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]

How To Not Suck… At Getting Ready For Tax Season

How To Not Suck… At Getting Ready For Tax Season

It might seem a bit early to bring up tax returns, but this is actually the perfect time to get the ball rolling before the holiday season takes over our lives and unpleasant things like thinking about taxes get pushed off into the new year. [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]

(AJENT.MSG)

Intuit (TurboTax) Spends Millions To Keep Us From Filing Taxes Quickly And For Free

Here’s something to keep in mind as you wait in line at 11:30 PM on April 15th: filing your taxes could be so, so much easier. Bills have been put before Congress that would let taxpayers choose to have the Internal Revenue Service calculate their taxes due for them, and send them a bill or cut a refund check accordingly. Only there are companies lobbying to keep things exactly as they are. The biggest spenders aren’t accounting firms, or even Big Tax Cat. It’s Intuit, the maker of popular tax-filing program TurboTax. The company has spent more than $11 million lobbying to keep tax returns around forever. [More]

(me and the sysop)

$917 Million In Refunds Awaits 984,000 People Who Didn’t File Federal Tax Return In 2009

A lot of people who fail to file their taxes each year do so because they assume they will have to owe money or won’t be getting anything back. But the IRS says there is nearly a billion dollars in unclaimed returns from 2009, and that it needs to be claimed by April 15, 2013, or it goes into Uncle Sam’s pocket. [More]

(cmorran123)

IRS: H&R Block Causing Refund Delays After Bungling 600,000 Tax Returns

Many of us find the Internal Revenue Service’s income tax return pretty darn difficult to figure out, which is why companies like H&R Block exist — ostensibly, to help customers maneuver the complicated forms and get them a nice tax refund if possible. But it seems H&R finds those forms confusing, too. [More]

(frankieleon)

Just in case you needed another reason to switch to direct-deposit, a pair of former postal workers have pleaded guilty to swiping more than $3.5 million in tax refund and benefit checks while employed at a USPS distribution center in Atlanta. (via AJC.com)

Tax Dad Sez: Send Us Your Questions For Consumerist’s Designated Tax Preparer

Tax Dad Sez: Send Us Your Questions For Consumerist’s Designated Tax Preparer

Seriously old-school Consumerist fans might remember Ask Meghann’s Dad, where readers sent in questions about electrical wiring and home repair, and Mr. Marco was all competent and helpful. During a meeting to think of new story ideas, we remembered this and asked ourselves: what other experts do we have access to who are also related to us? Why, there’s our very own Tax Dad, independent tax preparer John Northrup. [More]

(frankieleon)

Hold Your Horses. Tax Season Will Kick Off Late This Year

We know you’re all just ready to put on your IRS face paint and get into the spirit of Tax Season, but there’s some sad news for tax fans everywhere today — this year’s filing season won’t kick off until Jan. 30, more than a week later than expected. [More]

(frankieleon)

Reminder: If You Filed A Tax Return Extension, You’ve Got Until 10/15 To File The Real Thing

It seems like it was just six months ago that everyone was freaking out, filing their last-minute tax returns, while you calmly filed an extension and said “I’ll deal with it in October.” Well, now the clock is ticking and folks who got extensions back in April now have until next Monday, Oct. 15, to file their actual returns. [More]

Trimmed-Down IRS Staff Means Fewer Audits This Year

Trimmed-Down IRS Staff Means Fewer Audits This Year

We certainly don’t want to give comfort to tax cheats — and we’re not trying to imply that any of our beloved readers are anything less than honest when filing their tax returns — but for those who dread a random audit, there’s some good news: Budget and staff cuts at the IRS will likely mean fewer audits. [More]

Why Is TurboTax Asking Me For A Donation?

Why Is TurboTax Asking Me For A Donation?

Well, that headline is a little disingenuous. We know exactly why. K. filed his federal return using the free e-file service through Intuit’s TurboTax. It nagged him to upgrade to the paid service here and there during the process, which you expect when using any free service. What he didn’t expect was a pop-up with Lisa the Friendly Accountant acting like a public radio host during pledge drive week. “Intuit is a multi-billion dollar corporation,” he pointed out in his e-mail to Consumerist. “I just found this a bit greedy.” [More]

Tax Prep Company Blames IRS, Indian Software Developers, Customers For Bounced Checks

Old school Consumerist readers may remember Memphis-based Mo Money Taxes from its appearance in this classic Great Moments In Commercial History post. But now the company, which provides tax prep services in several states, is making headlines because it has put a lot of bad refund checks in the hands of its customers. [More]

3 Expenses You Can Deduct From Your Taxes, Even If You Didn't Pay Them

3 Expenses You Can Deduct From Your Taxes, Even If You Didn't Pay Them

Just because someone else helps you with paying an expense doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t legally itemize that expense on your 1040 come tax time. [More]

8 Tips For Picking The Right Tax Preparer

8 Tips For Picking The Right Tax Preparer

You know that I love you all and would just love to prepare every last one of your 1040s this year. But between my existing clients and that centipede I can’t seem to catch, I’m booked solid through tax day. [More]

Why Does American Express Need A Copy Of My Wife's Tax Return?

Why Does American Express Need A Copy Of My Wife's Tax Return?

Evan writes that he recently got married, and the newlyweds make more money than they did at this time last year. American Express suspects something, and has suspended their credit card, demanding a copy of his wife’s tax return from last year. What’s going on? [More]

High-Volume Sellers On eBay, Craigslist Can Look Forward To New Tax Form For 2011

High-Volume Sellers On eBay, Craigslist Can Look Forward To New Tax Form For 2011

If you tend to move a lot of merchandise on eBay or Craigslist, you should know that the IRS wants a share of those earnings. If in 2011 you sell more than $20,000 worth of goods and have more than 200 transactions, then come early 2012 you’ll receive a shiny new flavor of 1099 form called a 1099-K, and you’ll have to pay up. If you’re an infrequent seller, where your eBay or Craigslist transactions more closely resemble a garage sale than a virtual storefront (and especially if you sell items at a loss), you probably don’t have to worry. [More]

Avoid H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Says Accountant

Avoid H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Says Accountant

If you haven’t done your taxes, don’t go to H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt. That’s the advice we receive from Peter, a professional accountant. He says they will rip you off. And if they mess up, they’re not liable.