Category Archives: Blog

Where Is My Refund? – It’s Quick, Easy & Secure


Get up-to-date refund information using Where’s My Refund? or the IRS2Go mobile app. Where’s My Refund? is updated no more than once every 24 hours, usually overnight. Refunds are generally issued within 21 days after we receive your tax return. You should only call if it has been longer.





When to check status…

  • Within 24 hours after we’ve received your e-filed tax return
  • 4 weeks after you mail your paper return
  • “Where’s My Refund?” is updated no more than once every 24 hours


What you need…

  • Social Security Number, or

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

  • Filing status
  • Exact refund amount



  • Get your refund status at Where’s My Refund?


USDA Announces Over $9 Million to Support Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

Grants Will Help Diversify American Agriculture


Albany, GA, February 6, 2015 – Today, Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced over $9 million in grant funds will soon be available for outreach and technical assistance to minority and veteran farmers and ranchers. This funding will enable community-based organizations, eligible higher education institutions and tribal organizations to work directly with these groups to successfully acquire, own and operate farms and ranches and to access all USDA programs and services. These funds are being provided through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the “2501 Program”.

Through the 2501 Program, outreach and technical assistance is provided to minority and veteran farmers and ranchers through partnering organizations, including 1890 Land Grant Institutions, 1994 Land Grant Institutions, other American Indian Tribal community colleges and Alaska Native cooperative colleges, Hispanic-serving and other institutions of higher education, Tribal governments and organizations, and community-based organizations.

“To stay competitive, America’s farmers and ranchers must be diverse in experience, background and skills. Every farmer and rancher has something to contribute to America’s agriculture. Community partnerships can help farmers and ranchers reach their full potential,” said Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. “As we celebrate the first anniversary of the 2014 Farm Bill, programs like these are evidence that an investment in all of America’s farmers and ranchers is an investment in our future.”

Applications for the 2501 program must be submitted through More information about the 2501 Program, including forthcoming grant notice and application deadlines is available at:

The Deputy Secretary also announced the formation of a Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center dedicated to collecting and analyzing data, developing policy recommendations, and evaluating policy concerning socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers including minorities, veterans, and Native Americans. This one-time competitive program is open to any eligible 1890 Land-Grant Institution interested in hosting the Center.

The Deputy Secretary made today’s announcement at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, which was awarded a 2501 Grant last year to conduct training, outreach, and technical assistance to minority and veteran farmers and ranchers.

Since 2010, the 2501 Program has distributed more than $66 million to 250 partners. The program is administered by the USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program and expanded assistance to include military veterans.

The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

Updated IRS Smartphone App Now Available

IRS YouTube Video: 

IRS2Go:  English

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced the release of IRS2Go 5.0, an update to the only official IRS smartphone application, compatible with both Apple and Android devices.

Download IRS2Go free of charge for Android devices from the Google Play Store or from the Apple App Store for Apple devices.  Use it to check your refund status, watch the IRS YouTube channel, find free tax preparation help, get IRS news as soon as it’s released, subscribe to filing season updates or daily tax tips, and follow the IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews, to get the latest federal tax news, including information about tax law changes and important IRS programs.

“The new version of IRS2Go provides taxpayers another way to quickly get information and help around the clock,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS is focused on providing taxpayers with convenient self-service tools like IRS2Go, but it’s important to remind taxpayers to only use official IRS products to safeguard their personal information.”

Users who have already downloaded past versions of IRS2Go should make sure to update their devices with the most current official- and completely free-version of the app by visiting the Apple App or Google Play Store.

The newest version of the free mobile app offers a number of safe and secure ways for taxpayers to access other popular tools and the most up-to-date tax information, including:

  • Refund Status. Taxpayers can check the status of their federal tax refund through IRS2Go. People simply enter their Social Security number, which will be masked and encrypted for security purposes, then select their filing status and enter the amount of their anticipated refund for their 2014 tax return.
  • Free Tax Prep Providers. The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify. This brand new tool on IRS2Go will help taxpayers find the nearest volunteer tax help site to their home by simply entering their zip code and selecting a mileage range. By clicking on the directions button within the results, the maps application on the device will load with the address, making it easy to navigate to your desired location.
  • Stay Connected. Taxpayers can interact with the IRS by following the IRS on Twitter, @IRSnews or @IRSenEspanol, watching helpful videos on YouTube, signing up for email updates, or by using the Contact Us feature.

Identity Theft a Major Concern on the IRS Annual “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams to Avoid

IRS YouTube Videos
ID Theft: IRS Efforts on Identity Theft: English | Spanish | ASL
IRS Identity Theft FAQ: First Steps for Victims:  English | ASL

IR-2015-07, Jan. 26, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued a filing season alert warning taxpayers to watch out for identity theft at tax time, one of the year’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue the criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number.

“We remain dedicated to stopping tax-related identity theft and protecting taxpayers, and we are making important progress on that front. Taxpayers still need to be extremely careful and do everything they can to avoid becoming a victim,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so. This year for the first time, the IRS will issue the individual Dirty Dozen scams the next 12 business days to raise consumer awareness.

“Scams can be sophisticated and take many forms. We urge people to protect themselves and use caution when viewing e-mails, receiving telephone calls or getting advice on tax issues,” Koskinen said. “Keep your personal information safe and secure. Taxpayers should protect their computers and only give out their Social Security numbers when absolutely necessary.”

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. While the IRS has made significant strides over the past several years to address this issue, it remains a top concern for the IRS, which is why identity theft remains on the Dirty Dozen again list this year as the IRS works to protect taxpayers and help victims.

As a result of these aggressive efforts to combat identity theft from 2011 through October 2014, the IRS has stopped 19 million suspicious returns and protected over $63 billion in fraudulent refunds.

For 2015, the IRS will continue to increase both the number and efficiency of the identity theft data models and filters that are used to identify potentially fraudulent returns. These pre-refund filters stop the vast majority of fraudulent returns. Additionally, the IRS continues to expand its partnerships with financial institutions to identity and stop fraudulent refunds.

IRS Criminal Investigation continues its robust efforts, and in Fiscal Year 2014, the IRS initiated 1,063 identity theft-related investigations. Criminal Investigation enforcement efforts resulted in 748 sentencings as compared to 438 in FY 2013, an increase of 75 percent.  Our incarceration rate rose to 87.7 percent as compared to 80.6 percent in FY 2013. The courts imposed significant jail time with the average months to serve in FY 2014 at 43 months as compared to 38 months in FY 2013 with the longest sentencing being 27 years.

Fighting identity theft is an ongoing battle as identity thieves continue to create new ways of stealing personal information and using it for their gain. Identity theft cases are among the most complex handled by the IRS. The IRS is continually reviewing processes and policies to minimize the incidence of identity theft and to help those who find themselves victimized. The IRS is working hard to streamline its internal process, but more work remains.

In an effort to help victims, the IRS has issued approximately 1.5 million Identity Protection PINs (IP PINs.) The IP PIN is a unique, six-digit number that is assigned annually to victims of identity theft with resolved cases for use when filing their federal tax return.  The IP PIN will allow these individuals to avoid delays in filing returns and receiving refunds.

This year, the IRS will continue its IP PIN pilot program that allows taxpayers who filed tax returns last year from Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia to opt into the IP PIN program. Additionally, the IRS is offering approximately 1.7 million taxpayers the opportunity to opt in to the IP PIN program in instances where the IRS has identified indications of identity theft on their accounts.

The IRS understands that identity theft is a frustrating, complex process for victims. While identity thieves steal information from sources outside the tax system, the IRS is often the first to inform a victim that identity theft has occurred. The IRS is working hard to resolve identity theft cases as quickly as possible.

The IRS offers the following tips as ways to protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft:

  • Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents that include your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • Don’t give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Give it only when required.
  • Protect your financial information.
  • Check your credit report every 12 months.
  • Review your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually.
  • Secure personal information in your home.
  • Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.
  • Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.

For more information, see the special identity theft section on, as well as IRS Fact Sheet 2015-1, IRS Combats Identity Theft and Refund Fraud on Many Fronts, and IRS Fact Sheet 2015-2, Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers and Victims.

Forms and Publications to Assist Farmers

The following IRS forms and publications relate specifically to farmers:

Form 943, Employer’s Annual Tax Return for Agricultural Employees (PDF)
This form is used to report income tax withheld and employer and employee social security and Medicare taxes on farmworkers. It’s also used to report taxes on wages of household employees in a private home on a farm operated for profit. Instructions (PDF)

Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations (PDF)
This is the income tax return required for Cooperative Associations to report income, gains, losses, deductions, credits, and to figure the income tax liability of subchapter T cooperatives. Instructions (PDF).

Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Farming (PDF)
This form is for the computation of profit (or loss) from the operation of a farm. Instructions. (PDF)

Schedule J (Form 1040), Income Averaging for Farmers and Fishermen (PDF)
This form is used to elect to figure farmers tax over the previous three years if their income is high for the current year and was low in one or more of the previous three years. Instructions (PDF).

Form 2210F, Underpayment of Estimated Tax By Farmers and Fishermen (PDF)
This form is filed as an explanation to avoid penalty for underpayment of estimated tax made by qualified farmers and fishermen.

Form 4835, Farm Rental Income and Expenses (PDF)
This form is used by a land owner (or sublessor) to report gross farm rental income based on crops or livestock shares where he/she does not materially participate in the operation or management of the farm.

Form T (Timber), Forest Activities Schedule (PDF)
This form must be attached to your income tax return if you operate, buy, lease, or sell standing timber or forest land.

Publication 51, Circular A, Agricultural Employer’s Tax Guide
Publication 51 is for employers of agricultural workers (farmworkers). It contains information you may need to comply with the laws for agricultural labor relating to social security and Medicare taxes, Federal unemployment (FUTA) tax, and withheld income.

Publication 225, Farmer’s Tax Guide
Publication 225 explains how the federal tax laws apply to farming. It contains chapters on the importance of good records, filing requirements and return forms, accounting periods and methods, farm income and expenses, and much more. Publication 225 also incorporates a section to help you understand self-employment tax.  It explains:

  • What is self-employment tax,
  • Why you pay it,
  • How you pay it,
  • Who must pay it, and
  • How to report it on your tax return.

Publication 334, Tax Guide For Small Businesses
The purpose of this publication is to provide general information about the federal tax laws that apply to small business owners who are sole proprietors and to statutory employees.

Publication 510, Excise Taxes (Including Fuel Tax Credits and Refunds)
This publication discusses the purpose for which gas and special motor fuels must be used to qualify for the credit or refund of Federal excise tax.

Publication 946, How To Depreciate Property
This publication explains how you can recover the cost of business or income-producing property through deduction for depreciation.

Financial Resources for Farmers

lousianafarmland4Financial Resources – Agriculture

Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA website provides you with direct links to many commonly used financial resources for small businesses.

SBA Summary Business Loan Data
Just click on the region you are interested in for a comprehensive monthly update of business loan information.

SBA Search Loan Detail Information
Search the SBA database for more specific business loan information.

SBA Office of Advocacy: Banking Studies – Small Business Lending in the U.S.
The Office of Advocacy uses call report and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) data to analyze the lending activity of individual reporting commercial banks in the United States.

SBIC Program Financing to Small Business
The Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) provide venture capital to small independent businesses, both new and already established.

Chicago Board of Trade
The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT®), established in 1848, is the world’s oldest derivatives (futures and futures-options) exchange. More than 3,600 CBOT® members trade 48 different futures and options products at the CBOT®. In 2007, the CBOT® merged with the Chicago Merchantile Exchange (CME)® to form the CME Group®.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was created by Congress in 1974 as an independent agency with the mandate to regulate commodity futures and option markets in the United States. The agency protects market participants against manipulation, abusive trade practices and fraud. Through effective oversight and regulation, the CFTC enables the markets to serve better their important functions in the nation’s economy–providing a mechanism for price discovery and a means of offsetting price risk.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Loan Programs
FSA offers direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loans to farmers who are temporarily unable to obtain private, commercial credit. The Agency also helps established farmers who have suffered financial setbacks from natural disasters, or whose resources are too limited to maintain profitable farming operations.

FSA Price Support
At the USDA FSA Price Support home page, you can find out about Loan Deficiency Payments, as well as a host of special programs designed specifically to suit particular commodities and situations.

FSA Conservation Programs
FSA’s Conservation Programs promote good land stewardship by providing payments and incentives to farmers and ranchers.

FSA Disaster Assistance
From drought to hail to hurricanes, weather can spell disaster for crops and livestock. FSA offers a number of programs that assist farmers and ranchers in recovering from weather-related setbacks.

FSA Commodity Operations
The Farm Service Agency Commodity Operations Office handles the acquisition, procurement, storage, and distribution of commodities, as well as management of the U.S. Warehouse Act. There you can find a wealth of information, including the latest market prices reports, purchase invitations and awards, and much more.

Patronage Dividends – Agriculture Tax Tips

photoIf you buy farm supplies through a cooperative, you may receive income from the cooperative in the form of patronage dividends. If you sell your farm products through a cooperative, you may receive either patronage dividends or a per-unit retain certificate, explained later, from the cooperative.

Form 1099-PATR

The cooperative will report the income to you on Form 1099-PATR (PDF) or a similar form and send a copy to the IRS. Form 1099-PATR may also show an alternative minimum tax adjustment that you must include if you are required to file Form 6251, Alternative Minimum Tax–Individuals (PDF). For information on the Alternative Minimum Tax, Refer to Publication 225.

Per-Unit Retain Certificates

A per-unit retain certificate is any written notice that shows the stated dollar amount of a per-unit retain allocation made to you by the cooperative. A per-unit retain allocation is an amount paid to patrons for products sold for them that is fixed without regard to the net earnings of the cooperative. These allocations can be paid in money, other property, or qualified certificates.

Per-unit Retain Certificates issued by a cooperative generally receive the same tax treatment as Patronage Dividends, discussed earlier.

Items Purchased for Resale – Agriculture Tax Tips

livestockIf you use the cash method of accounting, you can deduct the cost of livestock and other items purchased for resale in Part I of Schedule F in the year of sale. This cost includes freight charges for transporting the livestock to the farm. Ordinarily, this is the only time you can deduct the purchase price. Refer to Farm Business Expenses, Items Purchased for Resale in Publication 225.


You report on the cash method. In 2000, you buy 50 steers you will sell in 2001. You will report the sales price minus the purchase price (and any freight cost) as income in Part I of your 2001 Schedule F.

National Tobacco Growers Settlement Trust Payment – Agriculture Tax Tips

tobaccoThe National Tobacco Growers Settlement Trust (Trust) is an offshoot of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) which was signed in November 1998 to settle claims brought by a majority of the states against certain tobacco manufacturers, to recover health care costs associated with tobacco use. As a result, tobacco manufacturers agreed to pay $5.15 billion to the Trust over a 12-year period, with the first installment of $380 million being paid in 1999 to tobacco landowners, producers, and tobacco quota owners in 14 states.

Since that time, anecdotal information received by the IRS suggests that recipients of the payments may not know the correct tax treatment, i.e., that the funds are taxable income in the year constructively received.

Taxpayers may inquire regarding the federal tax treatment of their payments. For federal tax purposes, these payments are considered gross income per Internal Revenue Code Section 61. Under this Section, Gross Income is defined as, “all income from whatever source derived,” except for those items specifically excluded by the Internal Revenue Code.

Eligibility to receive payments under the Trust described above is based upon a formula developed and administered each Trust year by each state Certification entity. Under the terms of the Trust agreement, that formula may be based upon any crop year or years from 1993 forward. However, the State of Maryland (and other States may follow suit) is offering an additional incentive above the National Settlement described above. Under the State of Maryland Buyout, payments are made to eligible recipients in lieu of them growing tobacco or otherwise using their land for tobacco purposes for a 10-year period. All payments received with respect to the State of Maryland Buyout are to be treated as ordinary income (just as if the taxpayer grew and sold tobacco) if the taxpayer is an active farmer subject to self-employment tax, or rental income if the taxpayer rents out their land, as further described below.

Under Section 451 of the Internal Revenue Code and Section 1.451-1(a) of the Income Tax Regulations, taxpayers using the cash receipts and disbursements method of accounting generally include amounts in gross income for the taxable year in which funds are actually or constructively received. With respect to the National Settlement, taxpayers will receive a 1099-Misc statement in January 2002 that reflects the amount they should report on their 2001 return. Verbiage is included on Form 1099 that indicates the applicable time period with respect to payments received (From DECEMBER 29, 2000 through NOVEMBER 20, 2001) that should be included in income on 2001 returns. Those receiving funds under the Maryland Buyout also received a stuffer that detailed the proper tax treatment with respect to the Maryland payments.

The payment is reported as income on different tax forms, however, depending on specific taxpayer situations. For example, a taxpayer who raises and sells a tobacco crop would report the payment as gross income on Schedule F, “Profit or Loss From Farming,” and would be subject to applicable self-employment tax. Landowners or tobacco quota owners, who historically have leased their tobacco-related property and did not help to produce the crop, would report the settlement payments as farm rental income on Form 4835, “Farm Rental and Expenses.”

IRS Publication 225, “Farmer’s Tax Guide,” has more information on these forms and how farm income should be reported. If additional information is needed, please contact our toll free number at 1(800) 829-1040.

IRS Reminds Farmers, National Tobacco Settlement Payments are Taxable Each Year

WASHINGTON – Landowners, producers and tobacco quota owners who receive money from the National Tobacco Settlement Trust must report those payments as income each year, the Internal Revenue Service said today. See IR-2003-7, January 21, 2003 for the full text of the information release.

Fuel and Road Use Tax – Agriculture Tax Tips

greentractorYou may be eligible to claim a credit or refund of excise taxes on fuel used on a farm for farming purposes. This applies if you are the owner, tenant, or operator of a farm. You can claim only a credit for the tax on gasoline used on a farm for farming purposes. You can claim either a credit or refund for the tax on aviation fuel used on a farm for farming purposes.

What Cannot be Claimed as a Credit or Refund

You cannot claim a credit or refund for the tax for the used of dyed diesel fuel or dyed kerosene used on a farm for farming purposes.
You may claim a credit or refund for the tax on undyed diesel fuel or undyed kerosene used on a farm for farming purposes as of 10/01/2005.

Note: Fuel is used on a farm for farming purposes only if used in carrying on a trade or business of farming, on a farm in the United States, and for farming purposes.

How To Buy Diesel Fuel and Kerosene Tax Free

You buy dyed diesel fuel and dyed kerosene excise tax free. You must use them only for a nontaxable use, including use on a farm for farming purposes. If you use the dyed fuel for a taxable use, you could be subject to the excise tax and a penalty. For example, if a truck used on a farm for farming purposes is also used on the highways (even though in connection with operating the farm), tax applies to the diesel fuel used (or sold for use) in operating the truck on the highways. The fuel was used off the farm for a taxable use.

Form 2290

If you use certain vehicles on public highways, such as a truck or truck tractor, registered or required to be registered in your name, file Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return (PDF), for the following purposes:

  • To figure and pay the tax due on heavy highway vehicles (taxable gross weight 55,000 pounds or more) used during the period from July 1 to June 30
  • To claim an exemption from the tax when the vehicle is expected to be used 5,000 miles or less (7,500 for agricultural vehicles) during the period.