Tax news May 2008

Tax

IRS e-file program breaks records for 2008 filing season

The Internal Revenue Service's e-file program set another record in the just-finished 2008 filing season, while Web page visits to IRS.gov also reached new highs in part due to interest in economic stimulus payments. "The IRS has made great strides in harnessing the power of technology to do its work more efficiently," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. "The growth in electronic services helped the IRS deliver a strong filing season for the nation's taxpayers in 2008.
Tax

Six defendants found guilty in Chicago tax fraud trial

Six defendants were convicted Monday after participating in a nationwide tax scheme that enabled 650 wealthy taxpayers to cheat the government out of $60 million.Michael Vallone of Orland Park, IL, Edward Bartoli of Clearwater, FL, Robert Hopper of Gadsden, AL, Timothy Dunn of Chesterton, IN, William Cover of Naperville, IL, and Michael Dowd of Glenview, IL were convicted of tax-fraud conspiracy and other charges after the 11-week trial in U.S.
Tax

New CFF forensic accounting credential to be launched by AICPA in Fall

The governing Council of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has authorized the creation of a new CPA specialty credential in forensic accounting.The credential, Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF), will combine specialized forensic accounting expertise with the core knowledge and skills that make CPAs among the most trusted business advisors, according to Robert Harris, chair of the National Accreditation Commission.
Tax

TIGTA review shows IRS charged incorrect fees for installment agreements

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service initiates approximately 1.5 million installment agreements with taxpayers allowing them to pay delinquent Federal tax in installment payments. The IRS charges a user fee for setting up these agreements. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has performed a review of the IRS cost estimates for the installment agreement user fees established in January 2007.
Tax

Overstock drops Web affiliates in fallout over NY sales tax law

On the heels of Amazon.com suing the State of New York over a new tax law aimed at online retailers, Overstock.com has cut its ties with New York affiliates, saying it will no longer do business with Web site owners in the state who get commissions for referring customers to its site.
Tax

Election Watch: Pressure mounts for McCain to release tax returns

The McCain campaign's decision to withhold Cindy McCain's tax returns is drawing criticism from across the political spectrum. Editorials in both the Washington Post and Washington Times have echoed calls for the McCain campaign to release Cindy McCain's tax returns. This follows a column in yesterday's New York Observer that blasts McCain for his hypocrisy on disclosure, noting that Mrs.
Tax

Direct deposit stimulus payments to IRAs may be withdrawn penalty-free

Stimulus payments sent to tax-favored accounts by direct deposit may be withdrawn without tax or penalty.The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will deposit stimulus payments to whatever account a taxpayer specified for the direct deposit of their 2007 income tax refunds.
Tax

Complex tax break on hybrids causes headaches for IRS

Some taxpayers erroneously claimed an alternative motor vehicle credit on leased cars, tried to claim it for cars that did not qualify, or claimed more than the maximum $3,150, according to a new government report."We reviewed claims for Alternative Motor Vehicle Credits of more than $4,000 each claimed by 420 taxpayers who filed their returns electronically.
A&A

Fraud 101: Small business at risk

FRAUD: 1. Intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right 2. The act of deceiving or misrepresenting. That's how Webster's Dictionary defines the word "fraud"Business fraud and abuse costs have reached $400 BILLION dollars a year. That equates to $9.00 per employee, per day. Pretty incredible isn't it! It appears that the work force today has become Ethically Challenged. Who's the most at risk? The answer, small businesses.Fraud is difficult and often impossible to prevent.
Tax

SEC attempts to educate taxpayers with investor tips

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that investors receiving their refund checks from the Internal Revenue Service will simultaneously be receiving information about a new SEC phone-based resource that can help them learn more about various investing topics and avoid investment scams.More than 3 million Americans received an SEC investor information card as an insert with IRS refund checks that were mailed on May 3.
Tax

IRS releases final regs for comparable contributions for HSAs

The Internal Revenue Service has issued its final regulations for employers complying with the comparable contribution requirements for Health Savings Accounts, also know as HSAs, under Section 4980G.
A&A

TIGTA report: Few businesses claimed telephone tax refund

Less than 6 percent of business taxpayers claimed the one-time-only telephone excise tax refund when they filed their 2006 tax returns.That's according to a report released Thursday by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which was requested by the IRS to conduct an audit of the program. Even though between 13.9 million and 15.9 million business taxpayers were eligible to claim the refund, only 5.6 percent made the claims as of November 2007.
Tax

Understanding and accounting for commodity loans

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, marketing assistance loans, "Provide producers interim financing at harvest time to meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows."Marketing assistance loans fall into two categories - non-recourse and recourse. With non-recourse loans, farmers have the option of repaying the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) with pledged collateral, typically crops. A settlement value is determined and applied to the outstanding loan principal and interest.
Tax

Amazon cries foul: e-tailer sues New York State over sales tax law

The online giant Amazon.com Inc. has filed a complaint with the Supreme Court of the State of New York saying it is unconstitutional to require e-tailers based outside of New York to collect the state's sales and uses taxes.Amazon, which is based in Seattle, filed the complaint on Friday against the new law, which has been coined the Amazon tax since it was passed last month.
Tax

Most taxpayers don't want Uncle Sam preparing their tax returns

American taxpayers strongly oppose having the IRS or their state tax agency take an additional role of any kind in preparing people's tax returns, according to a new poll released this week by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). The poll found that 74 percent of taxpayers agree that the federal government should not spend taxpayer dollars on tax preparation software when taxpayers in lower tax brackets, students and veterans can access private tax preparation software for free."An IRS-run tax filing system is a conflict of interest.
Tax

IRS looking for new Advisory Council members

The Internal Revenue Service has announced it seeks applications for its broad-based private-sector advisory panel, the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC), which provides important feedback and recommendations regarding tax administration.The 30-member panel is a diverse slice of the tax professional community including tax attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries, appraisers, other tax practitioners, as well as business representatives."The IRSAC plays a vital role by ensuring that executives at the IRS have feedback about how our polic

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