Perennial tax schemes, some tweaked ones, and a few new scams, make the 2024 version of the IRS Dirty Dozen. And these featured today are just the first six of the 12 cons the IRS calls out in 2024. The final 7 through 12 on the annual infamy list will be posted next week. This week, as it does every week, the Department of Justice's Tax Division announced civil and criminal actions against several businesses and individuals accused of betraying taxpayer trust and cheating the Treasury Department out of tax dollars. Some of those who were part of the tax... Read more →


Doing your taxes can be stressful, but don't add to it by making an avoidable filing error. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The tax filing, and paying if you owe, deadline is nearly here. Millions of us have yet to send our 1040 forms to the Internal Revenue Service. So next week is likely to be frantic, especially on the part of taxpayers who are doing their own taxes. This also means that these last-minute filers might make some mistakes as they hurry to get their taxes done by April 15. Don't be one of them. Tax... Read more →


Natural disasters aren't the only catastrophes that affect taxes. Manmade tragedies also are taken into consideration. The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers affected by terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel that began on Oct. 7, 2023, that they have until Oct. 7, 2024, to file various federal returns, make tax payments, and take care of other time-sensitive tax-related responsibilities. Who qualifies? The IRS notes that the tax relief is available to any individual whose principal residence is in Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza. The tax relief also extends to any business entity or sole proprietor with a principal... Read more →


Updated Thursday, April 4, 2024 via GIPHY Tax Day is less than two weeks away, but some aren't sweating the April 15 filing deadline. They have more time to complete their tax paperwork and, in some cases, may any associated payments. Here's a look at the special situations where taxpayers have more time to file their federal tax returns. International, including military, taxpayers: When it comes to individual taxes, the tax code doesn't care where you live. If you're a U.S. citizen or resident alien, including those with dual citizenship, you must pay tax to Uncle Sam even if you're... Read more →


Daisies enjoying the result of an April shower. (Photo by Kay Bell) Tax Day is almost here, no fooling! We've readjusted, after the COVID-19 pandemic delays, to having Tax Day fall in the middle of this fourth month. This year, it's officially April 15 again for most of us. So filing our return or extension request by then obviously is a prime focus. But there are some other tax matters to consider or complete this April 2024. Here are six. 1. Finish (or start) your 2023 return. Tax Day is just 14 days away, and the Internal Revenue Service is... Read more →


The Nov. 20, 2023, landslide near Wrangell, Alaska. (Image courtesy Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities) Residents of Hawai'ian counties that were devastated by wildfires in 2023 got a bit a good news from the Internal Revenue Service last week. The tax agency now is giving them until Aug. 7 to complete some tax filing and payment tasks. Tribal Alaskans who sustained damages from severe storm-induced land- and mudslides also get more tax time. Their new tax deadline is July 15. As is the usual procedure, the IRS tax relief decisions follow official declarations by the Federal Emergency Management... Read more →


Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Danny Werfel recently spoke to a group of students, faculty, and IRS guests at the Kogod Tax Center at American University in Washington, D.C., revealing what has been dubbed the IRS' generational digital transformation plan. That plan is part of what the Biden Administration said it expects from the federal tax agency when it offered Werfel the commissioner job in the fall of 2022. "They told me, the next commissioner could lead the IRS through the most important tech-enabled transformation of a government agency in U.S. history," said Werfel. "So again, my jaw dropped to the... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images The smartest tax move often if hiring a good tax professional. Unfortunately, the tax community is not immune to bad actors. Every year, the Internal Revenue Service warns taxpayers to thoroughly vet the person they want to hire to handle their taxes. Every year, the IRS also issues warning about unscrupulous tax preparers who take advantage of trusting taxpayers and take their money. These alerts also are routinely part of the IRS annual Dirty Dozen scam list; dishonest tax pros is #6 on the 2023 list. (Preview: the 2024 list is on its way... Read more →


Did you turn 73 last year? Belated happy birthday wishes. Now here's an important tax question about that septuagenarian celebration. Did you take your first required minimum distribution (RMD) from your tax-deferred retirement funds by the end of 2023? If the answer is no, then you've got to withdraw that mandated amount by next Monday, April 1. No fooling. Miss that RMD deadline date, and you'll owe Uncle Sam more money than just the tax due on your withdrawal amount. Ending tax deferral days: The Internal Revenue Code offers myriad tax benefits for retirement savers. Several of them provide tax-deferred... Read more →


Most taxpayers have always used the standard deduction amount. That group of filers grew even more after the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, which dramatically increased the standard amounts. But even if you find the easier standard deduction option the way to file, stop. You might be missing some tax breaks that are available to every taxpayers, both those who claim the standard deduction and those who itemize. All taxpayers can also claim any of the two dozen above-the-line tax deductions for which they qualify. Tax law and form changes: When the TCJA became... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service IRS is expected to process more than 160 million individual and business tax returns this filing season. Through March 15, the IRS had received nearly 71.6 million individual returns. Some taxpayers probably put off filing in the hopes that the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act would be enacted by Tax Day. Several of its provisions could help both personal and business filers. Whether that will happen is still unclear, as the tax bill that cleared the House has hit a lot of speed bumps in the Senate. Other taxpayers, however, aren't that concerned... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska Millions of U.S. taxpayers are concentrating right now on their current tax return filing. But another sizeable group who didn't older returns also have some tax work to do. Almost 940,000 people across the nation have unclaimed refunds for tax year 2020. They missed out on that money because they didn't file a Form 1040 back in May 2021. They still have time to collect their part of the just more than $1 billion in old unclaimed refunds, but it's running out. The Internal Revenue Service says the median old, unclaimed refund amount from three years... Read more →


The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) helped many companies keep workers during the difficult COVID-19 pandemic days. But some ERC claims wrong, and the IRS is successfully recouping some of those incorrectly claimed and/or issued funds. The Internal Revenue Service closed out its Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP) on Friday, March 22, on a high note. Going into the day, the VDP, which allowed those who got improper ERC payments to pay back most of the money, had produced more than $225 million from 500+ taxpayers. Another 800 submissions were still being processed, and even more being filed... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service has held two special walk-in Saturdays this year at its Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the United States. Two more are scheduled for April and May. The no-appointment-needed sessions are welcomed by taxpayers who need help (note, however, that the TAC reps aren't offering tax return filing assistance), as long as you can find them. A recent report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that's not always easy, especially if you search online for a TAC office. Issue reported by the IRS: To the IRS' credit, the agency brought this concern to... Read more →


Ill-gotten gains used to fund a lavish lifestyle. For 10 years, a Rhode Island man ran a Ponzi scheme that ultimately left conned investors empty handed, while he used the funds to pay for his own lavish lifestyle. At the same time, Thomas Huling, 58, of West Warwick, also was ripping off the U.S. Treasury. On March 19, Huling was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for those crimes. The jail term comes 18 months after he pleaded guilty, back in September 2022, to wire fraud and tax evasion. Under the plea deal, the government agreed to the dismissal... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Spring officially arrived at 11:06 p.m. March 19. Have you finished your spring cleaning yet? Me neither. But I have started. To be honest, it was prompted when the hubby and I had some work done to our house. With the structure getting some sprucing up, it only seemed natural to replace some interior items. The next question was what to do with the old stuff? For many, a yard sale is a good way to get rid of unwanted but workable items. But those who don't want to spend a Saturday haggling with... Read more →


Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash Moving to another country for a job involves a lot of changes, but one thing stays the same. Thanks to our worldwide tax system for individuals, as a U.S. citizen you remain a U.S. taxpayer, regardless of where you live. That makes you responsible for filing federal tax returns on your overseas earnings. Uncle Sam, however, does provide some tax breaks to his citizens living and working abroad. They get more time to file, with a June 15 deadline. And thanks to tax treaties, globally peripatetic taxpayers also get certain foreign earned income exclusions... Read more →


Photo by Kampus Production Our neighborhood has been full of kids recently. Last week was our local school district's spring break. Monday was an added day off for the youngsters, as teachers only returned to their schools for a special work day. It also was a six days of parents juggling child care and their jobs. I got a close up of this from our new next-door neighbors. Mom and dad alternated days off from their jobs so one of them could stay home with their two children, a pre-teen and a young teenager. Child care is a major challenge... Read more →


Are you having second thoughts about an ERC claim your company made? It so, it's time to review your records, and if you find you received an incorrect tax credit amount, let the IRS know by this Friday, March 22. (Photo by Henri Mathieu-Saint-Laurent) With the deadline to let the Internal Revenue Service know you got an improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) fast approaching — it's this Friday, March 22 — business owners who are concerned need to act fast. Recipients of wrong payments can apply for the IRS' ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program by that deadline. If accepted, the businesses... Read more →


Expensive homes are subject to higher mansion taxes in 17 locales across the United States. (Photo by Daniel Barnes on Unsplash) A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about growing opposition to higher taxes on expensive real estate in Los Angeles and Chicago. So naturally, a recent Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) piece on these so-called mansion taxes caught my eye. Local mansion taxes have been around since 1982, notes ITEP local policy analyst Andrew Boardman in his article for the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. However, the momentum for them has built in recent years. Nearly all of today's... Read more →