The federal Internal Revenue Service has issued a couple of reminders pertaining to the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. Filing W-2s. Under federal legislation enacted late last year as part of the PATH Act, which extended many expiring tax provisions, employers are now required to file their copies of Forms W-2 and 1099-MISC, used to report payments to employees and independent contractors, respectively, by January 31 of the new year, rather than the end of February (or the end of March, if the employer filed electronically).
Although an employer may still request an extension of time to file, IRS will now grant only one 30-day extension, and even that will not be automatic. The change was made in order to let IRS detect refund fraud more easily. PTIN Renewals. Anybody who is paid to prepare a federal tax return – and there are 725,000 such people! — needs to have a Preparer Tax ID Number, or PTIN. All the current PTINs expire with the end of 2016, and must be renewed if a preparer is going to stay in business. Renewal can either be done on-line at www.irs.gov, or by mail, though if you try the latter, IRS warns that it will take weeks. Either way, there’s a $50 fee. More detail on both these issues may be found at links available on the home page of www.irs.gov.