Monthly Archives: March 2015

Worst Tax Season In 35 Years!

We’re usually pretty positive and “Pollyannaish” when it comes to things around here. But this tax season is REALLY different. Things are taking much longer than they should, clients are delaying, there aren’t enough hours in the day; the list is endless. The last time things were this bad was back in 1986 when Congress enacted the Passive Activity Loss rules.  But why is 2015 so bad? Take a look below:

The Budget. Congress has shrunk the IRS budget over the past five years, while at the same time requiring the agency to administer even more complex laws. The IRS topline budget for 2015 is about 10% less than it was in 2010. But the real drop is actually steeper since the 10% doesn’t account for cost increases that have occurred in the past five years. During roughly the same period, the number of IRS personnel has fallen by at least 8%. Furthermore, the amount of money the agency has for staff training has dropped by more than 85%.

What this means is that the average taxpayer has to 1) wait almost an hour to speak to a representative, 2) greater than 50% of taxpayers that call the IRS wind up hanging up without getting an answer and 3) even us practitioners can’t get our work/cases solved in the same amount of time with the agency. Frustration on all fronts would probably be an understatement.

More Work and Complexity. This tax season is the first where the IRS has to administer the premium tax credits and individual mandates under the Affordable Care Act. Firsts are never perfect, of course, so it should be expected that this will be long, painful and not easy for most taxpayers or professionals. Need help figuring it out? See the first pain point above! 

Tangible Property Repair Regulations. New and effective for 2014, these regulations changed how we evaluate repair costs as they relate to tangible property. If you file a Schedule C, E or F, you have the potential to experience what may be the single biggest pain in the arse of the entire 2015 tax season.

While the IRS gave small businesses a reprieve from having to fill out Form 3115, Change in Accounting Method, for those with many years’ worth of assets on their books (e.g. landlords), you may still want to fill one out. This is because 1) you will forego audit protection if you don’t submit it with your return and 2) you may need to calculate a Section 481 adjustment if things are still being depreciated and shouldn’t.

The best part of Form 3115? It has to be sent in via paper to Ogden Utah prior to you filing your return and then again when you electronically file it. With that being said, the average tax preparer is probably completing more Forms 3115 this year than in all of their career.

Needless to say, all of the above hasn’t made for an “easy” tax season to say the least. So if you know someone in the tax industry, make sure you give them a hug or tell them that it will be alright. Many of us could use the love!

Correcting An EIN (SS-4) Application

So here you are doing a newly formed company or partnership’s tax return for the first year.  Maybe you are about to file it.  Maybe you are just trying to put in an extension to buy you a little more time.  In either case, you press submit, wait a few minutes and then your long awaited IRS acknowledgement comes back.  But something’s not right.  Rejected?  How can this be?  Well, one of these reject codes is more than likely the reason:

R0000-922 – Error: Filer’s EIN and Name Control in the Return Header must match data in the e-File database, unless “Name Change” or “Name or Address Change” check box is checked, if applicable.

R0000-900 – The return type indicated in the return header must match the return type established with the IRS for the EIN.
 
R0000-901 – Filer’s EIN and Name Control (see this related blog post) in the Return Header must match data in the e-File database.

So what do all of the above codes mean?  Well, in layman’s terms it means that 1) the entity structure and the EIN on file don’t match what the IRS have one file and 2) that the Form SS-4 that was filled out may have been incorrect based on the preparers intentions.

Verifying what is on file with the IRS.
The first thing you may want to do is see what the IRS has on file for you.  Ask the IRS to search for your EIN by calling the Business & Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933. The hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday. An assistor will ask you for identifying information about the entity (e.g. name, EIN, address, etc.) and can tell you what entity they have you classified as.  The can also provide you with instructions on how to correct it.

Just remember that the IRS will only speak to an “authorized person” with regards to the account.  Examples of an authorized person include, but are not limited to, a sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, a corporate officer, a trustee of a trust, or an executor of an estate.

Changing the Information associated with the EIN.
The IRS doesn’t currently have a form in place to change the previously filed information associated with the business or entity’s EIN.  To change what the IRS has on file, one should submit a letter (on company letterhead if possible) to the appropriate IRS office with the following information:

  • The responsible party’s full legal name;
  • The responsible party’s Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN);
  • The business or entity’s full legal name;
  • The business or entity’s employer identification number (EIN);
  • The business or entity’s mailing address; and
  • The information associated with the EIN number that needs to be changed.

Where to mail your change request.
Where you send your request depends on where you live.  At the time of this post, these were the applicable addresses:

Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia or Wisconsin

Send your letter to:
Internal Revenue Service
Stop 343G
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, or any place outside of the United States

Send your letter to:
Internal Revenue Service
M/S 6273
Ogden, UT 84201

The IRS will send a letter confirming receipt of the updated information.  If the entity has not received a confirmation letter within 60 days, it should mail a copy of the original letter (annotated “Second Request”) to the same campus that they sent the first one.

What one should NOT do is fill out another Form SS-4 for the same company.  The IRS will not cancel the first EIN, but will simply issue another one, which can/will further complicate matters.

Need help getting your EIN corrected?  Not sure you’re cut out for doing your corporate tax return on your own?  Give us a call or send us an email via the information in the footer of this page and we’d be happy to assist you!