Spark Notes

News & Updates from Spark Financial Services - April 2017

A Word From Our Founder & CEO, Monique Bowens

Hello clients, family & friends!

We are full swing into Spring and the weather has been amazing! (Aside from the allergies going around town.) Ugh. In more uplifting news, can you believe its APRIL? 2017 is flying by! This tax season has been busy but rewarding because I get to do what I love and help others. Whether its solving an issue with the IRS, helping them to better understand the new tax code, or even providing estimates to my potential clients. I enjoy it ALL. Thanks for being so supportive and trusting me with the referral of your family and friends! You guys are keeping me B.U.S.Y. and I'm grateful to have clients as wonderful as yourself. As always, if you have any questions about anything, feel free to shoot me an email at I will respond within 48 hours.

All the best,


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Need more time to get your taxes filed?

NO PROBLEM! Spark Tax Prep offers FREE federal filing extensions. Submitting Form 4868 automatically gives taxpayers an additional 6 months to file, making the new filing deadline October 16, 2017.


If you owe, the IRS, penalties and interest will be due following the April 18th deadline.

Just a little tax season humor!

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2017 Tax Updates & Information

The IRS took my money!

Tax Refund Offsets Pay Unpaid Debts

Many people are excited about tax season because they're expecting a nice refund - maybe to pay off debt, splurge a bit or SAVE. However, many taxpayers are ufortunate and have past due debts like taxes owed, or other federal and state debts being collected through the The Treasury Offset Program. Here are some facts to know about tax refund offsets.

1. Offsets to Pay Certain Debts. The BFS (Bureau of the Fiscal Service) may also use part or all of your tax refund to pay certain other debts such as:

  • Federal tax debts.
  • Federal agency debts like a delinquent student loan.
  • State income tax obligations.
  • Past-due child and spousal support.
  • Certain unemployment compensation debts owed to a state.

2. Notify by Mail. The BFS will mail you a notice if it offsets any part of your refund to pay your debt. This notice usually comes AFTER you realize your tax refund has been intercepted. The notice will list the original refund and offset amount. It will also include the agency that received the offset payment and their contact information.

3. Injured Spouse Allocation. If your spouse has any of the debts listed above and you are not LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE to repay the debt, you can claim injured spouse on a married filing joint return and only a portion of the refund will be taken as an offset. To get your part of the refund, your preparer (or yourself) must file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation.

4.Be Prepared. You can call the BFS Treasury Offset program BEFORE you file your taxes to see if there is a claim for an offset flagged on your social security number. The number is 1-800-304-3107. The system is automated and you dont have to speak with anyone.

Were you unemployed during 2016?

2016 was a rough year. The economy was working to rebound but the job market was T-O-U-G-H! If you were unemployed and received unemployment compensation, it is taxable income. Be on the lookout for a 1099-G from the Workforce Commission for your state. You will have to claim (and pay taxes) on this income.


Time Running Out to Claim $1 Billion in Tax Refunds from 2013

Taxpayers who did not file a tax return for 2013 may be one of the nearly 1 million, YES, ONE MILLION people who may be due a refund from that year. Taxpayers must claim their part of almost $1 billion by this year’s April 18 tax deadline. To claim a refund, taxpayers must file a 2013 federal income tax return. Here are some facts about unclaimed refunds:

  • The law generally provides a three-year window to claim a tax refund. For 2013 returns, the window closes on April 18, 2017.
  • After three years, unclaimed refunds become property of the U.S. Treasury. There is no penalty for filing a late return if taxpayers are due a refund. <----------- ARE YOU VOLUNTARILY GIVING MONEY TO THE IRS?
  • The unclaimed refunds apply to people who did not file a federal income tax return for 2013. The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds are more than $763.
  • Some people, such as students and part-time workers, may not have filed because they had too little income to require them to file a tax return.
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