Five personal income tax breaks up for vote in Congress

rpo webinar

December 16, 2014

The Senate must vote by tomorrow on whether to extend a variety of major tax breaks for individuals.

The U.S. Senate has until Wednesday to extend a large number of tax breaks affecting major portions of the economy. Extending certain provisions for individual taxpayers will be particularly helpful for people who are underwater on their mortgage, families with college students, teachers, or residents of certain states. The following are some of the tax breaks set to expire:

Untaxed mortgage write-downs. Having your underwater mortgage writen-down is technically income, but Congress had decided not to tax mortgage write-downs back in 2007.

Deduct tuition and education expenses. A vote is need to continue deducting up to $4000 in college tuition or education-related expenses for you, your children or your spouse.

Teachers can write-off up to $250 spent on school supplies. A vote will still be needed in order to continue this seemingly rather reasonable provision.

Use up to $245 in pre-tax dollars per month on public transportation. Without an extension, taking the bus or train will be a little less economical.

Use up to $245 in pre-tax dollars per month on public transportation. Without an extension, taking the bus or train will be a little less economical.

Source: WashingtonPost.com

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Billionaire’s accountant says he smuggled millions into France

dassault rafale

Dassault Rafale (Photo credit: Wikipedia/airwolfhound)

November 21, 2014

Accountant claims he smuggled 53 million euros into France on behalf of French industrialist and politician Serge Dassault.

French accountant Gérard Limat is being investigated for his involvement in money laundering, illegal campaign financing and vote buying that allegedly took place while his employer, French billionaire Serge Dassault, was mayer of the Paris suburb of Corbeil-Essonnes between 1995 and 2009. Dassault, 89, is the CEO of Dassault Aviation, a French fighter jet manufacturer. Dassault had been ousted from the mayorship back in 2009 for giving monetary gifts to voters.

Limat says he smuggled in 53 million euros ($66 million) from banks in Luxembourg and Switzerland by transferring funds to a Swiss asset management company, who would make the funds available again in France. A representative from the asset management firm would allegedly meet with Limat near Dassault’s Champs-Elysées office to hand over bags containing 100,000 to 700,000 euros.

Source: Vice News

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AICPA urges Senate to approve automatic disaster victim tax relief

rpo webinar

November 19, 2014

American Institute of CPAs representative asks U.S. Senators to endorse legislation that would give disaster victims permanent and timely tax relief.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Tax Executive Committee chair Troy Lewis testified to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight that the current tax relief system often distributes tax relief differently to disaster victims in similar situations. Lewis contends that Congress should no longer consider tax relief benefits on a case by case basis, but instead automatically grant tax relief the same moment a disaster has been declared.

“By having a trigger mechanism in place, Congress allows the IRS to promptly issue notice of the available relief to the public and enables the IRS to program its systems appropriately,” Lewis said. “Under the current system, individuals and small business owners do not know what tax relief they will receive until Congress enacts legislation, sometimes months or even years after the event. The uncertainty surrounding such delayed relief impedes recovery.”

Lewis listed a total of recommendations that the AICPA believes should be given to taxpayers in FEMA disaster areas. “A set of standard disaster tax relief provisions will minimize the administrative burdens on the victims as well as the IRS,” stated Lewis.

Source: Accounting Today

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IRS Webinar Wednesday: RPO and PTIN Updates, AFSP Info

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November 11, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service will host a webinar on Wednesday to discuss new information for uncredentialed tax preparers, Enrolled Agents, and AFSP participants.

The IRS Return Preparer Office (RPO) is hosting a live webinar for uncredentialed tax return preparers and Enrolled Agents on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm ET. The primary topics will include: PTIN requirements and options for uncredentialed tax preparers, how to become an Enrolled Agent, how to participate in the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP), and an overview of the upcoming online public directory of federal tax return preparers. Officials from the Return Preparer Office will host a live online Q&A session afterward.

PTIN numbers are not needed in order to participate. You can register by visiting http://www.visualwebcaster.com/IRS/100763/reg.asp?id=100763.

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‘Real estate guru’ admits to tax evasion

real-estate guru

November 4, 2014

Real estate investor who regularly appeared on CNN, CNBC and Fox Business will soon be on trial for money-laundering and tax-evasion.

Frequent radio and television news guest Tanya Marchiol is facing charges of money-laundering and tax-exasion related to her 2008 purchase of a home in Phoenix, Arizona. Marchiol, who is out on bail, has currently been legally banned from participating in any business activity related to her real estate investment firm, Team Investments, and is ordered to not provide any real estate or financial advice to the public.

Prosecutors claim that Marchiol accepted $140,000 from drug traffickers in order to purchase the home on their behalf. They say she then commingled the funds with funds from other clients, some of whom included unknowing professional athletes and other prominent figures. Documents show that Marchiol is the owner of the property and renting to the drug traffickers involved. Some of Marchiol’s real estate investment firm’s former employees have testified that she would launder money for profit.

Source: AZ Central

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2014 PTIN Renewal Starting for Tax Professionals

ptin

October 31, 2014

The IRS sent out reminders today to federal tax return preparers who must renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs).

The IRS has reminded the nearly 690,000 federal tax return preparers nationwide today that current PTINs will all expire December 31, 2013. Anyone who prepares or helps to prepare a federal return or claim for refund must have a valid PTIN number to input on returns.

The PTIN system is now accepting applications for 2014 and the renewal fee is $63. Tools are available for PTIN holders who may have forgotten their user ID or password. Tax Preparers who already have a 2013 PTIN can renew online quickly and easily at www.irs.gov/ptin.

“We ask that you renew your PTIN as soon as possible to avoid a last-minute rush. It’s easy to let this slip as the holiday season approaches,” stated Carol Campbell of the IRS Return Preparer Office.

Source: www.IRS.gov

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Accountant paying city $75K for failure to uncover embezzlement

settlement

October 22, 2014

Accounting firm will pay city in North Carolina $75,000 for failing to discover over $500,000 in embezzlements.

Darrell Keller CPA of Kings Mountain, North Carolina has agreed to pay the town of Cherryville $75,000 in a settlement stemming from Keller’s failure to discover the embezzlement of over $500,000 by two former city employees. City finance director Bonny Alexander was convicted of stealing $435,000 over a six year period. Utility director Jennifer Hoyle has been accused of taking $92,000 in cash utility payments made by customers over four years. Keller has stated that the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing and just not as expensive as taking the case to trial.

Source: The Times Picayune

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Account embezzled $540,000 from U.S. Navy subcontractor

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia/Avjoska)

October 17, 2014

Accountant for a Louisiana based U.S. Navy subcontractor admits to embezzling $540,000 and could faces up to 50 years in prison and over $1M in fines.

Kim Parish of Picayune Mississippi pled guilty to multiple charges of bank fraud and wire fraud on Wednesday after she admitted to stealing over $540,000 from her employer. Ms. Parish forged signatures on hundreds of checks over a four year period and mislead the company’s payroll processing firm into writing her checks for false paid time off.

Parish’s employer, NOLA Computer Services, is a technology company and military subcontractor based in New Orleans. Because of the relationship, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and Naval Criminal Investigative Service played roles in prosecuting her case. Parish faces up to 30 years in prison and $1M in fines for the charges of bank fraud, and up to 20 years and $250,000 in fines for wire fraud.

Source: The Times Picayune

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Extension Filing Deadline Oct. 15 — Last-Second Reminders

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October 9, 2014

It will be six months since the traditional filing deadline on October 15th, and anyone who filed an extension must file their taxes before then. Here are a few things to remember.

Beware of scammers: It’s never safe to let your guard down when receiving any emails or phone calls from anyone who claims for be from the IRS. Tax scams occur year-round.

Major life changes: You might be eligible for new credits and deductions if major events have occurred in your life since 2013. Becoming a parent or getting married or divorced could reduce your tax obligation.

Get receipts organized: Organizing your receipts will to claim deductions on your tax return more easily. Many small business owners are eligible for deductions from the costs of running their business: meals deduction, home office, vehicles, etc.

New simplified home office deduction: Since 2013, a new way to deduct costs incurred while working from home simplifies what can sometimes be an arduous task. Instead of providing all of the documents and paperwork to deduct each and every home office expense (phone, internet, electricity, etc.), you can simply deduct $5 per square foot for up to $1,500.

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‘The Accountant’ – Ben Affleck to star in new action-thriller

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia/George)

October 3, 2014

Ben Affleck is set to star as the accountant who’s secret second job is as an assassin.

Warner Bros. announced yesterday that actor and director Ben Affleck is now in negotiations to act the leading role in an upcoming action-thriller called “The Accountant.” The starring role which portrays a secretive CPA who works is an accountant by day and an assassin by night and was at one point lined up for actor Will Smith. The original script, written by Bill DuBuque, has been passed around to numerous Hollywood studios for some time now, with directors Mel Gibson and the Coen Brothers both at one time being involved. Mr. Affleck has also been in entertainment news lately for his current roles as a suspected murderer Nick Dunne in “Gone Girl” and as the dark knight in “Batman v Superman.”

Source: LA Times

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