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Cryptocurrency users still taxed

Many embraced cryptocurrency because it had the potential to be a very lucrative investment. It also left few traces of financial activity. The Internal Revenue Service likes seeing records and accountability, so it is no surprise that it stepped in to levy taxes on cryptocurrency or virtual currency.

Property not currency

Not filing taxes is a mistake

There may be a variety of reasons why people do not file taxes. It can be a matter where the Internal Revenue Service owes them a refund and they chose not to file, at least before the April 15 deadline.

There are, however, common reasons given each year by those not to file that can lead to real problems. Common excuses include:

Real estate trending toward sustainability

Real estate is one of the most important and most significant investments for the average person. There also seems to be shifting trends that affect the value and desirability of a home. One that has come to the forefront recently is the greening of residential and commercial property.

This trend is driven by eco-conscious millennials entering the real estate market or making choices regarding a commercial space. Interestingly, it is essential to reduce the impact on global warming, but it is now also a matter of economic and spatial efficiency.

Number of farmer and rancher bankruptcies increase

Many predicted that the president’s trade war with China would impact U.S. farmers and ranchers. Now according to a new report, this is happening as the impasse continues. The number of farmers and ranchers filing bankruptcy since the spring of 2018 has jumped by 13% across the board to include farms of all sizes and types. All told, 13,000 farms disappeared in 2018 because owners could not make payments.

"Many farmers and ranchers are reaching their breaking point," said Matt Perdue, the government relations director at the National Farmers Union. "The consensus is that this is going to lead to a lot of exits and more consolidations."

Settling the estate of a loved one is not always easy

When a loved one passes away, it is a time of sadness for the entire family. A person's death is always a difficult thing to process, and settling his or her estate can be even more complicated during this difficult time. Even when family members get along and want what is best, there can sometimes be disputes over property, assets and money. 

Before you embark on the process of settling an estate, you may find it beneficial to review inheritance rights and what you can expect. Knowing your rights can help you better protect your interests in the event of a dispute with other beneficiaries or interested parties. Even when a will seems straightforward or the likelihood of a problem seems low, it is always prudent to know your rights.

How eminent domain works in Texas

One quick way to get on the wrong side of a Texan is when someone tries to take their land. Nevertheless, there are certain circumstances where the state or local municipality (or a company working for them) will justify taking ownership from an individual or business. This is done under eminent domain, which is a premise that it is in the best interests of the public for the government to do this.

Technically speaking, it falls under the “Takings Clause” of the Fifth Amendment and always includes “just compensation,” although the private citizen often disputes the amount or meaning of this relative term.

What goes in a seller’s disclosure?

Those who sell real estate property usually include a seller’s disclosure. While there are exceptions, a seller disclosure provided by sellers to potential buyers outlines any defect or issue that could impact the buyer’s decision-making process. This applies to most resident owners of a home, but it can affect the terms of the offer, or if they wish to proceed.

Sellers here in Austin typically use a form created by the Texas Real Estate Commission. This form usually arrives within three days of mutual acceptance. The buyer and seller can then change the timing of the deal if there are issues of concern.

Foreign investments often fall under FATCA

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) became law in 2010. It signaled a significant shift in tax obligation for foreign companies and workers doing business in the United States. In essence, it required businesses, financial institutions, banks, and certain insurance companies around the world to report to the IRS that they had U.S. account holders. This was done to ensure that citizens with foreign accounts or investments still pay their tax obligations here in the United States. Those who the IRS deems are not paying the proper amount can face severe penalties.

Most citizens are aware that they provided their Social Security Number (SSN) when they filled out a Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) form set up a new account, which is then passed along to the IRS. However, there are reporting thresholds that depend upon whether the individual is married or single or files separately (generally $50,000 individually and $100,000 jointly). These are typically reported under Form 8938, but there are also several exceptions.

Tips for staging a home

The concept of staging one’s home to sell it is now a fairly common one. While in days past this amounted to keeping a clean home, the idea now is to strategically place to furniture and decorations in a way that puts the property in the best light. This often involves overriding personal preferences and often includes paring down the clutter to make the space less claustrophobic. Some will even go so far as to rent furniture or buy new furniture that they plan to use in the new home to give the old place a fresher and more updated look.

Ways to make your place pop

The emotional ramifications of a will contest

The death of a loved one can be an emotional experience. If you were close to the deceased, you can expect to go through the stages of grief. However even if you and the recently departed did not get along, it is normal to feel emotional for a variety of reasons. When things settle down and attention turns to the closing of the estate, you may be shocked to learn that the deceased did not include you in the will.

Was this an oversight? Did someone convince your loved one to disinherit you? Was your loved one thinking clearly when writing the will? These and other questions may be rushing through your head, and you may conclude that the only way to resolve the matter is to contest the will. Before you take this step, there are some critical things to keep in mind.

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William T. Peckham
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Austin, TX 78701
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