Thursday, September 26, 2019

Property Lien Scam

With scam artists hard at work all year, taxpayers should watch for new versions of tax-related scams. One such scam involves fake property liens. It threatens taxpayers with a tax bill from a fictional government agency.
Here are some details about the property lien scam that will help taxpayers recognize it:
  • This scheme involves a letter threatening an IRS lien or levy.
  • The scammer mails the letter to a taxpayer.
  • The lien or levy is based on bogus overdue taxes owed to a non-existent agency.
  • The non-existent agencies might have a legitimate-sounding name like the “Bureau of Tax Enforcement.” There is no such agency.
  • This scam may also reference the IRS to confuse potential victims into thinking the letter is from a real agency.
For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do should:

More information:
Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts
How Do You Report Suspected Tax Fraud Activity?

Source: The IRS

Friday, September 20, 2019

Taxpayer Preparation for Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can – and do – happen at any time. Whether it’s a hurricane, fire, flood, earthquake or tornado, there are things people can do to prepare in advance of a disaster.

Here are several links that can help taxpayers before and after a disaster:

Reconstructing records after a disaster; IRS provides tips to help taxpayers
This fact sheet helps people who are facing the challenge of reconstructing their financial records after a disaster. It covers how to properly document a tax-deductible loss.

Tax relief in disaster situations
This page features links to disaster resources. They walk taxpayers through information that will help them after a disaster. This page also links to local news releases and frequently asked questions.

Around the nation
This page highlights news specific to local areas. This includes disaster relief and tax provisions that affect certain states.

FAQs for disaster victims
Users will find links to several different pages of FAQs. Each set of FAQs is about a specific topic to help people after a disaster.

Publication 2194, Disaster Resource Guide for Individuals and Businesses
This resource guide provides information for individuals and businesses affected by a disaster. It also covers the help available for disaster victims. The guide can help taxpayers claim unreimbursed casualty losses on property that was damaged or destroyed.

Publication 584, Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook
This workbook helps individual taxpayers figure the loss on their property because of a disaster, casualty or theft.

Publication 584-B, Business Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook
This workbook helps businesses figure the loss on business property because of a disaster, casualty or theft.

Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters and Thefts
This publication explains the tax treatment of casualties, thefts and losses.

More information:
Publication 5307, Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families

Source: The IRS

Friday, September 13, 2019

College Tuition Means Tax Benefits

Taxpayers who pay for higher education in 2019 can see these tax savings when they file their tax returns next year. If taxpayers, their spouses or their dependents take post-high school coursework, they may be eligible for a tax benefit.

There are two credits available to help taxpayers offset the costs of higher education, the American opportunity tax credit and the lifetime learning credit.

To be eligible to claim the American opportunity tax credit, or the lifetime learning credit, a taxpayer or a dependent must have received a Form 1098-T from an eligible educational institution.

The American opportunity tax credit is:
  • Worth a maximum benefit up to $2,500 per eligible student.
  • Only for the first four years at an eligible college or vocational school.
  • For students pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential.
  • Partially refundable. This means if the credit brings the amount of tax owed to zero, 40 percent of any remaining amount of the credit, up to $1,000, is refundable.
The lifetime learning credit is:
  • Worth a maximum benefit up to $2,000 per tax return, per year, no matter how many students qualify.
  • Available for all years of post-secondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills.
  • Available for an unlimited number of tax years.
Reference: The IRS

Monday, September 9, 2019

Starting A Business?

The IRS Video Portal has videos with information on a wide range of topics.  If you're thinking of starting a business, here are some videos that might be helpful to you.

Source: The IRS