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Archive for Barry Fowler

FICO Score—Becoming And Remaining Credit Worthy

Barry Fowler

Being credit worthy is a big deal in our society. While there are host of important numbers in your financial world, few are as critical as your credit score.

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Students Beware! You Are the New Target of Tax Scammers!

Barry Fowler

Well, here we are mid-year, the tax season behind us and yet, the tax scammers just keep coming up with fresh ways to trick taxpayers!

While the rest of us are getting on with our lives, feeling the relief of having satisfied the tax man (or not), the criminals are hard at work finding on new targets. They never seem to sleep.

Just the other day, Accounting Today.com, one of our industry publications posted the following:

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Roth IRA Aging Requirement

Barry Fowler

You probably know that a Roth IRA can provide tax-free retirement income, but did you know the account must be “aged” before its earnings can be withdrawn tax-free? Unlike traditional IRA accounts, contributions to Roth IRAs provide no tax deduction when they are made, and unlike traditional IRAs, earnings from Roths are tax-free if a distribution is what the IRS refers to as a “qualified distribution.” A qualified distribution is one for which 1)The account has satisfied a five-year aging rule AND 2) Meets one of the following conditions:

The distribution is made after the IRA owner reaches the age of 59.5, The distribution is made after the death of the IRA owner,The distribution is made on account of the IRA owner becoming disabled, OR

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Oh Thank Heaven For The IRS!

Barry Fowler

I remember the old jingle for 7-Eleven that sang “Oh thank heaven for 7-Eleven!” Well, now we can add the tax collecting IRS to that jingle. Oh, thank heaven for 7-Eleven and the IRS!

Believe it or not, you can now pay your taxes at that convenience store in 34 states. And, you can even make those payments in cash!

According to a recent announcement from the IRS, “Individual Read more

More Time To File, More Time To Procrastinate

Barry Fowler

Yes, this year taxpayers have an extra 3 days to get their taxes filed or to file for an extension. And whenever a procrastinator is given more time, they will inevitably stay true to their nature and put off filing until the very last minute.

This behavior is so well known to professional tax preparers and firms that the Wall Street Journal recently published an entire Read more

Ignorance Of The Law Does Not Excuse Anyone, Not Even Billionaires

Barry Fowler

Ignorance of the Law is a legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware of its content. Every citizen is made aware of this principle from an early age. It applies to all laws including minor civil offenses to the most heinous criminal offenses as well as tax evasion and fraud laws. Read more

Violation, Humiliation, Litigation And Taxation

The Erin Andrews case has made headline news for months. As the case draws nearer to a close with double-digit million dollar settlement figures being bandied about, taxpayers can learn a few lessons about how in most litigation settlements the IRS gets the biggest cut of all. Between the attorneys’ fees and the IRS tax bill, Ms. Andrews is likely to see little financial gain for the violation of her privacy and for the humiliation she suffered. Read more

More Taxing Reasons To Guard Your Private Information

Just two weeks after the January 19th start of Tax Season, on Wednesday, February 3rd, the IRS experienced an alleged “hardware failure” that according to USAToday.com, “knocked some of the tax agency’s computers out of service.” With all the troubles the IRS is already facing, this latest snafu just adds more fuel to the overwhelming frustration most taxpayers feel with this government institution.

As of February 4th, the day the USA Today article was posted, Read more

WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR TAXES, DON’T FOLLOW TRUMP’S EXAMPLE

Donald Trump has yet to release his tax returns. Though he has admitted to being audited consistently for the past 10 years or so. And according to a recent Forbes article, even the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is weighing in on Trump’s failure to release his taxes acknowledging that it’s okay to release his returns during an audit. Read more

The IRS Is Watching

Article Highlights:

Bullet Point Progress coding: bullet pointsAcquisition Debt

Bullet Point Progress coding: bullet pointsEquity Debt

Bullet Point Progress coding: bullet pointsTracing Excess Debt

Bullet Point Progress coding: bullet pointsUnsecured Election

One of the current IRS audit initiatives is checking to see if taxpayers are deducting too much home equity debt interest. Generally, taxpayers are allowed to deduct the interest on up to $1 million of home acquisition debt (includes subsequent debt incurred to make improvements, but not repairs) and the interest on up to $100,000 of home equity debt. Read more

Don’t Be A Victim To IRS Phone And E-Mail Scams

TaxConnections Member Barry Fowler

Thieves use taxpayers’ natural fear of the IRS and other government entities to ply their scams, including e-mail and phone scams, to steal your money. They also use phishing schemes to trick you into divulging your SSN, date of birth, account numbers, passwords and other personal data that allow them to scam the IRS and others using your name and destroy your credit in the process. They are clever and are always coming up with new and unique schemes to trick you.

These scams have reached epidemic proportions, and this article will hopefully provide you with the knowledge to identify scams and avoid becoming a victim.

The very first thing you should be aware of is that the IRS never initiates contact in any other way than by U.S. mail. So if you receive an e-mail or a phone call out of the blue with no prior contact, then it is a scam. DO NOT RESPOND to the e-mail or open any links included in the e-mail. If it is a phone call, simply HANG UP.

Additionally, it is important for taxpayers to know that the IRS:
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