Tax Update for January 2015
Here's the January 2015 issue of Tax Update — our newsletter for the business community. This edition features articles on our improved Taxpayer Access Point (TAP), identity verification, Idaho taxpayer rights, the upcoming income tax filing season, and more!
Check out our improved Idaho Taxpayer Access Point (TAP) — a one-stop-shop for your Idaho tax needs. TAP is for taxpayers or tax preparers who want to do business with the Idaho State Tax Commission online. The enhanced system is free to use, secure, and includes a multitude of features, such as:
E-file and e-pay:
- E-file returns (sales/use, withholding, IFTA, travel & convention, Greater Boise Auditorium District, E911)
- Upload W-2s and 1099s (for employers or tax preparers/filing services)
- Make ACH Debit and credit card payments (ACH Debit is a free service)
- Update account names and addresses
- View your account and filing history
- Renew an IFTA license and order more IFTA decals
- Verify the following permits: seller's, cigarette, tobacco
- Request a payment agreement (available in early March 2015)
- Apply for an IFTA license (available in early March 2015)
Registering in TAP
If you're using TAP for the first time, you need to register your account. You can register at: idahotap.gentax.com/tap.
TAP replaces some Access Idaho functions
If you're currently registered with Access Idaho to e-file your returns, the e-file option with Access Idaho won't be available after February 28, 2015. You'll have to use TAP to e-file your returns, and your return filing history will be available through TAP. Also, the option to upload multiple W-2s and 1099s is no longer available through Access Idaho. You'll need to submit these files through TAP.
The Tax Commission is committed to safeguarding your information. We do this by sharing your sensitive information only with you or your legal representative. To make sure we share your data properly, we've instituted some extra protective measures.
When you call, email, or visit our office, we'll ask for information — in addition to a Social Security number (SSN), Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) — to verify your identity. This information can include: a government-issued photo ID, a Tax Commission-issued account number, your permit number, your address, and more.
We may also send you a letter to verify your identity in certain cases when you file your income tax return. This is to prevent others from using your identity to file a false tax return.
On the flip side, we advise you to be careful of the personal information you give over the phone when you haven't initiated the call. The Tax Commission hears year-round from taxpayers who have been targeted by someone wanting personal information or money.
"Bottom line — if something doesn't sound or feel right, it probably isn't," cautioned Debbie Coulson, collection division administrator for the Tax Commission.
"When we send out billing letters to taxpayers with a balance due or place phone calls to those who forget to file, we always identify ourselves and provide our name and contact information," said Coulson. "If we're requesting payment and taxpayers haven't gotten a letter from us, they have every right to be suspicious," she added.
If you're unsure about whether a Tax Commission contact is legitimate, please call our office.
Did you know you have the right to ask the Tax Commission to cancel penalties if you can show reasonable cause for not complying with the law? Did you know you have the right to request a refund for up to three years after the due date of a tax return? These rights and others are outlined in our new Idaho Taxpayer Rights pamphlet, which is based on the Idaho Taxpayer Bill of Rights and Tax Commission rules and policies.
The pamphlet is available on our Taxpayer Rights Web page, which includes a link to the Idaho Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
If you're interested in getting public records from the Tax Commission but don't know how to do it, check out our new public records requests Web page. The page includes:
- A definition of what public records are and how to request them from the Tax Commission.
- A new public records request form that can be downloaded, signed, and sent to the Tax Commission.
- Links to popular records that are available on the Tax Commission website, such as reports and statistics, agency decisions, and policy documents.
Personal tax information is exempt from the public records law under Idaho's confidentiality statute. However, meeting minutes, emails, internal reports, and other public records can generally be released without an issue.
- The 2014 Idaho income tax return deadline is Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
- You can start e-filing your 2014 tax return on Jan. 20, 2015. E-filing your return is your best option for getting the quickest refund.
If you buy goods on the Internet, by telephone, or from a mail-order catalog, sellers might not charge sales tax if they're not Idaho retailers. In that case, you owe use tax if the goods are used, given away, stored, or consumed in Idaho. You're responsible for paying the tax directly to the Tax Commission.
Individuals can report and pay use tax on their income tax returns, as can businesses that aren't retailers. They can also fill out Form 850-U, (Idaho Self-Assessed Use Tax Worksheet and Return) and pay use tax at any time during the year. (Businesses that make retail sales pay use tax with their sales tax returns.)
The tax is an important tool to make sure that Idaho retailers can compete fairly with out-of-state companies that don't charge tax. And it helps fund state and local services throughout Idaho, ensuring that all consumers in the state contribute fairly to the funding of these services, whether they make purchases in Idaho, online, or outside the state.
The filing requirements for legally married same-sex couples will be the same as for any other married couples for tax year 2014. This means legally married same-sex couples can file their 2014 income tax returns as "married filing jointly" or "married filing separately," depending on their specific tax circumstances. The filing status used on their Idaho return must be the same as that used on the federal return.
Same-sex couples can also file amended Idaho income tax returns if:
- They were legally married outside of Idaho during the year for which a return is filed, and
- The federal return was filed with the same filing status they're using for Idaho.
Idaho generally has a three-year statute of limitations for filing amended tax returns.
For more information, call the Tax Commission or contact a tax preparer.