After The Events In Boston And Texas, Charity Scams Are Common

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Charity Scams Are Common

When you use TurboTax to file your taxes, you may notice that you can write off the money that you gave to charities. This is a good way to reduce your total tax bill or get a bigger return, and you get to help the victims of tragedies at the same time. However, the IRS has said that taxpayers like yourself need to be aware of common charity scams that can cheat you out of your money.

Walk for Cancer - it's raining!
Walk for Cancer – it’s raining! (Photo credit: miamism)

Many charity scams crop up after every tragedy, and the ones in Boston and Texas are no exception. Most of the time, charity scams will be set up to look like real charities that you may have reported contributions to on TurboTax before. They could mimic the name, the color scheme and other important aspects. Always make sure that you check with the IRS to see if the charity is verified before donating.

It is also important that you never give out your social security number, your credit card numbers, or any other personal information. Some charity scams will use these things to steal your identity, and they can then steal your money later on, above and beyond what you donate so that you can write it off on TurboTax. On top of this, you never want to donate cash just in case the organization is a charity scam. It is easier to report transactions on TurboTax if you donate with a check or a credit card, and this means that you have a record of the transaction if it is a scam.

Small Businesses Get Help From Intuit’s TurboTax CPA Select

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Intuit’s TurboTax CPA Select

New TurboTax CPA Select connects small businesses with CPAs

Intuit has announced a new online service known as TurboTax CPA Select, that links small businesses who need to file their taxes with a CPA.

Image representing Intuit as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

The inventor of TurboTax, Quicken, and Quickbooks, Intuit has come out with a great new tax preparation and filing service right on schedule for the approaching tax season. The program, TurboTax CPA Select is intended to assign small businesses who need tax help to a CPA. These business owners can know have an accurate estimate of the cost of their tax preparation before they have to file them.

Brian Crofts, Group Product Manager of Intuit, states that with CPA Select our focus is to be able to handle business on both the customer and CPA side, giving customers what they need and want.”

The new service was introduced by Intuit on January 23 at the Small Business VCon and again on January 29 at Intuit’s Innovation Gallery Walk.  The Gallery Walk was held at the Mountain View headquarters of Intuit from 4-8 p.m. Pacific Time and gave them a chance to show off their latest products/services. The CEO and other leaders of Intuit shared their predictions about technology as well.

TurboTax CPA Selects lets users search a group of selected CPAs. The CPAs have profiles of themselves with a photo, client reviews, star ratings, and educational and professional information. Once a small business picks a CPA, they simply upload and submit their tax return from the prior year along with any other necessary documents such as 1099s and W-2s. Within 24 hours, the selected CPA will give that business an estimate based on what they have submitted.  Users can then accept or deny the estimate. If it gets accepts, the CPA prepares and files the tax return.

This online service is not only for small businesses, but also for individuals. Users can sign up by filling out the registration form or using the link to their Facebook page. Requirement 7216 asks users to give consent to submit documents by having them type their full name, their spouse, and the date. TurboTax CPA Select is simple for messaging the CPA directly or to chat or message Intuit customer service.

Crofts states that he wants the service to be convenient and easy to use for individuals and businesses, even if they only need one-time help with their taxes.

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CPAs that belong to the TurboTax CPA Select plan can link their profile to their social media sites and manage everything from their dashboard. They are also able to send messages to their clients directly.

Plans starting at just $89.95 are now available. Mint.com users may be able to use CPA Select since it is on their advice list of services that can save them money.

In What Way Can An IRS Tax Lawyer Help You

Charity tax law is hard
Charity tax law is hard (Photo credit: trexfiles23)

IRS Tax Lawyer

Even though taxing is such an important subject, it is a pity that quite a number of people are unaware of the depth and importance of taxing. This is where an IRS tax lawyer comes into the picture. Hiring a professional tax lawyer is always a viable solution for all tax payers because the knowledge that these professionals have would certainly be very deep and hence they can guide the tax payers. What is IRS? This can be defined as an idea that supports the hiring of a professional individual to provide guidance and analyze different kinds of taxes that has to be paid by the tax payer. Without the help of a professional tax lawyer, one can run into several problems because law is a serious subject, and any defiance of law is surely going to result in heavy penalty.

It is always advisable to find a good IRS tax lawyer to help you out with your case. There are many online tax lawyers that could come in handy. Some of the popular online IRS tax lawyers are Steven Klitzner, David Coleman, etc. If you are an individual who has multiple sources of income then it would surely do you good to hire a tax lawyer to help you maintain accurate records and comply with statutory requirements.

Tax Liability Of An Annuity – Does It Exist?

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Tax Liability Of An Annuity

Everybody is interested in avoiding taxation legally because no one likes to pay taxes. There is generally no tax liability in case of annuities and this is what makes it so popular. After all, ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’ therefore why not invest in these since they do not require you to pay tax? The tax-deferred growth that one can enjoy from an annuity is probably one of the most attractive features about it. The government isn’t going to tax you on any of the earnings as long as the money stays inside the annuity. Thus, if you were filing for 2009 taxes then your annuity wouldn’t come under it.

However, it cannot remain like this forever since all good things should come to an end. Therefore your deferred annuity will get taxed in its later stages. To understand this, it is necessary to take a look at the two stages of a deferred annuity. The accumulation phase is the first phase and during this phase the annuity is allowed to grow and there is no tax liability on it.

In the second phase, i.e. the distribution phase, the annuity is paid out and the payment can be made in a single lump sum or it can be segregated into a series of payouts at fixed intervals over a lifetime or a pre-determined period of time. It does not matter which mode of payment is opted because the income tax will be due on each of the annuity payment which the recipient receives.

All You Need To Know About Dealing With Tax Liability

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Do not let tax liability force you to pay more than your fair share of taxes. The IRS has been providing special reliefs to people who have not been able to meet their tax obligations for the last few years.

The tax revenue authority body through its “Fresh Start” initiative is taking target at small business owners and the unemployed to meet revenue collection targets set previously.

According to Doug Shulman, IRS Commissioner, the agency has an obligation to work with struggling taxpayers in order to find a workable solution for both parties.

Every taxpayer should know that failing to file returns or to pay taxes on time will attract penalties which will increase their tax liability.

» Failure to file on time will result in a penalty of five percent per month of the unpaid taxes until the amount is fully settled.

» Failure to pay taxes will lead to a penalty of half of 1 percent of the unpaid taxes every month.

The good news is that the agency is giving a half-year grace period to some self-employed people and eligible unemployed people. During this period, these groups of taxpayers will not incur penalties for late payment or failure to file returns. However, taxpayers who fall into these two categories will have to fill out the IRS Form 4868 to ask for an extension.

Under the Fresh Start initiative, eligible taxpayers will have up to 15th October to pay their taxes. Self-employed individuals who have seen their income drop by more than 25 percent due to the economic crisis in 2011 can also qualify for this deadline extension.

How to Avoid an IRS Tax Audit

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Tax season is upon us, and people seem to react to tax season with mixed feelings. Of course, if you are expecting a refund this year, then you are probably excited to file your taxes. But be honest – there is that little voice in the back of your head worrying about being audited, right? After all, people rank the experience of an IRS audit right up there with a root canal. If you want to do your best to steer clear of the worst come tax time, here are some tips for how to avoid an IRS tax audit:

Double check your work. Silly mistakes can cost you a lot of time and frustration down the road. Always go over your finished tax forms with a fine-tooth comb, especially if you prepared them using your own software. You can’t take back what you send the IRS once you hit that submit button, and just one extra zero where there’s not supposed to be one is all it takes to trigger that dreaded phone call from the IRS.

Meet your deadlines. When it comes to dealing with the IRS, you want to avoid drawing any unnecessary attention to yourself. When you file late or fail to make a payment on time, it’s like holding a big red flag up and hoping the IRS doesn’t see it.

Report everything. The IRS cross-references everything, so don’t leave anything out – no matter how insignificant it may seem. For example, that ten dollar interest amount you earned on your small savings account may not mean a lot to you . . . but it’s certainly not worth an IRS audit, is it?

Overshooting your deductibles. Only claim what you can legally claim, and be completely honest. The deductibles portion of your tax returns is one of the most likely areas you can expect the IRS to scrutinize. If anything looks off, or even slightly questionable, you are in danger of being audited.

Keep records. If you are going to claim something – anything, from income to expenses to deductibles – keep records of it. Invest in a small file folder and maintain your receipts and records throughout the year in order to make an easy job of it. That way, you can be sure that you are filing correctly when you send in your returns, and you can rest assured that you did everything within your power to avoid an audit.

There is no guarantee that you won’t be audited by the IRS. It is possible to everything the “right” way only to come under investigation, while others seem to slide under the radar. What you can do is set your mind at ease that an audit is as unlikely as possible, and these tips should help you do just that.

About the Author: Francine Ersery is an accountant in the windy city and often has to help her clients sort through audit issues. When she’s not working she can often be found looking at Chicago daily offers for hot deals and weekend entertainment opportunities.