Tax planning and compliance for investors
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April 9, 2013
If you can’t file by April 15, you should be aware that it’s easier than ever to file for a six-month extension. You can have a tax pro do it for you, or use tax software, but if push comes to shove you can file your federal extension online, free of charge, without regard to your income level. The IRS explains how to do this here.
March 5, 2013
The IRS has announced that forms previously on hold for reprogramming due to late changes in the tax law will now be accepted.
March 3, 2013
A few years ago, to stimulate the housing market Congress created a special credit for certain people buying homes. It was called the first-time homebuyer credit, although it wasn’t strictly limited to people who had never owned a home. The first version of the credit was really an interest-free loan made through the tax system: qualified taxpayers received the credit in the year they bought the home but had to repay it through “recapture” of the credit over a number of years. If you claimed this version of the credit and are unsure where you stand in terms of repaying it, the IRS has a new tool on its website where you can look up this information. (Taxpayers who used the revised version of this credit do not have to repay it.)
February 15, 2013
February 6, 2013
By Kaye A. Thomas
Brokers and mutual fund companies are now required to report your cost basis and holding period in addition to sales proceeds when you sell shares. The requirement doesn’t apply to all shares, however. What’s more, even when they follow all the rules, brokers may report incorrect figures. Taxpayers can’t rely blindly on these reports.
February 5, 2013
Following the Loving decision (reported here), in which the judge granted an injunction against IRS enforcement of its registered tax return preparer regulations, the IRS temporarily shut down its online system for obtaining a preparer tax identification number (“PTIN”), which is needed by all paid preparers (including lawyers, CPAs and enrolled agents). Following clarification of that decision, the online PTIN system is up and running again.
Contrary to at least one published report, the Loving case does not affect the ability of the IRS to require a PTIN or to charge a user fee for those who obtain one.
January 29, 2013
Update February 6, 2013: This issue has been resolved.
With the tax filing season about to open, the IRS has shut down the online system for obtaining preparer tax identification numbers (“PTINs”). As we reported earlier, the decision in the Loving case, invalidating IRS regulations concerning registered tax return preparers, does not invalidate the requirement for tax return preparers (including attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents) to obtain PTINs and pay a user fee. Apparently the IRS hasn’t yet sorted out how to issue PTINs while the injunction barring the other regulations remains in effect. The IRS has posted this statement on its website:
The IRS is working diligently to resolve issues surrounding the issuance of Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) for the filing season. Additional information will be provided shortly as to how to obtain PTINs.
January 22, 2013
By Kaye A. Thomas
Here’s a shocker: a district court ruling declares that the Treasury did not have authority to create a new regulatory scheme for registered tax return preparers, and says the court will permanently enjoin the Treasury from enforcing those regulations. This unexpected news comes just days before the opening of the 2013 tax season.
January 9, 2013
Last minute changes in the tax law have forced the IRS to delay the start of the income tax filing season, previously set for January 22, until January 30. Most taxpayers will be able to file electronically as of that date.
May 29, 2012
A woman hired to help someone resolve a dispute with the IRS is alleged to have obtained letterhead from a congressional office and used it to fabricate a letter purporting to be from an aide to the representative. The letter said that after being contacted by the tax consultant, the congressional office had secured a promise from an IRS official to place a high priority on resolving the dispute.
You might think the tax consultant is in trouble for defrauding her client, but that’s the least of her worries. It turns out that impersonating a congressional aide is a federal offense, punishable by up to three years in prison and $250,000.
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