Jun
14
2017

403(b) Pre-Approved Retirement Plans List

We’ve recently updated the list of 403(b) pre-approved retirement plans that have received an IRS favorable opinion or advisory letter. A favorable opinion or advisory letter for a 403(b) pre-approved plan means that the IRS has determined that the plan satisfies the requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b) (these requirements are specifically outlined in the opinion or advisory letter).

Employers eligible to sponsor 403(b) retirement plans for their employees may want to consider adopting a pre-approved plan that has received a favorable letter instead of a having an individually designed plan.

Related resources:

Written by in: General
Mar
28
2017

Important Information on W-2/SSN Data Theft Scam

A dangerous email scam currently is circulating nationwide and targeting employers, including tax exempt entities, universities and schools, government and private-sector businesses. The scammer poses as an internal executive requesting employee Forms W-2 and Social Security Number information from company payroll or human resources departments. They may even send an initial “Hi, are you in today” message before the request.

The IRS has established a process that will allow employers and payroll service providers to quickly report any data losses related to the W-2 scam. See details at Form W-2/SSN Data Theft: Information for Businesses and Payroll Service Providers. If notified in time, the IRS can take steps to prevent employees from being victimized by identity thieves filing fraudulent returns in their names. There also is information about how to report receiving the scam email even if you did not fall victim.

As a reminder, tax professionals who experience a data breach also should quickly report the incident to the IRS. Tax professionals may contact their local stakeholder liaison. See details at Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals.

Written by in: General
Mar
28
2017

Benefactors Beware: Fake Charities Included in IRS List of Top Tax Scams for 2017

Every year, the IRS issues its “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams list, a compilation of tactics and devices used by scam artists against taxpayers.  While the threat exists year-round, the IRS promulgates the list ahead of filing season. As susceptible taxpayers prepare their returns, they face a higher risk of being targeted.

Included in the 2017 “Dirty Dozen” list are fake charities; however, this is hardly a new occurrence. Fraudulent charities and organizations have a long-standing history of soliciting donations from unsuspecting individuals. In its 2017 report, the IRS notes three steps taxpayers should take in making charitable contributions.

One: Keep your information private. Individuals are advised against sharing their personal information, such as a Social Security Number or passwords, as this is commonly used in identity theft. The IRS reminds individuals that a legitimate charity will never ask for such information in soliciting or receiving donations.

Two: Avoid cash. When making a donation, individuals should use check or credit card. In the case of the latter, credit card information should only be used over a secure network.

Three: Do your homework. As a matter of good practice, the IRS recommends using the Exempt Organization Select Check Tool to ensure that your donation is directed to a legitimate organization. The Tool allows donees to view an organization’s federal tax filings, and other   information, such as whether exempt status has been revoked or suspended. The Tool is available here.

The Dirty Dozen also advises donors to be wary of fraudsters in the wake of natural disasters. During such times, fake charities may solicit donations under the guise of disaster-relief funds. The IRS encourages donors to make contributions to officially recognized organizations, such as the Red Cross or UNICEF. The Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool is another way to verify a relief or human-rights organization as legitimate.

Find the IRS complete list of Dirty Dozen scams for 2017 here.

Written by in: General
Feb
27
2017

EO Update: e-News for Charities & Nonprofits

Two new Issue Podcasts available for viewing
Go to the Stay Exempt Issue Podcast page on irs.gov to see Issue Podcasts on:

  • When are Commercial-Type Activities a Substantial Nonexempt Purpose for an IRC 501(c)(3) Organization?
    Learn about determining when commercial-type activities further a substantial nonexempt purpose for an IRC 501(c)(3) organization
  • IRC 501(c)(3) Proposing Denial
    Learn about the five-step roadmap the IRS uses to determine whether proposing denial is appropriate for an organization requesting recognition of tax exemption under IRC 501(c)(3)

What is an Issue Podcast?

An Issue Podcast is a resource the IRS uses for sharing technical knowledge.

An Issue Podcast is a short (approximately 15 minute), on-demand audio and visual presentation that includes:

  • A brief summary and analysis of an issue
  • References to key resource materials
Written by in: General
Feb
22
2017

EO Update: e-News for Charities & Nonprofits

IRS makes approved Form 1023-EZ data available online

The IRS announced today that publicly available information from approved applications for tax-exemption using Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption, is now available electronically for the first time.

Read news release.

Resources for 403(b) retirement plans

Review the following information.

IRS summarizes “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for 2017

The IRS recently announced the conclusion of its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams. The annual list highlights various schemes that taxpayers may encounter throughout the year, many of which peak during tax-filing season. Taxpayers need to guard against ploys to steal their personal information, scam them out of money or talk them into engaging in questionable behavior with their taxes.

Read news release.

Written by in: General
Feb
03
2017

Dangerous W-2 Phishing Scam Evolving; Targeting Schools, Restaurants, Hospitals, Tribal Groups and Others

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry issued an urgent alert today to all employers that the Form W-2 email phishing scam has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits.

In a related development, the W-2 scammers are coupling their efforts to steal employee W-2 information with an older scheme on wire transfers that is victimizing some organizations twice. “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme,’’ said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

When employers report W-2 thefts immediately to the IRS, the agency can take steps to help protect employees from tax-related identity theft. The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, working together as the Security Summit, have enacted numerous safeguards in 2016 and 2017 to identify fraudulent returns filed through scams like this. As the Summit partners make progress, cybercriminals need more data to mimic real tax returns.

Here’s how the scam works: Cybercriminals use various spoofing techniques to disguise an email to make it appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments, requesting a list of all employees and their Forms W-2. This scam is sometimes referred to as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES).

The Security Summit partners urge all employers to be vigilant. The W-2 scam, which first appeared last year, is circulating earlier in the tax season and to a broader cross-section of organizations, including school districts, tribal casinos, chain restaurants, temporary staffing agencies, healthcare and shipping and freight. Those businesses that received the scam email last year also are reportedly receiving it again this year.

Security Summit partners warned of this scam’s reappearance last week but have seen an upswing in reports in recent days.  (more…)

Written by in: General
Jan
05
2017

Bryan Cave’s Private Client Services Group Welcomes David Adler

Bryan Cave’s Private Client Services Group welcomes a new partner in our London office:

David Adler has joined us in the London office, and will be a member of the Private Client Group. David is a U.S. tax lawyer who advises international entities, individuals and intermediaries on planning that has a U.S. component. Along with core U.S. federal income, estate and gift tax advice, he provides a U.S. perspective on issues of wealth preservation and transfer, as well as on corporate governance and family succession for privately held businesses. He is also a highly experienced adviser on issues arising under the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the OECD Common Reporting Standard. David is joining us from the London office of another large firm.

Written by in: General
Jan
03
2017

EO Update: e-News for Charities & Nonprofits

1.  Form 990-N e-Postcard page unavailable 12/26/16 to 1/6/17

The Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations — Form 990-N (e-Postcard) page will be down from December 26, 2016 at 11:59 a.m. until January 6, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST due to an annual planned maintenance. We apologize for this inconvenience.

2.  Tax Preparedness Series: Remember donations may cut tax bills

As tax filing season approaches, the IRS reminds taxpayers who give money or goods to a charity by December 31, 2016 that they may be able to claim a deduction on their 2016 federal income tax return and reduce their taxes.

3.  Helpful tax tips

Review these helpful tax tips.

Written by in: General
Aug
26
2016

Tax Exempt Government Entities

The IRS is seeking applicants for vacancies on the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT). The committee provides advice and public input on the various areas of tax administration served by the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (TE/GE). Applications will be accepted through Sept. 26.

Written by in: General
Aug
09
2016

EO Update: e-News for Charities & Nonprofits

Watch this free webinar about the IRS Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed

When: August 24, 2016; 2 p.m. (EDT)

How: Register for this event. You will use the same link to attend the event.

Learn about tracking federal tax due dates on your computer or mobile device 

  • The online Tax Calendar
  • The Desktop Calendar Tool (IRS CalendarConnector)
  • The Mobile Calendar Tool (IRS CalendarConnector)
  • How to Subscribe/Download into Your Calendar
  • How to Obtain Calendar Reminders (RSS Feeds)

Please note that we won’t be offering Continuing Education Credit for this event.

Resource:

IRS Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed

View due dates and actions for each month. You can see all events or filter them by monthly depositor, semiweekly depositor, excise, or general event types. Visit this page on your Smartphone or tablet, so you can view the Online Calendar on your mobile device.

Written by in: General

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