SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Now that the new year has begun, taxpayers are starting to get ready for tax season. The IRS recently announced that tax season 2015 officially opens on January 20, and taxpayers are gathering receipts for business expenses, bank statements, W-2 and 1099 forms, proof of individual retirement account (IRA) contributions, and documentation of charitable donations.
But this year, taxpayers who have typically prepared their own taxes will be faced with unfamiliar reporting hurdles and unprecedented challenges. It's not just the number of new tax forms, but also the complexity of those forms. For example, the IRS recently released Publication 5187, Health Care Law: What's New for Individuals & Families, a 21-page document with a four-page glossary of terms. Taxpayers who got health coverage through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace in 2014 will receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, which lists their household's policies and the amount received in monthly subsidies. Form 1095-A provides information taxpayers need to complete Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit. Those taxpayers who received premium assistance through advance credit payments must file Form 8962 along with their tax return.
However, due to either inaccurately estimating 2014 incomes or a failure to report changes in financial circumstances to the IRS, it's now anticipated that a large percentage of the more than six million Americans who received health insurance subsidies through the ACA Marketplace in 2014 may have to repay money to the government because credits they received to offset their insurance premiums were too large.
Anticipating the challenge, tax professionals have been preparing for the implementation of the ACA for many months. At the California Society of Enrolled Agents (CSEA), a non-profit association of enrolled agent (EA) tax professionals that advocates for sound tax policy, new ACA intensive courses have been instituted to help ready member EAs to better serve their clients. In addition, EAs from CSEA's 19 Chapters will be volunteering statewide to answer tax questions for free on the ACA and other tax topics during CSEA's second annual Tax Help Day, which will be held on February 7, 2015 at locations across the state.
Recognizing the critical role tax professionals will play in the success of the upcoming tax season, the IRS has begun a public relations campaign aimed at educating taxpayers about the importance of choosing a tax preparer wisely. The IRS recommends utilizing credentialed tax preparers such as enrolled agents, who take continuing education classes on the ACA and other tax law changes, belong to professional organizations such as CSEA, and are primed to answer client questions. This is especially important now in view of the anticipated long IRS telephone wait times due to the decreased IRS budget. California taxpayers who are searching for a federally credentialed tax professional or who want to learn more about Tax Help Day can visit the CSEA website at www.csea.org or call 1-800-TAXPRO-5.
The California Society of Enrolled Agents (CSEA) is an association of more than 3,500 federally licensed tax professionals that offers Californians guidance in choosing a tax professional to assist them with tax planning, preparation and representation. Enrolled agents (EAs) advise and represent their clients on all matters of taxation throughout the year, not just during tax time. If you have tax questions, your enrolled agent can assist you in ensuring that you do not pay too much, and help you minimize your risk of an audit. Visit www.csea.org or call 1-800-TAXPRO-5 to find an enrolled agent near you.
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