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Free taxes 1. Free taxes   403(b) Plan Basics Table of Contents What Is a 403(b) Plan? What Are the Benefits of Contributing to a 403(b) Plan?Excluded. Free taxes Deducted. Free taxes Who Can Participate in a 403(b) Plan?Ministers. Free taxes Who Can Set Up a 403(b) Account? How Can Contributions Be Made to My 403(b) Account? Do I Report Contributions on My Tax Return? How Much Can Be Contributed to My 403(b) Account? This chapter introduces you to 403(b) plans and accounts. Free taxes Specifically, the chapter answers the following questions. Free taxes What is a 403(b) plan? What are the benefits of contributing to a 403(b) plan? Who can participate in a 403(b) plan? Who can set up a 403(b) account? How can contributions be made to my 403(b) account? Do I report contributions on my tax return? How much can be contributed to my 403(b) account? What Is a 403(b) Plan? A 403(b) plan, also known as a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) plan, is a retirement plan for certain employees of public schools, employees of certain tax-exempt organizations, and certain ministers. Free taxes Individual accounts in a 403(b) plan can be any of the following types. Free taxes An annuity contract, which is a contract provided through an insurance company, A custodial account, which is an account invested in mutual funds, or A retirement income account set up for church employees. Free taxes Generally, retirement income accounts can invest in either annuities or mutual funds. Free taxes We use the term “403(b) account” to refer to any one of these funding arrangements throughout this publication, unless otherwise specified. Free taxes What Are the Benefits of Contributing to a 403(b) Plan?  There are three benefits to contributing to a 403(b) plan. Free taxes The first benefit is that you do not pay income tax on allowable contributions until you begin making withdrawals from the plan, usually after you retire. Free taxes Allowable contributions to a 403(b) plan are either excluded or deducted from your income. Free taxes However, if your contributions are made to a Roth contribution program, this benefit does not apply. Free taxes Instead, you pay income tax on the contributions to the plan but distributions from the plan (if certain requirements are met) are tax free. Free taxes Note. Free taxes Generally, employees must pay social security and Medicare tax on their contributions to a 403(b) plan, including those made under a salary reduction agreement. Free taxes See chapter 4, Limit on Elective Deferrals , for more information. Free taxes The second benefit is that earnings and gains on amounts in your 403(b) account are not taxed until you withdraw them. Free taxes Earnings and gains on amounts in a Roth contribution program are not taxed if your withdrawals are qualified distributions. Free taxes Otherwise, they are taxed when you withdraw them. Free taxes The third benefit is that you may be eligible to take a credit for elective deferrals contributed to your 403(b) account. Free taxes See chapter 10, Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (Saver's Credit) . Free taxes Excluded. Free taxes   If an amount is excluded from your income, it is not included in your total wages on your Form W-2. Free taxes This means that you do not report the excluded amount on your tax return. Free taxes Deducted. Free taxes   If an amount is deducted from your income, it is included with your other wages on your Form W-2. Free taxes You report this amount on your tax return, but you are allowed to subtract it when figuring the amount of income on which you must pay tax. Free taxes Who Can Participate in a 403(b) Plan? Any eligible employee can participate in a 403(b) plan. Free taxes Eligible employees. Free taxes   The following employees are eligible to participate in a 403(b) plan. Free taxes Employees of tax-exempt organizations established under section 501(c)(3). Free taxes These organizations are usually referred to as section 501(c)(3) organizations or simply 501(c)(3) organizations. Free taxes Employees of public school systems who are involved in the day-to-day operations of a school. Free taxes Employees of cooperative hospital service organizations. Free taxes Civilian faculty and staff of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Free taxes Employees of public school systems organized by Indian tribal governments. Free taxes Certain ministers (explained next). Free taxes Ministers. Free taxes   The following ministers are eligible employees for whom a 403(b) account can be established. Free taxes Ministers employed by section 501(c)(3) organizations. Free taxes Self-employed ministers. Free taxes A self-employed minister is treated as employed by a tax-exempt organization that is a qualified employer. Free taxes Ministers (chaplains) who meet both of the following requirements. Free taxes They are employed by organizations that are not section 501(c)(3) organizations. Free taxes They function as ministers in their day-to-day professional responsibilities with their employers. Free taxes   Throughout this publication, the term chaplain will be used to mean ministers described in the third category in the list above. Free taxes Example. Free taxes A minister employed as a chaplain by a state-run prison and a chaplain in the United States Armed Forces are eligible employees because their employers are not section 501(c)(3) organizations and they are employed as ministers. Free taxes Who Can Set Up a 403(b) Account? You cannot set up your own 403(b) account. Free taxes Only employers can set up 403(b) accounts. Free taxes A self-employed minister cannot set up a 403(b) account for his or her benefit. Free taxes If you are a self-employed minister, only the organization (denomination) with which you are associated can set up an account for your benefit. Free taxes How Can Contributions Be Made to My 403(b) Account? Generally, only your employer can make contributions to your 403(b) account. Free taxes However, some plans will allow you to make after-tax contributions (defined below). Free taxes The following types of contributions can be made to 403(b) accounts. Free taxes Elective deferrals . Free taxes These are contributions made under a salary reduction agreement. Free taxes This agreement allows your employer to withhold money from your paycheck to be contributed directly into a 403(b) account for your benefit. Free taxes Except for Roth contributions, you do not pay income tax on these contributions until you withdraw them from the account. Free taxes If your contributions are Roth contributions, you pay taxes on your contributions but any qualified distributions from your Roth account are tax free. Free taxes Nonelective contributions . Free taxes These are employer contributions that are not made under a salary reduction agreement. Free taxes Nonelective contributions include matching contributions, discretionary contributions, and mandatory contributions from your employer. Free taxes You do not pay income tax on these contributions until you withdraw them from the account. Free taxes After-tax contributions . Free taxes These are contributions (that are not Roth contributions) you make with funds that you must include in income on your tax return. Free taxes A salary payment on which income tax has been withheld is a source of these contributions. Free taxes If your plan allows you to make after-tax contributions, they are not excluded from income and you cannot deduct them on your tax return. Free taxes A combination of any of the three contribution types listed above. Free taxes Self-employed minister. Free taxes   If you are a self-employed minister, you are considered both an employee and an employer, and you can contribute to a retirement income account for your own benefit. Free taxes Do I Report Contributions on My Tax Return? Generally, you do not report contributions to your 403(b) account (except Roth contributions) on your tax return. Free taxes Your employer will report contributions on your 2013 Form W-2. Free taxes Elective deferrals will be shown in box 12 and the Retirement plan box will be checked in box 13. Free taxes If you are a self-employed minister or chaplain, see the discussions next. Free taxes Self-employed ministers. Free taxes   If you are a self-employed minister, you must report the total contributions as a deduction on your tax return. Free taxes Deduct your contributions on line 28 of the 2013 Form 1040. Free taxes Chaplains. Free taxes   If you are a chaplain and your employer does not exclude contributions made to your 403(b) account from your earned income, you may be able to take a deduction for those contributions on your tax return. Free taxes    However, if your employer has agreed to exclude the contributions from your earned income, you will not be allowed a deduction on your tax return. Free taxes   If you can take a deduction, include your contributions on line 36 of the 2013 Form 1040. Free taxes Enter the amount of your deduction and write “403(b)” on the dotted line next to line 36. Free taxes How Much Can Be Contributed to My 403(b) Account? There are limits on the amount of contributions that can be made to your 403(b) account each year. Free taxes If contributions made to your 403(b) account are more than these contribution limits, penalties may apply. Free taxes Chapters 2 through 6 provide information on how to determine the amount that can be contributed to your 403(b) account. Free taxes Worksheets are provided in Chapter 9 to help you determine the maximum amount that can be contributed to your 403(b) account each year. Free taxes Chapter 7, Excess Contributions , describes how to prevent excess contributions and how to get an excess contribution corrected. Free taxes Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
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Online Scams that Impersonate the IRS

Video: Phishing-Malware:  English

FS-2010-9, January 2010

WASHINGTON — Consumers should protect themselves against online identity theft and other scams that increase during and linger after the filing season. Such scams may appropriate the name, logo or other appurtenances of the IRS or U.S. Department of the Treasury to mislead taxpayers into believing that the scam is legitimate.
    
Scams involving the impersonation of the IRS usually take the form of e-mails, tweets or other online messages to consumers. Scammers may also use phones and faxes to reach intended victims. Some scammers set up phony Web sites.

The IRS and E-mail

Generally, the IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers. Further, the IRS does not discuss tax account information with taxpayers via e-mail or use e-mail to solicit sensitive financial and personal information from taxpayers. The IRS does not request financial account security information, such as PIN numbers, from taxpayers.     

Object of Scams

Most scams impersonating the IRS are identity theft schemes. In this type of scam, the scammer poses as a legitimate institution to trick consumers into revealing personal and financial information — such as passwords and Social Security, PIN, bank account and credit card numbers — that can be used to gain access to and steal their bank, credit card or other financial accounts. Attempted identity theft scams that take place via e-mail are known as phishing. Other scams may try to persuade a victim to advance sums of money in the hope of realizing a larger gain. These are known as advance fee scams. 

Who Is Targeted

Anyone with a computer, phone or fax machine could receive a scam message or unknowingly visit a phony or misleading Web site. Individuals, businesses, educators, charities and others have been targeted by e-mails that claim to come from the IRS or Treasury Department. Scam e-mails are generally sent out in bulk, based on e-mail addresses (urls), similar to spam.

How an Identity Theft Scam Works

Most of the scams that impersonate the IRS are identity theft scams. Typically, a consumer will receive an e-mail that claims to come from the IRS or Treasury Department. The message will contain an enticing or intimidating subject line, such as tax refund, inherited funds or IRS notice. Usually, the message will state that the recipient needs to provide the IRS with information to obtain the refund or avoid some penalty. The message will instruct the consumer to open an attachment or click on a link in the e-mail. This may lead to an official-looking form to be filled out online or send the taxpayer to a seemingly genuine but bogus IRS Web site. The look-alike site will then contain a phony but genuine-looking online form or interactive application that requires the personal and financial information the scammer can use to commit identity theft. 

Alternatively, the clicked link may secretly download malware to the consumer’s computer. Malware is malicious code that can take over the computer’s hard drive, giving the scammer remote access to the computer, or it could look for passwords and other information and send them to the scammer.

Phony Web or Commercial Sites

In many IRS-impersonation scams, the scammer sends the consumer to a phony Web site that mimics the appearance of the genuine IRS Web site, IRS.gov. This allows the scammer to steer victims to phony interactive forms or applications that appear genuine but require the targeted victim to enter personal and financial information that will be used to commit identity theft.  

The official Web site for the Internal Revenue Service is IRS.gov, and all IRS.gov Web page addresses begin with http://www.irs.gov/

In addition to Web sites established by scammers, there are commercial Internet sites that often resemble the authentic IRS site or contain some form of the IRS name in the address but end with a .com, .net, .org or other designation instead of .gov. These sites have no connection to the IRS. Consumers may unknowingly visit these sites when searching the Internet to retrieve tax forms, publications and other information from the IRS.

Frequent or Recent Scams

There are a number of scams that impersonate the IRS. Some of them appear with great frequency, particularly during and right after filing season, and recur annually. Others are new.   

  • Refund Scam — This is the most frequent IRS-impersonation scam seen by the IRS. In this phishing scam, a bogus e-mail claiming to come from the IRS tells the consumer that he or she is eligible to receive a tax refund for a specified amount. It may use the phrase “last annual calculations of your fiscal activity.” To claim the tax refund, the consumer must open an attachment or click on a link contained in the e-mail to access and complete a claim form. The form requires the entry of personal and financial information. Several variations on the refund scam have claimed to come from the Exempt Organizations area of the IRS or the name and signature of a genuine or made-up IRS executive. In reality, taxpayers do not complete a special form to obtain their federal tax refund — refunds are triggered by the tax return they submitted to the IRS.
  • Lottery winnings or cash consignment — These advance fee scam e-mails claim to come from the Treasury Department to notify recipients that they’ll receive millions of dollars in recovered funds or lottery winnings or cash consignment if they provide certain personal information, including phone numbers, via return e-mail. The e-mail may be just the first step in a multi-step scheme, in which the victim is later contacted by telephone or further e-mail and instructed to deposit taxes on the funds or winnings before they can receive any of it. Alternatively, they may be sent a phony check of the funds or winnings and told to deposit it but pay 10 percent in taxes or fees. Thinking that the check must have cleared the bank and is genuine, some people comply. However, the scammers, not the Treasury Department, will get the taxes or fees. In reality, the Treasury Department does not become involved in notification of inheritances or lottery or other winnings.
  • Beneficial Owner Form — This fax-based phishing scam, which generally targets foreign nationals, recurs periodically. It’s based on a genuine IRS form, the W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding. The scammer, though, invents his or her own number and name for the form. The scammer modifies the form to request passport numbers, information that is often used for account security purposes (such as mother’s maiden name) and similar detailed personal and financial information, and states that the recipient may have to pay additional tax if he or she fails to immediately fax back the completed form. In reality, the real W-8BEN is completed by banks, not individuals.

Other Known Scams

The contents of other IRS-impersonation scams vary but may claim that the recipient will be paid for participating in an online survey or is under investigation or audit. Some scam e-mails have referenced Recovery-related tax provisions, such as Making Work Pay, or solicited for charitable donations to victims of natural disasters. Taxpayers should beware of an e-mail scam that references underreported income and the recipient’s “tax statement,” since clicking on a link or opening an attachment is known to download malware onto the recipient’s computer.

How to Spot a Scam

Many e-mail scams are fairly sophisticated and hard to detect. However, there are signs to watch for, such as an e-mail that:

  •  Requests detailed or an unusual amount of personal and/or financial information, such as name, SSN, bank or credit card account numbers or security-related information, such as mother’s maiden name, either in the e-mail itself or on another site to which a link in the e-mail sends the recipient.
  • Dangles bait to get the recipient to respond to the e-mail, such as mentioning a tax refund or offering to pay the recipient to participate in an IRS survey.
  • Threatens a consequence for not responding to the e-mail, such as additional taxes or blocking access to the recipient’s funds.
  • Gets the Internal Revenue Service or other federal agency names wrong.
  • Uses incorrect grammar or odd phrasing (many of the e-mail scams originate overseas and are written by non-native English speakers).
  • Uses a really long address in any link contained in the e-mail message or one that does not start with the actual IRS Web site address (http://www.irs.gov). The actual link’s address, or url, is revealed by moving the mouse over the link included in the text of the e-mail.

What to Do

Taxpayers who receive a suspicious e-mail claiming to come from the IRS should take the following steps:

  • Avoid opening any attachments to the e-mail, in case they contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Avoid clicking on any links, for the same reason. Alternatively, the links may connect to a phony IRS Web site that appears authentic and then prompts for personal identifiers, bank or credit card account numbers or PINs.
  • Visit the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov, to use the “Where’s My Refund?” interactive tool to determine if they are really getting a refund, rather than responding to the e-mail message.
  • Forward the suspicious e-mail or url address to the IRS mailbox phishing@irs.gov, then delete the e-mail from their inbox.

Consumers who believe they are or may be victims of identity theft or other scams may visit the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Web site for identity theft, www.OnGuardOnline.gov, for guidance in what to do. The IRS is one of the sponsors of this site.

More information on IRS-impersonation scams, identity theft and suspicious e-mail is available on IRS.gov.

 

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 08-Jan-2014

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Free taxes Publication 584 - Introductory Material Table of Contents What's New Introduction How To Use This Workbook What's New Future developments. Free taxes  The IRS has created a page on IRS. Free taxes gov for information about Publication 584, at www. Free taxes irs. Free taxes gov/pub584. Free taxes Information about any future developments affecting Publication 584 (such as legislation enacted after we release it) will be posted on that page. Free taxes Introduction This workbook is designed to help you figure your loss on personal-use property in the event of a disaster, casualty, or theft. Free taxes It contains schedules to help you figure the loss to your main home, its contents, and your motor vehicles. Free taxes However, these schedules are for your information only. Free taxes You must complete Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts, to report your loss. Free taxes How To Use This Workbook You can use this workbook by following these five steps. Free taxes Read Publication 547 to learn about the tax rules for casualties, disasters, and thefts. Free taxes Know the definitions of cost or other basis and fair market value, discussed later. Free taxes Fill out Schedules 1 through 20. Free taxes Read the instructions for Form 4684. Free taxes Fill out Form 4684 using the information you entered in Schedules 1 through 20. Free taxes Use the chart below to find out how to use Schedules 1 through 19 to fill out Form 4684. Free taxes Take what's in each row of. Free taxes . Free taxes . Free taxes And enter it on Form 4684. Free taxes . Free taxes . Free taxes Column 1 Line 1 Column 2 Line 2 Column 3 Line 3 Column 4 Line 4 Column 5 Line 5 Column 6 Line 6 Column 7 Line 7 Column 8 Line 8 Column 9 Line 9 Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications