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Archive for Barry Fowler

No More Hide N’ Seek For Taxpayers’ Overseas Assets

IRS Is Ending Its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

The IRS is ending the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) this September 28th. This program has given U.S. taxpayers an opportunity to come forward with ‘previously undisclosed foreign income, accounts or assets with the promise and certainty that they will not face criminal prosecution.

Since the program’s inception in 2009, over 56,000 US taxpayers have paid over $11.1 billion in back taxes, interest, and penalties through the OVDP, but the number of participants has steadily declined over the past few years – from 18,000 in 2011 down to only 600 in 2017.

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Learn Why Many Taxpayers Are Converting From A Traditional IRA To A Roth IRA

Roth IRA accounts provide the benefits of tax-free accumulation and, once you reach retirement age, tax-free distributions. This is the reason why so many taxpayers are converting their traditional IRA account to a Roth IRA. However, to do so, you must generally pay tax on the on the converted amount. After making a conversion, your circumstances may change, and you may find yourself wishing you had not made the conversion. In the past, you could change your mind later and undo the conversion. But that option is no longer available under tax reform. So, be careful: once a conversion is made, there is no going back.

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Tax Changes Are Coming – New Rules On Divorces And Home Buying

Barry Fowler, Tax Advisor, Tax Blog, Houston, Texas, USA, TaxConnections

With the end of this season we also see the end of tax laws as they have been for decades. Now we have to look ahead and make sure there won’t be any unpleasant surprises and taxpayers will be subject to the new laws.

If you are planning on a divorce this year, you’ll want to review the new rulings. If you’re buying a new home, again, you’ll want to make sure you are clear about whether or not you can write off the interest on your loan. Read more

One Of The Latest Tax Scams To Be Aware Of And How It Works

Tax Scam, IRS Scam, Barry Fowler, Tax Blog, Tax Advisor, Houston, Texas, USA, TaxConnections

I have written frequently about the multitude of tax scams.

And once again, the scammers have found a way to play to and outwit your insatiable curiosity. Here’s one of the latest scams to be aware of, and how it works.

Scammers know that more and more people are screening and not answering calls from unrecognized or private numbers. So now, the crooks have developed software that allows them to display irresistible ‘fake’ numbers. Read more

No Matter How Long It Has Been Since You’ve Filed Your Taxes, You Are Not Alone

Barry Fowler, Tax Advisor, Houston, Texas, USA, TaxConnections

Yet there are many people who are contemplating not filing this year because they didn’t file last year. Taxation Solutions is a team of professionals that frequently encounters clients who, for various reasons, have not filed tax returns for one, two, or several years.

Believe me, you are not alone. There are thousands of people who haven’t filed in multiple years. But, let me tell you, you’ll enjoy getting a good night’s sleep once you get back on track with the IRS. Most people don’t realize the energy required to carry the burden of delinquent taxes. We are devoted to helping taxpayers make things right with the IRS. Read more

Claiming Parents As Dependents On Income Taxes

Barry Fowler, Tax Advisor, Tax Blog, Houston, Texas, USA, Tax Blog, TaxConnections

As more and more Baby Boomers are caring for elderly parents, the question often arises: “Can I claim my parent(s) as dependents on my taxes?” The answer to that is, “It depends.”

The IRS does allow parents to be claimed as dependents if certain requirements are met. The IRS always has requirements.

To meet the support requirements necessary to claim your parent as a dependent on your tax return, you must cover 51% or more of their support costs. These costs include food, housing or lodging expenses, clothing, and medical services and/or equipment costs. Read more

Do Not Let Cryptocurrency Crimp Your Relationship With The IRS

Barry Fowler, Tax Advisor, Tax Blog, Houston, Texas, USA, TaxConnections

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are becoming more popular as a form of payment and as investment. However, there has been little attention paid to how this virtual currency will be treated by the IRS until now. In fact, the IRS is taking a much closer look and has established some tax guidelines.

According to an article published in accountingtoday.com, “For federal tax purposes, virtual currency is treated as property and not currency.” They add, “The fair market value of the virtual currency on the date of receipt determines the taxpayer’s basis.”

Some businesses are actually paying employee wages in virtual currency instead of U.S. dollars. Read more

An Unexpected Refund From The IRS Spells S-C-A-M

Barry Fowler, Tax Advisor, Tax Blog, Houston, Texas, USA, TaxConnections

If you happen to notice an automatic deposit made in your bank account from the IRS or you get a refund check in the mail that you weren’t expecting, you are likely the victim of the latest tax scam.

On February 13th, the IRS released a warning to alert taxpayers to a fast growing new scam that uses stolen taxpayer’s information to fraudulently file taxes then deposit refunds into real bank accounts.

Once Deposit Is Made, The Criminals Make Contact

The IRS makes it clear that the criminals use a variety of tactics to get the fraudulent refund from the taxpayers. And, as the IRS points out the tactics are probably evolving, so you’ll want to stay alert.

In one version of the scam, criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contacted the taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and they asked the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency. Read more

Is Your Cryptocurrency IRS Approved?

Barry Fowler, Tax Advisor, Tax Blog, Houston, Texas, USA. TaxConnections

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are becoming more popular as a form of payment and as investment. However, there has been little attention paid to how this virtual currency will be treated by the IRS until now. In fact, the IRS is taking a much closer look and has established some tax guidelines.

According to an article published in accountingtoday.com, “For federal tax purposes, virtual currency is treated as property and not currency.” They add, “The fair market value of the virtual currency on the date of receipt determines the taxpayer’s basis.”

Some Businesses Are Actually Paying Employee Wages In Virtual Currency Instead Of U.S. Dollars Read more

How Soon You Will See Results Of The New Tax Brackets

Moving Forward With New Tax Law

It will be awhile before we all understand the ins and outs and the subtleties of the new tax code. While it is being studied and while the IRS is implementing the changes I’ll do my best to help you understand how you may be affected when you file taxes for 2018. The time to take advantage of any benefits that might have been gained for the 2017 filing period has passed.

For example, in 2018 the charitable deduction has doubled for a married couple filing jointly from $12,000 to $24,000. Had you acted quickly you could have established a donor directed fund or you could have increased your charitable giving by year end and taken a larger deduction on your 2017 taxes.

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How Soon You’ll See The Results Of The New Tax Bracket

Barry Fowler, Houston, TX, Tax Advisor, Tax Blog, TaxConnections

If you’re an American taxpayer who gets a paycheck, I imagine you’re pretty anxious to see how the new tax code is going to put more money into your pockets each pay period.

The IRS says they should have everything ready to reflect the changes by February. So, you could be seeing extra cash if you are in the top five tax brackets with your February paycheck. Read more

Avoid Holiday Shopping Ho-Ho-Hoaxes

Barry Fowler, Tax Connections

Package Theft

You may find it hard to believe, but according to delivery services like the USPS and UPS, some 23 million recipients each year don’t get their holiday goodies because thieves steal them right off the doorsteps. There is an easy way to prevent this. Simply arrange for a delivery that requires a signature upon receipt. Other options include sending gifts to the recipient’s workplace or have them delivered to a pickup location operated by the carrier. For example purchases made through Amazon can be delivered to an Amazon Locker location and retrieved by using a pickup code. There’s no extra fee to use the service, which can be selected during checkout. Amazon has about 2000 secure locations in more than 50 cities. Read more

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