The Blog

Tax Tips for 2011 – 6 Last Minute Tax Saving Tips

This time of year, clients call for last minute tax guidance that will help them maximize their returns. While we advise our clients on a year round basis – not just at tax time – here are a few last minute tips you might find helpful. Here are a few things you can do in the next couple of days that may save you some 2011 tax dollars: 1) Make a charitable contribution. If the last minute contribution is for more than $250, it must be documented by a contemporaneous acknowledgement from the donor organization. 2) Make a contribution to an IRA, 401(k) or other retirement account. Most retirement plans actually give you up until April 15, 2012 to make a contribution as long as you designate that … Continue reading

IRS Tax Code and Money Earned Abroad – Could it Change?

Money earned abroad by American corporations is free from U.S. taxes until it is returned to the United States. However, once these foreign earnings are repatriated, they are taxed at a rate of 35%. The current tax code allows multinational companies to avoid this tax, but only if they invest in certain domestic assets such as bank deposits, stocks and bonds. If the foreign earnings are reinvested into the companies themselves, they are taxed at the corporate tax rate of 35%. Currently, a group of multinational companies who have joined together to form what is called the Win America Coalition, is lobbying Congress to reduce the tax rate on earnings they bring home from overseas. This group of companies, which consists mainly of the Silicon … Continue reading

IRS Innocent Spouse Relief – A $1,200,000 Tax Settlement Success Story

Mrs. M. was referred to us by a local attorney. Her husband had recently passed away and, shortly after his death, she became aware of an outstanding IRS tax liability in the amount of an astonishing $1,200,000. Mrs. M. had had no knowledge of this tax debt before her husband’s death.  A few months later in our initial meeting with her, we learned that her personal tragedy was even worse than the death of her husband and realization of this massive IRS debt.  She informed us that she had hired a very large tax settlement firm to resolve the issue and had already paid them a whopping $25,000.  She came to us after six months, when she had no indication that the tax settlement company … Continue reading

IRS Tax Debt – Don’t Just Ignore It – Resolve Tax Debt Before the IRS Collects

Most people who have IRS debt do not find themselves in that situation due to an unwillingness to pay their fair share of taxes. It is much more common that taxpayers find themselves owing the IRS either due to a mistake on a previously filed income tax return or some unavoidable circumstance such as a lost job, a decrease in earned income or an illness. While the initial IRS debt may have been the result of an unfortunate turn of events or a simple mistake or unreported item, it has often been compounded over time by the addition further taxes, penalties and interest. It is not uncommon for penalties and interest, which are often applied retroactively when the IRS or state tax agency makes an … Continue reading

IRS Tax Tips for the Unemployed – What to Know When Money is Tight

If you are unemployed you are probably worried about many other things but there are some tax consequences and conversely some tax breaks that result from being unemployed. Here are some facts that unemployed taxpayers will need to know when filing a 2011 tax return on April 15 2012. 1. Severance packages, Accumulated sick leave, Vacation, and Holiday pay are all taxable income. It is another terrible reality of being terminated. These amounts will have taxes deducted and be declared on your W2 as income. 2. Unemployment benefits are also considered taxable income. At tax time you will have to pay taxes on this income even though it was not deducted at the time the checks were issued to you. 3. You can be proactive and ask the government to … Continue reading

If You Have Unreported Income You May Get a Letter from the IRS

Understanding The IRS “Soft Notice” Pilot Program to Encourage Income Reporting Compliance In 2007, the IRS launched a pilot program designed to decrease the tax gap by identifying unreported income. Under this pilot program, which is still in effect, IRS notices are issued to taxpayers when there is a discrepancy between the income reported on their tax returns and the income reported directly to the IRS by various financial institutions and employers. These “soft notices” do not identify specific discrepancies or calculate amounts due. They simply ask taxpayers to review their returns and to file amended returns if errors are found.  In spite of the fact that these “soft notices” do not require any specific response or action on the part of the taxpayers who receive them, … Continue reading

IRS Offer in Compromise – A Review of Eligibility Guidelines

We get a number of calls inquiring about the IRS Offer in Compromise Program. While an IRS Offer in Compromise is a very effective tax settlement option for a very well defined group of taxpayers, it is definitely not the optimum solution for anyone with an unresolved tax debt. The acceptance criteria for an Offer in Compromise are very specific, the application process is lengthy and the rejection rate can be high. Amazingly the IRS can also take up to two years from the date it receives the initial application to accept or reject an Offer in Compromise. With this timeframe in mind, it is often advantageous to enlist professional help when considering this tax settlement option. An experienced tax settlement professional will be able … Continue reading

IRS Tax Debt Who Has it? Tax Lien Statistics Give Some Clues

Feel like you are the only one with a tax debt problem? Ever wonder where in the US more people have the tax debt issues? Is this a problem of the rich or is the problem of incurring Tax Debt affecting everyone? A recent 2010-2011 analysis of tax liens from across the U.S. found that New York City, which happens to have some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the nation, was actually the country’s leading geographic area for federal tax liens. According to the data,New York City accounts for nine, or 18 percent, of the top 50 U.S. zip codes with the most liens recorded over the past 12 months ending in September. Is this a problem of the rich of New York trying to skirt … Continue reading

Research Before You Hire. Protect Yourself From Tax Settlement Scams

You may have read about some recent tax relief scams in the news.  Although there is no doubt that a competent tax professional can be a huge asset in reducing a tax bill or resolving an outstanding tax debt, taxpayers should be aware that there are tax settlement companies out there that actually compound existing tax debt issues. The bottom line is that, if advertised promises seem too good to be true, they probably are. While it is true that the IRS offers numerous tax settlement options for taxpayers who have outstanding tax liabilities, these options have specific qualifying criteria and are not granted automatically. Several tax settlement scams have made the news recently. Among them is American Tax Relief of Beverly Hills, a tax … Continue reading

Prison Inmate Scams IRS by Preparing False Tax Returns for Other Prisoners

An inmate held at Riverfront State Prison in Camden, New Jersey pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent tax returns on June 27. The inmate faces three additional years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing, which is scheduled for October. He admitted that he helped other inmates prepare and file false tax returns designed to trigger tax refunds for several tax years, to which they were not entitled. The prisoner told inmates that employment taxes were held from the wages they earned while working in the prison, and they were entitled to claim refunds. However, the prisoners were paid no more than $5 per day, from which no taxes were withheld. The fraud scheme resulted in a … Continue reading

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