A few noteworthy events caught my eye in the world of tax relief today.
First, the Senate approved Obama’s nomination of John Koskinen in a 59-36 vote, confirming him to fill the top position at the IRS; a position that has been vacant for over a year. Commissioner Koskinen will take his post beginning next week and we’ll definitely keep a close eye on him to see if he will fulfill his promise of restoring public trust to the agency that has been fighting a dismal public perception for years. Obviously, this is not something that he’ll be able to do overnight.
Second, the IRS announced that the opening of the 2014 tax season will be on January 31st. This is when the IRS will begin accepting 2013 tax returns. The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically. If you are due a refund, this is definitely the quickest way to get it. Also, the IRS reminds us that we always have the option of requesting an automatic six-month extension using Form 4868. The IRS tends to encourage extensions because it spreads out the influx of tax returns so that things don’t get too bottlenecked.
And finally, TIGTA, the IRS watchdog, reported on increasing abuse of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by tax preparers. The IRS has always had a problem with EITC abuse and fraud because it is a refundable tax credit that can mean money in the pocket of whoever claims it and qualifies (or appears to qualify). TIGTA noted that too many tax preparers fail to do their due diligence by completing and attaching Form 8867, the Paid Preparer’s Earned Income Credit Checklist.