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Tax Professionals: Monitor Your PTIN for Suspicious Activity

Tax preparers can help protect clients and their businesses from identity theft by checking their PTIN Accounts to ensure the number of returns filed using their identification number matches IRS records.

Criminals are increasingly targeting tax professionals, not only to steal client data but also to steal the professionals’ data such as PTINs, EFINs or e-Service passwords. The IRS has teamed up with state tax agencies and the tax industry for a “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” campaign to help increase awareness among tax professionals.

The IRS offers many preparers the ability to monitor “Returns Filed Per PTIN.” This information is available in the online PTIN system for tax return preparers who meet both of the following criteria. You must have:

Five Tax Tips about Hobbies that Earn Income

Millions of people enjoy hobbies. Hobbies can also be a source of income. Some of these types of hobbies include stamp or coin collecting, craft making and horse breeding. You must report any income you get from a hobby on your tax return. How you report the income from hobbies is different from how you report income from a business. There are special rules and limits for deductions you can claim for a hobby. Here are five basic tax tips you should know if you get income from your hobby:

Four Reasons You Should Not Wait Until Extension Deadline to File Your Return

If you filed for an extension of time to file your 2015 federal tax return and you also chose to have advance payments of the premium tax credit made to your coverage provider. If you fall into this category, it’s important you file your return sooner rather than later. Here are four things for these taxpayers to know:

·         If you got a six-month extension of time to file, you do not need to wait until this fall to file your return and reconcile your advance payments. You can – and should - file as soon as you have all the necessary documentation.

How Selling Your Home Can Impact Your Taxes

Usually, profits you earn are taxable. However, if you sell your home, you may not have to pay taxes on the money you gain. Here are ten tips to keep in mind if you sell your home this year.

1.         Exclusion of Gain.  You may be able to exclude part or all of the gain from the sale of your home. This rule may apply if you meet the eligibility test. Parts of the test involve your ownership and use of the home. You must have owned and used it as your main home for at least two out of the five years before the date of sale.
 

Back to School? Learn about Tax Credits for Education

If you pay for college in 2016, you may receive some tax savings on your federal tax return, even if you’re studying outside of the U.S. Both the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit may reduce the amount of tax you owe, but only the AOTC is partially refundable.

Here are a few things you should know about education credits:  

IRS Offers Tips on Charity Travel

Do you plan to donate your time to charity this summer? If you travel for it, you may be able to lower your taxes. Here are some tax tips that you should know about deducting charity-related travel expenses:

  • Qualified Charities.  To deduct your costs, you must volunteer for a qualified charity. Most groups must apply to the IRS to become qualified. Churches and governments are generally qualified, and do not need to apply to the IRS. Ask the group about its status before you donate. You can also use the Select Check tool on IRS.gov to check a group’s status.
  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses.  You may be able to deduct some of your costs including travel. They must be necessary while you are away from home. All  costs must be:

                        o Unreimbursed,

IRS Offers Tips to Help You Prepare for Hurricanes, Natural Disasters

With hurricane season underway, the IRS offers advice to those impacted by storms and other natural disasters. Here are some tips to help you prepare for such events: