Archive for the ‘General Taxation’ Category

Taxing Internet Sales

April 23, 2013
By Kaye A. Thomas

If you read the Wall Street Journal, you may be aware that legislation dealing with Internet sales is moving forward. Monday, the Senate voted 74 to 20 in favor of opening debate on the measure. [Update: the Senate subsequently passed the bill; action in the House is pending with the outcome uncertain at this point.] The picture of this legislation painted on the Journal’s editorial pages is misleading, however.

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IRS Tool for Homebuyer Credit

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.)

link: First Time Homebuyer Credit Account Look-up

Forbes Quotes Fairmark

February 15, 2013

Forbes quotes us in this article about estimated tax concerns of high-income taxpayers following the tax increases that took effect as of 2013.

more info: Free online guide to estimated tax payments

Tax Rules Extended by ATRA

January 12, 2013

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 provides “taxpayer relief” primarily by extending tax benefits that were scheduled to expire. Here is a list of the extensions that are of most interest to individual taxpayers. Changes labeled “permanent” can be altered by an Act of Congress but will not expire automatically.
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January 30 Start for 2013 Filing 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.

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American Taxpayer Relief Act

January 3, 2013
By Kaye A. Thomas

In a last gasp effort Congress passed legislation to avert the fiscal cliff and prevent tax increases on 98% of Americans. Key features of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (“ATRA”) include the following:

  • Existing income tax rates (including marriage penalty relief) are preserved for taxpayers with income up to $400,000 ($450,000 for couples filing jointly). A tax rate of 39.6% applies above that level.
  • Qualified dividends will continue to be taxed at capital gain rates, but a 20% rate will apply to both of these beginning at the income thresholds mentioned above.
  • The personal exemption phaseout and the Pease rule for reducing itemized deductions are revived, but at higher income levels than under prior law.
  • The law permanently fixes the alternative minimum tax (“AMT”), eliminating the recurring need for an “AMT patch.”
  • Seemingly out of nowhere, the law expands the availability of in-plan Roth conversions.
  • The estate tax provisions are more generous than might have been expected, retaining the $5 million exemption and raising the rate by only 5 percentage points, to 40%.

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ATRA Tax Increase or Tax Cut?

January 3, 2013

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (“ATRA”) is being described by many (including both Republicans and Democrats) as a tax increase of more than $600 billion. At the same time, from a different perspective, it’s a tax cut — and one of the largest in history.

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ATRA Tax Rates

January 2, 2013

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (“ATRA”) affects income tax rates for 2013 and subsequent years. These rates do not sunset, so they will not change (except for inflation adjustments) until Congress passes legislation amending the tax law.

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Please Raise Our Taxes

November 12, 2012
By Kaye A. Thomas

Here’s a tax-related factoid about the presidential election that we haven’t seen reported elsewhere.

In this election, income tax rates were one of the main points of contention. President Obama wants higher tax rates  for high-income individuals; Governor Romney proposed a 20% reduction in the top rate. Did states with higher per capita income favor Romney? (more…)

Good News and Bad for Tax Debtors

June 6, 2012
By Kaye A. Thomas

The IRS has released good news for individuals who have tax debts they can’t pay. Whether you’ll actually be able to take advantage of that news is another matter. And whether you can obtain good professional help with the problem is yet another matter.

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