People should be on the lookout for identity theft involving unemployment benefits

February 25th, 2021

The exclusive purpose for the information which is provided from this website is to disseminate information, and not to provide tax advice. 

The IRS urges taxpayers whose identities may have been used by thieves to steal unemployment benefits to file a tax return claiming only the income they actually received.

In 2020, millions of taxpayers were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through job loss or reduced work hours. Some taxpayers applied for and received unemployment compensation from their state. By law, unemployment benefits are taxable.

Scammers also took advantage of the pandemic by filing fraudulent claims for unemployment compensation using stolen personal information of individuals who had not filed claims. Payments made as a result of these fraudulent claims went to the identity thieves.

Taxpayers who receive an incorrect Form 1099-G should contact the issuing state agency to request a revised form. If they’re unable to get a timely, corrected form from states, they should still file an accurate tax return, reporting only the income they received. They should save whatever documentation they have regarding their attempts to receive a corrected form from their state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Bill Seabrooke

Standard Deduction or Itemized Deductions?

February 22nd, 2021

The exclusive purpose for the information which is provided from this website is to disseminate information, and not to provide tax advice. 

Tax return deductions reduce the amount of taxable income when filing a Federal or state income tax return. In other words, using these deductions can reduce the amount of taxes that a taxpayer owes.

In most cases, taxpayers have a choice or option of either taking the “standard deduction” or “itemizing” their deductions. The standard deduction may be quicker and easier, but, itemizing your deductions may lower your income taxes more, in some situations. It’s important for all taxpayers to look into which deduction method is best before they file their income tax returns.

New this year
Following tax law changes, cash donations of up to $300 made by December 31, 2020 are deductible without having to itemize when people file a 2020 tax return.

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Posted by Bill Seabrooke

IRS Releases “Dirty Dozen” Scam List

February 22nd, 2016

The exclusive purpose for the information which is provided from this website is to disseminate information, and not to provide tax advice. 

There have been several posts on this same subject on this website.  While there is not a duplication of information that is being presented, there is often new and different information that should be shared via the Internet.  Supporting rationale for this decision include, but are not limited to:

1.  The “scammers” are using a multitude of different tactics with different degrees of “success” (from their perspective) for each of over twelve different methods in terms of both the resulting financial and emotional pain that is experienced or incurred by their taxpayer victims;

2.  The information and knowledge that is required to defeat these “scammers” has not reached many of the American taxpayers who need to have it.  If this were the case, their “success rate” would be near 0%;

3.  I am continuing to read of more instances of these scamming techniques being utilized in both the social media and the news media reports from the Internet;

4.  I am on the distribution list for information and tax updates e-mails from the Internal Revenue Service.  I am continuing to receive more e-mails on this same subject which has led me to conclude that the IRS also considers this to be an on-going, contemporary problem for many taxpayers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Bill Seabrooke

Is It Time For You To Finally Start Working With A Tax Preparer?

January 26th, 2016

The exclusive purpose for the information which is provided from this website is to disseminate information, and not to provide tax advice. 

You have no doubt recently read information about the declining levels of support that is being provided by the Internal Revenue Service.  The U.S. Congress has reduced their budget significantly and the IRS has decided to reduce their number of staff, professionals, and support personnel.  Insofar as “support” is concerned, this is probably most apparent in our inability to speak with a representative using the “1-800” number to obtain answers to our tax questions, or the length of time that we are required to remain “on hold” in the telephone queue.  In stark contrast to the realties of this situation, I have found no authoritative source that has gone on record to state that the IRS has reduced their level of  required compliance with all of the tax laws nor has their been an increase in the number of allowable errors or omissions in a tax return.  The allowable error rate remains at ZERO!

In addition to the above facts, taxpayers are being subjected to (this is not a complete list) fraudulent activities such as tax scams, phishing, persons impersonating charitable organizations, persons claims to obtain free money for you from the IRS, tax return preparer fraud, threatening telephone calls, someone fraudulently filing your own tax return for you and obtaining your tax refund, fraudulent e-mails that appear to be authentic with malware or virus laden attachments, identity theft, telephone calls with phony arguments, and others calling you to inform you that you owe the IRS delinquent taxes and that your property will be seized today if you do not pay them immediately.

The IRS has always utilized the U. S. Postal service to provide you with your written initial notification that there are issue(s) with your income tax return.  They do not use the Internet nor do they use e-mails.  Period!

Given the above facts and information, there are several different groups in which most taxpayers can be classified:

1.  You are not required by law to file a tax return.  However, you may file as an option to recover Federal or state income taxes that have been withheld, or a tax refund for which you are legally due (refundable tax credits);

2.  You are required to file a tax return but you have a relatively simple tax situation.  You can file your own tax return yourself using the IRS’s “Free File” (or similar) system;

3.  You have been filing your own tax returns in the past but you have determined that you will need some (or a significant level of ) assistance in filing your tax returns now;

4.  You are already working with an Enrolled Agent,  tax attorney, or CPA.

If you now consider yourself to be in group or category #3 above, the following information may be beneficial for you:  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Bill Seabrooke

New Tax Return Safeguard Strategies For 2015 & 2016

January 19th, 2016

The exclusive purpose for the information which is provided from this website is to disseminate information, and not to provide tax advice. 

Both the individual states and the Internal Revenue Service have implemented new safeguards, standards, and preventive measures to both detect and prevent (from even occurring) tax return filing fraud.  At the state levels. some (but not all) states have begun to require that your driver’s license information be submitted electronically with your tax return – the issuing state, the driver’s license number, the date of issue, and the expiration date.  This information will be compared with the information in your tax return to use to detect whether or not a fraudulent tax return has been filed.  This is NOT the only preventive tool that will be used by the taxing authorities.  Your tax return software will remind you if this information is now required by your state.

Insofar as the IRS is concerned:  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Bill Seabrooke