Tax news December 2008

Tax

IRS releases final Form 990 and instructions

The Internal Revenue Service announced on December 24 that it has released the final versions of the 2008 Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return, schedules, and instructions effective for the 2008 tax year. The new form consists of an 11-page, 11-part core form that is required to be completed by all organizations that file the Form 990, and schedules to be completed by those organizations that satisfy the applicable requirements for each schedule. The redesigned Form 990 must be filed in 2009 for the 2008 tax year.
Tax

The Twelve Days of Tax Savings

You remember the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Here at AccountingWEB, we're offering our alternative from a financial perspective, The Twelve Days of Tax Saving.
Practice Management

Highlights of CCH seminar: Top Tax Practice and Procedure Blunders

AccountingWEB staff writer Anne Rosivach attended the recent CCH audio seminar: Top Tax Practice and Procedure Blunders Which Can and Should Be Avoided. This is her report.CCH'S Audio Seminar, Top Tax Practice and Procedure Blunders Which Can and Should Be Avoided, takes a look at some of the most common practice and procedure errors or omissions that can come back to haunt practitioners in an audit.
Tax

IRS offers lien relief for financially distressed homeowners

The Internal Revenue Service has announced an expedited process that will make it easier for financially distressed homeowners to avoid having a federal tax lien block refinancing of mortgages or the sale of a home.If taxpayers are trying to refinance or sell a home and there is a federal tax lien filed, there are options. Taxpayers or their representatives, such as their lenders, may request that the IRS make a tax lien secondary to the lien by the lending institution that is refinancing or restructuring a loan.
Tax

Highlights of CCH Seminar: Preparing Form 1041

AccountingWEB staff writer Anne Rosivach attended the recent CCH audio seminar: Preparing Form 1041: U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts. This is her report.Tax professionals need to be aware that in the coming years the Internal Revenue Service plans to audit more of the estimated four million trusts which are the centerpiece of estate planning and file Form 1041, says Steve Siegel, J.D., LL.M., estates and trusts practitioner. Siegel conducts "Preparing Form 1041: U.S.
Tax

Humbug! IRS tells senior citizens to end year with retirement withdrawal

The Internal Revenue Service has adopted a Scrooge-like attitude for the holiday season, deciding not to give a break to retirees who must withdraw funds from tax-deferred accounts. No relief will be granted to Americans ages 70 1/2 and older who are required to make minimum withdrawals from their retirement plans. The IRS said administrative changes for 2008 would be confusing and complicated for both individual taxpayers and retirement plan sponsors, Forbes.com reported.
Education & Careers

Additional education tax credits available for some students

For certain students and the parents of certain students, there could be additional tax relief available on their 2008 tax return in connection with tuition paid by December 31, 2008. On October 3rd, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act was signed into law, and that law included a two-year extension for two education tax breaks, the Hope Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
Tax

Illinois CPAs provide free tax services to members of the armed forces

In a show of appreciation to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families for their dedicated service, the Illinois CPA Society is once again partnering with the Internal Revenue Service to offer the Military Service Tax Preparation Project. The program, now in its sixth year, provides free personal income tax return filing assistance to members of the U.S. Armed forces who have recently returned or are still serving in a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area. Preparing to file your taxes can be stressful enough under ordinary circumstances.
Practice

Avoid a fraud hangover this New Year

Fraud loves Christmas. Andrew Durant provides a checklist of actions for finance staff to undertake before and after the festive holiday that will help prevent fraud or spot something out of order.The Finance Director had been acting strangely for weeks - he said this was due to work pressures in the lead up to the year-end. He was due to return from the Christmas break in the first week of January but called in ill.
Technology

Intuit responds to TurboTax customer revolt

Responding to market pressure and consumer outrage, Intuit has reversed its original position and announced that customers using its best-selling TurboTax software can prepare and print multiple returns at no additional cost. Also, free e-filing is included with five Federal returns."We're responding to changing market conditions and customer feedback," said Dan Maurer, general manager of Intuit's consumer division. "We believe this better positions TurboTax in the marketplace with an even stronger value proposition for consumers.
Tax

"Dividing the Estate" enlivens Broadway

In addition to making audiences laugh out loud, the revival of Horton Foote's Dividing the Estate takes a sharp look at family politics and economic interests that have played a role in our current economic outlook.Pulitzer Prize-winner Foote shows how tough economic times in the late 1980s are forcing a chatty Texas family to confront its past before it can prepare for its future. Southern matriarch Stella Gordon rules over the purse strings and dominates her family, which lives off the income earned from her estate.
Tax

IRS announces drop in interest rates

The Internal Revenue Service has announced in Revenue Ruling 2008-54 that interest rates for the calendar quarter beginning January 1, 2009 will drop by one percentage point. The new rates will be: Five (5) percent for overpayments [four (4) percent in the case of a corporation]; Five (5) percent for underpayments; Seven (7) percent for large corporate underpayments; and Two and one-half (2.5) percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000.
Tax

Another sentencing announced in Aegis tax sting

Timothy Shawn Dunn, a Chesterton, IN, resident, was sentenced to 210 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Norgle, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced this week. Dunn was the fourth of six defendants to be sentenced after being convicted of various tax crimes in May 2008. Prior to his conviction, Dunn owned Moneyfacts, a financial advisory business in Highland, IN.
Tax

IRS offers tips for Saver's Credit

Low- and moderate-income workers can take steps now to save for retirement and earn a special tax credit in 2008 and the years ahead, according to the Internal Revenue Service.The saver’s credit helps offset part of the first $2,000 workers voluntarily contribute to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) and to 401(k) plans and similar workplace retirement programs.
Technology

TurboTax turmoil: Online reviews pan the top selling software

The holiday season doesn't seem to be very jolly for TurboTax 2008, at least not on Amazon.com where 171 online product reviewers have panned the perennial best selling software with one-star ratings.Users are not complaining about the functionality of TurboTax. The problem, as they see it, is with pricing changes.
AccountingWEB Life

Liechtenstein agrees to share information with IRS

On Monday, December 8, the Internal Revenue Service signed an agreement with the government of Liechtenstein whereby Liechtenstein will exchange information pursuant to IRS audits. At the same time, the current legal challenges against UBS, HSBC, and Credit Suisse for aiding tax fraud have placed U.S. owners of undisclosed "secret" foreign bank accounts at serious risk of IRS prosecution. This is especially true for U.S. owners of Swiss accounts.
Tax

Deloitte announces winners in National Tax Case Study competition

After facing nearly 60 interscholastic teams in the regional events and 12 teams in the national rounds of the Deloitte Tax Case Study competition, two teams have been announced as winners in this annual event. At the national finals, Brigham Young University earned top honors in the Graduate Division and the College of William and Mary won in the Undergraduate Division.
Tax

New e-mail scam preys on rebate-hungry taxpayers

A new IRS-related e-mail scam is attempting to steal your identity and your money and Federal agents are warning that the scam is fairly convincing.Using the IRS name and logo, E-mail scammers are phishing for taxpayer's personal information, according to a spokesman for the nation's tax collector, The Carthage Press in Carthage, MO reported."We're getting reports of people receiving official looking e-mail that claims to come from the IRS," said IRS spokesperson Michael Devine.
Tax

IRS announces two new appeals programs

The Internal Revenue Service has announced a two-year test of two programs: the post-Appeals mediation and arbitration procedures for Offer in Compromise (OIC) and Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP).Beginning December 1, 2008, for a two-year test period, Appeals will offer post-Appeals mediation and arbitration for OIC and TFRP cases for taxpayers whose appeals are considered at the Appeals office in Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY; Phoenix, AZ; and San Francisco, CA.Under these two alternative dispute resolution programs, the taxp

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