Tax news March 2012

Tax

New Online Tool for Donors Offers Peace of Mind

The IRS has announced that is making it easier for taxpayers and tax return preparers to do their due diligence on tax-exempt organizations. It has launched a new online tool, Exempt Organizations Select Check (EO Select Check), that provides all the important information in one location (IR-2012-34).
A&A

Update: Health Care Law under the Microscope

On March 30, the US Supreme Court held closed-door deliberations on President Obama's health care overhaul law. It is likely they cast their preliminary votes on how they will eventually rule. As the Supreme Court is known for keeping its secrets, no leaks are expected before formal opinions are written and announced from the bench. This is not expected until late June.
AccountingWEB Life

Sales Tax Levies on Digital Downloads Facing Headwinds for Now

It is hard for legislators in cash-strapped states to ignore the explosion in the use of electronic devices - handheld computers, smart phones, iPods, iPads, and e-readers - and not view the many products these devices deliver as a basis for a new sales and use tax.
Tax

New York State Is Attempting to Tax Its Yoga Studios

Last year, after the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision attempted to subject yoga studios to licensing regulations, the proposed "Yoga Bill" was signed into law by Governor Paterson on March 24, 2010. The bill exempts yoga and martial arts studios from state educational certification.
Education & Careers

Tax Tip: Spell Out Tax Rules for Business Education

This is the seventh article in our tax return tips for 2011 returns. Did any of your clients go "back to school" in 2011? They may be entitled to a tax deduction for their unreimbursed education costs as employee business expenses. But the tax rules aren't exactly back and white - there's plenty of "gray area."
Tax

Maryland CPAs Are Fighting Proposed Tax on Professional Services

Maryland CPAs are mounting a coordinated effort to fight a proposed sales and use tax on professional services that will specifically apply to management consulting and tax preparation services. Lawmakers in Maryland have proposed the measure as one way to solve their budget problems.
Tax

TIGTA Finds IRS Not Fully Compliant

According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report that was released March 22, the IRS is not fully compliant with a federal law that requires it to eliminate and report improper payments made to taxpayers.
Tax

AICPA Calls for Improvements to IRS Examination Program

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has raised a number of concerns with the IRS about the burden its correspondence audit program places on taxpayers selected for examination, Patricia Thompson, the chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee, told the IRS Oversight Board at a February 28 meeting.
Tax

Tax Tip: A Party at Home? That's (Deductible) Entertainment!

This is the sixth article in our series of tax return tips for 2011 returns. The days of the three-martini lunch are long gone, but savvy taxpayers can still savor plenty of tax treats for entertaining their top customers. In fact, some clients may be entitled to write-offs for hosting get-togethers at their own homes.
Tax

Refunds Showing Up Later This Year

Liberty Tax Services' CEO Rufe Vanderpool reports that there are no abnormal delays in client federal income tax refunds at this time, but individual taxpayers continue to report delays. Carmen Gorgone of H&R Block in Reno says, "Refunds are most definitely delayed. About twenty-one days."
Tax

TaxMasters, a Tax-Resolution Firm, Is under Fire in Two States

TaxMasters, a tax-resolution firm that is up to $10 million in debt, is filing for bankruptcy protection following investigations by two attorneys general. The firm is known for its television commercials in which the red-bearded CEO, Patrick Cox, says TaxMasters can "solve your tax problems."
Tax

Former State Representative Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Tax Evasion

On March 16, Richard David Miranda, a former Arizona state representative, plead guilty in the US District Court for the District of Arizona to a two-count information charging him with defrauding a charity of more than $140,000 and evading income tax related to those unlawfully obtained funds.
Tax

Tax Tip: Dish Out Tax Rewards to Charitable Volunteers

Do you have clients who work hard for nonprofit organizations? Although taxpayers can't deduct the value of their "blood, sweat, and tears," they can still write off certain expenses that aren't reimbursed as charitable contributions.
Tax

IRS Seeks Volunteers for Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

The IRS is seeking civic-minded volunteers to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), a federal advisory committee that listens to taxpayers, identifies key issues, and makes recommendations for improving IRS service.
Tax

Lawsuit Charges IRS with "Power Grab" in New Tax Preparer Regulations

The Institute for Justice filed suit against the IRS on behalf of three independent, paid tax return preparers, challenging the IRS' authority to license and regulate paid tax preparers. The IRS instituted new requirements for paid tax preparers last year. The new regulations will be phased in over a three-year period.
Tax

New Xero Survey Reveals Most Common Small Business Financial Mistakes

Xero, the producer of Xero online accounting software for small businesses, has revealed the results of a survey of 500 US accountants and compiled tips to help small business owners take control of their finances during tax season and beyond.
Tax

If You Could Pick: Who Would Be the Most Intriguing Tax Client?

If you could choose to prepare taxes for anyone in the world, whose tax return would you like to prepare? Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs asked 50 CPAs and got some fascinating answers.
Tax

Tax Tip: Generate Energy Credits for Clients

Are you clients "going green?" Besides doing their small part to save the planet, taxpayers can claim a residential energy credit for installing qualified energy-saving devices in the home. The main energy credit technically expired on January 1, 2012, but can still be claimed on a 2011 return.
Tax

Tax Tip: Lock in Mortgage Interest Deductions for Points

This is the second article in our series of tax return tips for 2011 returns. Although mortgage interest rates are at historic lows, it may be possible to obtain an even more favorable rate by agreeing to pay one or more "points" to the lender. What are the tax implications?
Practice Management

Making Taxes Less Taxing

Gina Noy offers her clients stress-free tax preparation. It's not often you find "stress-free" and "tax" in the same sentence, especially during busy season, but for Noy, it's a philosophy that carries through her Manhattan-based CPA firm.

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