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UN Income Tax Unit and Tri-State Area State Tax Departments
This IRS.gov website provides many informative links, including the following:
Learn about how the new law may affect your filing requirements.
IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
If you earn $55,000 or less you may qualify for free tax help.
Taxpayer Assistance Centers
Visit us for a face-to-face help or call 844-545-5640 to make an appointment.
IRS Services Guide
A listing of IRS services.
Let us help you
Additional resources where you can get answers for various tax questions.
Seniors & Retirees
Current Tax Tips
Ten things for taxpayers to think about when choosing a tax preparer (Tax Tip 2019-06, February 7, 2019)
Where’s My Refund? tool lets taxpayers check status of their refund (Tax Tip 2019-05, February 6, 2019)
Individuals can find answers to their questions about tax reform on IRS.gov (Tax Reform Tax Tip 2019-04, February 5, 2019)
Tax Reform Provisions that Affect Individuals
This IRS.gov website page advises that “As the IRS implements this major tax legislation, check this page for updates and resources to learn how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) affects individual taxpayers.” It includes the following categories: Withholding, Credits, Deductions, U.S. Armed Forces Members, Savings Plans and Other Information. Extracts from Deductions and Other Information are presented below for your convenience.
> Personal Exemption Deduction Eliminated
Personal exemption deductions for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents have been eliminated beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026.
> Standard Deduction Amount Increased
For 2018, the standard deduction amount has nearly doubled for all filers.
> Itemized Deductions
Deduction for personal casualty and theft losses suspended (unless incurred in federally-declared disaster area).
Limitations to the deduction for state and local taxes.
Limitations to the deduction for home mortgage interest in certain cases.
Eliminating most miscellaneous itemized deductions such as:
- Deductions for employee business expenses
- Tax preparation fees
- Investment expenses, including investment management fees
- Employment related educational expenses
- Job search expenses
- Hobby losses
- Safe deposit box fees
- Investment expenses from pass-through entities
Eliminated the limitation on itemized deductions for certain high-income taxpayers.
- News Releases: IR-2017-210, IR-2018-32, IR-2018-122, IR-2018-127, IR-2018-222, IR-2018-230
- Notice 2018-63
> SALT – State and Local Income Tax
The deductibility of state and local tax payments for federal income tax purposes is now limited to $10,000 a calendar year.
A taxpayer who makes payments or transfers property to an entity eligible to receive tax deductible contributions must reduce their charitable deduction by the amount of any state or local tax credit the taxpayer receives or expects to receive.
- News Releases: IR-2017-210, IR-2018-122, IR-2018-172, IR-2018-178
- SALT FAQ
- Notice 2018-54
> Depreciation and Expensing
Some laws regarding depreciation deductions have changed. A taxpayer may elect to expense the cost of any section 179 property and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service. The new law increased the maximum deduction from $500,000 to $1 million. It also increased the phase-out threshold from $2 million to $2.5 million.
Alimony and separate maintenance payments are no longer deductible for any agreement executed or modified after December 31, 2018.
> Due Diligence for Tax Preparers
IRS has issued final regulations expanding the long-standing paid preparer due diligence requirement to include individual income tax returns claiming the head of household filing status.
> Inflation Adjustments for Tax Year 2018
The tax year 2018 annual inflation adjustments have been updated to reflect changes from the TCJA.
> Tax on International Holdings
The TCJA made several changes to the way income from foreign holdings are taxed. See International Taxpayers and Businesses for more information.
> Estate and Gift Tax
The TCJA temporarily increased the basic exclusion amount from $5 million to $10 million for tax years 2018 through 2025, with both dollar amounts adjusted for inflation.
Am I liable for taxes on my monthly benefit?
Each country determines, based on its own relevant national tax legislation and policies, whether and to what extent UNJSPF pensions are subject to national taxation. The UNJSPF makes no tax reimbursements to its beneficiaries under any circumstances. Any reimbursement of national income taxes that may be payable on certain UNJSPF benefits is done by the former employing organization.
What do I do if I need a certificate from the UNJSPF for the tax authorities in my country of residence?
You should write and request a certificate of benefits paid for the tax year in question. Once you have requested that certificate the UNJSPF will automatically send you the required information each year, usually one month following the end of the relevant fiscal year.
How do I calculate the amount of my own contributions? And those of my former employing organization?
Information on your own contributions and those of your former employing organization (i.e. at twice the total of your contributions) is provided to you in the benefit entitlement letter that is sent to you as soon as your first benefit payment has been processed. It is important that you keep that letter and the information that it contains. If you should misplace the letter, you may request a copy of the letter to be sent to you.
Can the UNJSPF help me calculate my taxes?
The UNJSPF does not maintain official information on national tax legislation since beneficiaries reside in over 180 countries. Therefore, for authoritative advice on tax issues, you should consult your local tax authority or an attorney or accountant who specializes in such matters. Furthermore, a local association of the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants (FAFICS) may also be able to assist you. The list of the Associations is presented in the latest UNJSPF annual letter that can be obtained from our website.
< AFICS/NY's RESOURCES page for available lists of accountants and attorneys. >
UNJSPF is a “qualified” employees’ trust under IRC section 401(a). A copy of the most recent IRS determination letter in which this is recognized (dated 28 April 1977 and bearing the symbol E:EO:7103:O.Resnick) is set out in the annex to the present guide.
As a qualified trust, UNJSPF benefits are taxed by the United States in the same way as those of any other such trust – with the single exception that for a non-resident alien these benefits are considered to be from a non-United States source and thus not subject to United States taxation (see para. 8 (b) above). In securing advice or assistance from any lawyer, accountant, tax service or IRS agent, it should be made clear that UNJSPF is “qualified” and that there are no special exemptions or immunities relating to the taxation of the benefits it pays to United States citizens or resident aliens.
The general principle by which benefits from qualified pension plans are taxed is that the participant, or his or her beneficiaries, are entitled to recover tax-free the participant’s own “investment” in the pension, which generally speaking amounts to his or her own actual contributions to the plan, while any benefits in excess of that investment are subject to taxation (at regular or capital gains rates). The portion of each benefit payment that is subject to tax depends on how that “investment” is calculated and how it is allocated to each benefit payment; an indication of how this is done is given in parts C-H below, and in section VIII, examples A-D, F and I. It should, however, be noted that the taxable portion of the benefit is not merely the sum of the employing organization’s contributions plus the interest credited thereon and on the participant’s contributions; rather, it is, in the first instance, the difference between the total actuarial value of all elements of the pension (called the “expected return” by IRS and calculated according to IRS rules rather than the UNJSPF tables) and the participant’s investment and ultimately the difference between the total amount of all payments received from UNJSPF and the participant’s investment.
IRS annually issues its publications No. 575, entitled “Pension and Annuity Income (Including Simplified General Rule)”, and No. 939, entitled “Pension General Rule (Nonsimplified Method)”, which contain full descriptions of the taxation of pensions, particularly those paid by qualified plans, as well as numerous actuarial tables required to make the necessary calculations. (Briefer descriptions appear in publication No. 17, entitled “Your Federal Income Tax”, as well as in the instructions for completing line 17 on form 1040 (for 1993).) The remainder of the present section III of the guide refers as far as possible to those official documents, to which retirees and other beneficiaries should turn for additional explanations, detailed instructions and further illustrative examples. An attempt has been made to indicate how various features and provisions of UNJSPF relate to the descriptions and definitions in the IRS instructions.
The calculations described below only determine what portion of each UNJSPF benefit is tax-exempt and how much is taxable and, if so, on what basis (i.e., at regular rates, or as a long-term capital gain, or subject to income-averaging rules). The actual amount of the tax payable will depend on the taxpayer’s gross taxable income (which also includes any other taxable income) and on the exemptions, deductions and tax credits available.
UNJSPF website, June 2018
More IRS.gov Information
Consumer Alerts on Tax Scams
Note that the IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Tax Relief in Disaster Situations
The IRS extended deadlines that apply to filing returns, paying taxes, and performing certain other time-sensitive acts for certain taxpayers affected by Hurricane Florence. The federally declared disaster areas include hurricane victims in certain counties in North Carolina and South Carolina. The extension applies to deadlines - either an original or extended due date - that occurred on or after Sept. 7, 2018 and before Jan. 31, 2019.
The IRS often updates its information on disaster relief efforts. For the latest news, check the See the IRS disaster relief page frequently.
Is it Really the IRS Calling?
The IRS wants you to understand how and when we contact taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee.
The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.
See Avoid scams: Know the facts on how the IRS contacts taxpayers for more information.
Private Debt Collection
The IRS began a new private collection program of certain overdue federal tax debts selecting four contractors to implement it. The groups are: CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Conserve of Fairport, N.Y.; Performant of Livermore, Calif.; and Pioneer of Horseheads, N.Y. The taxpayer’s account will only be assigned to one of these agencies, never to all four. No other private group is authorized to represent the IRS.
The IRS will always notify a taxpayer before transferring their account to a private collection agency (PCA). The IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer and their tax representative informing them that their account is being assigned to a PCA and giving the name and contact information for the PCA. This mailing will include a copy of Publication 4518, What You Can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Collection Agency.
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
FATCA refers to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act that requires reporting on specified foreign accounts by U.S. taxpayers and foreign financial institutions. In general, federal law requires U.S. citizens to report worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts.