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Congress returned to work in April after a two week recess and the House immediately passed a slew of tax-related bills. In rapid succession, House lawmakers voted to repeal the federal estate tax, make permanent the state and local sales tax deduction, and make reforms to the IRS. The tax filing season concluded on April 15 with the IRS Commissioner reporting that return and refund processing went smoothly.


The IRS budget has suffered significant funding cuts to the past few fiscal year (FY) budgets. Most recently, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters that the IRS has been forced to absorb a $346 million cut to its FY 2015 budget. Such drastic reductions directly impact the IRS's ability to enforce the nation's tax laws. This became evident after the IRS issued its annual Data Book for FY 2014. (The Data Book provides statistical information on examinations, collections, taxpayer assistance, and other activities.) This year, the Data Book indicated that IRS audit rates have fallen for individuals and large corporate taxpayers between FY 2013 and FY 2014. On the other hand, the audit rate for partnerships increased slightly, ostensibly as a result of the IRS's recent policy favoring more audits of this long-neglected sector.


It is never too early to begin planning for the 2016 filing season, the IRS has advised in seven new planning tips published on its website. Although the current filing season has just ended, there are steps that taxpayers can take now to avoid a tax bill when April 2016 rolls around. For example, the IRS stated that taxpayers can adjust their withholding, take stock of any changes in income or family circumstances, maintain accurate tax records, and more, in order to reduce the probability of a surprise tax bill when the next filing season arrives.


The IRS expects to receive more than 150 million individual income tax returns this year and issue billions of dollars in refunds. That huge pool of refunds drives scam artists and criminals to steal taxpayer identities and claim fraudulent refunds. The IRS has many protections in place to discover false returns and refund claims, but taxpayers still need to be proactive.


The IRS requires that taxpayers substantiate their donations to charity. Whatever the donation is, whether money or a household item or clothing, the substantiation rules must be followed. The rules are complex and frequently tripped up taxpayers who had good intentions but failed to satisfy the IRS's requirements.


As an individual or business, it is your responsibility to be aware of and to meet your tax filing/reporting deadlines. This calendar summarizes important tax reporting and filing data for individuals, businesses and other taxpayers for the month of May 2015.


Welcome

At Gibbons & Kawash, A.C. our focus is responding to your needs and exceeding your expectations. We combine broad technical knowledge developed from years of experience with an entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving to help our clients meet all the challenges before them. An extensive library of accounting, auditing, and tax planning materials and the latest in state-of-the-art technology are valuable tools in our development of innovative solutions. But perhaps the most important element in our approach is the personalized service that enables us to develop and maintain an in-depth knowledge of your business. Our professionals take the time to listen and acquire a thorough understanding of your business needs.

Firm News


Business LoansWhy You Should - Or Shouldn't - Pursue a Merger or An Acquisition

Merger and acquisition volume was up 38% through the first 10 months of 2014, according to data from financial analysts Dealogic, putting last year on track to be the strongest year for M&A deals since 2008. With that bounce in mind, this article looks at the pros (such as an opportunity to grow rapidly) and cons (including costs, from both a financial and a time—commitment perspective) of M&As. A sidebar explains how to conduct an M&A search.

529Large and Small Employers in 2015: Be Mindful of These Key ACA Provisions

It’s been five years since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law, and since then various federal agencies, such as the IRS, the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services, have issued extensive regulations and guidance on the ACA. This article updates some of the key provisions for large and small employers to be mindful of in 2015, such as the ’play or pay’ provision for large employers and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) tax credits for small employers.

Crime Scene

Are Award Points Taxable?

The IRS has made recent efforts to collect taxes on income that taxpayers earn from all types of sources, including award points, which are available today for a wide range of activities, from keeping a minimum balance in your bank account to charging a certain amount on your credit cards. This article explores the impact of a recent court ruling involving award points, Parimal H. Shankar v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The article also cites other often-overlooked income that should be reported.

Indentity Theft

Properly Substantiating Donations Will Protect Your Charitable Deduction

Whether you’re totaling up last year’s donations in preparation for filing your 2014 tax return or you’re starting to plan your charitable giving for 2015, it’s important to understand the IRS’s substantiation rules. If you don’t, you could lose the tax benefit of these gifts. This ’refresher course’ discusses how to substantiate both cash and noncash donations of varying sizes per IRS requirements.

A History Of Service

Over 20 years ago, our firm was founded on a commitment to provide clients with the highest quality services and professional guidance. That commitment remains paramount, and is deeply rooted in every aspect of our practice. It is the reason Gibbons & Kawash has become one of the area's leading accounting and consulting firms.

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2014 Update to Final Repair/Capitalization/
MACRS Regulations

2014 Update to Repair Regs EBook Cover

2014 Year-End
Tax Planning

UPDATE: Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014

Year-End Strategies: Creating Pathways for Tax Savings by Individuals and Businesses

Tax Planning for Businesses

Tax Planning for Individuals