Monthly Archives: November 2013

The IRS Will Never Use eMail to Initiate Contact: Watch for Scams

Criminals are not only filing bogus tax returns using other people’s identification, they are also stealing the “look” of the IRS to phish for additional financial information from taxpayers.

The IRS has made numerous announcements in the past to help protect taxpayers from these scams. It repeats the message that it will never use an e-mail, text message, or social media to initiate a contact about your tax information.

If you receive what looks like an official IRS e-mail, you should forward it to phishing@irs.gov. Do not reply to the sender, and do not open any attachments.

Next Government Shutdown Dates

Early in the morning of October 17, President Obama signed a bill into law reopening the federal government and extending U.S. borrowing authority. But the law contains deadlines that could leave the country facing the same issues again. Here are the important dates in the law –

* December 13, 2013 – Report required from Congressional budget negotiators on how to solve long-term budget issues.

* January 15, 2014 – Date after which federal government funding runs out.

* February 7, 2014 – Debt limit extension expires.

“Tip” or “Service Charge” Rule

Restaurant owners and employees will be affected by an IRS rule going into effect this coming January. The “automatic gratuity” that many restaurants add to the bill for larger parties will be treated as a “service charge” rather than as a “tip.” Service charges are treated as regular wages subject to withholding by the employer. Tips, on the other hand, are reported as income by the restaurant employees receiving them. The ruling is likely to complicate bookkeeping and reporting for both restaurant employees and employers.