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March 2011 Archives

Young Single Males Most Likely to Cheat on Taxes

A recent survey by DDB Worldwide Communications Group found that there was no relationship between income level and cheating on taxes. Some cheat, most don't, but there was no evidence that "those rich people" or "those poor people" were more likely to fudge part of their tax return.

Tax Exemption for Forgiven Mortgage Debt Has Strict Rules

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service issued some fresh guidance on handling canceled mortgage debt. Since there were millions of foreclosures, mortgage loan modifications and short sales last year, there are quite a few people who are interested in the tax implications of canceled mortgage debt.

Payroll Taxes for California Employers Could Go Up by $6 Billion

California's unemployment insurance program needs to pay back a loan from the federal government that has kept the state's program afloat. If the loan is not repaid, California businesses could be facing a payroll tax increase of up to $6 billion.

Probation for Man Who Hid Offshore Bank Accounts

An American who hid money from the Internal Revenue Service in an offshore bank account was recently sentenced to three years probation. The San Diego man also had to pay nearly $100,000 to settle his tax accounts with the IRS. He had failed to file Foreign Bank and Financial Reports, or FBARs.

Beware of Scams that Look Like IRS Notices

People take notices from the Internal Revenue Service seriously, and scammers know it. Every year, the IRS gets thousands of reports of communications to taxpayers that are allegedly from the IRS, but are really fraudulent attempts to get information or money. The scams are known as phishing, and they try to convince people to give out personal information like bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. The thieves then use the information to steal money from their victims.

California Wants Sales Tax from Internet Transactions

Goods are selling over the internet at a higher rate than ever, and one of the reasons consumers are drawn to make purchases online is the frequent absence of sales taxes. In an attempt to get their hands on some of that lost revenue, The California legislature has been looking at ways to get more online retailers to collect state sales tax, and they may succeed.

Not Deductible: Prostitutes, Buffalo Meat, Loofas, a Few Others

Everybody likes a good, meaty tax deduction. But some people try just a little too hard. For instance, here are ten deductions that probably seemed like a really good idea at the time, but were not allowed by the IRS.

California Tax Authorities May Want a Piece of Offshore Bank Accounts, Too

We have blogged extensively about the IRS's plans to offer amnesty to the holders of off-shore bank accounts who have not previously disclosed the accounts to the IRS. The IRS has made several recent attempts to bring offshore bank account holders within the fold, with incentives for disclosing offshore bank accounts to avoid higher tax penalties. The IRS has counted nearly 18,000 more offshore bank accounts as a result of its efforts. Because of this success, the IRS is contemplating another voluntary disclosure program, although with less advantageous terms than the first voluntary disclosure programs.

Free Tax Help Available from the IRS

There are times when everyone could use some help with their tax questions. Sometimes it just makes sense to consult a tax attorney. There are tax issues, though, that can be addressed for free. The IRS provides free assistance via telephone, computer and in person. Some people even qualify for free use of tax preparation websites.