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NEWSLETTERS
2016 Tax Season Opens Jan. 19 for Nation’s Taxpayers

IR-2015-139, Dec. 21, 2015 

WASHINGTON ― Following a review of the tax extenders legislation signed into law last week, the Internal Revenue Service announced today that the nation’s tax season will begin as scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016.

The IRS will begin accepting individual electronic returns that day. The IRS expects to receive more than 150 million individual returns in 2016, with more than four out of five being prepared using tax return preparation software and e-filed. The IRS will begin processing paper tax returns at the same time. There is no advantage to people filing tax returns on paper in early January instead of waiting for e-file to begin. “We look forward to opening the 2016 tax season on time,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Our employees have been working hard throughout this year to make this happen. We also appreciate the help from the nation’s tax professionals and the software community, who are critical to helping taxpayers during the filing season.”

As part of the Security Summit initiative, the IRS has been working closely with the tax industry and state revenue departments to provide stronger protections against identity theft for taxpayers during the coming filing season.

The filing deadline to submit 2015 tax returns is Monday, April 18, 2016, rather than the traditional April 15 date. Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day on that Friday, which pushes the deadline to the following Monday for most of the nation. (Due to Patriots Day, the deadline will be Tuesday, April 19, in Maine and Massachusetts.)
Koskinen noted the new legislation makes permanent many provisions and extends many others for several years. "This provides certainty for planning purposes, which will help taxpayers and the tax community as well as the IRS," he said.

The IRS urges all taxpayers to make sure they have all their year-end statements in hand before filing, including Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, and Form 1095-A from the Marketplace for those claiming the premium tax credit.
“We encourage taxpayers to take full advantage of the expanding array of tools and information on IRS.gov to make their tax preparation easier,” Koskinen said.
Although the IRS begins accepting returns on Jan. 19, many tax software companies will begin accepting tax returns earlier in January and submitting them to the IRS when processing systems open.

Choosing e-file and direct deposit for refunds remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund. The IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Find free options to get tax help, and to prepare and file your return on IRS.gov or in your community if you qualify. Go to IRS.gov and click on the Filing tab to see your options.

Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. Commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $62,000 or less;

Online fillable forms provides electronic versions of IRS paper forms to all taxpayers regardless of income that can be prepared and filed by people comfortable with completing their own returns.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offer free tax help to people who qualify. Go to irs.gov and enter “free tax prep” in the search box to learn more and find a VITA or TCE site near you, or download the IRS2Go app on your smart phone and find a free tax prep provider. 
The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can provide helpful information and advice about the ever-changing tax code. Tips for choosing a return preparer and details about national tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.
2016 Standard Mileage Rates for Business, Medical and Moving Announced

IR-2015-137, Dec.17, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2016 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
54 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 57.5 cents for 2015
19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 23 cents for 2015
14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
The business mileage rate decreased 3.5 cents per mile and the medical, and moving expense rates decrease 4 cents per mile from the 2015 rates. The charitable rate is based on statute.
The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.
Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.
A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.
These and other requirements for a taxpayer to use a standard mileage rate to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51. Notice 2016-01 contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.
LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE 
Press Releases

State tax changes take effect Friday, April 1, 2016

March 30, 2016

BATON ROUGE – Numerous changes to Louisiana’s tax laws, passed this year during a special session of the Louisiana Legislature, take effect on Friday, April 1.

Taxes affected by the changes include the state sales tax. Acts 25 and 26 of the 2016 First Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature remove or restrict certain exemptions from the 4 percent state sales tax, make certain new transactions taxable, and add a penny of sales tax to certain taxable transactions.

Beginning April 1, 2016:

A new one-cent sales and use tax takes effect, increasing the state sales tax from four cents to five cents; the extra penny remains in effect until June 30, 2018, in most cases, but expires on July 1, 2016, for manufacturing equipment and machinery.  Most current exemptions and exclusions on the 4 percent state sales tax are eliminated; all exclusions will be restored by July 1, 2018.

An automobile rental tax, which had expired, is reinstated on gross proceeds at the rate of 2.5 percent (state) and 0.5 percent (local)

A hotel tax, with revenue flowing to local governments, is expanded to include residential locations such as houses, apartments and condominiums

Sales made in Louisiana by dealers outside the state (such as over the Internet) are subject to the collection and remittance of sales and use tax

The excise tax on cigarettes increases to $1.08

The excise tax on alcoholic beverages increases to:

Liquor - $0.80 per liter

Sparkling wine - $0.55 per liter

Still wines with 14-24 percent alcoholic volume - $0.35 per liter

Still wines with more than 24 percent alcoholic volume - $0.55 per liter

Malt beverages - $12.50 per barrel

Low alcoholic content beverages - $12.50 per barrel

A discount for accurately reporting and remitting excise taxes on certain tobacco products is reduced from 6 to 5 percent

A discount for accurately reporting and remitting excises taxes on alcoholic beverages and beer is reduced from 2 percent to 1.5 percent for low-content beverages; and from 3.3 percent to 2.5 percent for high-content beverages

Membership fees or dues paid to a nonprofit, civic organization which provides access to clubs or the privilege of having access to amusement, entertainment, athletic, or recreational facilities are subject to state sales tax.  

Visit www.rev.state.la.us for more information