2017 Tax Filing Season Reminders

As the peak of the 2017 tax filing season approaches, the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) would like to remind District residents of the services available to file their individual income tax returns.

Tax Forms and Free Tax Prep Assistance

A number of tax forms, instructions, and other related materials are available online via OTR’s website.  Tax forms and booklets can also be picked at the Customer Service Walk-in Center located at 1101 4th Street, SW, Suite W270 Washington, DC 20024 from 8:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additionally, for this tax filing season, customer service specialists will prepare District of Columbia individual income tax returns for free at the Customer Service Walk-in Center. No appointment necessary.

Please bring copies of the following:

  • Completed federal tax return
  • Applicable schedules
  • W-2s or statements showing DC withholdings

E-Filing Recommended

OTR strongly recommends that taxpayers and tax preparers file their District of Columbia tax returns electronically. E-filing is faster, helps to minimize errors, and provides filers with an electronic filing acknowledgement.

OTR offers the following electronic filing methods:

  • Free File: A service that allows taxpayers to choose from a number of free tax prep software options
  • Fillable Form: An online version of the D-40/D-40EZ form and schedules that allows taxpayers to fill in their tax information, e-sign, and e-file their return.

Click here to begin e-filing the District of Columbia individual income tax return.

 Check Refund Status

Taxpayers can check the status of their refund via OTR’s tax portal, MyTax.DC.gov by using the “Where’s My Refund” tool on the homepage. This feature is available 24/7 and will provide an instant update on refund statuses.

Filing Deadline Reminder

As a reminder, the deadline to file the District of Columbia individual income tax return is Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

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Attorney General Racine’s “Seven Scams to Avoid” for the 2017 Tax Season

Note: Today, the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia wrote the following press release informing District residents of the scams to avoid for the 2017 tax season.

Attorney General Racine Reminds Residents of ‘Seven Scams to Avoid’ this Tax Season

As IRS and District Income Tax Filing Deadlines Approach, AG Shares Tips with Residents

WASHINGTON, D. C. – With the filing season for District and federal income tax returns underway, Attorney General Karl A. Racine today cautioned District residents to be on the lookout for fraudulent schemes common during tax season. In particular, he singled out “Seven Scams to Avoid” for the 2017 tax season.

“Our office works year-round to protect hard-working consumers from being scammed, but we increase our efforts during tax season because con artists prey on taxpayers who are sharing important financial information,” said Attorney General Racine. “The best way to avoid these scams is to know the warning signs, which is why we are alerting District residents to seven common tax-season scams.”

If you believe you have been a victim of one of the below tax-season scams, please call our Consumer Protection Hotline at (202) 442-9828 or send an e-mail to consumer.protection@dc.gov. You can also learn ways to practical tips to protect yourself from identity theft, phone scams, charity scams, and more by visiting our Office of Consumer protection at oag.dc.gov/ConsumerProtection.

 Attorney General Racine’s “Seven Scams to Avoid” for the 2017 Tax Season

  • Phone Fraud: Taxpayers may receive aggressive and threatening telephone calls from criminals posing as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents. The calls often threaten prosecution if the taxpayer does not immediately pay a fine, which can total thousands of dollars. These callers also threaten arrest, deportation, the revocation of licenses, and other negative consequences as a result of purported tax debts. In most cases, if a taxpayer owes back taxes, the IRS does not first contact the taxpayer by phone; rather the IRS will usually first contact those who owe taxes via mail. The IRS also does not demand immediate payment, cash payments, or ask for credit-card or debit-card numbers over the phone. If you think you owe federal taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to confirm. Visit the IRS website for more information about phone fraud.
  • Phishing: Phishing is the practice of using imposter emails or websites to steal personal information. The IRS generally does not first make contact with taxpayers through emails, text messages, or social-media outlets. Consumers should not click on any links in electronic messages claiming to be from the IRS if the message arrived without warning. If you receive a suspicious email or other electronic message claiming to be from the IRS, report it to phishing@irs.gov. Visit the IRS website for more information about phishing.
  • Identity Theft: Taxpayers should always be vigilant about identity theft, but particularly during tax season. Criminals sometimes file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number in order to claim their refunds. Visit the Office of the Attorney General’s website or the FTC website for more information about identity theft.
  • Return Preparer Fraud: While the vast majority of tax professionals provide honest tax-preparation services, some dishonest preparers set up shop during tax-filing season to perpetrate refund fraud—including identity theft and other schemes that defraud taxpayers. Return preparers are a vital part of the U.S. tax system. Legitimate preparers of federal returns should have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Anyone with a valid 2017 PTIN is authorized to prepare federal tax returns. Visit the IRS website for more information about return preparer fraud.
  • Inflated Refund Claims: Taxpayers should be wary of any tax preparer who promises outlandishly large refunds. Taxpayers should also avoid any preparer who asks them to sign a blank return, promises a large refund before examining their tax records, or who charges fees based on a percentage of the refund. These kinds of fraudsters often attract victims using flyers, advertisements, phony storefronts, and word-of-mouth via community and religious groups. Visit the IRS website for more information about inflated refund claims.
  • Fake Charities: Taxpayers should always be vigilant to avoid organizations masquerading as legitimate charities to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors, but particularly during tax season. Claiming donations to illegitimate charities on a tax refund can lead to serious negative consequences for taxpayers. Before donating to a new charity, take a few extra minutes to check whether it is legitimate. Be wary of charities with names very similar to well-known national organizations; some fake charities use names or websites that intentionally imitate those of legitimate groups. Learn more about charity scams at the Office of the Attorney General website and research a charity online at the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance: www.bbb.org/charity/. The IRS website also allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible at https://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Search-for-Charities.
  • W-2 Phishing Scam: Just like individual taxpayers, District businesses need to be on the lookout for tax-season scams. The W-2 phishing scam uses an imposter email address and the name of a corporate officer to request W-2 information from a company’s payroll or human resources department. This phishing scam often requests the information with urgency, collecting an employee’s name, date of birth, social security number, and salary details. If a payroll or human resources employee receives an unusual request from an executive requesting this information, confirm the validity of the email. Visit the IRS website for more information about the W-2 phishing scam.
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OTR Revokes Sales Tax Certificate of Fast Gourmet

Yesterday, the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) revoked the sales and use tax certificate of urban eatery Fast Gourmet located at 1400 W Street, NW. Failure to pay an obligation amounting to more than $330,000 of sales tax collected from patrons and withholding tax collected from employees has cost Fast Gourmet ownership, DC Gourmet LLC, its ability to conduct lawful transactions in the District.

fast-gourmetOTR made numerous attempts to collect the outstanding taxes from DC Gourmet LLC without success. After the owners breached multiple payment arrangements and failed to respond to consequent collection notices, OTR was forced to revoke their sales tax certificate.

This action is part of an ongoing investigation of businesses that are not remitting sales and/or withholding taxes collected. Additional enforcement measures such as liens, seizures, bank levies, and further tax certificate revocations will be taken against businesses that fail to comply with the tax laws of the District of Columbia.

OTR urges businesses that are not in compliance to immediately pay any liability due or to contact the Collection Division at (202) 724-5045 to arrange a payment plan.

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2018 DC Property Assessments Reflect Steady Real Estate Market

(Washington, DC) — The Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) announced that it has begun to mail Tax Year 2018 assessment notices to all real property owners in the District of Columbia. A total of 198,956 taxable and exempt real properties have been reassessed to reflect current market values as of January 1, 2017. Property owners receiving new assessment notices will not be taxed on the new assessed value until March 2018.

The District’s real estate market remains steady as the average increase in residential properties was 5.52 percent. The commercial market also shows value increases of 3.28 percent.

The 2018 Real Property Assessment Notice contains the proposed assessed value for a property, the estimated taxable assessment, and important information related to property tax relief programs such as the homestead deduction and senior citizen tax relief. Additionally, the notice includes the assigned appraiser’s contact information for taxpayers who wish to discuss their assessment.

District property owners who believe their proposed 2018 assessment does not reflect the market value of their property are encouraged to file an appeal on or before April 3, 2017. The appeal process begins when a property owner submits a First Level Appeal Application to OTR.  This year, property owners can appeal their assessment online at https://www.taxpayerservicecenter.com/Assessment_Appeal.jsp  or they can download the form at http://otr.cfo.dc.gov/page/first-level-administrative-review-application and submit to the following address:

Government of the District of Columbia
Real Property Tax Administration
Attn: Appeals Section
PO Box 71440
Washington, DC 20024
Fax: (202) 442-6796

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Tax Preparers Cautioned About New Scam Involving Tax Software

Cybercriminals Use Scheme To Access Tax Preparers’ Accounts and Steal Client Information

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, the Internal Revenue Service, tax agencies from other states, and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating software providers.

The scam email comes with the subject line, “Access Locked.” It tells recipients that access to their tax prep software accounts has been “suspended due to errors in your security details.” The scam email asks the tax professional to address the issue by using an “unlock” link provided in the email.

However, the link will take the tax professional to a fake web page where they are asked to enter their user name and password. Instead of unlocking accounts, the tax professionals actually are inadvertently providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers’ accounts and to steal client information.

The Security Summit partners, which include the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax community, remind tax professionals and taxpayers to never open a link or an attachment from a suspicious email. These scams can increase during the tax season.

Tax professionals can review additional tips to protect clients and themselves at the Security Summit’s awareness campaign, Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself, on IRS.gov.

Tax professionals who receive emails purportedly from their tax software providers suggesting their accounts have been suspended should send those scam emails to their tax software provider.  For Windows users, please follow this process to help the investigation of these scam emails:

  1. Use “Save As” to save the scam. Under “save as type” in the drop down menu, select “plain text” and save to your desk top. Do not click on any links.
  2. Open a new email and attach this saved email as a file
  3. Send your new email containing the attachment your tax software provider, as well as copy Phishing@IRS.gov.
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Enhanced Fraud Prevention Measures Could Result in Additional Processing Time for Some Tax Returns

tax_fraudThe Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) would like to remind taxpayers of its enhanced security measures that have been implemented this filing season to safeguard tax dollars and combat identify theft, as well as tax refund fraud.  These enhanced security measures may result in longer processing times for some tax returns and associated refunds. The processing window for selected tax returns could be up to 25 days.

Taxpayers can check their refund status via OTR’s tax portal, MyTax.DC.gov by clicking the “Where’s My Refund?” tab on the homepage.

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MyTax.DC.gov: How to Check the Status of Your Refund

The Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) would like to remind individual taxpayers that they can check the status of their refunds via the new tax portal, MyTax.DC.gov. OTR encourages taxpayers to use this feature to stay updated on their refund status throughout this tax filing season.

The How to Check Your Refund Status user guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to receive a refund status update on MyTax.DC.gov.

To view or download the guide, click the link below.

refund-status-image

Click to view or download the How to Check Your Refund Status User Guide

Stay tuned to this blog for more resources, features, and benefits of MyTax.DC.gov.

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