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Tax Liens and Audits Archives

6 easy year-end tax tips

It is five weeks before taxpayers close the books on 2019. There is, of course, plenty of time to procrastinate before the April 15, 2020 filing deadline, but there are still steps to take in 2019 that can help lower the tax obligations or increase that return.

IRS warns of a new scam

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued a new warning to tax professionals and taxpayers. In a new twist on an old trick, the fraudster threatens to cancel or suspend the victim's Social Security Number (SSN) if they do not pay their overdue tax bill. Initial contact is made via robocalls, then the victim calls the scammer or stays on the line. This is also known as "phishing."

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.

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.

IRS waives penalties for 400,000 filers

The IRS has seemingly bent over backward this year in light of the significant overhaul to the tax code that applied for the first time. Now it announced that it is automatically waiving the estimated tax penalty to 400,000 eligible taxpayers who filed in 2019 (for 2018) but did not claim the for paying at least 80% of their final tax obligation. Down from the usual 90% without penalty, the agency first announced it would lower the penalty threshold to 85% on January 15 and then to 80% on March 22.

Summer-themed tax tips

The Texas heat can be unbearable, but people of all ages look forward to the summer months. There are many fun things to do for families with young folks not in school, the cost of which can often qualify for tax credits or deductions. Parents of older kids also need to remember that those with part-time work or a full-time seasonal job can file a federal tax return to get back money if they are due to get a refund on money withheld on paychecks.

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William T. Peckham
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