PROFESSIONAL FREEDOM TAX SERVICE
Tax Service Blog
Tax Service Blog
|Posted on June 28, 2013 at 12:07 PM||comments (102)|
|Posted on June 18, 2013 at 11:28 AM||comments (16)|
Identity Theft and Tax Returns
FS-2013-3, January 2013
The Internal Revenue Service is taking additional steps during the 2013 tax season to protect taxpayers and help victims of identity theft and refund fraud.
Stopping refund fraud related to identity theft is a top priority for the tax agency. The IRS is focused on preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as possible. The IRS has more than 3,000 employees working on identity theft cases – more than twice the level of a year ago. We have trained more than 35,000 employees who work with taxpayers to recognize and provide assistance when identity theft occurs.
Taxpayers can encounter identity theft involving their tax returns in several ways. One instance is where identity thieves try filing fraudulent refund claims using another person’s identifying information, which has been stolen. Innocent taxpayers are victimized because their refunds are delayed.
Here are some tips to protect you from becoming a victim, and steps to take if you think someone may have filed a tax return using your name:
Tips to protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft
If your tax records are not currently affected by identity theft, but you believe you may be at risk due to a lost or stolen purse or wallet, questionable credit card activity or credit report, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245 (Mon. - Fri., 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. local time; Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).
If you believe you’re a victim of identity theft
Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive a notice from the IRS or learn from your tax professional that:
If you receive a notice from IRS and you suspect your identity has been used fraudulently, respond immediately by calling the number on the notice.
If you did not receive a notice butbelieve you’ve been the victim of identity theft, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245 right away so we can take steps to secure your tax account and match your SSN or ITIN.
Also, fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039. Please write legibly and follow the directions on the back of the form that relate to your specific circumstances.
In addition, we recommend you take additional steps with agencies outside the IRS:
Help if you have reported an identity theft case to the IRS and are waiting for your federal tax refund
The IRS is working to speed up and further streamline identity theft case resolution to help innocent taxpayers.
The IRS more than doubled the level of employees dedicated to working identity theft cases between 2011 and 2012. As the IRS enters the 2013 filing season, we now have more than 3,000 employees working identity theft issues. Despite these efforts, the IRS continues to see a growing number of identity theft cases.
These are extremely complex cases to resolve, frequently touching on multiple issues and multiple tax years. Cases of resolving identity can be complicated by the thieves themselves calling in. Due to the complexity of the situation, this is a time-consuming process. Taxpayers are likely to see their refunds delayed for an extended period of time while we take the necessary actions to resolve the matter. A typical case can take about 180 days to resolve, and the IRS is working to reduce that time period. While the identity theft cases are being worked, the IRS also reminds victims that they need to continue to file their tax returns during this period.
For victims of identity theft who have previously been in contact with the IRS and have not achieved a resolution to their case, they can contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit, toll-free, at 800-908-4490. If victims can’t get their issue resolved and are experiencing financial difficulties, contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service toll-free at 877-777-4778.
It is a top priority for the IRS to help victims and reduce the time it takes to resolve their cases. In addition, the IRS continues to aggressively expand its efforts to protect and prevent refund fraud involving identity theft before it occurs as well as work with federal, state and local officials to pursue the perpetrators of this fraud.
For more information, see the special identity theft section on IRS.gov and IRS Fact Sheet 2013-2, IRS Combats Identity Theft and Refund Fraud on Many Fronts.
|Posted on May 30, 2013 at 11:23 AM||comments (31)|
You want to check on your refund? Click on the following link. Make sure you know your infomation such as SSN, filing status and refund amount.
|Posted on January 5, 2013 at 11:27 PM||comments (54)|
1. Clothing only required for work that is not appropriate for everyday wear (clothing cleaning expense)
2. Accounting fees for tax preparation services and IRS audits
3. Alcoholism and drug abuse treatment
4. Amortization of premium on taxable bonds
5. Appraisal fees for charitable donations or casualty losses
6. Appreciation on property donated to a charity
7. Casualty or theft losses of personal property
8. Cleaning and laundering services when traveling
9. Commissions and closing costs on sale of property
10. Contact lenses, eyeglasses, and hearing devices
11. Contraceptives, if bought with a prescription
12. Costs associated with looking for a new job in your present occupation, including fees for résumé preparation and employment of outplacement agencies
13. Depreciation of home computers
14. Dues to labor unions
15. Education expenses to the extent required by law or your employer or needed to maintain or improve your skills
16. Employee contributions to a state disability fund
17. Employee’s moving expenses
18. Federal state tax on income with respect to a decedent
19. Fees for a safe-deposit box to hold investments (e. g., stock certificate)
20. Drug test and physical fee associated with employment
21. Fees paid for childbirth preparation classes if instruction relates to obstetrical care
22. Foreign taxes paid
23. Foster child care expenditures
24. Gambling losses to the extent of gambling winnings
25. Hospital services fees (laboratory work, therapy, nursing services, and surgery)
26. Impairment-related work expenses for a disabled individual
27. Repairs to your home
28. Investment advisory fees
29. IRA trustee’s administrative fees billed separately
30. Lead paint removal
31. Legal fees incurred in connection with obtaining or collecting alimony
32. Long-term care insurance premiums
33. Margin account interest expense
34. Medical transportation, including standard mileage deduction and lodging expenses incurred for medical reasons while away from home
35. Mortgage prepayment penalties and late fees
36. Out-of-pocket expenses relating to charitable activities, including the standard mileage deduction
37. Health insurance premiums is self-employed
38. Penalty on early withdrawal on savings
39. Personal liability insurance for wrongful acts as an employee
40. Points on a home mortgage and certain refinancing
41. Protective clothing required at work
42. Real estate taxes associated with the purchase or sale of property
43. Seller-paid points on the purchase of a home
44. Special equipment for the disabled
45. Special schools and separately stated fees for medical care included in tuition
46. State personal property taxes on cars and boats
47. Subscriptions to professional journals
48. Theft or embezzlement losses
49. Trade or business related tools with life of 1 year or less
50. Worthless stock or securities
51. Mortgage loan interest paid
52. College expenses (Books, supplies, tuition Etc.)
53. Out-of-pocket expense for work related training program and seminars
54. Co-payment from a doctor’s visit.
55. Home office expenses
|Posted on December 19, 2012 at 10:54 PM||comments (49)|
Struggling to find a job? If you’re an accountant, computer systems analyst or event coordinator, there's a good chance your luck will change in 2013.
These three professions are among the best jobs that require a bachelor's degree for 2013, according to a new study by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI).
The study used EMSI’s rich labor market database, which pulls from over 90 national and state employment resources and includes detailed information on employees and self-employed workers, to find the 18 top jobs for 2013, based on the occupations with the most jobs added since 2010.
“The list identifies occupations that are on an upward trajectory regarding employment,” says Matt Ferguson, chief executive of CareerBuilder. “Job seekers can gain insights into where companies are expanding and opportunities that are available.”
|Posted on November 25, 2012 at 11:41 AM||comments (27)|
|Posted on October 12, 2012 at 6:50 PM||comments (19)|
What’s your net worth?
On the surface, that might sound like a silly question—how many of us walk around knowing the exact figure for the ratio of our debts to our assets? But calculating your net worth isn’t the dry, academic exercise it might sound like. Calculating your net worth means taking a long, hard look in the mirror and accurately assessing your financial situation. It’s the first step on the process towards more advanced financial planning, like saving for retirement or paying off your debts.
Resources, such as worksheets or calculators, exist to help you calculate your net worth. The worksheets ask you to add assets on one side of the page—things like cash on hand, cash in checking, market value of your home, market value of your property and the value of your retirement account, among other assets. Then once you have that total, you subtract the total of your liabilities to get to your net worth. Liabilities are the balance owed on your loans—from student loans to credit card to mortgages—as well as unpaid utilities and back taxes, among other money you know you’re going to have to pay in the future.
For instance, your net worth calculation might look like this:
Assets VS LiabilitiesCash in checking: $2,000, Student loans balance: $11,000, Cash in savings: $5,000, Balance owed on credit cards: $1,150, Value of car: $10,000, Balance owed on car loan: $8,000, Value of 401(k): $16,000, Balance owed on other loans: $2,000. Total Assets: $33,000Total Liabilities: $22,150
Subtract total liabilities ($22,150) from total assets ($33,000) = $10,850
In this example, your total net worth is $10,850.
You may find that the number is negative, meaning you have more liabilities than assets. Don’t be discouraged! While it’s not a rosy picture of financial health, you can’t fix the problem until you know the extent of the damage. Remember that net worth is unique to your situation, and a negative number doesn’t always mean your affairs are out of order. For instance, a doctor just graduating med school is likely buried in student debt, but due to the steady future income stream and employability conferred by the new degree, a negative net worth isn’t as bad as it appears. That’s what we found when we saw that NerdWallet recently challenged five contestants in the personal finance reality show ‘So You Think You Can Finance’ to create a net worth statement. Many of the contestants are young and just making the jump to financial independence—so the majority of them came up with a negative net worth number. Of course, it’s better to have a positive number—your net worth is an accurate way to measure how much money you truly have, so the larger your net worth number, the more well-off you are right now.
Once you have assessed your net worth, the next level is to figure out how to get from your current state to where you want to go. Again, it’s a highly individual process, but for many it will include creating a time line for becoming debt-free, as well as creating or optimizing a retirement savings plan. Let’s take the example of Jia, one of the contestants on ‘So You Think You Can Finance’. She did a great job on the net worth challenge – but the judges questioned whether she was ready to build on her net worth foundation to achieve her long-term financial goals. Had she begun incorporating her retirement savings into what she described as a balanced and healthy net worth picture? Also, she talked a lot about how her plans for marriage to her boyfriend figured into the future—but how would he fit into the financial picture? Deciding on joint accounts, prioritizing joint expenditures and aligning future savings is a key part in building on a basic net worth statement. Below are additional examples.
Subtracting your liabilities from your assets may seem like a simple math problem, but a well-thought out net worth statement is an important foundation you can build all your future financial planning on top of. So go ahead and calculate your financial worth, and let us know in the comments how you’re going to use it to plan your financial future!
|Posted on December 29, 2011 at 9:10 PM||comments (21)|
|Posted on December 17, 2011 at 10:45 AM||comments (20)|
|Posted on December 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM||comments (219)|