Beware: Economic Impact Payment Scams

IRS warns of a text message scam asking for financial information related to your economic impact payment They send you a link that takes you to a fake “Get my payment” website. DO NOT CLICK this link. The IRS recommends you take a screen shot of the text from your phone and email it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

Upper Income IRS Scrutiny

The IRS if facing increased pressure to audit two main types of upper income taxpayers. These include non-filers for 2018 and prior and filers with large, unusual, or questionable 1040 items.

IRS Focus On Virtual Currency

The IRS has renewed its focus on virtual currency transactions. The front page of the 1040 for 2020 requires all individuals to answer the question: “At any time during 2020, did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?”.

Virtual currency for investment purposes is treated as property and taxed at short-term and long-term capital gains rates. Payment for services made in virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, are valued at the U.S. dollar amount on the date received. These amounts are to be included on W-2 and 1099 forms.

For answers to frequently asked questions related to virtual currencies see the link to the IRS’s FAQ page:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/frequently-asked-questions-on-virtual-currency-transactions

If You Turned 72 This Year Your IRA RMD Is Waived

The Secure Act signed at the end of 2019 increased the IRA required minimum distribution (RMD) age from 70 1/2 to 72. However, the CARES Act passed earlier this year also waived RMD’s for individuals that turned 72 in 2020. Therefore, individuals that turned 72 this year would have until the end of 2021 to take their first RMD.

PPP Loan Forgiveness

Banks have recommended holding off on applying for PPP loan forgiveness as we wait to see if several bills in Congress are passed that would streamline the forgiveness process. One potential bill includes a provision to automatically forgive loans less than $150,000.

Home Office Deduction

As more employees worked from home in 2020, they may be asking if they can deduct home office and other unreimbursed employee costs. This deduction is no longer allowed for employees after the tax changes that passed in 2017.

The deduction is available to self-employed and independent contractors on Schedule C. They can deduct a room or space in their home that is used regularly and exclusively at their principal place of business.

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/home-office-deduction