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August 2012 Archives

How can California residents use tax law to help pay for college?

Labor Day is just around the corner, signaling the unofficial end of summer and the traditional start of the academic year. At colleges and universities around California, students are moving into apartments and dormitories, purchasing supplies at the bookstore and preparing for the first day of classes, if they haven't already begun.

Germany seeks foreign account disclosure like that given to U.S.

The U.S. government's efforts to limit, punish and deter offshore tax evasion have been a frequent subject on this blog. The fruits of those efforts have been so appealing to other nations, however, that some countries want to reach similar terms with the Swiss government to prevent their own citizens from sheltering assets from taxation in the Alpine nation.

Letters from IRS could lead to full-scale tax investigation

While sorting through their mail this year, a number of Southern California residents have probably had their hearts skip a beat as they discovered a letter from the Internal Revenue Service. Perhaps it was a request for information, or perhaps it was the dreaded notice of deficiency, which is the herald of tax litigation. Whatever the contents, a communication from the IRS rarely fails to induce anxiety.

Keeping organized records can help with tax returns, IRS audits

It is never too early for California taxpayers to begin preparing for next year's tax season. The more that one is able to accomplish today, the less work one will have to do to beat the filing deadline come April 2013. Keeping accurate, detailed and well-organized records is one way to ensure that springtime is not filled with stress.

IRS gathers Swiss bankers' information to uncover tax evasion

The Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice are increasing the pressure on Swiss banks in their search for taxpayers who have used offshore bank accounts to shelter assets from taxation. It was revealed this week that five Swiss banks, including major financial institutions Julius Baer, Credit Suisse and HSBC turned over employee records and contact information to the U.S. government.

California FTB sends tax audit letters questioning filing status

Selecting the correct filing status on one's state or federal tax return is important. Certain statuses, such as married or head of household, provide benefits not available to those who file singly. Of course, taxpayers must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for these statuses. But each year, either deliberately or by mistake, tens of thousands of California residents wrongly choose their status.

Medaling in Olympics leaves athletes with IRS tax bills

The 2012 London Olympics are rapidly approaching their conclusion and they have provided quite a thrill to viewers in California and around the world. From unexpected triumph to heartbreaking disappointment, the Olympics present a compelling and unfiltered view of some of the human emotions that come out during athletic competition.

Installment agreement one option for those with tax debts

When summertime is in full swing in Southern California, taxes may be the furthest thing from many residents' minds. But for those who owe money to the Internal Revenue Service, taxes can become a year-round preoccupation. Since penalties and interest on tax debts can quickly swell the total amount owed, it is important to reduce and eliminate one's debts as quickly as possible.

Treasury Eyes Offshore Funds

The United States Treasury Department recently released new information regarding its attempts to collect taxes from Americans with offshore bank accounts. Officials have said that the final rules should be set for release later this fall, ensuring that the system will be ready for its scheduled 2014 implementation.

Tax fraud and identity theft could be higher than suspected

In the past few months, we have talked a few times about the rise in taxpayer identity theft that has been behind a growing wave of tax fraud across the country. While nearly everyone has acknowledged that this is a grave problem, a recently released report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says that it could be much worse than people had first thought.