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Texas Judge issues Nationwide Injunction Against Obama's Overtime Rule
Small Business Saturday November 26th Extended Hours
Last Day to E-File Tax Returns is November 29th until the Start of Tax Season
National Tax and Notary Instructor
IRS Announces 2017 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Remains Unchanged at $18,000 for 2017
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Texas Judge issues Nationwide Injunction Against Obama's Overtime Rule

A federal judge in Texas has issued a nationwide junction blocking the Department of Labor’s rule requiring overtime pay for more than 4 million new workers.
In a 20-page decision, U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant ruled that 21 states and more than 50 business groups that sued to block the rule stood a significant chance of success and would suffer serious financial harm if the rule was put into effect as scheduled on Dec. 1. The Obama administration overstepped its authority by raising the salary cap below which all workers must receive overtime pay from $455 a week to $921 a week or $47,892 a year, the judge wrote.

It is unknown whether the litigation will kill the rule entirely, but a decision is likely not going to be made before Jan. 20

Small Business Saturday November 26th Extended Hours

We will be open a extra hour for Small Business Saturday November 26th, our hours this Saturday will be 9:00am-5pm for tax, notary, tags and title, and health and medicare insurance services.

Last Day to E-File Tax Returns is November 29th until the Start of Tax Season

The last day to e-file tax returns will be November 29th after that the IRS E-file System will be down for maintenance. Tax Returns will have to be mailed until the start of tax season which should be around the 3rd week of January.

National Tax and Notary Instructor

I am honored to have taught tax and notary seminars around the country this year. So far next year I will be teaching in Dallas and Las Vegas.We will be listing all of the cities that I will be coming to next year to teach.

IRS Announces 2017 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Remains Unchanged at $18,000 for 2017

The income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), to contribute to Roth IRAs, and to claim the saver’s credit all increased for 2017.
Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions.  If during the year either the taxpayer or their spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced, or phased out, until it is eliminated, depending on filing status and income. (If neither the taxpayer nor their spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply.)   

               Here are the phase-out ranges for 2017:

  • For single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $62,000 to $72,000, up from $61,000 to $71,000.
  • For married couples filing jointly, where the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $99,000 to $119,000, up from $98,000 to $118,000.
  • For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $186,000 and $196,000, up from $184,000 and $194,000.
  • For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

The income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $118,000 to $133,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $117,000 to $132,000.  For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is $186,000 to $196,000, up from $184,000 to $194,000.  The phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.
The income limit for the saver’s credit (also known as the retirement savings contributions credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $62,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $61,500; $46,500 for heads of household, up from $46,125; and $31,000 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up from $30,750.

Highlights of limitations that remain unchanged from 2016
  • The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $18,000.
  • The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $6,000.
  • The limit on annual contributions to an IRA remains unchanged at $5,500.  The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.

In 2017, Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due to Inflation Adjustments, Others Are Unchanged

The tax items for tax year 2017 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following dollar amounts:

  • The standard deduction for married filing jointly rises to $12,700 for tax year 2017, up $100 from the prior year. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $6,350 in 2017, up from $6,300 in 2016, and for heads of households, the standard deduction will be $9,350 for tax year 2017, up from $9,300 for tax year 2016.
  • The personal exemption for tax year 2017 remains as it was for 2016: $4,050.  However, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $261,500 ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $384,000 ($436,300 for married couples filing jointly.)
  • For tax year 2017, the 39.6 percent tax rate affects single taxpayers whose income exceeds $418,400 ($470,700 for married taxpayers filing jointly), up from $415,050 and $466,950, respectively. The other marginal rates – 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent – and the related income tax thresholds for tax year 2017 are described in the revenue procedure.
  • The limitation for itemized deductions to be claimed on tax year 2017 returns of individuals begins with incomes of $287,650 or more ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly).
  • The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2017 is $54,300 and begins to phase out at $120,700 ($84,500, for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption begins to phase out at $160,900). The 2016 exemption amount was $53,900 ($83,800 for married couples filing jointly).  For tax year 2017, the 28 percent tax rate applies to taxpayers with taxable incomes above $187,800 ($93,900 for married individuals filing separately).
  • The tax year 2017 maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,318 for taxpayers filing jointly who have 3 or more qualifying children, up from a total of $6,269 for tax year 2016. The revenue procedure has a table providing maximum credit amounts for other categories, income thresholds and phase-outs.
  • For tax year 2017, the monthly limitation for the qualified transportation fringe benefit is $255, as is the monthly limitation for qualified parking,
  • For calendar year 2017, the dollar amount used to determine the penalty for not maintaining minimum essential health coverage is $695.
  • For tax year 2017 participants who have self-only coverage in a Medical Savings Account, the plan must have an annual deductible that is not less than $2,250 but not more than $3,350; these amounts remain unchanged from 2016. For self-only coverage the maximum out of pocket expense amount  is $4,500, up $50 from 2016. For tax year 2017 participants with family coverage, the floor for the annual deductible is $4,500, up from $4,450 in 2016, however the deductible cannot be more than $6,750, up $50 from the limit for tax year 2016. For family coverage, the out of pocket expense limit is $8,250 for tax year 2017, an increase of $100 from  tax year 2016.
  • For tax year 2017, the adjusted gross income amount used by joint filers to determine the reduction in the Lifetime Learning Credit is $112,000, up from $111,000 for tax year 2016.
  • For tax year 2017, the foreign earned income exclusion is $102,100, up from $101,300 for tax year 2016.
  • Estates of decedents who die during 2017 have a basic exclusion amount of $5,490,000, up from a total of $5,450,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2016.

2017 NNA National Notary Conference Tax Seminar instructor

I am honored to teach another tax workshop at next year's NNA National Notary Conference in Dallas, TX. It is truly a honor to teach tax and notary seminars around the country.

New Private Debt Collection Program to Begin Next Spring; IRS to Contract with Four Agencies; Taxpayer Rights Protected

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it plans to begin private collection of certain overdue federal tax debts next spring and has selected four contractors to implement the new program.

The new program, authorized under a federal law enacted by Congress last December, enables these designated contractors to collect, on the government’s behalf,outstanding inactive tax receivables. As a condition of receiving a contract, these agencies must respect taxpayer rights including, among other things, abiding by the consumer protection provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The IRS has selected the following contractors to carry out this program:

CBE Group 1309 Technology Pkwy Cedar Falls, IA 50613
Conserve 200 CrossKeys Office park Fairport, NY 14450
Performant 333 N Canyons Pkwy Livermore, CA 94551
Pioneer 325 Daniel Zenker Dr Horseheads, NY 14845

These private collection agencies will work on accounts where taxpayers owe money, but the IRS is no longer actively working their accounts. Several factors contribute to the IRS assigning these accounts to private collection agencies, including older, overdue tax accounts or lack of resources preventing the IRS from working the cases. The IRS will give each taxpayer and their representative written notice that their account is being transferred to a private collection agency. The agency will then send a second, separate letter to the taxpayer and their representative confirming this transfer. Private collection agencies will be able to identify themselves as contractors of the IRS collecting taxes. Employees of these collection agencies must follow the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and must be courteous and respect taxpayer rights.

The IRS will do everything it can to help taxpayers avoid confusion and understand their rights and tax responsibilities, particularly in light of continual phone scams where callers impersonate IRS agents and request immediate payment.

Private collection agencies will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit card. Taxpayers will be informed about electronic payment options for taxpayers on IRS dot Gov/Pay Your Tax Bill. Payment by check should be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to IRS, not the private collection agency.

IRS and Security Summit Partners Warn of Fake Tax Bill Emails

The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners today issued an alert to taxpayers and tax professionals to be on guard against fake emails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act.

The IRS has received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email that includes the fake CP2000 as an attachment. The issue has been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.
The CP2000 is a notice commonly mailed to taxpayers through the United States Postal Service. It is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers. The indicators are:
These notices are being sent electronically, even though the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or through social media platforms;

The CP 2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address;
The underreported issue is related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requesting information regarding 2014 coverage;
The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C. The fraudulent CP2000 notice included a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” to the “Austin Processing Center” at a Post Office Box address. This is in addition to a “payment” link within the email itself. IRS impersonation scams take many forms: threatening telephone calls, phishing emails and demanding letters. Learn more at Reporting Phishing and Online Scams. Taxpayers or tax professionals who receive this scam email should forward it to phishing@irs.gov and then delete it from their email account.

September 15th Tax Due Dates

Quarterly Estimated Tax Payment Due September 15th
Calendar Year Corporation and Partnership on Extension are Due September 15th
Federal Payroll Taxes Due September 15th
Calendar year Trust and Estate Tax Returns on Extension Due September 15th