Monday, January 23, 2017

Filing season update for tax pros

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation this morning posted an Advisory for Tax Professionals about the start of filing season. Among the highlights: 
  • The Division has officially begun accepting and processing personal income tax returns.
  • The Division officially begins accepting and processing e-filed business returns at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time today.
  • Fighting tax refund fraud.
  • How to contact the Division of Taxation.
  • How to obtain forms and instructions.
  • How to find a tax preparer.
  • Free local tax assistance.
  • “Free File” programs online.
  • List of approved software programs for preparers, updated this morning.
  • Information on Forms 1099-G, 1099-INT.
To view a copy, click here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Practitioner Alert: List of approved vendors

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation today posted a list of the tax-preparation software programs that the agency has cleared for use in preparing and e-filing tax year 2016 Rhode Island returns.

The list includes all of the programs approved to date and is posted as a convenience for tax preparers, software providers, and others. To view, click here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New scam targets tax preparers

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation, the Internal Revenue Service, and other partners of the Security Summit urge tax professionals to be alert to an email scam from cybercriminals posing as clients soliciting their services.

A new variation of this phishing scheme is targeting accounting and tax preparation firms nationwide. The scheme's objective is to collect sensitive information that will allow fraudsters to prepare fraudulent tax returns.

These latest phishing emails come in typically two stages. The first email is the solicitation, which asks tax professionals questions such as, "I need a preparer to file my taxes." If the tax professional responds, the cybercriminal sends a second email. This second email typically has either an embedded web address or a PDF attachment that has an embedded web address.

In some cases, the phishing emails may appear to come from a legitimate sender or organization (perhaps even a friend or colleague) because they also have been victimized. Fraudsters have taken over their accounts to send phishing emails. 

The tax professional may think they are downloading a potential client's tax information or accessing a site with the potential client's tax information. In reality, the cybercriminals are collecting the preparer's email address and password and possibly other information.

The Security Summit urges tax professionals and tax preparation firms to consider creating internal policies or obtain security experts' recommendations on how to address unsolicited emails seeking their services. 
  • Tip: Never respond to, or click on, a link in an unsolicited email or PDF attachment from an unknown sender. As the IRS, the states, and the tax industry make progress in the fight against identity theft, cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to steal additional client information. Criminals need more data in their effort to impersonate clients and file fraudulent returns to claim refunds -- and schemes like this can help in this effort. To learn more, click here.

RIAPA tax seminar

More than 50 tax preparers attended today's Rhode Island Association of Public Accountants meeting in Warwick.

At the seminar, the Division of Taxation reviewed what's new for filing season and what's new for the 2017 tax year. The kickoff speaker was Leo Lebeuf, chief revenue agent in the Division's Personal Income Tax section. Among other presenters was Phil D'Ambra, chief of the Division of Taxation's Employer Tax section.
Phil D'Ambra, chief of the Division of Taxation's Employer Tax section

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Filing season starts January 23

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation has announced that the filing season will start on Monday, January 23, 2017. On that day, the Division will officially begin processing electronically filed personal income tax returns as well as paper returns covering the 2016 tax year. For more details, click here.

New Tax Administrator appointed

Robert S. Hull, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Revenue, has announced the appointment of Neena S. Savage to serve as Rhode Island Tax Administrator, overseeing the Rhode Island Division of Taxation.

An attorney with over 25 years of legal experience in the non-profit, public, and private sectors, she joined the Division of Taxation in February 2015 as Associate Director of Revenue Services and Assistant Tax Administrator. She became Acting Tax Administrator in December 2015, succeeding David M. Sullivan, who stepped down to take a job in the private sector.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a Juris Doctorate from the Washington College of Law of the American University. For more details, click here.

Tax Administrator Neena S. Savage

Monday, January 9, 2017

Reduction in UI tax rates

Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo has announced that employers will see a significant reduction in their state unemployment insurance (UI) tax rate for the first time in 25 years. Collectively, Rhode Island employers will save about $30 million in 2017. For more details, click here.