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People who live in storm ravaged areas of Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi have enough to worry about, so the Internal Revenue Service says they don't have to worry about filing their taxes next Tuesday. Neither do U.S. military personnel who are in combat zones. A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worker assesses damage in Georgia from late January 2017 storms and tornadoes. (Photo courtesy FEMA Facebook) Major natural disaster victims: Taxpayers in several areas deemed major disasters — the IRS keeps a running list of tax-affected disaster areas —qualify for more time to file their tax returns and pay any... Read more →


As if you and your tax adviser weren't already crunched enough in April, this filing season there's a new deadline for folks who have money or other assets in foreign accounts. FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), is now due on the regular federal individual tax return's April deadline — that's the 18th this year because the 15th is on Saturday and Emancipation Day falls on Monday, April 17 — instead of June 30 as it has been in previous years. The good news is that your FBAR filing can be extended until October. And... Read more →


The Congressional investigations into alleged improper Russia-Trump Administration connections are attracting worldwide attention. Click image to watch the NBC News clip of Vladimir Putin paraphrasing a famous U.S. tax quote. Even Vladimir Putin, Russia's president and Donald J. Trump's sometimes bromantic partner, chimed in on the issue of his country's hacking of computers during America's 2016 presidential election. "Ronald Reagan, debating about taxes and addressing the Americans, said, 'Watch my lips.' He said, 'No. Watch my lips. No,'" Putin said through an interpreter during a CNBC-moderated discussion March 30 at the annual Arctic Forum in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk.... Read more →


Did you hear the Amazon.com tax news? No, I'm not talking about the online retailing giant's decision to collect sales tax in all the U.S. jurisdictions that have the levies. A U.S. Tax Court ruling on Internal Revenue Service attempts to collect more tax from an Amazon U.S.-Luxembourg arrangement went the global internet giant's way, saving it billions in taxes. The Seattle-based company also was a big winner last week when it comes to paying tax. We're talking $1.5 billion big. That's how much a U.S. Tax Court ruling on March 23 apparently has saved Amazon. European location, U.S. taxes:... Read more →


The United States and Canada share more than the world's longest undefended border. They also share attacks by cyber criminals on their online tax systems. A sign at the point where the railroad crosses the U.S.-Canada border at Peace Arch Park. This is the westernmost point on the continuous main section of the border. (Photo by Vmenkov via Wikimedia) Canada Revenue Agency’s website was down from the afternoon of Friday, March 10, until 5 p.m. Sunday, March 12, after tax officials discovered the site had a security vulnerability. South of the 49th parallel on Thursday, March 9, the Internal Revenue... Read more →


Today, March 8, is International Woman Day. In addition to recognizing women's contributions, some people in the United States also are participating in "A Day Without A Woman," asking women to stay home from work. Men and women shoppers often pay different prices for essentially similar products. And yes, the higher prices, known as the Pink Tax, are on items aimed at women. If that's not possible, which is the case for lots of folks regardless of gender, then supporters of today's added commemoration ask that women not shop to underscore our contributions to the economy. Women's $$$ contributions: And... Read more →


Whenever I want to escape the crazy that is real life, I turn to the movies. Sometimes it's my favorite tax-themed films. Amanda Abbington and Martin Freeman, pictured here on the set of "Sherlock" with Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the show's title character behind them, have separated. (Photo courtesy PBS Masterpiece) Other times when I can't get away for a couple of hours, I surf entertainment news. Go ahead, judge me. Then admit you've done the same! In perusing the web recently, I stumbled across a list of celebrity couples who have split. In addition to the usual Brangelina and... Read more →


Sunday is a big day not just for football fans, but also food fans. Super Bowl party snacks rank right up there with the specially-created television commercials, crazy prop bets and the game's halftime show. These items I regularly purchase are, according to my local H.E.B. grocery store's labels, hecho en Mexico. Heck, a lot of people look forward to those events more than the annual NFL championship game itself. Literally loading up on guac: In fact, it's a major day for guacamole. "Guacamole has become one of the most popular Super Bowl snacks," Ramon Paz, spokesman for the Association... Read more →


President-Elect Donald Trump is feeling charitable again. This time, it's Uncle Sam who's the target of his largesse. President-Elect Donald Trump and his three older children (Eric, Ivanka and Donald Jr.) get ready to meet the press this morning (Jan. 11) to discuss Trump Organization business deals after The Donald is sworn in on Jan. 20. (Photo by Evan Vicci via TPM Twitter post) During the almost hour-long press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan (Trump's first Q&A with the media since July 16, 2016, when he was on the campaign trail), a tax attorney for the incoming 45th president... Read more →


China has enacted a series of taxes on various types of industrial pollution. But to the dismay of even some of its own government researchers, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are not included in the tax plan. Some specific emissions could mean tax bills for Chinese companies under a new pollution tax law just enacted by that country. (Photo by Graeme Maclean via Flickr CC) Still, for the first time ever, public institutions and companies that discharge listed pollutants directly into the environment will face specific environmental protection taxes. Some air, water pollutants targeted: Under the law passed Dec.... Read more →


Working overseas can be a wonderful professional and personal opportunity. It also can present some tax problems. The United States has a worldwide tax system. That means that regardless of where you earn your money, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you owe taxes to Uncle Sam. The bad news is that the Internal Revenue Service is serious about getting this money. The good news is that there are some income tax benefits for U.S. workers abroad. Excluding income abroad: The most notable one is the foreign earned income exclusion, or FEIE. This allows workers abroad who... Read more →


What's your favorite currency? I'm not talking dollar value, but which one do you find more appealing aesthetically? Here in the United States, our bills are not that attractive when compared to some of the flashier forms of legal tender worldwide. But we try. U.S. $$$ history: In 1929, America's dollars got a major remake, primarily to lower manufacturing costs, according to the U.S. Treasury's history of our money. Back then, all Federal Reserve notes were reduced in size and standardized designs were instituted for each denomination, decreasing the number of designs in circulation and making it easier for the... Read more →


Was president-elect Donald Trump played by Carrier? The company, a division of United Technologies that makes heating and air conditioning units, agreed to keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana rather than move them to Mexico. Donald Trump addressing supporters Dec. 1 in Cincinnati as part of his post-election "Thank You Tour." He also stopped in Indianapolis to celebrate Carrier's decision to keep 1,000 jobs at that plant rather than move them to Mexico. (Click image to watch the president-elect's full speech) But Carrier also got some nice tax incentives from Uncle Sam and Indiana for its apparent change of mind. Apparently,... Read more →


Most of us use credit and debit cards as convenient cash substitutes. Instead of reaching for wads of cash stuffed in pockets or purses or a paper checkbook, we simply whip out plastic to pay for almost everything or every service we need or want. Even micro businesses use mobile devices as mini non-cash registers to complete transactions. Yet most countries still print money. And those actual bills remain important to many. Some eschew credit cards for security reasons. They're afraid of become an identity theft victim. Similarly, others like the anonymity of a cash exchange for personal as well... Read more →


It's early Christmas for 89 Maryland cities. They will be getting some unexpected money from the state's comptroller. Unfortunately, it's not new money. It's cash the municipalities should have received over the past five years. And there's also a Grinch, I mean glitch, in the Maryland revenue office that will require another other 83 cities to pay back state funds they received in error over the years. All told, according to The Baltimore Sun, the Maryland comptroller misdirected more than $21 million in tax money since 2010. "I'd love to blame this on our predecessors, but this is our problem,"... Read more →


Every presidential year, some of the folks whose candidate didn't make it to the White House swear they're moving to another country. Maybe some of them got a head start this year. U.S. passports have blue covers. Thousands of Americans, however, have become expatriates this year, giving up their U.S. documents, perhaps for a United Kingdom passport like the one shown above. The Internal Revenue Service reported 1,380 expatriations in the third quarter of 2016. That just missed the record of 1,426 Americans who decided to renounce their U.S. citizenship during the same period last year. That's a huge increase... Read more →


It's been a good week in fighting con artists who pose as Internal Revenue Service agents to steal taxpayers' money. First, the Better Business Bureau reported a dramatic reduction in the number of the tax scam calls in which crooks pretend to be IRS agents and demand immediate payment for nonexistent tax debts. If the scam victims refuse, the scammers threaten them with arrest, legal action or deportation. The BBB's scam tracker noted that the fake IRS agent calls slowed after Indian law enforcement agents earlier this month raided call centers hosting the scam. At the time of the raids,... 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 →


Have global law enforcement officers cracked the biggest U.S. tax scam ever? Probably not, but it appears they have at least slowed one major criminal operation. Indian officials raided several call centers outside of Mumbai and arrested 70 people in connection with the extensive IRS impersonator tax scam. Indian investigators this week arrested around 70 people in the Mumbai suburb of Thane on charges of allegedly calling Americans and pretending to be Internal Revenue Service representatives in order to obtain payments for fake tax bills. The arrests, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and Guardian newspapers, came the... Read more →