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Be on Guard: IRS Warns of New Scam Related to the ACA

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Be on Guard: IRS Warns of New Scam Related to the ACA

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says that it has received many complaints, nationwide, of scammers sending fake CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Criminals are sending taxpayers an email with an attached CP2000 notice, demanding payment for unpaid taxes related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The IRS has often stated that it does not contact taxpayers via email, so the biggest red flag of this scheme is the email itself.

Here are other warning signs the message you’re receiving may be fraudulent, in addition to tips on what to do if you’re contacted by a scammer.

The fake email notice:

  • states that the taxpayer underreported income related to his or her ACA coverage in 2014, and now owes money to the IRS
  • tells taxpayers to make their check payable to the “I.R.S.”
  • directs taxpayers to mail their checks to an address in Austin, Texas
  • includes a payment voucher that lists the letter number as 105C
  • contains a payment link within the actual email

 

How to tell whether a CP2000 notice is real

An IRS-issued CP2000 notice:

  • is sent by mail, not by email or social media
  • includes detailed instructions about what to do if you agree or disagree that you owe additional tax
  • requests that you make your check payable to the “United States Treasury” if you agree that you owe additional tax
  • tells you what to do if you are unable to pay the amount due, such as setting up installment payments

 

A CP2000 notice informs you that the information the IRS received from a third party – such as your employer or bank – does not match what’s reported on your tax return. The notice contains the IRS’ proposed adjustments to your income, payments, credits or deductions – which may lead to you owing additional tax or getting a refund.

If you’re unsure whether a mailed CP2000 notice is real, call the IRS directly to find out.

The IRS says it will not:

  • contact taxpayers by email, phone, text or social media to request personal or financial information
  • demand immediate payment by phone, or take enforcement action right after a phone conversation. The agency usually sends prior notification by mail before taking enforcement action
  • call or email you requesting that you verify your identity
  • require that you pay your tax bill using a specific payment method, such as prepaid debit card
  • ask for credit or debit card information over the phone or by email

 

What to do if you receive a bogus CP2000 notice by email:

  • Do not reply to the email.
  • Do not click on any attachments. The link may contain a virus designed to harm your computer.
  • Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov.
  • Delete the email.

 

In February 2016, the IRS reported a 400 percent surge in phishing emails and malware scams. The agency and its Security Summit partners – which include state taxation agencies – are raising awareness on the issue so that taxpayers and tax professionals can better safeguard themselves against tax-related scams. For more information on how you can protect yourself, visit the IRS website.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Accordingly, Paycom and the writer of the above content do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the above information. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, or professional consulting. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other professional services.


Heidi Lively

by Heidi Lively


Author Bio:

Heidi Lively serves as Paycom’s Additional Business Manager, where she focuses on the compliance and service of additional business products. Previously, she served customers in the Paycom Service Department where she quickly rose through the ranks to earn a team leader position. Having performed in a leadership position for a number of years, Heidi has been able to cultivate and influence others through Paycom’s leadership initiatives. Heidi earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Deadline Extended

Employer Deadline Extended for Furnishing 2017 ACA Forms

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Distribution of 2017 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Forms 1095-B or -C to your employees has been extended.

As issued in Notice 2018-06, the IRS has extended the deadline from Jan. 31 to March 2. (However, the deadline to provide Forms W-2 and 1099 to employees and contract workers remains as Jan. 31.)

Filing deadlines unchanged

While the deadline to furnish forms was extended, the filing deadlines remain the same: Feb. 28 for paper forms, and April 2 for electronic forms.

IRS Notice 2018-06 emphasizes that employers who do not comply with the due dates for furnishing or filing are subject to penalties under sections 6722 or 6721.

Good-faith transition relief extended

The IRS also announced the extension of good-faith transition relief. This may allow an employer to avoid some penalties if it can show that it made good-faith efforts to comply with the information reporting requirements for 2017.

This relief applies only to incorrect and incomplete information reported on the ACA forms, and not to a failure to file or furnish the forms in a timely manner. Additionally, the IRS stated it does not anticipate extending either the good-faith transition relief or the furnishing deadline in future years.

Contact a trusted tax professional if you have questions on how this may affect your business specifically.

Click here to read more about how the ACA is affect by the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in ACA, Blog, Compliance, Featured

Erin Maxwell

by Erin Maxwell


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Erin Maxwell monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, focusing on health and employee benefits laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. She previously served as assistant general counsel at Asset Servicing Group in Oklahoma City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, Maxwell enjoys politics, historical mysteries and spending time with her family.

Employers Unaffected by ACA Changes in New Tax Law

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On December 22, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill includes a provision that reduces the penalty for not complying with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate to $0, effectively removing the penalty for individuals who do not have health insurance coverage after the effective date of Jan. 1, 2019.

However, this update will not impact employers, since the law does not remove the employer mandate (the requirement that large employers offer health insurance coverage to their full-time employees or pay a penalty) or the associated employer reporting requirements. Large employers subject to the mandate still face penalties if they fail to comply with either, and the IRS has begun sending out notices with preliminary assessments of the employer shared responsibility penalty for tax year 2015.

Employers subject to the employer mandate should continue to comply and be prepared to file Forms 1094 and 1095 with the IRS in accordance with the normal deadlines.

For the 2017 tax year, the deadlines to provide Forms 1095-C to employees is Jan. 31, 2018.  The deadline to file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS is Feb. 28, 2018 if filing paper forms, and April 2, 2018, if filing electronically.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

Posted in ACA, Blog, Compliance, Featured

Erin Maxwell

by Erin Maxwell


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Erin Maxwell monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, focusing on health and employee benefits laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. She previously served as assistant general counsel at Asset Servicing Group in Oklahoma City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, Maxwell enjoys politics, historical mysteries and spending time with her family.

ACA Employer Shared Responsibility Payments

IRS Quietly Prepares to Assess ACA Employer Shared Responsibility Payments

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Late last week, without announcement, the IRS amended a FAQ about its planned process for assessing employer shared responsibility payments (ESRPs) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Previously, the document suggested that further guidance would be forthcoming, prior to notifying affected applicable large employers (ALEs) about potential penalties owed under the federal health care law’s employer mandate.

That statement is now gone. In its place are several questions and answers detailing how the IRS will notify companies that they may owe an ESRP. In addition, the IRS intends to send assessments for the 2015 tax year in “late 2017,” which gives the agency approximately six weeks to do so.

Deadlines

The IRS notification will take the form of Letter 226J, which will include a month-by-month payment summary and a list of employees who:

  • were full-time employees for at least one month of the tax year
  • also received a premium tax credit
  • and did not allow the employer to qualify for an affordability safe harbor or other relief

While Letter 226J will indicate the employer’s deadline to respond, recipients generally will have 30 days from the letter’s printed date to contest its information. Then, following correspondence between the IRS and the ALE, if the agency determines the employer indeed is liable for an ESRP, the IRS will issue a demand and instructions for payment, via Notice CP 220J.

The FAQ’s changes to describe specific procedures and deadlines represent the clearest indication we have received that the IRS soon will notify ALEs that they may owe an ESRP for 2015. If such notifications are sent within the next few weeks, it will mark significant news.

For more on ACA, check out the October 2017 article: Trump Announces 2 Changes to ACA 

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Posted in ACA, Blog, Featured

Erin Maxwell

by Erin Maxwell


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Erin Maxwell monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, focusing on health and employee benefits laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. She previously served as assistant general counsel at Asset Servicing Group in Oklahoma City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, Maxwell enjoys politics, historical mysteries and spending time with her family.

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