Tax preparers Feed

Crooks know you're anxiously awaiting your tax refund. That's why this filing season they're again impersonating Internal Revenue Service agents. The latest refund scam is an email or text about your tax refund or tax refund e-statement. In both cases, warns the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the messages are efforts to steal your identity and money. As in previous incarnations, these latest fake IRS messages encourage recipients to click a link, supposedly to "check on your tax refund e-statement," or "fill out a form to get your refund." The FTC provided the image below of one of these fake IRS... Read more →


Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash Throughout life, we all encounter momentous firsts. First day of school. First time at a paying job. First time holding your child. First time you file a tax return. OK, that last one is probably not an event you celebrate, even if it produced a tax refund. In fact, if you remember filing your first Form 1040 it at all, it's probably because it was not a good experience. There's no way to replace that bad tax memory. But there are steps that first-time tax filers can take to make sure their initiation into the... Read more →


In February 2022, the Internal Revenue Service stopped issuing several automatic tax notices. The move was prompted in large part by the massive backlog of tax filings that piled up when the agency closed offices as a precaution early in the COVID-19 pandemic. That tax notice moratorium is ending. Automated collection notices will soon show up in the mailboxes of individuals with tax debts prior to tax year 2022. Businesses, tax exempt organizations, trusts, and estates with tax debts prior to 2023, with exceptions for those with existing debt in multiple years, also are on the notice resumption list. These... Read more →


Hiring a tax professional is not a task to take lightly. Filing false tax returns gets tax preparer 2+ year prison term, order to repay $4.7 million to Treasury You need to find tax help that fits your specific financial and tax needs. You then must make sure that the tax pro is just that. Professional. And reputable. Unfortunately, there are too many purported tax pros who turn out to be crooks. One of them, however, was caught and now will spend more than two years in federal prison. After he gets out of jail, he will face a year... Read more →


Hello, February. Even though it's the second month of the year, it's the first full month of the annual tax-filing season. So if you're just now starting to focus on filing your return, don't feel bad or alone. A lot of us are right there with you. Since February is the shortest month, even with this year's extra Leap Year day, I'll keep the monthly tax moves list brief, too. Here are four tax moves to consider in the next 29 days. 1. Keep an eye out for tax statements. Yesterday, Jan. 31, was the day that employers were supposed... Read more →


Taking things a bit more slowly often is a good idea. For many, that approach also applies when it comes to filing their annual tax return. (Photo by Kay Bell) While millions of taxpayers are eager each January to get their returns to the Internal Revenue Service, there just as many who want to take their time. Some are just natural procrastinators. They wait until the last minute to finish every task. But when it comes to tax filing, there actually are some good reasons to not be in such a hurry. Here are seven. 1. To see if Congress... Read more →


Fortune cookie tax filing wisdom (Photo by Kay Bell) If the 2024 tax-filing season is anything like previous ones, millions of taxpayers sent their 2023 taxes to the Internal Revenue Service today, the official start of federal return processing. The most obvious and common motive for first-day filing is to get expected refunds. But there are some other reasons you might want to file your taxes early. Here are eight. 1. To beat tax ID thieves to the punch. The IRS and its Security Summit partners have made good progress in recent years in reducing tax identity theft and associated... Read more →


Most taxpayers will never be as chill as this tabby, especially now that the annual tax filing season is here. But these tips could make the tax task a little easier. (Photo by Jacalyn Beales on Unsplash) If you've already got your 2023 tax return ready to send to the Internal Revenue Service tomorrow, Jan. 29, when the agency starts processing filings, you can peruse other items on the ol' blog. (Thank you!) If, however, you're not quite ready yet to tackle Form 1040, I got you. Even when your taxes aren't complicated, many of us dread filling out tax... Read more →


Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich A new tax season also brings the resurgences of tax scams. The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners earlier this month alerted tax professionals to watch out for a new round of filing season-related email schemes where cybercriminals pose as potential clients. Now FinCEN, the Treasury Department bureau that focuses on financial crimes, notably money laundering and terrorism, reports that there have been fraudulent attempts to obtain information from individuals and entities who may have to comply with new Corporate Transparency Act reporting requirements. Here's a look at these two schemes popping up as... Read more →


The 2024 tax filing season has started. Sorta. Eight tax software companies now are available to eligible Free File taxpayers. Some business returns can be e-filed starting Tuesday, Jan. 16. On Monday, Jan. 29, the Internal Revenue Service officially begins processing all 2023 tax returns. While this filing season is expected to be relatively smooth, some taxpayers typically encounter problems. And every year, the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) details the most annoying tax complications that we, and the IRS, face. 10 most serious taxpayers problems: Those concerns are included in NTA Erin M. Collins' 2023 Annual Report to Congress, released... Read more →


Now that we know the Internal Revenue Service will start processing our 2023 tax returns on Jan. 29, taxpayers are thinking about how they'll deal with this annual filing task. Many taxpayers are concerned about tax law complexity. Some are looking for the most tax breaks that will get them a big refund. Others worry about the cost of filing. And all of us just want the process completed as painlessly as possible. Regardless of your tax concerns, you have lots of filing options. Here's a quick overview. Go pro: You can hire a tax professional, either an independent tax... Read more →


Tax mistakes, unintentional or otherwise, mean penalties when discovered by the IRS. And the amounts could add up. (Photo by Polina Tankilevitch) The United States' tax system depends on voluntary compliance by taxpayers. But Uncle Sam is no fool. He and his tax collectors are believers of the adage "trust, but verify." The Internal Revenue Service also follows up on that verification with penalties when it finds taxpayers — and the professionals we pay to take care of our taxes — aren't fulfilling our tax responsibilities on our own. The most severe punishments come via criminal tax prosecutions. The IRS... Read more →


Photo by Anya Batalova on Unsplash We don't get many — OK, not any — kids dressed as ghosts on Halloween night. Our neighborhood's youngsters seem to prefer dressing as comic book icons turned movie characters. Heck, last week I even saw an adult, or a very tall teen, dressed as Spiderman, full-face mask included, during my last grocery store visit. But that's for another blog post. Or a call to the local authorities. Getting back to ghosts, notably those with tax connections. As I mentioned in an earlier post, ghost employees and ghost employers can wreak havoc when it... Read more →


The rich and famous frequent Monaco's glamorous casinos. The European principality also was the base for a U.S. taxpayer who didn't report all his taxable income to the IRS. The lesson, for him and an unconnected counterpart in the prime U.S. gambling destination of Nevada, is that the house — in this case, Uncle Sam's tax agency — usually wins. (Photo by Kaja Sariwating on Unsplash) Many people liken dealing with the U.S. tax code to wagering. You try to follow the casino rules and common sense, but the temptation to push your luck is often too enticing. Sometimes those... Read more →


The 2023 filing season officially ended for most U.S. taxpayers on Monday, the Oct. 16 extension deadline. Now the Internal Revenue Service is looking forward to next year. The agency today announced that its finalizing a Direct File program that will involve at least four states. Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New York officials have decided be a part of the 2024 filing program, which will be under total IRS purview rather than in conjunction with the tax software industry as is the current Free File system. State tax help key: Getting the buy-in of California and New York, home to... Read more →


What a fun Monday. The hubby and I spent much of the morning setting up free credit monitoring accounts related to recent healthcare data breaches. Then we each ordered a free credit report to see if miscreants had been pretending to be either of us. I suspect we are not alone in taking identity theft precautions. The HIPAA Journal reports there was a 261 percent month-over-month increase in breached healthcare records in July. More than 18 million records were exposed in 56 reported incidents. The incredibly high total was due to a major data breach at HCA Healthcare that saw... Read more →


Photo by Volodymyr Kondriianenko on Unsplash Summer is slipping away, but tax crooks are still hard at work. That's why the Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners are spreading the word about signs of data theft. The warning from Uncle Sam and state tax officials, as well as the private sector tax community, is aimed at helping tax professionals. That's understandable, since they collect and manage clients' tax and personal data. If crooks can crack the tax pros' cache, they have what the IRS calls a precious commodity, details on thousands of taxpayers from just a few sources.... Read more →


IRS.gov Identity thieves continue to target taxpayers, but the Internal Revenue Service has given individuals a way to fight back. By using an Identity Protection Person Identification Number, or IP PIN, instead of their usual Social Security number, taxpayers can show the IRS that the IP PIN filing is the legitimate one. Even if a thief already has filed a fraudulent tax return, an IP PIN offers protection for later years, preventing taxpayers from being repeat victims of tax-related identity theft. Success of IP PINs: The IRS began allowing all taxpayers to apply for an IP PIN in January 2021.... Read more →


Reviewed and updated Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024 The New Year's Day 2024 Powerball drawing was life-changing for the yet-to-be identified person who bought the lone winning ticket in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Congrats to the winner of the $842.4 million jackpot, which has a one-time cash payment value of $425.2 million. And better luck next time for the rest of us! Picking lucky numbers from a lottery game dispenser. Benjamin Franklin wasn't wrong, but he did live in pre-national lottery times. Today, joining death and taxes as life's constants is Americans' love of gambling. One of the most popular betting options... Read more →


World's youngest CPA Jimmy Chilimigras, left, with his mentor Bryan Kesler. (Screen capture from Kesler CPA Review video) When I was 15, summer was a fun time. No school. The public pool was open. And I was getting driving lessons in anticipation of my 16th birthday when I could get my license. Yes, I am that old. James Chilimigras has other plans this summer. Sure, Jimmy, as he's known, is doing some fishing around his Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, home. But the 15-year-old is also getting ready to attend New Orleans' Loyola University law school in neighboring Louisiana this fall.... Read more →