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]
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]
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
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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.
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]
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]
Usually, our staff Certified Tax Cat handles readers’ questions about taxes, but he’s also a cat, and cats occasionally just do whatever the hell they want. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist this spring, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]
Usually, our staff Certified Tax Cat handles readers’ questions about taxes, but he’s currently at a Warby Parker showroom shopping for some even less fashionable glasses. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist this spring, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]
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.