Just last month federal regulators announced that an ongoing probe into potentially unscrupulous student loan-servicing practices resulted in nearly $18.5 million in refunds and fines from Discover Bank. Now, regulators appear to have Citigroup in their crosshairs, as the financial company announced it was party to an investigation. [More]
Following reports of Costco shoppers loading up entire trucks full of large boxes of cigarettes, presumably with the purpose of reselling them on the black market in other states, the wholesale club is now posting signs indicating that these customers will face much more scrutiny going forward. [More]
As federal regulators continue to probe potentially unscrupulous student loan servicing practices, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered Discover Bank and its affiliates to pay nearly $18.5 million in refunds and fines for, among other things, overstating amounts due on student loans and failing to notify borrowers of their rights. [More]
In 1998, Congress passed a temporary moratorium on state taxes collected for Internet access (though a number of states were still allowed to collect them). The ban has been extended numerous times in the 17 years since, but is set to expire again this fall. Rather than merely kick the can down the road with another extension, the House of Representatives has voted (again) to make the moratorium permanent. [More]
In the last few years, tax return fraud has become a serious problem at the state and federal levels, thanks to the growth of e-filing and security holes in IRS and third-party tax software systems. Is the IRS to blame for this trend? There are really only two options: the IRS is either broke or incompetent. [More]
A tax transcript is a document from the IRS that shows key information from tax returns that you’ve already filed, or changes to what you and the government owe each other that may have been made after the return was filed. You can normally order them online, but the system is now closed after the IRS learned that people identified only as “thieves” accessed transcripts for about 100,000 people. [More]
California lawmakers trying to get a $0.02 tax imposed on sodas and other sugary drinks in the state have come up empty, after the proposed measure failed to pass an Assembly committee. Supporters said the law would help curb high rates of obesity and diabetes, while some critics said it wouldn’t properly address health issues and would hit low-income residents the hardest.
Most people dreaming of a career in professional sports that will take them around the country to play for huge crowds in major U.S. cities are probably imagining the glitz and glamor that goes with that job. But then there’s the un-fun parts, like paying taxes in each one of those states, as well as some cities that levy taxes against income earned locally. One former NFL player filed a lawsuit against Cleveland’s so-called “jock tax,” not to dispute that he owed taxes there, but because of how the city calculated what he owed.
We knew going into this tax season that budget cuts to the Internal Revenue Service would result in less help for taxpayers and a likely increase in taxpayer fraud and errors, but today IRS Commissioner John Koskinen detailed exactly how badly things went this year. [More]
For many low-income consumers, tax time provides an opportunity to catch up on bills and get back on track financially. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous companies out there that aim to make money of these same consumers by pointing them in the direction of high-cost tax-refund-anticipation loans. That appears to be the case for the owner of New Mexico-based H&R Block franchises and a tax-time loan company operating an alleged illegal tax-refund scheme. [More]
Since 2010, Congress has cut the budget for the IRS by around 20%, resulting in thousands of jobs being cut and millions of Americans unable to get much-needed help with their tax returns this year. This has had the effect of just making some people hate the IRS even more than they already did, but is this a case of kicking a man when he’s down? [More]
With the deadline for filing your annual tax return coming quickly, millions of Americans are putting their 1040s and other forms in the hands of largely unregulated paid tax preparers. But a new undercover report from the National Consumer Law Center finds that many of these preparers either don’t know what they’re doing or are allowing taxpayers to file false information. [More]
In the aftermath of revelations that fraudsters exploited TurboTax and had possibly filed bogus returns in many states, the Internal Revenue Service is contacting people linked to suspiciously filed returns, and asking them to verify their identity to find out if the return is real or not.
Are you expecting a tax refund this year? While making changes to how much tax you have withheld from your paychecks during the rest of the year can get you slightly larger checks all year long, most people keep things as they are and enjoy receiving a windfall at the beginning of the year. What do they do with that refund, though? [More]
The 2015 tax season has been fraught with complications, from the fraudulent use of tax returns to the “dirty dozen” scams meant to tear consumers away from their money. During a Senate Finance Committee hearing exploring ways in which consumers could better be protected from such hustles, federal investigators divulged more information about one of the most prevalent tax-time scams in recent years, saying it has now targeted 366,000 taxpayers to the tune of $15.5 million. [More]
Millions of Americans will owe the IRS anywhere from a few dollars to many thousands of dollars when they file their income tax returns, and not all of them have funds available to pay what they owe. The simple answer might be to just put that bill on your credit card, but you could end up paying a lot more than you expect. [More]
Airbnb finally gave in to San Francisco’s demands that it fork over a bunch of cash to pay back-taxes after failing to pay the city’s 14% hotel tax going back a few years. Airbnb wouldn’t say how much it had paid, but officials had said it ran into the millions of dollars.
A new lawsuit filed by the state of New York and New York City is accusing United Parcel Service of shipping more than 136 million contrabands cigarettes across the state in the last five years. Those smokes are worth a lot of tax dollars — about $5 million for NYC and $30 million for the state — and as such, the lawsuit is seeking $180 million in damages and penalties.