December 30, 2014 |
As taxpayers, we entrust vital personal data to the person preparing our tax returns, including pay stubs, investments, and Social Security numbers. But not all tax-preparers are ethical. To thwart identity thieves and other unscrupulous tax-preparers, the Internal Revenue Service in January plans to launch a database of those the agency deems qualified. This new Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications (not a joke - that's the name)
April 29, 2014 |
With the April 15 personal income tax deadline behind us, Pennsylvania taxpayers awaiting refunds can check the state revenue department's online tool "Where's My Refund?" Any taxpayer can punch in the primary Social Security number listed on the return and the expected refund amount at: www.revenue.state.pa.us . Under the online services tab, select "Where's My Refund?" Information on electronically filed returns is available within a day or so. Taxpayers who file paper returns should allow six to eight weeks from the date the return was mailed before checking.
April 21, 2014 |
Last-minute tax filers who were due money back from the Internal Revenue Service are just getting, or still awaiting, their refunds. Here are ways to decide what to do with the cash. Kiplinger.com says refunds, which average around $3,000, should go "to bolster your personal balance sheet. " First, consider giving yourself a raise, this post suggests, "by adjusting your tax withholding to increase your take-home pay. " More immediately, use the money you got back from the IRS to pay off credit-card debt, or set it aside for an emergency fund, or boost a savings, retirement, or college account.
April 10, 2014
THERE is never a shortage of people trying to get rich off the poor: predatory lenders, mortgage scam artists, rent-to-own companies and other business models designed to exploit people desperate for cash. This time of year, the leading contenders for this vile practice are tax preparation services that take advantage of low- and middle-income taxpayers, charging high and unnecessary fees, employing underqualified workers who, as some watchdogs report, often resort to fraud. And April is their Christmas.
March 20, 2014 |
What's scarier than snow on St. Patrick's Day? Taxes! Fortunately, we have some more free - yes, free - tax-filing resources, this time courtesy of the United Way. About half of all American households earn less than $55,000 a year. To help those of us who fall in that camp, United Way partnered with MyFreeTaxes ( www.myfreetaxes.com ), which provides free state and federal tax-preparation and filing assistance for families earning $58,000 or less a year. The MyFreeTaxes Partnership's online and in-person tax-preparation and filing services have helped millions of families and individuals.
October 2, 2013 |
Tax law has changed as a result of the Affordable Care Act - Obamacare - and you may either receive a tax refund or pay a penalty as a result. As of Oct. 1, uninsured individuals can start shopping for health insurance through online marketplaces, also called exchanges. If you have employer-sponsored insurance, an individual plan, and Medicaid or Medicare, you do not need to purchase anything. If you don't have insurance and instead purchase through a state marketplace, you may qualify for a tax credit.
March 15, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - If you didn't bother filing a federal tax return for 2009, it might be a good time to rethink your tax strategy. The IRS says it has $917 million in unclaimed tax refunds from 2009, and time is running out to claim the money. Most of the refunds exceed $500. The refunds are owed to nearly one million people who failed to file returns for 2009. Taxpayers must file their 2009 returns by April 15 to claim their refunds. If taxpayers don't file returns, the law says they have a three-year window to claim refunds.
March 14, 2013
D EAR HARRY: Is the federal government trying to discourage the sale and redemption of E and EE savings bonds? Has funding for the Treasury Department been cut? Are future cuts pending? Redeeming the old paper bonds has become a nightmare. We no longer can buy paper bonds, either. The Treasury says they will be issued only as part of a tax refund. Now, it appears that you can buy "electronic" bonds only online through a ridiculously complicated process for even the more-savvy computer users.
March 13, 2013
MANY TAXPAYERS think that getting a federal refund is a big deal. They look forward to it all year. It's the largest lump sumthat lots of people receive, according to the American Tax and Financial Center at TurboTax, the tax-software company. Last year, the average federal tax refund was about $2,800, about $100 less than in 2011, according to the IRS. In 2010, the average refund was about $3,000. Typically, you pay federal taxes by having a portion withheld from your pay. If too much is withheld, you get a refund.
March 10, 2013
Former Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell admitted to his role in a tax-fraud scheme. Mitchell pleaded guilty in federal court in Orlando, Fla., Friday, to a single count of conspiracy to file a false claim. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of $250,000. Prosecutors say Mitchell and two others concocted a scheme that involved filing a false tax return on behalf of another professional athlete. They say Mitchell told the athlete, only identified as "A.G.," that he could help him get a bigger tax refund from the IRS. Mitchell and his two associates filed a return on behalf of A.G. that contained blatantly false information.