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TaxMama’s TaxQuips Highlights of Trump Tax Plan

2016-11-09 by Eva Rosenberg

Today TaxMama® wants to give you an advance peek on what you can expect from a Donald Trump tax plan, coming to a Congress near you!

To read the details, please drop by here:
TaxMama.com

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He Who Hesitates is Lost - or - Expired Refunds

2016-08-09 by Eva Rosenberg

busy Today TaxMama® hears from several people in the TaxQuips Forum with questions about expired refunds. Let me summarize. “I faced a hardship and didn’t file tax returns for several years. Now, I learn that I cannot get my refunds for all those years. Can you help?”

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Dear Friends and Family,

My answers to Dustin and to DParker don’t bring much hope.

They do have heartbreaking stories. And I truly wish I had a solution.

But here’s the problem. Even the IRS doesn’t have discretionary control over this matter. These r[s3audio s3url=”http://taxmama.audioacrobat.com/download/taxmama-Expired_Refunds.mp3” /]efunds that have expired, due to the statute of limitations, are controlled by laws passed by Congress – they folks you vote for. You need to get in touch with your legislators to get them to make the law more sympathetic.

The tax code doesn’t provide a way to get those refunds from closed years. When we talk about a ” statute of limitations,” the word “statute” means LAW – in this case IRC 6511.

For future reference, please don’t put off filing your tax returns – no matter how sick or depressed you are. Family and friends, please keep an eye on those you love and help file their tax returns. They don’t need to be totally accurate. If some information is frustratingly elusive – make good estimates and attached a statement to the tax return that this has been done. After all, you have three years to correct the tax return. In the meantime, you save the refund for that year – which would otherwise be lost forever.

What can you do if it IS lost? There IS one thing I would try. You have nothing to lose.
Contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service and see if there is any way they can help you. Sometimes, in extreme situations, they can pull a rabbit out of a hat. And their service is free. I truly wish you-all luck!

To see the rest of this discussion, please drop into the TaxQuips Forum.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about unfiled tax returns and other tax and business issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.

[Note: If you were subscribed to the e-mailed version of TaxQuips, you’d be getting other exciting news and tips by e-mail, that never appear on the site. Please click on the join TaxMama.com link – it’s free!]

Please post all Comments and Replies in the new TaxQuips Forum

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Wasted Refunds

2016-04-04 by Eva Rosenberg


stevepb / Pixabay

Today TaxMama® wants to bring wasted refunds to your attention. The IRS keeps sending out announcements that refunds are expiring. People keep ignoring those announcements, thinking that this doesn’t apply to them.

tmreplies
Last week’s TaxWatch column at MarketWatch.com tells some stories of people who lost their refunds because…shrug, I just can’t be bothered to file right now.
Please – read that column and pass it on to your friends or family members who aren’t filing.

Let me tell you another story – about someone making close to minimum wage, who also just didn’t bother. One day, this fellow got disabled. He wasn’t in a position to collect either disability or unemployment (OK…through sheer stupidity.) But we were able to persuade him to catch up on his previously un-filed returns (there were at least 7 years unfiled). For the years that were still open, we were able to get him quick refunds of over $3000 . But…for the other years…all gone. And let me tell you, when you are unemployed, sick and have no income coming in, that lost $4000 can make a big difference! It took another 2-3 years before he was able to resolve his medical issues and start getting SSI and VA help. (Don’t ask.)

Every tax professional I know has more stories. So do I…like the doctor living in his car with his two children; or the dementia victim whose bank moved and he couldn’t pay his mortgage or file his taxes, or…folks who will break your heart.

Please, don’t be one of those statistics. Please, FILE YOUR UNFILED RETURNS! Or help someone you love catch up.

Remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about tax refunds and other tax and business issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.

And Remember, if YOU have questions, please post them into the TaxQuips Forum – just click on Ask A Question. (Family members – use this.)

[Note: If you were subscribed to the e-mailed version of TaxQuips, you’d be getting other exciting news and tips by e-mail, that never appear on the site. Please click on the join TaxMama.com link – it’s free!]

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Protect Yourself from the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

2013-03-29 by

The IRS’s annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ list includes common tax scams that often peak during the tax filing season. The IRS recommends that taxpayers be aware so they can protect themselves against claims that sound too good to be true. Taxpayers who buy into illegal tax scams can end up facing significant penalties and interest and even criminal prosecution.

The tax scams that made the Dirty Dozen list this filing season are:

Identity Theft. Tax fraud through the use of identity theft tops this year’s Dirty Dozen list. Combating identity theft and refund fraud is a top priority for the IRS. The IRS’s ID theft strategy focuses on prevention, detection and victim assistance. During 2012, the IRS protected $20 billion of fraudulent refunds, including those related to identity theft. This compares to $14 billion in 2011. Taxpayers who believe they are at risk of identity theft due to lost or stolen personal information should immediately contact the IRS so the agency can take action to secure their tax account. If you have received a notice from the IRS, call the phone number on the notice. You may also call the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. Find more information on the identity protection page on IRS.gov.

Phishing. Phishing typically involves an unsolicited email or a fake website that seems legitimate but lures victims into providing personal and financial information. Once scammers obtain that information, they can commit identity theft or financial theft. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS, send it to phishing@irs.gov.

Return Preparer Fraud. Although most return preparers are reputable and provide good service, you should choose carefully when hiring someone to prepare your tax return. Only use a preparer who signs the return they prepare for you and enters their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). For tips about choosing a preparer, visit www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro.

Hiding Income Offshore. One form of tax evasion is hiding income in offshore accounts. This includes using debit cards, credit cards or wire transfers to access those funds. While there are legitimate reasons for maintaining financial accounts abroad, there are reporting requirements taxpayers need to fulfill. Failing to comply can lead to penalties or criminal prosecution. Visit IRS.gov for more information on the Voluntary Disclosure Program.
“Free Money” from the IRS & Tax Scams Involving Social Security. Beware of scammers who prey on people with low income, the elderly and church members around the country. Scammers use flyers and ads with bogus promises of refunds that don’t exist. The schemes target people who have little or no income and normally don’t have to file a tax return. In some cases, a victim may be due a legitimate tax credit or refund but scammers fraudulently inflate income or use other false information to file a return to obtain a larger refund. By the time people find out the IRS has rejected their claim, the promoters are long gone.

Impersonation of Charitable Organizations. Following major disasters, it’s common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or personal information from well-intentioned people. They may even directly contact disaster victims and claim to be working for or on behalf of the IRS to help the victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds. Taxpayers need to be sure they donate to recognized charities.

False/Inflated Income and Expenses. Falsely claiming income you did not earn or expenses you did not pay in order to get larger refundable tax credits is tax fraud. This includes false claims for the Earned Income Tax Credit. In many cases the taxpayer ends up repaying the refund, including penalties and interest. In some cases the taxpayer faces criminal prosecution. In one particular scam, taxpayers file excessive claims for the fuel tax credit. Fraud involving the fuel tax credit is a frivolous claim and can result in a penalty of $5,000.

False Form 1099 Refund Claims. In this scam, the perpetrator files a fake information return, such as a Form 1099-OID, to justify a false refund claim.

Frivolous Arguments. Promoters of frivolous schemes advise taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims to avoid paying the taxes they owe. These are false arguments that the courts have consistently thrown out. While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in court, no one has the right to disobey the law.

Falsely Claiming Zero Wages. Filing a phony information return is an illegal way to lower the amount of taxes an individual owes. Typically, scammers use a Form 4852 (Substitute Form W-2) or a “corrected” Form 1099 to improperly reduce taxable income to zero. Filing this type of return can result in a $5,000 penalty.

Disguised Corporate Ownership. Scammers improperly use third parties form corporations that hide the true ownership of the business. They help dishonest individuals underreport income, claim fake deductions and avoid filing tax returns. They also facilitate money laundering and other financial crimes.

Misuse of Trusts. There are legitimate uses of trusts in tax and estate planning. But some questionable transactions promise to reduce the amount of income that is subject to tax, offer deductions for personal expenses and reduced estate or gift taxes. Such trusts rarely deliver the promised tax benefits. They primarily help avoid taxes and hide assets from creditors, including the IRS.

For more on the Dirty Dozen, see IRS news release IR-2013-33.

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Don’t Miss the Health Insurance Deduction if You’re Self-Employed

2013-03-29 by

Courtesy of the IRS

If you are self-employed, the IRS wants you to know about a tax deduction generally available to people who are self-employed.

The deduction is for medical, dental or long-term care insurance premiums that self-employed people often pay for themselves, their spouse and their dependents. The insurance can also cover your child who was under age 27 at the end of 2012, even if the child was not your dependent.

You may be able to take this deduction if one of the following applies to you:


  • You had a net profit from self-employment. You would report this on a Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business, Schedule C-EZ, Net Profit From Business, or Schedule F, Profit or Loss From Farming.

  • You had self-employment earnings as a partner reported to you on Schedule K-1 (Form 1065), Partner’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc.

  • You used an optional method to figure your net earnings from self-employment on Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax.

  • You were paid wages reported on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, as a shareholder who owns more than two percent of the outstanding stock of an S corporation.

  • There are also some rules that apply to how the insurance plan is established. Follow these guidelines to make sure the plan qualifies:

  • If you’re self-employed and file Schedule C, C-EZ, or F, the policy can be in your name or in your business’ name.

  • If you’re a partner, the policy can be in your name or the partnership’s name and either of you can pay the premiums. If the policy is in your name and you pay the premiums, the partnership must reimburse you and include the premiums as income on your Schedule K-1.

  • If you’re an S corporation shareholder, the policy can be in your name or the S corporation’s name and either of you can pay the premiums. If the policy is in your name and you pay the premiums, the S corporation must reimburse you and include the premiums as wage income on your Form W-2.


For more information, see Publication 535, Business Expenses. It’s available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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