Tool on IRS.gov helps taxpayers research charities before making donations

Tool on IRS.gov helps taxpayers research charities before making donations

When people are done giving thanks at the dinner table, many start another kind of giving. The annual Giving Tuesday happens the week after Thanksgiving to kick off the season of charitable giving. This year, Giving Tuesday falls on Tuesday, November 27.

Taxpayers may be able to deduct donations to tax-exempt organizations on their tax return. As people are deciding where to make their donations, the IRS has a tool that may help. Tax Exempt Organization Search on IRS.gov is a tool that allows users to search for charities. It provides information about an organization’s federal tax status and filings.

Here are four facts about the Tax Exempt Organization Search tool:

  • Donors can use it to confirm an organization is tax exempt and eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.
  • Users can find out if an organization had its tax-exempt status revoked. A common reason for revocation is when an organization does not file its Form 990-series return for three consecutive years.
  • EO Select Check does not list certain organizations that may be eligible to receive tax-deductible donations, including churches, organizations in a group ruling, and governmental entities.
  • Organizations are listed under the legal name or a “doing business as” name on file with the IRS. No separate listing of common or popular names is searchable.

Taxpayers can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant, Can I Deduct my Charitable Contributions? to help determine if a charitable contribution is deductible.

Taxpayers may also want to decide now if they’ll itemize their deductions when they file next year. Last year’s tax reform legislation made changes to the standard deductions and itemized deductions. Many individuals who formerly itemized may now find it more beneficial to take the standard deduction. So, taxpayers should check their 2017 itemized deductions to make sure they understand what these changes mean to their tax situation for 2018. More information about these changes is on IRS.gov/taxreform.

More Information:
Tips for Tax Exempt Organization Search
Tax Exempt Organization Search: Frequently Asked Questions
Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families

IRS YouTube Videos:
Tax Exempt Organization Search English | ASL

Tax pros should remember to renew their PTIN

Tax pros should remember to renew their PTIN

Federal tax return preparers must renew their preparer tax identification numbers for 2019 as all current PTINs will expire Dec. 31, 2018. Here are several facts about PTINs and the PTIN renewal process:

  • Preparers can get started at www.irs.gov/ptin.
  • Anyone who gets paid to prepare or help prepare any federal tax return or claim for refund must have a valid PTIN from the IRS.
  • The PTIN must be used as the identifying number on returns prepared.
  • Failure to have and use a valid PTIN may result in penalties.
  • For those who have a 2018 PTIN, the renewal process takes only a few moments online.
  • Those who cannot remember their user ID and password can find online tools to assist them.
  • If registering for the first time, the PTIN application may also be completed online.
  • There is no fee for getting or renewing a PTIN.
  • Paper Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number Application and Renewal, is available for paper applications and renewals. The paper form takes four to six weeks to process.
  • All enrolled agents, regardless of whether they prepare returns, must renew their PTIN annually in order to maintain their active status.

More information:
Frequently asked questions: Do I need a PTIN?
Requirements for tax return preparers: Frequently asked questions

New IRS publication helps taxpayers Get Ready for tax reform

The IRS issued a new publication to help taxpayers learn about tax reform and how it affects their taxes. Taxpayers can access Publication 5307, Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families, on IRS.gov/getready.

While last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes tax changes for both individuals and businesses, this publication is specifically geared to individual taxpayers. It breaks down the law in easy-to-understand language. The publication highlights the changes that taxpayers will see on their 2018 federal tax returns they file in 2019.

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Here’s how tax reform changed accounting methods for small businesses

 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – better known simply as tax reform – allows more small business taxpayers to use the cash method of accounting. Tax reform now defines a small business taxpayer as a taxpayer that has average annual gross receipts of $25 million or less for the three prior tax years and is not a tax shelter.

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