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Nebraska and Iowa join other state’s making laws about gift cards.

March 9th, 2006

The ever increasing popularity of gift cards is also increasing legal actions. More states are finding concern over consumer protection on the usage of gift cards. The latest are Nebraska and Iowa.

Nebraska state Senator Carol Hudkins wants to make sure consumers understand fees and expiration dates on gift cards. Some businesses have expirations dates as early as 60 days from purchase. Others have hidden fees.

According to the state treasurer’s office there is only a handful of businesses that routinely turns in unclaimed property. Hudkins wants to change the law so that businesses have an incentive to let customers know what the rules are.

Time is running out to claim your 2002 tax return.

March 8th, 2006

The IRS has millions of dollars to return to tax payers for the 2002 tax year.

To collect, though, they must file a return for 2002 with an IRS office by April 17, the date the three-year window to file will end. There is no penalty assessed for filing a late return that qualifies for a refund.

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2002 refund that their checks will be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2003 or 2004. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS and may be used to satisfy unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.

IRS is searching for New Jersey residents to give back money

March 7th, 2006

This is a true story. The IRS is searching for residents to give them money.

A recent article informed residents of Morris, Sussex and Warren Counties, New Jersey, who have not yet filed their 2002 tax returns that there is still time to do so and claim returns. Time is running out, according to the Internal Revenue Service, they stand to lose $6.9 million in uncollected refunds if they don’t file within the next several weeks. To collect the refunds, tax returns must be filed no later than April 17th.

What is a tax refund?

February 28th, 2006

Do you have your tax goal in mind? It may be one of those things where if you don’t know it can hurt you.

Your goal at the beginning of every tax year should be to have withheld at least 90% of what you think you will owe for that year, but not much more.

Your employer, using tables supplied by the government, determines how much of your paycheck should be withheld based on information you provide on the Form W-4. Many changes could have occurred since you last filled one out. The W-4, can be amended at any time.

Have you heard about the tax gap?

February 23rd, 2006

Are you interested in what this is?

It just may be an eye opener for you. The tax gap is what the IRS considers the difference between what taxpayers should have paid and what they did pay on time.

For 2001 the estimation is $345 billion. Since tax year 2001, with enforcement efforts the IRS has managed to recover $55 billion of that amount, bringing the net tax gap to $290 billion.

The IRS estimated that by March 2006 the tax gap would fall within a range of $312 billion to $353 billion.

Do you know about Tax Court?

February 20th, 2006

It isn’t the tax man cometh for thee, it is where you can request resolution on a tax issue.

You have a tax return audited and you don’t agree with the auditor’s findings – what do you do? Tax Court? No not yet. At this point you have the right to appeal the audit. The appeal is done and you still don’t agree with the results – what do you do? Tax Court? Yes! You can now take the matter to the U.S. Tax Court, a type of court that handles tax matters.

Government regulators to the rescue.

February 16th, 2006

If you have ever been taken in by the idea that your credit report could be improved for a price, you will be glad to know something is being done about it.

Government regulators are cracking down on companies that claim to remove negative information from consumer credit reports.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and eight state law enforcement agencies, have identified 20 companies that promise to remove information from consumers’ credit reports for a fee.

How to prepare for a tax audit.

February 15th, 2006

Want some helpful hints on how long to save documentation or what documentation is needed? Then this is for you.

Under the statute of limitations the IRS has three (3) years in which to audit a return. So minimally three years of documentation should be kept. However, many experts recommend keeping records for six (6) years. If the IRS suspects that you underreported income by 25% or more, it has up to six years to launch an audit.

IRS is auditing more corporations and wealthier people

February 14th, 2006

Have you ever thought to yourself , the little guy always seems to get it? Well, this time the IRS is changing its view. More corporations and wealthy taxpayers had their tax returns audited by the Internal Revenue Service this year, helping the agency haul in a record $47.3 billion in unpaid taxes.

IRS Commissioner Mark Everson said the audit rate of high-income individuals and families, those who report earning $100,000 or more, is “still too low.” “I haven’t set a specific target,” Everson said. “Our No. 1 area of emphasis has been to increase our work in high-income individuals and corporations. We do that because of the sense of fairness that resonates throughout the rest of the system.”

There are different types of tax audits.

February 14th, 2006

Some people are concerned that they will be audited by the IRS. Did you know that there are different types of audits?

Here are the four different types with a short explanation of each.

  1. A correspondence audit.

  2. A tax audit performed by the Internal Revenue Service through the mail, hence, correspondence. Typically, the IRS sends you a letter explaining any questions they have regarding your return. You send back copies (not originals) of any documents that support your return.

    These are usually the easiest type of tax audit to deal with, mostly because you have plenty of time to collect your paperwork.

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