(Alberto Cueto)

Beware Of Unprepared, Unscrupulous Tax Preparers

While one might assume that it requires a modicum of tax expertise and perhaps some sort of certification to be a paid tax preparer, the sad fact is that most states have little to no standards for selling tax preparation services, meaning that once again millions of Americans are being put at risk when seeking help with their tax returns. [More]

(JimmyBionic)

While the Internal Revenue Service won’t be accepting electronically filed tax returns until Jan. 20, the agency’s Free File program is open starting today for those taxpayers who make an adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less. The Free File site features free access to federal tax preparation and e-filing software from 14 different tax-prep companies, and offers helpful links to help guide taxpayers through the process. [IRS.gov Free File]

(bradhoc)

More Than Half Of All Taxpayer Calls To The IRS Could Go Unanswered This Year

Seeking tax preparation help from the Internal Revenue Service this year might be a futile test of patience, as the agency’s taxpayer advocate predicts services for taxpayers are likely to drop to the worst levels in more than a decade. [More]

IRS Turning Its Baleful Gaze At Company Cafeterias That Churn Out Free Food

(toonbobo)

Do you hear that noise? It’s thousands of forks clattering in the hands of Silicon Valley employees currently enjoying a free lunch. The Internal Revenue Service is taking a closer look at the trend of company cafeterias shoveling free food onto employees’ plates, saying that smorgasbord is a taxable fringe benefit. [More]

People Still Falling For Fake IRS Phone Demand Scam

People Still Falling For Fake IRS Phone Demand Scam

Remember the scam that we kept hearing about during tax season, where victims received a phone call from a person pretending to represent the Internal Revenue Service who demanded immediate payment on a prepaid debit card? People just keep on falling for it. Yes, even now that most people have turned in their tax returns. [More]

10 Ways To Not Suck At Spending Your Tax Refund

10 Ways To Not Suck At Spending Your Tax Refund

Tax season is finally over, and hopefully you’re one of the lucky ones who is expecting a tax refund rather than one of those who has to send even more money to the IRS. But before you spend that money on a third 72″ LED for your yacht, there are several more sensible ways to use your refund. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: Doula Deductions, Pension Distributions, And The Sandwich Generation

Ask Tax Dad: Doula Deductions, Pension Distributions, And The Sandwich Generation

Historically, our staff Certified Tax Cat has handled readers’ questions about taxes, but he took feline early retirement and hung up his oversized eyeglasses. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: I Just Can’t Quit Itemizing My Deductions

Ask Tax Dad: I Just Can’t Quit Itemizing My Deductions

Historically, our staff Certified Tax Cat has handled readers’ questions about taxes, but he took feline early retirement and hung up his oversized eyeglasses. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

IRS Decision To Tax Bitcoin As Property May Slow Efforts To Widen Its Use In Retail

IRS Decision To Tax Bitcoin As Property May Slow Efforts To Widen Its Use In Retail

It’s a good-news/bad-news day for folks who have heavily invested in the Bitcoin virtual currency, after the IRS declared that will tax Bitcoins as property. On the one hand, that means that people who are profiting from their investment in Bitcoin will pay the lower taxes associated with capital gains, rather than the much higher taxes levied on foreign currency gains. On the other hand, it could mean an awful lot of record-keeping that may make it a hassle to use Bitcoins for everyday transactions like one would use a debit card. [More]

IRS Warns Of “Largest Ever” Phony Phone Call Scam

IRS Warns Of “Largest Ever” Phony Phone Call Scam

After receiving more than 20,000 reports of victims being taken in by a phone scam in which the callers pretend to be IRS officials, the tax agency’s internal watchdog has issued a public warning for consumers to be mindful of unsolicited calls claiming to be from the IRS. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: Mobile Home Sale, Sisterly Support, And Son Leaves The Nest

Ask Tax Dad: Mobile Home Sale, Sisterly Support, And Son Leaves The Nest

Historically, our staff Certified Tax Cat has handled readers’ questions about taxes, but he took feline early retirement and hung up his oversized eyeglasses. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

Protect Your Refund: Consumer Advocates Warn Tax  Scammers Will Steal Your Identity

Protect Your Refund: Consumer Advocates Warn Tax Scammers Will Steal Your Identity

It’s that time of year again: tax time. While almost everyone is excited for their well-earned tax return to arrive, there’s a group of people ready to take that money away from you. Thankfully, the National Consumers League wants to make sure consumers don’t fall victim to tax ID thieves. [More]

Appeals Court Ruling Means Tax-Preparers Will Continue To Go Largely Unregulated

Appeals Court Ruling Means Tax-Preparers Will Continue To Go Largely Unregulated

The federal government’s attempt to rein in the virtually unregulated tax-preparation industry was dealt a serious blow this morning after a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that the IRS overstepped its authority by trying to require registration and testing for all tax preparers. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: How Do I E-File? What’s A Deduction, Anyway?

Ask Tax Dad: How Do I E-File? What’s A Deduction, Anyway?

Historically, our staff Certified Tax Cat has handled readers’ questions about taxes, but he took feline early retirement and hung up his oversized eyeglasses. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

(Karen_Chappell)

The IRS Will Not Call To Collect Your Overdue Taxes Via Greendot MoneyPak

Police across the country have a warning for the public. It should be obvious that the Internal Revenue Service will not call you up and threaten to throw you in prison unless you load money onto their prepaid debit card. This isn’t obvious to everyone, though, and scammers use that to their advantage. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: Micro-Business, Rental Home, Deadbeat Ex, And Government Shutdown

Ask Tax Dad: Micro-Business, Rental Home, Deadbeat Ex, And Government Shutdown

Historically, our staff Certified Tax Cat has handled readers’ questions about taxes, but he’s taking a leave of absence to campaign for the legalization of medical catnip. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

5 Things People Do On Tax Returns That Can Lead To IRS Audits

5 Things People Do On Tax Returns That Can Lead To IRS Audits

Can you smell it in the air? That’s the distinct scent of Tax Season approaching. So in these days leading up to everyone’s favorite time of year, here are some reminders about the red flags the IRS looks for when deciding whether to audit a taxpayer. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: Send Us Your Questions For Consumerist’s Tax Columnist

Ask Tax Dad: Send Us Your Questions For Consumerist’s Tax Columnist

It’s almost time for W-2s and other tax documents to start winging their way from employers to our homes, and for the anxiety-inducing yearly tax season to begin. But taxes don’t have to be scary if your dad is there to help. Or, if your own dad isn’t around or doesn’t know anything about taxes, how about my dad? [More]