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]

When 47 States Have Stricter Regulations On Barbers Than On Tax Preparers, Mistakes Are Going To Be Made

When 47 States Have Stricter Regulations On Barbers Than On Tax Preparers, Mistakes Are Going To Be Made

If you visit a legitimate barber, hairdresser, or cosmetologist in any state in the U.S., that person will have gone through some sort of state-mandated education, testing, and licensing procedure. Yet only three states have any substantive requirements for someone employed as a tax preparer. Not surprisingly, a new report finds that this lack of quality control results in a large amount of errors, fraud, and abuse. [More]

Flexible Spending Accounts Get A Little Less Inflexible With Ability To Roll Money Over

Flexible Spending Accounts Get A Little Less Inflexible With Ability To Roll Money Over

Some 14 million American families participate in employer-sponsored flexible spending accounts that let you put pre-tax money into an account to be used on medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance. But millions of consumers elect not to have an FSA because of the “use it or lose it” requirement that forfeits unused funds at the end of the year. So in an effort to get people participating, the IRS will be allowing companies to offer FSAs that let employees roll over up to $500 in unused funds into the next year. [More]

(arsheffield)

Tax Season Will Start Late This Year Due To Government Shutdown

Those 16 days the government spent shut down will have far-reaching consequences into the future. Basically the Internal Revenue Service just can’t get those two weeks back, and as such it’ll be delaying the start of the 2014 tax filing season by one to two weeks. [More]

(frankieleon)

Government Shutdown Furloughs IRS Taxpayer Advocates, Keeps Imposing Tax Levies

Earlier this week, we pointed out that just because most of the federal government is closed for business, that doesn’t mean citizens get out of our obligation to pay taxes. If what the IRS is asking you to pay is confusing or unfair, we usually recommend that readers turn to the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Those noble workers are furloughed during the shutdown. [More]

(afagen)

So The Government Is Shut Down… Do I Still Have To Pay My Taxes?

As the sun rises over Washington, D.C., this morning, huge numbers of federal employees are either not coming in to work or are only coming in to shut down their offices until lawmakers sort this mess out. But just because the wheels of government have come grinding to a halt doesn’t mean everything is put on hold indefinitely. [More]

IRS Keeps Losing Couple’s 2010 Tax Return, Doesn’t Know Why

IRS Keeps Losing Couple’s 2010 Tax Return, Doesn’t Know Why

A California couple was trapped in the seventh level of bureaucratic hell. They aren’t just dealing with the IRS: they’re apparently dealing with a part of the IRS whose talent for losing paperwork rivals only Bank of America. They’ve sent in their 2010 tax return four times, and the IRS keeps losing it. [More]

(cmorran123)

H&R Block Sending $25 To Customers Impacted By Filing Delay

Last month the Internal Revenue Service said H&R Block had bungled over 600,000 tax returns, potentially causing refund delays for those customers. The tax preparation firm says to make up for that glitch, it’ll be sending out $25 gift cards to any customers who filed their taxes at company-owned H&R Block locations and were impacted by the processing delay. [More]

Loan Co-Signers Should Not Be On The Hook With The IRS If The Debt Is Forgiven

We’ve written numerous stories over the years about parents who co-signed student loans for their children and then were stuck with the payments when their child passed away or could not find employment. Sometimes lenders will choose to forgive that debt, but even then some are making a mistake that could continue to hurt the co-signer at tax time. [More]

(arsheffield)

IRS Issued $11 Billion In Improper Refund Payments, Is Totally In Trouble With Mom

Someone’s got some explaining to do: the Internal Revenue Service sent out about $11.6 billion in payments it shouldn’t have, through the Earned Income Tax Credit program last year, according to a report by the inspector general. This isn’t going over well with its parents at the White House because that is way more than its allowance. [More]

(HerArtSheLoves)

IRS: Just Because We Said We Can Read Your E-mails Without A Warrant Doesn’t Mean We Did It

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union published a 2009 IRS handbook in which the agency states that Americans “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in [e-mail] communications.” Yesterday, the IRS’s acting commissioner appeared before lawmakers to clarify the agency’s actual stance on the issue. [More]

(JimmyBionic)

Legislation Would Prevent IRS From Providing Pre-Filled Tax Returns

In 2002, when the IRS and the tax-prep software industry created Free File, which gives consumers with simple tax returns the ability to file electronically without being charged, the IRS agreed to not provide its own “free, online tax return preparation and filing services to taxpayers.” That arrangement is expiring, so some lawmakers (with a bit of money from tax-prep companies in their pockets) are seeking to make it permanent. [More]