How you can get your old income tax related information

We often find our old income tax related records missing. Perhaps each year we are too relieved after filing our tax returns that we totally forget to keep a copy for our future reference. Even if we remember that we had kept a copy we do not remember where. We should make it a habit to keep proper records for our tax documents; they might come handy in future as well. Now for those who don’t have these records and now need to get a copy for some or the other work, your best bet would be to approach Internal Revenue Service department to get a copy of your old return.

IRS could be contacted on phone, through email or in person to request for a copy of your old tax records. There is a good side to it as well, IRS officials would be happy to serve you with this regards and this service is free of cost. You can get tax records for past three years and IRS won’t charge you for those. IRS saves your records in form of Transcripts. These transcripts are available in two forms. First form is what you submitted to IRS and the second form is records with adjustments or comments made by IRS on your submission. You have the choice of choosing which form of this transcript is desired by you.

IRS’s official website contains the details regarding the telephone numbers which to call to get these records and also the email id on which you can mail the request to get these records. In case you want to send request in writing you will have to fill form 4506T-EZ and submit it to IRS. You will get hard copies of these transcripts by submission of form 4506T-EZ, through it may take close to a month to receive the same. While requests received on telephone or email are entertained within a week.

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Free file software to your rescue

Preparing and filing tax returns has never been easy for us. Especially to those who are not from an accounting background or have analytical bend of mind find it difficult to understand the provisions of income tax laws and how they can get benefit from them. As a result many people do not calculate their taxes correctly; they end up paying more or less to IRS. To make life easy for all the taxpayers IRS has developed computer software which guides you through the steps of preparing income tax and even submits the same to IRS online. This option is less cumbersome and comes almost free of cost for eligible taxpayers. Broadly speaking there are two options available through which one can file their tax returns online:

  • Those with Adjusted Gross Income of $ 58,000 or less – In case your Adjusted Gross income is lesser than $ 58,000 have the option of choosing one of IRS recommended software which will help them prepare and file their income tax returns.  One can visit the official website of IRS to get the list of software which is recommended by them. The website also has ample amount of information which will help you select the software which will suit your requirements. Once you select your software you will be further directed to the company which has developed that particular software where you will be further guided on your income tax preparation.
  • Those with Adjusted Gross Income above $ 58,000 – Such taxpayers cannot make use of the above option for filing their returns electronically. They can still visit the IRS’s website where free forms are available. They can fill the details in those forms and file their returns online. They will not be assisted by any software in this process though.

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Reporting norms for Stock Purchases

As part of their routine business stock broking and mutual fund companies buy and sell many stocks on behalf their clients. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) department has issued guidelines on reporting requirements on behalf of these companies. All details pertaining to sale and purchase of all the stocks need to be now submitted by these companies both to the IRS and to the investors. Any sale and purchase of stock before 1st Jan 2011 will not be required to be compulsory reporting.

It often becomes difficult and cumbersome for investors to calculate and report actual profits or losses made by them on account of trading in securities. To facilitate them and to monitor all the sale and purchase of securities transaction IRS wants broking firm to maintain proper records and provide this information to concerned parties so that proper and accurate tax returns could be filed. A good co-operation on all the parties involved would be required for smooth functioning of this reporting requirement.

IRS has already drawn detailed plans on how the entire reporting mechanism would work and formats in which the reports will have to be generated. All the doubts regarding the working of this model and who will be responsible of what is answered in detailed by IRS and this information is already available on the official website of IRS. Form 1099-B has already been created and will be required to maintain and report the required information. Once this new reporting mechanism gets implemented calculating gains or losses on securities trading could be calculated easily.

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Information Reporting Program Committee

The Information Reporting Program Committee or the IRPAC is formed with members of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and private sector. It forms a good platform for them both to exchange ideas and viewpoints which influence formation of various tax laws and provisions. Each year IRPAC tables it report with details of various tax related administrative issues which were tackled by the committee during the year. Activities of IRPAC are managed by National Public Liaison Office of IRS and primarily comprises of members which are top tax experts in the country. The members often raise various issues related to tax governance and practical ways to tackle them.

The current report of the IRPAC has more than 30 recommendations which were based on finding and discussions throughout the year. Some of the important recommendations are as under:

  • Layout of the form W-2 has been made more user friendly and to include practical details.
  • Form 1099 which is used for information reporting related to Patients Protection & Affordable Care Act has been made suitable.
  • Recommendations on security transactions specially on reporting losses.
  • Reporting requirements for settlement of third party transactions were also part of recommendation of IRPAC.
  • Very important recommendations concerning Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act which governs reporting structure for foreign sourcing of funds by financial and non-financial organizations.

Above are few of the important areas in which IRPAC has given their recommendation for year 2010. More details on this report can be found on the official website of IRS.

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