Wednesday, January 18, 2017

IRS Reminds Taxpayers of Common Scams

As the 2017 tax filing season unfolds, the IRS is reminding taxpayers about phishing and phone scams. Scammers have been contacting taxpayers via live and automated phone call, email, fax, regular mail, and text message.

Here is a list of some of the most prevalent scams to watch out for:

  • Students and their parents are contacted and demand is made for a fictitious tax such as the "Federal Student Tax".
  • Fraudulent IRS bills for the tax year 2015 related to the Affordable Care Act are sent out via email or letter.
  • Demand is made for payment to settle a "tax bill".
  • Requests are made for "verification of tax return information" in order to process your return.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS:
  • DO NOT give out any information. .
  • Report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use their use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 Standard Mileage Rates for Automobile Use

In December, the Internal Revenue Service issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
With gas prices dropping in 2016 and vehicle prices holding steady, the optional mileage rates for business, medical and moving expenses for 2017 dropped to their lowest levels in six years.
As of January 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
·         53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (down from 54 cents for 2016);
·         17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (down from 19 cents for 2016);
·         14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (permanently set by statute).
The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.
Proper use of the business standard mileage rate is optional and takes place the of deducting all actual costs of the automobile allocable to business use (such as depreciation, maintenance and repairs, tires, gasoline, oil, insurance, and license and registration fees).
The business standard mileage rate may NOT be used for an automobile after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that automobile.  In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles being used simultaneously.
For more details and other requirements, visit, Rev. Proc. 2010-51. 
Source: IR-2016-169, Notice 2016-79