When people look for online tax preparers, they need to consider various factors. Choosing the right tax software option is vital to maximizing a tax refund after all. Therefore, individuals must focus and search for their best tax preparation solution. Each person is going to require something slightly different from their online tax prep service.
TurboTax 2013 from last year provided ample safety measures. Unfortunately, not all preparation services take safety seriously enough. The last thing a person wants to do is lose their personal information. Others have become victims of identity theft and lost their returns. The best tax prep options implement strict safety protocols today.
Tax refund theft continues to grow at an alarming pace. More taxpayers find themselves victims each tax filing year. While tax prep companies try to combat this fraud, cases will slip through the cracks. By choosing the safest option, taxpayers can minimize their risk of becoming a victim.
These days, people tend to prize convenience and efficiency over other factors. It’s important to check out a tax service’s extra features. Turbo Tax 2013 was prized for its variety of useful features. Typically, such features aren’t core to the tax filing experience. They do, however, provide certain taxpayers with extra tools that can be used for various purposes.
In the end, consumers must consider price and a handful of other factors, too. TurboTax is often considered the best tax preparation software available today. Anecdotal and usage figures seem to support the validity of this idea. Still, each taxpayer needs to find the tax preparation service that’s right for themselves.
Researchers have unveiled an ignorance on the part of the American public: a full 48 percent of people in the United States do not know that they must report their health insurance status on their 2014 federal income tax returns.
The tax-filing season is soon on its way, and most Americans 18 and over do not realize that health care and income taxes are connected. This information was uncovered by an online Intuit TurboTax Health Survey which was conducted by the well-known Harris Poll group.
According to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise dubbed “Obamacare,” all Americans have to show that they have qualifying health insurance coverage. Proof has to be presented when they file their 2014 income tax returns. If they do not, they can face a penalty.
The study also shows that many Americans who do not have health insurance–a full 62 percent of them–know that they will incur a penalty if they do not have health insurance. However, 87 percent of people do not know that the time to avoid a tax penalty for the year 2014 has already come and gone. Insurance purchased during the current open enrollment time which goes through February 15th will be applied to income tax returns which are filed in 2016.
Sacha Adam, Affordable Care Act product leader for TurboTaxsoftware, says that many people in the United States do not understand there is a correlation between income taxes and health care insurance.
The Intuit survey also showed that 9 of 10 Americans have insurance, but those living in the South are less likely to have policies. Also, almost half of Americans do not know that premium tax credits are available to make health insurance more affordable for low to moderate income families. In addition, three-quarters of Americans who got health insurance through the government marketplace will renew it next year.
For more information on this important issue, go to TurboTaxHealth.com.
Tax preparers who voluntarily enroll in continuing education courses covering basic tax filings, tax updates, ethic of tax preparation and other related issues will now receive a record of completion noting their efforts. The purpose of the IRS program is to help taxpayers find qualified individuals to prepare tax returns and to help them avoid unethical practices. A study indicating that 42 million Americans have used a tax preparer with no credentials and who operates under no state regulations or minimum standards is the impetus for this program. That figure represents about 54 percent of all returns prepared by someone other than the tax filer.
In a letter supporting the program, H&R Block CEO Bill Cobb encourage the United States government to continue promoting voluntary certification actions, indicating that his company believes the U.S Congress should set standards for professional tax preparers. Until Congress passes such legislation, however, Cobb believes a voluntary certification program is essential to protect the concerns of consumers. Such a program should also include components of the Registered Tax Return Preparer Program that the IRS previously implemented, including registration, competency measures, screenings and continuing education.
Cobb has previously commented that on an appeals court ruling that the IRS cannot regulate tax preparer, indicting that the ruling hurt honest taxpayers who are entitled to basic protections.
Kansas City-based H&R Block is one of few companies that requires minimum standards from its staff. All company tax preparers must have at least 75 hours of tax law and tax return courses in the first year of employment with 15 hours of continuing education for each subsequent year. Also required is 35 hours of system, policies and procedural training.
There is a popular belief that the current corporate tax rate in the country is very high, and a reduction of the prevailing rate will stimulate investments which will have a wide range of positive effects on the economy. Those who support this theory are referring to the current rate which stands at 39.1% (the highest in the industrialized world). According to proponents, this income tax rate is putting U.S. corporations at a competitive disadvantage. But is there more to the story?
The truth is that US companies pay the highest corporate tax rate, but the vast majority of them have perfected the art of not paying it. According to official government records, the amount of corporate tax collected by the government has reduced significantly over the years. The ratio of the corporate tax paid to the total pre-tax profit earned by US corporations is the lowest in history.
A recent report by the CTJ (Citizens for Tax Justice) had some shocking revelations. The organization analyzed the federal income taxes and pre-tax profits of 288 Fortune 500 corporations that recorded huge profits for the five years leading up to the year 2012. The following are some of the findings:
While the federal corporate tax rate stands at 35%, the 288 most profitable companies only paid a tax rate of 19.4% over the 5-year period. What is more shocking is that General Electric, Boeing, Verizon and Priceline.com did not pay any federal income tax over this period. 93 corporations (33.3% of those analyzed) paid a tax rate of less than 10% over this 5-year period.
Of the 288 Fortune 500 firms, 111 paid at most zero percent taxes for at least one year during this five year period. What’s interesting is that these corporations had a pre-tax profit of $227 billion, but paid no taxes. Whatever, the corporate tax rate in the country, the big companies usually find ways of paying less than they are required to.
Even if one is certain there are no mistakes in the forms when following federal tax procedures, a little shiver goes down a taxpayers spine at the very thought of a letter arriving from the IRS. The Internal Revenue Service blundered recently when the office sent penalty notices to business owners who had requested an extension in filing tax return Form 5500 to file back taxes. An error in programming caused the mistake regarding the required Form 5558, the Application for an Extension of Time to File Certain Employee Plan Returns, before filing Form 5500. Normally, taxpayers are penalized if the Form 5500 is late or unfinished. However, the notice to those taxpayers who filed the proper forms in the right order received the penalty notice, CP 283, Penalty Charged on Your 5500 Return.
A letter of explanation concerning the inaccuracy was instituted November 8th to IRS employees. Citizens received a penalty notice before the Form 5558 had an opportunity to post to the accounts. Therefore, letters of explanation were prepared while telephone assistors and tax examiners were instructed to apologize to callers. Penalties were removed in all cases, up to five if the caller was a person with multiple plans or clients. If the person was responsible for more than 5 accounts, they were requested to solicit their abatement in writing. The Internal Revenue Service accepted responsibility for the penalty notice to the taxpayers and the charges were removed. It seems filing back taxes can be simple most of the time, but one small computer error can create a fiasco of work.
A report released Wednesday has revealed that nearly seven hundred IRS employees (about five percent of the ninety-thousand Internal Revenue Service contracted workers) owe a combined $5.4 million in back taxes.
The report says that it is the responsibility of the IRS to make sure contractors are current and do not need to file back taxes. Incidentally, most of these workers are not enrolled in payment plans, despite the fact that this should make them ineligible for employment by the IRS.
The IRS is the only federal agency that requires its employees, including contractors, to comply with federal tax statutes, which means they must file on time and enroll in a payment plan if they are not completely paid up.
The report did say that the IRS is thorough in checking for compliance with new hires, but needs to improve on its monitoring of its workers’ adherence to federal tax laws throughout their employment.
As of June 2012, six-hundred and ninety-one IRS contract workers owed taxes that were not paid when due; three-hundred and fifty-two of them were not enrolled in a payment plan. This brings the delinquency rate to two point six percent. In 2011, by contrast, the average delinquency rate for all federal workers, including retirees, was at three point two percent. At the time, the Treasury Department reported the lowest rate, at one point one percent.
The IRS has stated that it will begin reviewing cases of delinquent taxes, as well as to take additional action “as necessary,” although what this means is still up in the air.