The 2015 tax season is now here! Are you excited? This tax season may present more challenges than prior years for both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the tax filing public. Here is some of the recent IRS promotional propaganda new for the 2015 tax season:
IRS Free File
If your income was $60,000 or less last year, you may be eligible to use one of 14 free tax preparation software products to prepare and e-file your 2015 tax return. If your income for last year was more than $60,000 you can still access free fillable tax forms using the various software programs to prepare your tax return.
IRS Tax Preparer Directory
The IRS is touting a new online tax preparer directory along with additional tax preparer educational information that taxpayers may use to choose a possible tax preparer. The directory will be searchable and sortable by name, city, state, and zip code. Tax preparers will include tax attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, and enrolled actuaries with valid IRS preparer tax identification numbers for 2015. The directory will also include individuals who have received an annual filing season program record of completion.
Not everything is rosy with the IRS however. This tax year all tax filers will need to report something novel. This year is the first where the provisions of the Affordable Care Act will be fully implemented. The vast majority of people will only have to check a box on their federal income tax return to indicate they had health coverage.
However, taxes are not always that easy and many questions are anticipated. Unfortunately you may not be able to have the IRS answer your questions during this tax season. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson recently released her 2014 annual report to Congress. She reported that taxpayers this year are likely to receive the worst levels of taxpayer service since at least 2001.
Here are the low-lights of what you can expect from the IRS during the 2015 tax season:
• The IRS is unlikely to answer even half the telephone calls it receives.
• Taxpayers who manage to get through are expected to wait on hold for 30 minutes on average and considerably longer at peak times.
• The IRS will not answer any tax-law questions, except “basic” ones. Following the tax filing season, the IRS will not answer any tax-law questions.
• IRS tax return preparation assistance has been eliminated.
Given the pessimistic expectations for the 2015 tax season, it is now understandable why the IRS is working hard to promote non-IRS resources for the public to reach out to for answers to their tax questions and to file their tax returns.
This article is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.