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Get Ready now to file your 2022 federal income tax return 

Get Ready now to file your 2022 federal income tax return

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers to take simple steps before the end of the year to make filing their 2022 federal tax return easier. With a little advance preparation, a preview of tax changes and convenient online tools, taxpayers can approach the upcoming tax season with confidence.

Filers can visit the Get Ready webpage at IRS.gov/getready to find guidance on what’s new and what to consider when filing a 2022 tax return. They can also find helpful information on organizing tax records and a list of online tools and resources.

Get Ready by gathering tax records
When filers have all their tax documentation gathered and organized, they’re in the best position to file an accurate return and avoid processing or refund delays or receiving IRS letters. Now’s a good time for taxpayers to consider financial transactions that occurred in 2022, if they’re taxable and how they should be reported.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to develop an electronic or paper recordkeeping system to store tax-related information in one place for easy access. Taxpayers should keep copies of filed tax returns and their supporting documents for at least three years.

Before January, taxpayers should confirm that their employer, bank and other payers have their current mailing address and email address to ensure they receive their year-end financial statements. Typically, year-end forms start arriving by mail or are available online in mid-to-late January. Taxpayers should carefully review each income statement for accuracy and contact the issuer to correct information that needs to be updated.

Get Ready for what’s new for Tax Year 2022
With the end of the year approaching, time is running out to take advantage of the Tax Withholding Estimator on IRS.gov. This online tool is designed to help taxpayers determine the right amount of tax to have withheld from their paycheck. Some people may have life changes like getting married or divorced, welcoming a child or taking on a second job. Other taxpayers may need to consider estimated tax payments due to non-wage income from unemployment, self-employment, annuity income or even digital assets. The last quarterly payment for 2022 is due on Jan. 17, 2023. The Tax Withholding Estimator on IRS.gov can help wage earners determine if there is a need to adjust their withholding, consider additional tax payments, or submit a new W-4 form to their employer to avoid an unexpected tax bill when they file.

As taxpayers gather tax records, they should remember that most income is taxable. This includes unemployment income, refund interest and income from the gig economy and digital assets

Taxpayers should report the income they earned, including from part-time work, side jobs or the sale of goods. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 lowered the reporting threshold for third-party networks that process payments for those doing business. Prior to 2022, Form 1099-K was issued for third-party payment network transactions only if the total number of transactions exceeded 200 for the year and the aggregate amount of these transactions exceeded $20,000. Now a single transaction exceeding $600 can trigger a 1099-K. The lower information reporting threshold and the summary of income on Form 1099-K enables taxpayers to more easily track the amounts received. Remember, money received through third-party payment applications from friends and relatives as personal gifts or reimbursements for personal expenses is not taxable. Those who receive a 1099-K reflecting income they didn’t earn should call the issuer. The IRS cannot correct it.

Credit amounts also change each year like the Child Tax Credit (CTC), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Dependent Care Credit. Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov to determine their eligibility for tax credits. Some taxpayers may qualify this year for the expanded eligibility for the Premium Tax Credit, while others may qualify for a Clean Vehicle Credit through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Refunds may be smaller in 2023. Taxpayers will not receive an additional stimulus payment with a 2023 tax refund because there were no Economic Impact Payments for 2022. In addition, taxpayers who don’t itemize and take the standard deduction, won’t be able to deduct their charitable contributions.

The IRS cautions taxpayers not to rely on receiving a 2022 federal tax refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills. Some returns may require additional review and may take longer. For example, the IRS and its partners in the tax industry, continue to strengthen security reviews to protect against identity theft. Additionally, refunds for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) can’t be issued before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund – not just the portion associated with EITC or ACTC. This law helps ensure taxpayers receive the refund they’re due by giving the IRS time to detect and prevent fraud.

For taxpayers who are still waiting for confirmation that last year’s tax return processed, or for a tax year 2021 refund or stimulus payment to process, their patience is appreciated. As of Nov. 11, 2022, the IRS had 3.7 million unprocessed individual returns received this year. These include tax year 2021 returns and late filed prior year returns. Of these, 1.7 million returns require error correction or other special handling, and 2 million are paper returns waiting to be reviewed and processed. They also had 900,000 unprocessed Forms 1040-X for amended tax returns. The IRS is processing these amended returns in the order received and the current timeframe can be more than 20 weeks. Taxpayers should continue to check Where’s My Amended Return? for the most up-to-date processing status available.

Renew expiring tax ID numbers
Taxpayers should ensure their Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) hasn’t expired before filing a 2022 tax return. Those who need to file a tax return, should submit a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbernow, to renew their ITIN. Taxpayers who fail to renew an ITIN before filing a tax return next year could face a delayed refund and may be ineligible for certain tax credits. Applying now will help avoid the rush as well as refund and processing delays in 2023.

Bookmark the following tools on IRS.gov
Online tools are easy to use and available to taxpayers 24 hours a day. They provide key information about tax accounts and a convenient way to pay taxes. IRS.gov provides information in many languages and enhanced services for people with disabilities, including the Accessibility Helpline. Taxpayers who need accessibility assistance may call 833-690-0598. Taxpayers should use IRS.gov as their first and primary resource for accurate tax information.

  • Let Us Help You page. The Let Us Help You page on IRS.gov has links to information and resources on a wide range of topics.
  • Online Account. An IRS online account lets taxpayers securely access their personal tax information, including tax return transcripts, payment history, certain notices, prior year adjusted gross income and power of attorney information. Filers can log in to verify if their name and address is correct. They should notify IRS if their address has changed. They must notify the Social Security Administration of a legal name change to avoid a delay in processing their tax return.
  • IRS Free File. Almost everyone can file electronically for free on IRS.gov/freefile or with the IRS2Go app. The IRS Free File program, available only through IRS.gov, offers brand-name tax preparation software packages at no cost. The software does all the work of finding deductions, credits and exemptions for filers. It‘s free for those who qualify. Some Free File packages offer free state tax return preparation. Those who are comfortable preparing their own taxes can use Free File Fillable Forms, regardless of their income, to file their tax return either online or by mail.
  • Find a tax professional. The Choosing a Tax Professionalpage on IRS.gov has a wealth of information to help filers choose a tax professional. In addition, the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help taxpayers find preparers in their area who hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS, or who hold an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion.
  • Interactive Tax Assistant. The Interactive Tax Assistantis a tool that provides answers to many tax questions. It can determine if a type of income is taxable and eligibility to claim certain credits or deductions. It also provides answers for general questions, such as determining filing requirement, filing status or eligibility to claim a dependent.
  • Where’s My Refund? Taxpayers can use the Where’s My Refund? tool to check the status of their refund. Current year refund information is typically available online within 24 hours after the IRS receives an e-filed tax return. A paper return status can take up to four weeks to appear after it is mailed. The Where’s My Refund? tool updates once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so filers only need to check once a day.
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals.

Get refunds fast with Direct Deposit
Taxpayers should prepare to file electronically and choose Direct Deposit for their tax refund – it’s the fastest and safest way to file and get a refund. Even when filing a paper return, choosing a direct deposit refund can save time. For those who do not have a bank account, the FDIC website offers information to help people open an account online.

Taxpayers can download Publication 5349, Tax Preparation is for Everyone, for more information to help them get ready to file.

IRS reports significant increase in texting scams; warns taxpayers to remain vigilant

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers of a recent increase in IRS-themed texting scams aimed at stealing personal and financial information.

So far in 2022, the IRS has identified and reported thousands of fraudulent domains tied to multiple MMS/SMS/text scams (known as smishing) targeting taxpayers. In recent months, and especially in the last few weeks, IRS-themed smishing has increased exponentially.

Smishing campaigns target mobile phone users, and the scam messages often look like they’re coming from the IRS, offering lures like fake COVID relief, tax credits or help setting up an IRS online account. Recipients of these IRS-related scams can report them to phishing@irs.gov.

“This is phishing on an industrial scale so thousands of people can be at risk of receiving these scam messages,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “In recent months, the IRS has reported multiple large-scale smishing campaigns that have delivered thousands – and even hundreds of thousands – of IRS-themed messages in hours or a few days, far exceeding previous levels of activity.”

With the approach of October’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the IRS and the Security Summit partners in the states and the nation’s tax community remind people and the tax professional community to be on the lookout for phishing scams and other schemes that could put sensitive tax data at risk.

In the latest activity, the scam texts often ask taxpayers to click a link where phishing websites will try to collect their information or potentially send malicious code onto their phones. The IRS does not send emails or text messages asking for personal or financial information or account numbers. These messages should all be red flags for taxpayers.

Beginning in the fall of 2020, the IRS observed an increase in reports of smishing scams requesting taxpayer personal and financial information. These smishing campaigns continued through the pandemic. The IRS has taken numerous steps to warn people of this ongoing threat, including posting a videoabout how to avoid IRS text message scams.

Taxpayers should continue reporting these scams to phishing@irs.gov. Their reporting allows the IRS to report these scams to the appropriate service providers for action, protecting other taxpayers who might receive a variant of the same scam.

While the IRS works to shut down online fraud, criminals are using ever-evolving tactics to cast a wider net and catch more victims, like using algorithms to automatically generate hundreds or even thousands of fraudulent domains. For example, a recent campaign used just three dozen stolen or bogus email addresses to create over 1,000 fraudulent domains.

“Particularly in these cases, the best offense is a good defense,” said Rettig. “Taxpayers and tax pros need to remain constantly vigilant with suspicious IRS-related emails and text messages. And if you get one, sending the IRS important details from the text can help us disrupt the scams and protect others.”

Reporting IRS-related smishing
The IRS maintains an inbox, phishing@irs.gov, to process IRS, Treasury and/or tax-related online scams only. Smishing involving other agencies and/or brands should not be reported to phishing@irs.gov.

Reporting IRS-themed texts to the IRS allows security professionals to track and disrupt these scams. Individuals reporting scam texts to the IRS should include both the body of the message and the sender’s information in one email or text. Copying the actual text into an email is preferred. However, if necessary, screenshots can be sent. Scam SMS/text messages can also be copied and forwarded to wireless providers via text to 7726 (SPAM), which helps them spot and block similar messages in the future.

The following process will help capture important details for reporting smishing to the IRS:

  • Create a new email to phishing@irs.gov.
  • Copy the caller ID number (or email address).
  • Paste the number (or email address) into the email.
  • Press and hold the SMS/text message and select “copy”.
  • Paste the message into the email.
  • If possible, include the exact date, time, time zone and telephone number that received the message.
  • Send the email to phishing@irs.gov.

Additional reporting
In addition to reporting the scam to phishing@irs.gov, if IRS-related, report the message to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their Complaint Assistant to make the information available to investigators.

All incidents, successful and attempted, should also be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Any individual entering personal information, or otherwise finding themselves a victim of tax-related scams, can find additional resources at Identity Theft Central on IRS.gov.

Additional resources

Taxpayers should know what they’re getting when they choose a tax preparer

It’s filing extension crunch time, but people rushing to get their tax return filed should be cautious when choosing a tax preparer. Anyone can be a paid tax return preparer if they have an IRS preparer tax identification number. However, tax pros have different levels of skill, education and expertise. 

A taxpayer’s needs will determine which kind of preparer is best for them. Most tax return preparers provide outstanding and professional tax service. However, each year, some taxpayers get burned by tax preparers who are unreliable or unethical. The bottom line is that taxpayers are responsible for the info on their return, regardless of who prepared it.

To choose a tax preparer who will meet their needs, taxpayers should: 

  • Check the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return PreparersThis searchable and sortable public directory helps taxpayers find a tax return preparer with specific qualifications.
  • Check the preparer’s history with the Better Business Bureau. Taxpayers should check for any disciplinary actions for credentialed tax return preparers. For CPAs, taxpayers should check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, they should check with the State Bar Association. For enrolled agents, they can verify the agent’s status on IRS.gov.
  • Ask about fees. Taxpayers should avoid tax return preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the refund or who offer to deposit all or part of the refund into their own financial accounts. They should be wary of tax return preparers who claim they can get larger refunds than their competitors. 
  • Ask if the preparer plans to use IRS Free File. Taxpayers should make sure their preparer offers to electronically file their tax return using IRS Free File.
  • Make sure the preparer is available. Some tax preparers only work on a seasonal basis. Taxpayers should consider whether the tax return preparer will be around after the filing deadline has passed. Taxpayers should do this because they might need the preparer to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return.
  • Ensure the preparer signs and includes their preparer tax identification number. Paid tax return preparers must have a PTIN to prepare tax returns. Preparers must also sign returns and include their PTIN.
  • Understand the preparer’s credentials. Enrolled agents, CPAs, and attorneys have unlimited practice rights and can represent taxpayers on any tax matter before the IRS. However, tax return preparers who participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program have limited practice rights.  They must have prepared and signed the tax return and can only represent the taxpayer for Taxpayer Advocate Service and customer service activities, only before any examination of the tax return.