H&R Block Backs Voluntary Tax Certification Program

H&R Block Inc. has taken the forefront to elevate industry standards in tax preparation by supporting a new voluntary certification program initiated by the Internal Revenue Service.

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.

700 IRS Workers Owe Millions In Back Taxes

700 IRS Workers Owe Millions In Back Taxes

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.

Tax Carnival Ecstasy – October 1, 2013

Good Lord, I'm sure that's Councillor Bill Smi...
Good Lord, I’m sure that’s Councillor Bill Smith from Melrose – unless my eyes deceive me (Photo credit: Ninian Reid)

Welcome to the October 1, 2013 edition of Tax Carnival Ecstasy. In this edition we start with an article from Matt Becker on the deductability of mortgage interest and why it’s not the great tax deal everyone thinks. Bill Smith reports on TurboTax and eHealth working together and the IRS Fresh Start Program. Laura Anderson has some Nanny Tax Myths that you should know about. Hope you enjoy all the articles, bookmark, share, tweet and come back soon.

deductions

Matt Becker presents Is the Mortgage Interest Deduction For Real? posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, “When people talk about the financial benefits of home ownership, one of the big points they typically make is that the interest paid on the mortgage is deductible. This is only semi-true and in any event is not really the big win that many people claim it is. So today I’d like to run through the reasons why the mortgage interest deduction is not always all it’s cracked up to be.”

Tax Act

filing

Bill Smith presents TurboTax Is Integrating With EHealth posted at 2013 Taxes, saying, “eHealth, the United States’ predominant private Internet health insurance exchange, has announced that it will enter into a partnership with Intuit Inc..”

retirement

John Schmoll presents Should You Pay Off Debt or Invest in the Stock Market First? posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “There can be a fine balance between paying off debt or investing in the stock market first. The truth is that it’s a personal decision and one that will aid your wealth building, debt reduction and saving for retirement at the same time.”

John Schmoll presents When It Comes To Investing, Be The One Who Dives In Head First posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “Many allow fear to hold them back when it comes to investing in the stock market. However, if you give yourself some practical lessons you can put yourself in better standing to build a retirement portfolio and begin to grow your wealth.”

tax law

Bill Smith presents Tax Help 101: Casualty, Disaster, And Theft Losses posted at 2014 Taxes, saying, “Financial losses incurred because of disasters, casualties, or theft may be tax-deductible.”

taxes

Laura Anderson presents Expert Insights: Nanny Tax Myths with Guy Maddalone of GTM Payroll Services, Inc. posted at eNannySource, saying, “When it comes to employing a nanny, it’s important to know what’s true and false. Guy Maddalone, founder and president of GTM Payroll Services, Inc. and household payroll and tax expert, provides some important insight that can help separate fact from fiction.”

Bill Smith presents IRS Fresh Start Program posted at 2012 Taxes – Free Tax Filing Options, saying, “There is a new system called the IRS Fresh Start Program which aims to make it easier for people to pay back taxes and avoid a lien coming against them. There are three major parts to the IRS program.”

tips

Bill Smith presents Guidance For Personal Finance That Can Save These Days posted at 2012 Tax – Free Tax Filing Options, saying, “The government has become a popular source of security but real financial security is found at home when you reduce debt and have a savings.”

Bill Smith presents Free SCORE Tax Tips posted at 2010 Tax, saying, “Having your own small business can be a rewarding experience. There are many aspects that can be difficult to accomplish on your own though.”

That concludes this edition.  Submit your blog article to the next edition of tax carnival ecstasy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

How To File A Tax Extension

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How To File A Tax Extension

Each year, millions of people find that they are unable to file their taxes in time for the April deadline.  While the IRS can be very unforgiving about some aspects of their collections, one thing that they do make available for all tax payers is a tax extension available for several months.  You can use TurboTax 2013 software in order to take advantage of this tax extension.

IRS Form 1040X, 2005 revision
IRS Form 1040X, 2005 revision (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

E-File First

Begin by using the TurboTax 2013 software to actually file you taxes, putting in as much information about income, securities, investments, and deductions that you are able to, even if it is only a smidgen.  You want to do this now so that there are no surprises you may have missed once you sit down to do the full job.  Once you have that done, find out when you are able to finish the extension to the closest date.  Log into TurboTax 2013 software and either e-file an extension or print out the paper copy.

Paper Or Digital

While most people might be more comfortable with filing their tax extension by mail, you can do so digitally with the TurboTax 2013 software.  In fact, since this process is instant, it is not recommended that you file an extension by mail since it will take a few days to reach the IRS offices and runs the risk of becoming overdue if it is not postmarked by April 15th.  Once you have sent it in, you have until October 15th of 2013 to fill out the full tax form.

Handling IRS Notices For 2017

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Handling IRS Notices For 2013

Once you file your taxes, they are in the hands of professionals at the IRS. If you get IRS notices for 2013, you will need to take action immediately to avoid any penalties for ignoring the government’s request for further information or payment. Typically, IRS notices arrive after the tax year has passed and taxes have been filed. However, you may also hear from the IRS in advance of a tax year, especially if taxes you have recently filed will impact what you owe or receive as a refund in the 2013 tax year.

If you receive IRS notices for 2013, don’t panic. It’s quite possibly you are simply being asked for some additional information. Take your notice to your accountant or tax professional if you have one. If you prefer to do your own taxes and you use a system such as TurboTax, you may need to file your notice until it is time to do your 2013 taxes. Put it in a place that you keep all of your tax documents so you remember it at tax time.

The IRS will always offer to help you when you receive a notice from them. Look for a contact phone number on the notification and if you do not understand what you are being asked to do, call a representative and talk about your case. Sometimes, the IRS will notice a correction that needs to be made to your taxes, which will affect the refund or the amount owed. Whatever you do, don’t ignore notices from the IRS. They will not go away.

Most Taxpayers Don’t Cheat

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Most Taxpayers Don’t Cheat

Paying taxes is required for both citizens and non-citizens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are racing to get your taxes done by the April 15 deadline, you are not alone. Millions of Americans will file their taxes this year, and more than ever will file taxes online. One of the most common misconceptions about tax filing is that everyone cheats on their taxes. Studies have shown, however, that the majority of Americans are against cheating on taxes.

Who Cheats on Taxes?

Surprisingly few people cheat on their taxes. Aside from the big news stories about wealthy real estate magnates evading taxes, it is rare to hear about tax cheating. With a variety of deductions and credits that reduce the average tax bill, most people don’t see the advantage of cheating on their taxes.

According to a poll conducted by the IRS, the majority of Americans agree that cheating on your taxes is never okay. Only a small percentage of taxpayers surveyed said that they regularly cheat on their taxes. The IRS depends on the self-reporting of taxpayers to uphold the integrity of the tax system. They report that only 1% of taxpayers are ever subject to an IRS audit.

With safeguards in place to prevent dishonesty, it is difficult to cheat on your taxes. When you receive tax forms such as interest income forms from your bank, the IRS also receives a copy of that information. Banks, employers and other financial institutions are required to report this income to the IRS at the end of the tax year.

Software like Turbo Taxes has checks and balances in place to ensure that all of the information you input is factual and correct. The software will even allow you to go back and check past returns for errors.

Filing Your Taxes Online

Filing your taxes online with Turbo Taxes is easy. With a team of tax preparation experts at your disposal, you can be sure that your taxes will be filed correctly every time. When you file your tax return online, it is electronically submitted to the IRS for immediate processing. You will be notified of the status of your return within a few days.

Get the refund you deserve when you file your taxes online. Although most taxpayers will never face an audit, you can be assured that you have support should the IRS need more information from you. With audit protection, you never have to worry about facing an IRS audit alone.

Don’t let the April 15 tax filing deadline creep up on you. File your taxes today.

87% say it’s never okay to cheat on taxes