Have you gotten one of those fake Internal Revenue Service agent collection calls lately? If not, you can thank Indian law enforcement agents. Does that "IRS agent" demanding money sound fishy? He's probably a tax scammer. Hang up! (Photo by rocketace via Flickr) Since Indian officials on Oct. 4 raided call centers in Mumbai where many of these scam calls originated, the number of attempts to get folks to make fake tax bill payments has dropped dramatically. BBB sees fewer scam reports: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says that the IRS imposter scam had accounted for around a quarter of... Read more →

Attention Alabama online shoppers. If you're planning to buy from Amazon, you'd better hit the shopping cart enter button soon. On Nov. 1, an 8 percent tax will be added to your purchases from the digital retail giant. Online sales tax collection is the Holy Grail for state revenue offices. As e-commerce transactions have increased every year, states have struggled with ways to collect the billions they say they've lost to untaxed purchases that their residents make online. Nexus via legislation, courts: Some state lawmakers have chosen to redefine nexus, the legal standard of physical presence that determines when an... Read more →

Would a tax break be enough to change your shopping habits? One Scandinavian country is hoping to test that theory, and possibly permanently reshape consumers' attitudes, when it comes to many common household goods. Brian Beatty of Zen Cog Bicycle Company in Jacksonville, Florida, repairs a bike. (Photo by Jax REcycle via Flickr) It's not a new idea. Taxes have been used for, well, forever to try to encourage or discourage certain behaviors. That's why we have sin taxes on things most of us agree are not good, like smoking. And that's why we get tax benefits for actions perceived... Read more →

While the two major party presidential candidates have focused on corporations' overseas tax strategies, the Internal Revenue Service has been keeping an eye on individual taxpayers and their offshore accounts. Regardless of whether you call them tax havens, tax shelters or offshore accounts, they all mean $$$ for the IRS. And the IRS likes what it sees. Uncle Sam's tax agency announced last week that since it began its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, or OVDP, in 2009, it has collected $10 billion in taxes and had 100,000 taxpayers return to full federal tax compliance. The latest $10 billion in formerly... Read more →

For the last five years, I've been regularly grocery shopping with my mother. She's a retiree on a fixed income, so much of our time is spent examining shelf prices, determining which size offers the best per-unit value and debating whether it's worth a few more pennies to get something she knows she likes or save cents by buying a cheaper, but untried store brand. Source: TastefullyOffensive.com from YouTube Now I guess we need to start double checking the register receipts to make sure our savings aren't negated by improper tax charges. That's what some Garden State shoppers say they... Read more →

And we're done. With the 2016 presidential debates, not the election. The debates were supposed to help us voters make an informed decision as to whether we want Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump as our president for the next four years. Good luck with that. Click image to watch Fox News' "nasty woman" clip. Things got nasty last night (Oct. 19) in Las Vegas, and not in the fun Janet Jackson choreographed way. However, "Miss Jackson, if you're nasty," was a big beneficiary of the debate's ad lib. Trump called Clinton "such a nasty woman" during her closing... Read more →

The third and final presidential debate is tonight in Las Vegas, and it's a sure bet that most Americans will be delighted when this portion of the 2016 campaign is over. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will face off Oct. 19 on a stage at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with Fox News' Chris Wallace moderating. The previous face-to-face encounters between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican hopeful Donald J. Trump have been awkward, frustrating and annoying, and I'm just talking about the reactions of viewers! The debates also have been woefully short on policy specifics, especially taxes. But... Read more →

Forget all those disparate and confusing presidential election polls, online and more scientific. The Washington Redskins have decided who will be moving into the White House next year and the team has chosen Hillary Clinton. Washington Redskins defensive Chris Baker leads fans at FedExField in celebrating the home team's 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Oct. 16. Click image to watch the full NFL game highlights package on YouTube. (And yes, I selected this screenshot because it promos the Dallas Cowboys game!) Players and coaches of the National Capital Area's National Football League team didn't actually vote. But... Read more →

With the Oct. 17 filing extension colliding with Hurricane Matthew's aftermath, the Internal Revenue Service today announced additional counties in which taxpayers affected by the storm will have more time to file. Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue team members rescue a dog stranded by Hurricane Matthew flooding in North Carolina. (Photo courtesy FEMA) The IRS has officially added parts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to the Hurricane Matthew areas that will get additional tax relief. It also included more counties in North Carolina counties, which it had previously announced as eligible for special storm-related tax relief.... Read more →

Eighty-five years ago today -- Oct. 17, 1931 -- a federal jury in Chicago convicted gangster Al "Scarface" Capone of tax evasion. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison, ultimately ending up in fabled Alcatraz. Al Capone's U.S. Department of Justice mug shot, taken four months before his tax eviction conviction on Oct. 17, 1931. Keep that in mind if you're thinking of blowing off today's extended filing deadline for getting your 2015 tax return to the Internal Revenue Service. All these years later, the IRS and Treasury still proudly point to Capone's conviction. It was T-men who put... Read more →

I spent almost two decades working in Washington, D.C. I also have covered taxes for most of my writing career. So I love acronyms. That's why I'm jazzed that the current presidential campaign has highlighted a tax-related nickname for some rich taxpayers. Here's a HINT. Got it yet? For normal folks who speak regular English, it's High Income, No Tax, aka HINT. GOP HINT: David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and current thorn in Donald J. Trump's side, notes in a recent column for The Daily Beast that the Republican nominee is an extreme example of a HINT. Before... Read more →

Sorry, Oakland Raiders fans, but it looks like you'll be losing your team again. And sorry, Nevada taxpayers, it looks like you'll be paying around $750 million to lure the National Football League team to Las Vegas. A shot of the famous Fabulous Las Vegas sign that I took on our last visit to Sin City. In the background is Mandalay Bay casino, which will be near the new NFL stadium. The Nevada Legislature met this week in special session to consider the NFL stadium issue. Lawmakers passed a bill on Friday, Oct. 14, by a vote of 28-13. Gov.... Read more →

It's almost here, the Oct. 17 tax extension filing deadline. Since the regular 15th due date is Saturday, procrastinating filers get a couple of extra days to do their tax jobs. Don't waste them. UPDATE: Some filers in states where major natural disasters were declared also get time beyond 10/17. Details in Oct. 17 is final filing deadline for most, but is extended further for folks in FL, LA, NC and WVA disaster areas IRS grants more tax relief for Hurricane Matthew filers in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina But also don't be in such a last-minute panic... Read more →

Many tax laws might be absurd, but overall, taxes are no laughing matter, especially when it comes to filers who use frivolous tax arguments. Some things crack up even Star Trek's usually stoic Data, but not frivolous tax arguments. The Internal Revenue Service defines frivolous tax arguments as misinterpretations or disregard of tax laws in order to evade paying taxes or claim refunds to which they aren't entitled. To date, the IRS has identified 50 frivolous tax arguments used by taxpayers. And those improper refunds have cost the U.S. Treasury -- and responsible taxpayers -- more than $27.2 million. Millions... Read more →

If earlier this year you asked the Internal Revenue Service for an extension to file your 2015 tax return, you're running out of time. That deadline is next Monday, Oct. 17. Unless you live in parts of Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina or West Virginia. UPDATE: Or in other areas of Florida and North Carolina, as well as South Carolina and Georgia. The IRS on Oct. 17 announced tax relief for these added Hurricane Matthew disaster areas. North Carolina, which has been hard hit by flooding from Hurricane Matthew rains, is the latest state where taxpayers are getting special consideration when... Read more →

It's one of my favorite times of the year. Major league sports seasons overlap. The National Football League season is underway (How 'bout them Cowboys?!). Major League Baseball teams are battling for the World Series crown. Pucks drop in National Hockey League arenas across Canada and the United States this week. But the big sports news recently, at least from a tax perspective, is about the Olympics. On Sept. 29, an apparently not-that-limber President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama looking on, welcomed four of the United States' Women's Gymnastics team members -- left to right, Aly Raisman, Laurie... Read more →

Donald Trump acknowledged during Sunday's second presidential debate that he had avoided paying federal income taxes for years thanks to a claim in 1995 of nearly $1 billion in business losses. Click image to watch Newsy video report on Warren Buffett's response to Donald Trump's tax charges. The Republican presidential nominee then pivoted from his 1040s, which we still haven't seen, to wealthy supporters of his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Trump specifically accused his fellow billionaires of also using tax laws to their advantage. Duh! That's not unusual. Nor is it illegal. It's just a bit infuriating in many cases.... Read more →

Donald J. Trump, as the huge signage on his buildings demonstrates, loves his surname. But a smaller Trump representation is about to be dismantled. The honorary identifier on Chicago's Wabash Avenue went up in 2006 while the Trump Tower was under construction down the road. The 92-story high-rise at 401 N. Wabash Avenue bearing Trump's name was completed in 2009. Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly initiated the effort to remove the city street sign that recognizes the Trump Tower in the Windy City. The now-offending marker bears the street's original name, Wabash Avenue, along with a slightly smaller second honorary plate... Read more →