Often taxpayers, whether Canadian or U.S. tax filers, are self-preparing their own returns with tax preparation software packages purchased in the market place. Problems arise numerous times in that the taxpayer not being aware of tax law, has omitted to file various required annual foreign information returns. This is likely due to the fact the software is not a professional version and/or the taxpayer-preparer is not reading any of the software return’s diagnostics.
Are you a straggler when it comes to filing taxes? You are not alone! There are many who dread the idea, in fact I know of many tax consultants who have someone else file their own. If you are the glass-half-empty type, then brace yourself, April 18th is right around the corner and the clock is ticking. If you are the eternal optimist, then yes, you still have time to get all your documents together and well, file an extension so you have more time to keep calm and file your taxes.
Millions of Americans forgo critical tax relief each year by failing to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax credit for individuals who work but do not earn high incomes. Taxpayers who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund.
Recently, new developments have occurred regarding deductibility of legal expenses for a job related lawsuit, deductibility of interest on student loans paid by parents for a child, use of an internet tax stamp, a defective IRS deficiency notice, and an extension for an IRA rollover due to a bank’s error. Each of these will be discussed.
A loss from a legitimate business activity is fully deductible against other income. If the loss exceeds income, it can be carried forward to offset business income in future years. If an activity is deemed a hobby by the IRS, a loss cannot be deducted. The IRS has many criteria for determining whether an activity is a hobby or a business [See the author’s article on hobby losses for details].