Posts Tagged ‘Smartmoney Tax Blog’

Tax Roundup, 4/6/2012

Friday, April 6th, 2012 by Joe Kristan

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out: IRS Commissioner to Leave in September When 5-Year Term Ends (TaxProf)

Then why didn’t he practice safe tax? F. Lee Bailey Was No Tax Court Virgin (Peter J. Reilly)

You can put it next to your Bernie Madoff bobblehead: This Is Your Last Chance to Own (or Gift!) a Piece of Koss Embezzlement History (Going Concern)

Identity theft happens in Iowa too (Davis Tax Law Blog)

Kay Bell has thoughts on How to avoid a tax audit, virtual or otherwise. Kay talks about how much deduction is “normal.” Audits aren’t fun, but if you maintain good records and report your income, don’t chicken out on taking deductions you deserve just because they’re bigger than “normal.”

The bank is a better lender than the IRS on April 17: Paying Taxes by Credit Card? Read This First (Smartmoney Tax Blog)

TaxGrrrl: You Can’t Get a Tax Refund for Buying Groceries – And Other Helpful Advice

Good luck getting rent from the tenants to pay them off: Should Muni Bonds Pay To Demolish Buildings? (TaxVox)

Tax Policy Blog: Tax Freedom Day: The Song


Your refund got stolen? Prepare to wait for recovery

Thursday, March 1st, 2012 by Joe Kristan

The Smartmoney Tax Blog explains what to do if your refund has already been claimed by an identity thief:

Taxpayers should report suspected fraud to the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. They should hold on to any letters sent to them from the IRS and fill out the IRS Identity theft Affidavit, a form for reporting fraud or suspected fraud. Victims will also need documentation to help prove their identity, including W-2 forms, previous tax returns and a photo ID.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for that refund:

Experts say it may take at least six months before taxpayers can get their stolen refunds back. (This blogger


The nightmare is over

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 by Joe Kristan

The politicians have left Iowa, and, the 2011 LexisNexis Top Tax Law Blog — silent since December 15 — has a new post! Christopher Bergin accurately pegs the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut:

Bar none, this is the stupidest tax policy idea I have ever seen


One week for Roth second thoughts

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

From the Smartmoney Tax Blog:

Regretting your Roth IRA conversion? You have just a few days left to undo that move: The deadline to reverse


You can’t afford to fall behind on your payroll taxes

Monday, August 1st, 2011 by Joe Kristan

Falling behind on payroll taxes is often fatal for small businesses. Arden Dale explains atSmartMoney Tax Blog:

Once the IRS adds its penalties, the debt can snowball. Companies can be fined for outright failure to pay or to report on the tax, and also for paying late


Wesley Snipes will get to finish his sentence

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

20101209-1.jpgActor Wesley Snipes was unable to play a victim well enough to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of his tax crime conviction. That means Mr. Snipes will complete his 3-year sentence on or about July 19, 2013. He has the consolation of knowing that after he is free, his former advisor Eddie Kahn will be securely held in the arms of the Bureau of Prisons until sometime in 2026.
The Tax Prof blog has a roundup. Additional blog coverage from TaxGrrrl , Russ Fox, Smartmoney Tax Blog, and Hit and Run.
Related: Wesley Snipes: victim of the system?


Pennies on the dollar…

Monday, June 6th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

… might be all you have left after you use one of the cable-TV “tax debt reduction” outfits. Eva Rosenberg explains at the Smartmoney Tax Blog.


Data mining for taxable gifts

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 by Joe Kristan

The IRS is trolling through county real estate transaction records in search of unreported taxable gifts. Arden Dale has more at the Smartmoney Tax Blog:

The agency has a low-profile but sweeping effort under way to find out about these transactions. It


Report: states are stepping up audits

Monday, May 2nd, 2011 by Joe Kristan

Iowa, like other states, has rarely audited personal income tax returns on its own, prefering to piggyback on IRS exams. That may be changing in other states, reports Arden Dale:

Tax advisers say audits have increased in California, New York, New Jersey and Iowa. The Illinois Department of Revenue recently added 50 auditors, in part to help a group of 136 others work on individual and corporate income tax audits.

What triggers a state exam?

State audits tend to begin with red flags including a change of residence, out-of-state property holdings, real estate in general, and trusts or partnerships that hold different kinds of assets. Stock options also now get a lot of attention, according to AmyLynn Flood, partner, global human resource services at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Each state has its own set of taxes and its own pet issues. New York, for example, has gone after people who live in a neighboring state but spend time in a Manhattan pied-a-terre or upstate hideaway. Anything that suggests a contact or former contact with New York by someone who now claims to live out of state is a red flag, according to Stephen Breitstone, a partner at Meltzer Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP in Mineola, N.Y.

Iowa has always gone after people who it feels should be paying taxes — people who claim residence in another state, for example, or non-residents who the state believes are not reporting Iowa-source income. If Iowa ever stops wasting its audit resources on information that it should be gathering in the return-filing process, it will probably increase its examination activity too.


Reverse role models

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

Some people find their purpose in life is making mistakes so we don’t have to. Russ Fox celebrates these intrepid bad examples in his Bozo Tax Tips series:

Congress has decided to legislate through the Tax Code. There are hundreds of tax credits that now exist. These range from the Earned Income Credit, education credits, electric vehicle credits, and adoption credits. Some of these credits, such as the Earned Income Credit, are refundable credits: You can get a refund based on the credit even if you don


Remember the ‘other’ April tax deadline

Thursday, March 31st, 2011 by Joe Kristan

Did you turn 70 1/2 last year? Tomorrow is the deadline for taking the minimum required distribution from your retirement account, the Smartmoney Tax Blog reminds us.


When your refund gets stolen

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

Smartmoney Tax Blog explains what to do:

Your main defense is to launch an investigation with the IRS, which will work to confirm your identity, track down the fraudster and recover your refund. Each incident has a different outcome, but most taxpayers should expect to wait at least six months for the case to be resolved, according to Identity Theft 911.

But don’t jump to the conclusion that your refund has been stolen. It takes six weeks or so to get a paper-return refund, and up to three weeks when you e-file. Check the IRS “where’s my refund” site before you panic.


Deducting over $50,000 in home mortgage debt? You might be raising an audit flag

Monday, March 28th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

The tax law allows you to deduct interest on up to $1.1 million of debt on a principal residence. The IRS is good enough at math to tell that 5% of 1.1 million is $55,000. If you are deducting more than that in home mortgage interest, the IRS is likely to ask just how much debt you have, reports Arden Dale at Smartmoney Tax Blog:

Tax rules distinguish between two kinds of home debt. There is home acquisition debt, which is a loan used to acquire, construct or substantially improve a qualified home, and is secured by the home. Then there is home equity debt, which is any other kind of loan that is also secured by the home…
IRS guidance last June helped set the rules straight. The agency said acquisition loans over $1 million may also qualify as home equity indebtedness. Now, says Labant, it is clear the taxpayer can deduct interest on the full $1.1 million, even if he has only one loan. The development, she adds, is


$15 billion down the rathole

Monday, March 28th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

Kay Bell reports that in the last government fiscal year 2.1 million tax returns claimed $15.6 billion in first-time homebuyer tax credits. That $15.6 billion was supposed to fix the market for houses. How’s that working out? Smartmoney Tax Blog has the results:

Two and a half years later, sales in most residential markets are still anemic and prices are still falling.
The real estate gurus at Case-Shiller expect more bad news: prices could fall another 15%-25%.

Just last week we got headlines like: New home sales plumb record lows, prices stumble
Targeted tax credits normally fail. The failure is usually less spectacular.


Didn’t file for 2007? Your 2007 refund turns to a pumpkin April 18.

Friday, March 4th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

The three-year period for claiming refunds for 2007 by filing an original 2007 return expires April 18. The IRS is sitting on a lot of unclaimed withholding that it will get to keep if people don’t get on the stick in the next few weeks and get their 2007 1040s filed. Kay Bell and the Smartmoney Tax Blog have more.


Can you deduct Medicare Part B premiums?

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

Yes you can, reports Bill Bischoff at the Smartmoney Tax Blog. TaxGrrrl has more.


Got $5 million to spare? Now might be the time to spare it.

Monday, January 31st, 2011 by Joe Kristan

The tax law passed at the end of 2010 extending the Bush-era tax cuts also quintupled the lifetime gift-tax exemption, to $5 million. That provision expires at the end of 2012. This could mean there is a two-year window for large family gifts. The Smartmoney Tax Blog has more.