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Tax Levy Relief is spelled r-e-l-e-a-s-e.

Tax Levy Relief is spelled r-e-l-e-a-s-e.

Whew! Fifty-seven minutes and counting on one phone call with one IRS collection agent. Three trips to the fax machine and one management referral later, my client will get his paycheck this Friday. Thanks to good staff effort, and good rapport, we got the job done again. It’s important whenever we call the IRS to understand the background and perspective of the person on the other side. Revenue Officers, ACS, even Special Agents have different goals and different training. They are looking for answers which make sense to THEIR needs and expectations. It helps to have a background. The ex-RO prepared the financial docs. The former IRS Attorney laid out the plans. Years’ old experience on the phone lines at the computer center brought to mind and employed the respectful responses which are necessary if we are to make good contact, and get good results. Levy released. On to the next problem. Tax Advocate...
Tax relief for flood victims

Tax relief for flood victims

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” When Dickens wrote his Tale of Two Cities, he wrote of more than times in the past, but for times we even share today. My neighbors, friends and family in Tennessee learned this only too well earlier this month, when a “thousand year flood” ripped through homes, business and lives with an unrelenting force. We bent, but we didn’t break. And we got the privilege of helping one another rise from the muck and mess together. Even our Uncle Sam has been offering help! By declaring middle TN a disaster area, some great tax benefits come into play. The casualty losses we have incurred can be deducted NOW against last year’s income tax returns, rather than waiting until we file our income tax returns in 2011. The IRS will process an amended return claim within several weeks, and give us back some of the taxes we paid in the past to recognize the reduction in our present tax, due to this flood. The first step is to file Form 1040x. Casualty losses are subject to different treatment, depending upon whether the losses are personal or business in nature. Personal losses are subject to a reduction by $100.00 plus 10% of our adjusted gross income. Business losses are not. Folks who are self-employed might have incurred losses of both types. For example, if someone who operates a business which requires a truck also drives a car for personal use, both vehicles might have been damaged or washed away. The claim would amend last year’s 1040 by deducting the...
The GE Result – Income: $14 Billion (with a “B”). Tax: Zero (with a “z”)

The GE Result – Income: $14 Billion (with a “B”). Tax: Zero (with a “z”)

Now that our annual date with the taxman has passed, it’s time to reflect on next steps. In that sense we should consider what has happened and is happening in taxation around us. Nothing has united American interest across the political spectrum more than the announcement earlier this month that General Electric earned over $14 billion last year worldwide while paying nothing in U.S. taxes. The Huffington Post railed against this anomaly. So did the Cato Institute and the New York Times. Donald Trump explained while Bill O’Reilly complained on Fox News. The White House Press Secretary was hard-pressed. Taxpayers, left, right and center want to know just how this happened. The answers are complex and would take more than an article. Perhaps more than a book. They involve a lot of things like accelerated depreciation and special credits obtained by intense lobbying efforts and well-nuanced advice by some of the nation’s best (and best paid) tax attorneys. Not to mention keeping a lot of money and activity “offshore” in useful tax havens. The American body politic endures a tax system so intricate that even the best-informed taxpayers cannot be sure they’ve arrived at the right number when it comes to taxes due. So how does the middle-American taxpayer best achieve that “GE result”? For the idealists among us, a simplified and fairer tax system would be a good solution. However, such a result is unlikely, and certainly not to be had soon. Lingering in the minds of most taxpayers, especially small businesses that pay most of the taxes and make up most of America’s payrolls, is the fear...
10 Tips to Timely Tackle Taxes

10 Tips to Timely Tackle Taxes

1. Check your records. The most common cause of missed deductions (and higher taxes) is a lack of understanding. We often don’t realize what our income and expenses are until it’s too late. Take the time after the holiday rush (but before the first of the year) to review your income and expenses for tax minimizing purposes and get ready to act on them. Some will need action before the first of the year. 2. Save your records. The most common cause of IRS audit adjustments is a failure to meet their rather stringent documentation requirements. Cancelled checks are not enough. Take the time now to collate them with paid receipts for the best results. Your tax preparer will thank you later. 3. Bundle your deductions. This is really more of an act of timing than anything else. Depending on your tax bracket and state of residence, accelerating charitable giving or paying local taxes before the end of the year might be repaid by reduced taxes of 40% or more. For the self-employed this might increase to 50%. Regular business expenses paid “now” or “later” can make a big difference. 4. Timing counts. Sometimes we have the opportunity to choose when income will be taxed. For example, if you have a stock that has appreciated in value, you can sell it in December or sell it in January. Choose wisely. If you have other losses that can be used to offset gains, you might want to sell before the end of the year. If not, you might want to delay until after the 1st. 5. Beware the AMT trap....
Power to tax, power to destroy: Time for a policy that grows federal revenue by helping business thrive

Power to tax, power to destroy: Time for a policy that grows federal revenue by helping business thrive

It has been nearly 200 years since Chief Justice John Marshall struck down a Maryland tax with the observation, “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.” Many things have changed since 1819, but that truth is not one of them. As various actors cross the political stage this coming election season touting various tax formulas, it is a good time to consider how jobs are being destroyed under the current tax policy. Since Japan lowered its corporate tax rates earlier this year, the United States has the dubious distinction of imposing the highest level of business taxation of any nation in the industrialized world. Over the past seven years, trillions of American dollars have left for greener (and lower-tax) pastures overseas. A punishing corporate tax structure stands in sharp contrast to the political chatter about business-friendly public policy. Currently, U.S. businesses pay about 35 percent in federal taxes. Add in state taxes, and that rate goes to almost 40 percent, according to the Tax Foundation. Even when those rates go lower because of various deductions, the United States still comes out poorly internationally when comparing effective tax rates. According to a recent World Bank study, 164 countries out of 183 examined have lower effective corporate tax rates than the United States. Such math makes it clear why multinational companies may choose one of the 164 lower-tax nations when beginning a business venture and why jobs continue to migrate outside the United States. Capital gains taxation is another example of government’s punishing policies on job creators and job investors. People and businesses earn capital gains when an investment...