Issue Number:    IR-2020-280

Inside This Issue

Treasury and IRS begin delivering second round of Economic Impact Payments to millions of Americans

WASHINGTON – Today, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department will begin delivering a second round of Economic Impact Payments as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 to millions of Americans who received the first round of payments earlier this year.

The initial direct deposit payments may begin arriving as early as tonight for some and will continue into next week. Paper checks will begin to be mailed tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 30.

The IRS emphasizes that there is no action required by eligible individuals to receive this second payment. Some Americans may see the direct deposit payments as pending or as provisional payments in their accounts before the official payment date of Jan. 4, 2021. The IRS reminds taxpayers that the payments are automatic, and they should not contact their financial institutions or the IRS with payment timing questions.

As with the first round of payments under the CARES Act, most recipients will receive these payments by direct deposit. For Social Security and other beneficiaries who received the first round of payments via Direct Express, they will receive this second payment the same way.

Anyone who received the first round of payments earlier this year but doesn’t receive a payment via direct deposit will generally receive a check or, in some instances, a debit card. For those in this category, the payments will conclude in January. If additional legislation is enacted to provide for an additional amount, the Economic Impact Payments that have been issued will be topped up as quickly as possible.

Eligible individuals who did not receive an Economic Impact Payment this year – either the first or the second payment – will be able to claim it when they file their 2020 taxes in 2021. The IRS urges taxpayers who didn’t receive a payment this year to review the eligibility criteria when they file their 2020 taxes; many people, including recent college graduates, may be eligible to claim it. People will see the Economic Impact Payments (EIP) referred to as the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) on Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR since the EIPs are an advance payment of the RRC.

“Throughout this challenging year, the IRS has worked around the clock to provide Economic Impact Payments and critical taxpayer services to the American people,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We are working swiftly to distribute this second round of payments as quickly as possible. This work continues throughout the holidays and into the new year as we prepare for the upcoming filing season. We urge everyone to visit IRS.gov in the coming days for the latest information on these payments and for important information and assistance with filing their 2021 taxes.”

Authorized by the newly enacted COVID-relief legislation, the second round of payments, or “EIP 2,” is generally $600 for singles and $1,200 for married couples filing a joint return. In addition, those with qualifying children will also receive $600 for each qualifying child. Dependents who are 17 and older are not eligible for the child payment.

Payments are automatic for eligible taxpayers

Payments are automatic for eligible taxpayers who filed a 2019 tax return, those who receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who didn’t file a tax return. Payments are also automatic for anyone who successfully registered for the first payment online at IRS.gov using the agency’s Non-Filers tool by Nov. 21, 2020 or who submitted a simplified tax return that has been processed by the IRS.

Who is eligible for the second Economic Impact Payment?

Generally, U.S. citizens and resident aliens who are not eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s income tax return are eligible for this second payment. Eligible individuals will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $600 for individuals or $1,200 for married couples and up to $600 for each qualifying child. Generally, if you have adjusted gross income for 2019 up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses, you will receive the full amount of the second payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced.
How do I find out if the IRS is sending me a payment?

People can check the status of both their first and second payments by using the Get My Payment tool, available in English and Spanish only on IRS.gov. The tool is being updated with new information, and the IRS anticipates the tool will be available again in a few days for taxpayers.

How will the IRS know where to send my payment? What if I changed bank accounts?

The IRS will use the data already in our systems to send the new payments. Taxpayers with direct deposit information on file will receive the payment that way. For those without current direct deposit information on file, they will receive the payment as a check or debit card in the mail. For those eligible but who don’t receive the payment for any reason, it can be claimed by filing a 2020 tax return in 2021. Remember, the Economic Impact Payments are an advance payment of what will be called the Recovery Rebate Credit on the 2020 Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.
Will people receive a paper check or a debit card?

For those who don’t receive a direct deposit by early January, they should watch their mail for either a paper check or a debit card. To speed delivery of the payments to reach as many people as soon as possible, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, part of the Treasury Department, will be sending a limited number of payments out by debit card. Please note that the form of payment for the second mailed EIP may be different than for the first mailed EIP. Some people who received a paper check last time might receive a debit card this time, and some people who received a debit card last time may receive a paper check.

IRS and Treasury urge eligible people who don’t receive a direct deposit to watch their mail carefully during this period for a check or an Economic Impact Payment card, which is sponsored by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service and is issued by Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank®, N.A. The Economic Impact Payment Card will be sent in a white envelope that prominently displays the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal. It has the Visa name on the front of the Card and the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A. on the back of the card. Information included with the card will explain that this is your Economic Impact Payment. More information about these cards is available at EIPcard.com.

Are more people eligible now for a payment than before?

Under the earlier CARES Act, joint returns of couples where only one member of the couple had a Social Security number were generally ineligible for a payment – unless they were a member of the military. But this month’s new law changes and expands that provision, and more people are now eligible. In this situation, these families will now be eligible to receive payments for the taxpayers and qualifying children of the family who have work-eligible SSNs. People in this group who don’t receive an Economic Impact Payment can claim this when they file their 2020 taxes under the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Is any action needed by Social Security beneficiaries, railroad retirees and those receiving veterans’ benefits who are not typically required to file a tax return?

Most Social Security retirement and disability beneficiaries, railroad retirees and those receiving veterans’ benefits do not need take any action to receive a payment. Earlier this year, the IRS worked directly with the relevant federal agencies to obtain the information needed to send out the new payments the same way benefits for this group are normally paid. For eligible people in this group who didn’t receive a payment for any reason, they can file a 2020 tax return.

I didn’t file a tax return and didn’t register with the IRS.gov non-filers tool. Am I eligible for a payment?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility requirement. While you won’t receive an automatic payment now, you can still claim the equivalent Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 federal income tax return.
Will I receive anything for my tax records showing I received a second Economic Impact Payment?

Yes. People will receive an IRS notice, or letter, after they receive a payment telling them the amount of their payment. They should keep this for their tax records.

Where can I get more information?

For more information about Economic Impact Payments and the 2020 Recovery Rebate, key information will be posted on IRS.gov/eip. Later this week, you may check the status of your payment at IRS.gov/GetMyPayment. For other COVID-19-related tax relief, visit IRS.gov/Coronavirus.

Indiana workers’ compensation law

Indiana law requires every business operating in the state to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees, with certain exceptions.

Who needs workers’ comp insurance in Indiana?

Most businesses with employees in Indiana must have workers’ compensation insurance to provide protection against workplace injuries and illnesses. Unlike workers’ comp laws in some states, the number of employees at a business has no bearing on the requirement.

The requirement of workers’ comp in Indiana applies to full-time employees, company executives, employees working outside the state (as long as they have an Indiana working relationship), part-time employees, minor employees, and certain students receiving federally funded on-the-job training.

Who is exempt from workers’ compensation insurance in Indiana?

Some employees are exempt from Indiana workers’ compensation insurance and also are ineligible to elect optional coverage. These include:

  • Railroad employees covered under the Federal Employees Liability Act
  • Employees engaged in interstate or foreign commerce who have access to federal alternatives to state-based workers’ compensation (seamen, longshoremen, etc.)
  • Real estate employees (i.e., real estate agents who work as independent contractors for real estate brokers)
  • Independent contractors (based on a combination of IRS and state guidelines)
  • Independent contractors in the construction trades
  • Athletes on scholarship
  • Prison inmates
  • Volunteers
  • Coaches for youth sports teams
Compare workers’ compensation quotes for Indiana businesses

As an Indiana employer, do I need workers’ compensation insurance for myself?

In most cases, you must include yourself in your company’s workers’ compensation coverage. However, there are two key exceptions:

  • If you’re a sole proprietor
  • If you’re one of the parties in a partnership

In both of these cases, you don’t have to buy workers’ compensation for yourself. But you can if you think you need it. For example, if you do physical labor and are at risk of getting injured, it might make sense to include yourself in your workers’ compensation policy.

For what other Indiana workers is workers’ compensation optional?

Some people aren’t required to have workers’ compensation coverage. But business owners can elect to include them under their insurance policy. This option applies to:

  • Local police officers and firefighters under some conditions
  • Reserve police officers
  • Volunteers working for hazardous materials response teams
  • Executive officers of public or nonprofit corporations
  • Owner-operators who provide their vehicles and driver services to a trucking company that transports freight
  • Members and managers of limited liability corporations who actively work in the business
  • Individuals entered into a township, municipality, or county roster of volunteers
  • Volunteers who work at state-owned or operated psychiatric facilities
  • Other employees such as casual laborers, household workers, and farm or agricultural workers

What about independent contractors who work in the construction trades?

If you’re an independent contractor in the construction trades, those who hire you are not required to provide you with workers’ compensation insurance as long as you meet the IRS tests for independent contractor status. You can find these in IRS Publication 15-A, Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide. If you meet those tests, you must then fill out a Workers’ Compensation Clearance Certificate with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana and pay a $20 filing fee.

These requirements also apply to independent contractors who are sole proprietors.

How do you buy workers’ compensation in Indiana?

Indiana business owners can compare quotes and purchase a policy from private insurance companies. (Performance Group offers this service with its independent insurance marketplace.)

Some employers receive state approval to self-insure their workers’ compensation claims. This means after a workplace incident they pay for their employees’ medical and rehabilitation expenses out of their own pockets.

How much does workers’ compensation insurance cost in Indiana?

Estimated employer costs for workers’ compensation in Indiana are $0.75 per $100 covered in payroll. Factors that determine the cost in a state include the number of high-risk jobs performed, insurance payouts per year, cost of living, and the cost of doing business.

The level of risk associated with different positions at your business influences your premium. When your employees perform a variety of work duties, you could have a variety of workers’ compensation class codes. Insurance companies use these codes to determine your exposure to risk and your subsequent workers’ compensation costs.

Workers’ compensation death benefits in Indiana

When an Indiana employee dies after sustaining a work-related injury or illness, their family can collect death benefits. Dependents are eligible for 500 weeks of lost wages at 67% of the deceased’s average weekly wage. Any medical benefits and up to $7,500 for burial expenses are also covered.

Dependents in Indiana fall into two categories:

Presumptive dependents receive death benefits divided equally among them. They include:

  • Spouse (as long as they do not re-marry)
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 who are living with the employee
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 who are not living with the employee but for whom the employee has a legal support obligation
  • Children over 21 who have never been married and are mentally or physically handicapped, or are keeping house for the employee and not otherwise gainfully employed

Dependents-in-fact are entitled to benefits if there are no presumptive dependents at the time of the employee’s death. They include individuals related by blood or marriage who are dependent, either totally or partially, upon the deceased employee.

Workers’ compensation statute of limitations in Indiana

Indiana has a two-year statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims. That means an employee can file a claim up to two years after an incident occurred.

Compare free workers’ comp quotes with Performance Group

If you are ready to explore workers’ comp insurance options for your Indiana business, start a free online application today to compare quotes from top-rated carriers.

“Save X% in minutes”

We’ve all heard the quote , but what could those quick savings cost you? Speed and convenience are at the forefront of every business type in this everchanging internet age. You  can go online and order a physical product in seconds and have it at your doorstep within days. Is it always the quality you prefer? Not necessarily. But if it doesn’t workout then you can throw it away and order again.

However, there are no do-overs in insurance. You don’t get to throw it away and reorder. You get what you paid for when it comes to turning in a claim.

Continue reading →

Earning side income: Is it a hobby or a business?

Whether it’s something they’ve been doing for years or something they just started to make extra money, taxpayers must report income earned from hobbies in 2020 on next year’s tax return.

What the difference between a hobby and a business? A business operates to make a profit. People engage in a hobby for sport or recreation, not to make a profit.

Here are nine things taxpayers must consider when determining if an activity is a hobby or a business:

  • Whether the activity is carried out in a businesslike manner and the taxpayer maintains complete and accurate books and records.
  • Whether the time and effort the taxpayer puts into the activity show they intend to make it profitable.
  • Whether they depend on income from the activity for their livelihood.
  • Whether any losses are due to circumstances beyond the taxpayer’s control or are normal for the startup phase of their type of business.
  • Whether they change methods of operation to improve profitability.
  • Whether the taxpayer and their advisors have the knowledge needed to carry out the activity as a successful business.
  • Whether the taxpayer was successful in making a profit in similar activities in the past.
  • Whether the activity makes a profit in some years and how much profit it makes.
  • Whether the taxpayers can expect to make a future profit from the appreciation of the assets used in the activity.

The IRS has many resources to help taxpayers report their income correctly.

Every year salary.com releases their estimate value of a mother’s work based on tracking real time market prices of all the jobs that moms perform.

If stay-at-home moms earned an annual salary for all the jobs they perform on a daily basis, how much would they earn?

According to salary.com the median annual salary for stay-at-home moms in 2019 is $178,201 – rising $15,620 (a 9.6% increase) from the 2018 mother’s worth calculation.

This year’s study gave consideration to traditional roles – like housekeeper, dietitian, and day care teacher – and newer roles – like network administrator, social media communications, and recreational therapist.

Other examples positions of the Mom hybrid job role include:

  • Academic Advisor
  • Accountant
  • Art Director
  • Athletic Director
  • CEO
  • Coach
  • Dietitian
  •  Event Planner
  • Executive Housekeeper
  • Groundskeeper
  • Laundry Manager
  • Photographer
  • Public School Teacher
  • Psychologist
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Staff Nurse
  • Social Media Specialist
  • Tailor
  • Work/Life Manager

However as we all know, the work life of a mother has only increased during the last two months as our country has been dealing with the repercussions of COVID-19.

Whether it has been breaking up fights between siblings, making the same meal days in a row because they all start to blend together, or surviving E-learning along side your children (while having an internal meltdown). Moms are single-handedly keeping order where it does not belong.

We are all so blessed to have and to know these mothers.

 

This is a post directly from the IRS newsletter.

 

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and email phishing attempts about the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. These contacts can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.

“We urge people to take extra care during this period. The IRS isn’t going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “That also applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, don’t open them or click on attachments or links. Go to IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information.”

Taxpayers should watch not only for emails but text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information.

“History has shown that criminals take every opportunity to perpetrate a fraud on unsuspecting victims, especially when a group of people is vulnerable or in a state of need,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Don Fort. “While you are waiting to hear about your economic impact payment, criminals are working hard to trick you into getting their hands on it. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division is working hard to find these scammers and shut them down, but in the meantime, we ask people to remain vigilant.”

Don’t fall prey to Coronavirus tricks; retirees among potential targets
The IRS and its Criminal Investigation Division have seen a wave of new and evolving phishing schemes against taxpayers. In most cases, the IRS will deposit economic impact payments into the direct deposit account taxpayers previously provided on tax returns. Those taxpayers who have previously filed but not provided direct deposit information to the IRS will be able to provide their banking information online to a newly designed secure portal on IRS.gov in mid-April. If the IRS does not have a taxpayer’s direct deposit information, a check will be mailed to the address on file. Taxpayers should not provide their direct deposit or other banking information for others to input on their behalf into the secure portal.

The IRS also reminds retirees who don’t normally have a requirement to file a tax return that no action on their part is needed to receive their $1,200 economic impact payment. Seniors should be especially careful during this period. The IRS reminds retirees – including recipients of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 −  that no one from the agency will be reaching out to them by phone, email, mail or in person asking for any kind of information to complete their economic impact payment, also sometimes referred to as rebates or stimulus payments. The IRS is sending these $1,200 payments automatically to retirees – no additional action or information is needed on their part to receive this.

 

The IRS reminds taxpayers that scammers may:

  • Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
  • Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
  • Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
  • Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.

Reporting Coronavirus-related or other phishing attempts
Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone. Learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.

Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on IRS.gov. The page is updated quickly when new information is available.

Contrary to popular belief, not all tax returns are due on April 15th.

Image result for tax calendar

We are all accustomed to the idea of the APRIL 15th tax deadline. However, there are multiple different deadlines throughout the year based off your filing status. Whether you are an employee or an employer, you should know these deadlines in order to maximize your tax status! 

January 15, 2020: Deadline to pay the fourth quarter estimated tax payment for tax year 2019

January 31, 2020: Deadline for employers to mail out W-2 Forms to their employees and for businesses to furnish 1099 Forms reporting non-employee compensation, bank interest, dividends, and distributions from a retirement plan

February 18, 2020: Deadline for financial institutions to mail out Form 1099-B relating to sales of stock, bonds, or mutual funds through a brokerage account, Form 1099-S relating to real estate transactions; and Form 1099-MISC if the sender is reporting payments in boxes 8 or 146

February 28, 2020: Deadline for businesses to mail Forms 1099 and 1096 to the IRS

March 16, 2020: Deadline for corporate tax returns (Forms 1120, 1120-A, and 1120-S) for tax year 2019, or to request automatic six-month extension of time to file (Form 7004) for corporations that use the calendar year as their tax year, and for filing partnership tax returns (Form 1065) or to request an automatic five-month extension of time to file (Form 7004)

April 15, 2020: Deadline to file individual tax returns (Form 1040) for the year tax 2019 or to request an automatic extension (Form 4868) for an extra six months to file your return, and for payment any tax due

April 15, 2020: Last day to make a contribution to traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Health Savings Account, SEP-IRA, or solo 401(k) for the 2019 tax year

September 15, 2020: Final deadline to file corporate tax returns for the year 2019 if an extension was requested (Forms 1120, 1120-A, 1120-S)

October 15, 2020: Final extended deadline to file individual tax returns for the year 2019 (Form 1040)

 

If one of these filing dates fits you, or you fear you might have missed it, please contact us immediately to schedule an appointment

Until recently, retired owners of 401(k), traditional IRA and similar accounts had to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) when they reached age 70 1/2. But the passage of the SECURE Act means:

  • You can wait until age 72 to begin taking RMDs — but only if you reach 70 1/2 after 2019. If you turn 70 1/2 before 2020, take RMDs by this April 1.
  • There are no more age restrictions on traditional IRA contributions. So you can contribute money after the age of 70 1/2.
  • Stretch IRA strategies may no longer be effective. Non-spouse beneficiaries must exhaust inherited accounts within 10 years instead of taking RMDs over their expected lifetimes.

If you are or maybe effected by this change, or even would like to consult the Performance Group, please contact us today!

 

If you have received what you think is a false communication from the IRS please contact your tax adviser immediately.

IRS Scams have become more and more common as we have come into the digital age. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.

If you ever feel as if you are falling victim to attempted IRS scam, contact our professionals at Performance Group and we can help legitimize the experience and advise you in the proper actions to take.

Just as each tax return is unique and individual, so is each taxpayer’s refund. There are a few things taxpayers should keep in mind if they are waiting on their refund but hear or see on social media that other taxpayers have already received theirs.

Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, some tax returns require additional review and take longer to process than others. This may be necessary when a return has errors, is incomplete or is affected by identity theft or fraud. The IRS will contact taxpayers by mail when more information is needed to process a return. Please contact your tax adviser if you receive correspondence directly from the IRS.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that, by law, the IRS cannot issue refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. This applies to the entire refund − even the portion not associated with the EITC or ACTC. The IRS expects most EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by the first week of March, if the taxpayer chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

Refund information will generally be available within 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an electronically filed return on the Where’s My Refund? ‎tool on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go phone app. These tools will be updated with projected deposit dates for most early EITC and ACTC refund filers by Feb. 22, so those filers will not see an update to their refund status date on Where’s My Refund? ‎or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates. Where’s My Refund? is the best way to check the status of a refund.

If you have questions about delayed returns, please call or contact us directly!