uproar that the move raised costs and limited choices.
The switch to private companies had gone into effect earlier this month in a pilot program at three facilities: Greene, Taconic and Green Haven Correctional Facilities. The state planned to expand privatization to the whole system — the fourth largest in the nation — by the fall.
“Concerns have been raised by families of inmates regarding the availability and prices of products under this program, concerns we do not take lightly,” Thomas Mailey, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, said in a press release. The program has been suspended until those concerns can be addressed, Mailey said.

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New CBP Border Device Search Policy Still Permits Unconstitutional Searches | Electronic Frontier Foundation

JANUARY 8, 2018

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a new policy on border searches of electronic devices that’s full of loopholes and vague language and that continues to allow agents to violate travelers’ constitutional rights. Although the new policy contains a few improvements over rules first published nine years ago, overall it doesn’t go nearly far enough to protect the privacy of innocent travelers or to recognize how exceptionally intrusive electronic device searches are.

Nothing announced in the policy changes the fact that these device searches are unconstitutional, and EFF will continue to fight for travelers’ rights in our border search lawsuit.

Below is a legal analysis of some of the key features of the new policy.

Read analysis….

IRS Advisory Prepaid Real Property Taxes May Be Deductible in 2017 if Assessed and Paid in 2017 | Internal Revenue Service

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IR-2017-210, Dec. 27, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service advised tax professionals and taxpayers today that pre-paying 2018 state and local real property taxes in 2017 may be tax deductible under certain circumstances.

The IRS has received a number of questions from the tax community concerning the deductibility of prepaid real property taxes. In general, whether a taxpayer is allowed a deduction for the prepayment of state or local real property taxes in 2017 depends on whether the taxpayer makes the payment in 2017 and the real property taxes are assessed prior to 2018.  A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017.  State or local law determines whether and when a property tax is assessed, which is generally when the taxpayer becomes liable for the property tax imposed.

The following examples illustrate these points.