Tax preparers Feed

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 →


We got word today that a person connected to the White House and who didn't pay all his due taxes is pleading guilty to tax evasion. No. It's not that person. It's Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden. The younger Biden has agreed to plead guilty to two charges of misdemeanor tax evasion and enter a pretrial diversion agreement on a firearm possession charge, according to a Justice Department court filing today in Delaware. The two tax charges carry a maximum of one year in prison as well as a $25,000 fine. The arrangement reportedly also includes repayment of... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service announced last week that during filing season 2024 it will run a pilot program in which some taxpayers will be able to file their returns directly with the tax agency for free. Such no-cost, direct filing has been the tax holy grail. There would be no private software middleman, as is now the case for Free File. All of us could just go to the IRS website and file our taxes. There would be no cost, regardless of our income or filing situation complexity. And unlike the IRS' current Free Fillable Forms, there would be computer... Read more →


Unscrupulous tax return preparers once again made the Internal Revenue Service's annual Dirty Dozen scam list. That's not a surprise. The IRS and reputable tax community members are constantly battling shady tax pros and the schemes they use to lure taxpayers to use their so-called services. While the tax world is divided in how to best combat these crooks and scams, the IRS has long argued for tighter tax professional regulation. President Joe Biden also has expressed support for more tax pro oversight. And this month, members of Congress introduced the latest bicameral effort to protect taxpayers from dishonest tax... Read more →


Scammers tend to use tried and true techniques to con people out of their identities and money. One of the most popular schemes involves crooks pretending to be real-life officials. And the Internal Revenue Service is near the top of government agencies that con artists impersonate. CloudFlare, a company which provides security for many companies' online operations, says that the IRS ranks sixth in the 50 top brands when it comes to phishing attempts that use fake sites. The example given by CloudFlare included "IRS" along with the words "contact" and "payment." A big tip-off that the URL is fake... Read more →


Image via CFI Even before film makers began sticking extra scenes at the end of credits, I sat in the darkened theater until the last credit rolled. I do the same when I screen movies and television shows at home … when I can. As I tweeted today, I'd love it if streamers used an artificial intelligence (AI) program to note that I like to watch full show openings. And recaps. And all the closing credits. OK, not so much the information about who's dubbing the actors when the shows are streamed in other countries, but I do use that... Read more →


Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich You tried doing your own taxes last week when the 2023 filing season officially opened, with tried being the operative word. It didn't take long to realize that you need more help. You didn't feel quite comfortable with the tax software you tried. And your tax circumstances are a bit more complex than those typically handled by the various tax preparation chains. So now you're looking for more professional, personal tax assistance. Be ready to wait: Good for you for admitting that your taxes are too important and confusing for you to deal with on your... Read more →


The Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, is one of the most beneficial tax breaks for lower- and moderate-income workers. It's also one of the most under-claimed. The reasons are many, starting with its complexity. You have to work to be able to claim the EITC. But if you make too much money, you're ineligible. Your marital status comes in the calculation of the final credit, as does the size of your family. And many single people ignore the EITC because they think it's only available to filers with dependent children. "This is an extremely important tax credit that helps... Read more →


Photo by RODNAE Productions Welcome to the continuation of the ol' blog's Tax Crime Weekend! Yesterday's post featured efforts to end abusive tax schemes and bring their promoters to justice. Today's post expands on the legal reckoning theme. The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation division, known as IRS-CI, recently revealed its top 10 cases of 2022. Wide variety of schemes, one outcome: The tax evasion attempts included Ponzi pyramid schemes, fake businesses, COVID-19 fraud, bogus tax credit, and even a reality TV couple. And more. Despite the diversity of their criminal tax acts, they shared one thing. They got caught.... Read more →


Being a bit pokey can sometimes pay off at tax filing time. (Photo by Kay Bell) My husband and I have a lot in common. We also are a lot different. I tend to obsessiveness, wanting to take care of things as soon as I can. The hubby, on the other hand, is more deliberative. Unless it absolutely has to be done immediately, he's OK with waiting. And waiting and waiting. We've managed to make out differing approaches work. And I must admit that sometimes, he's right to put off projects. Not always, but sometimes. Situations change, making moot what... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell The Internal Revenue Service won't start processing 2022 tax year returns until Jan. 23, but you can file before then. A lot of folks are doing just that. The most common and obvious motive for filing early is to get the refund you're expecting. But there are some other reasons you might want to get your return to the IRS as soon as possible. 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 refund fraud. One... Read more →


Image by Pintera Studio from Pixabay We're two days into the New Year. Feel any different? Aside from thinking it's a Sunday instead of Monday, me neither. But some things, in addition to flipping calendar pages, have changed. From a tax standpoint, you'll see some differences, starting with those calendars. Weekends and holidays will shift some regular tax deadlines to new days. You also could see some differences on your 2022 Form 1040, thanks in part to tax breaks that no longer apply. Those changes are just a few things to note as we head into the 2023 tax year.... Read more →


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 also employs civil actions to get due taxes. And many of us are familiar with the various fines and fees that are... Read more →