Nov 302011
 
IRS Issues Revised Form 2848

The IRS has released a revised Form 2848 Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative with several important changes. The old Form 2848 (revised June 2008) allowed the representative to receive refund checks on behalf of the taxpayer (line 6).  The new Form 2848 (revised October 2011) has removed the old line 6 and specifically states that “the representative is not authorized to receive or negotiate any amounts paid to the client in connection with this representation (including refunds by either electronic means or paper checks).”  This change may be in response to the meteoric rise in instances of refund More…

Nov 292011
 
End Of The Year Tax Planning - Set Up A Small Business Retirement Plan

Many small-business owners believe that their company will provide all that is necessary for a comfortable retirement.  As their golden years approach, they eagerly anticipate selling their creation and living off the proceeds.  Unfortunately, business owners who rely on the sale of their businesses for retirement income may ultimately be disappointed.  This is because, as the current recession has highlighted, not all businesses will stand the test of time and those that do may not be sold at a profit.  Small business owners who have no backup plan may find themselves at retirement age with nothing to live on. This More…

Nov 282011
 
End Of The Year Tax Planning - Making The Most Of The Gift & Estate Tax Exemptions

We are now nearly a year removed from the expansion and unification of the gift and estate tax credits, and now is the time to take advantage of this liberal tax exemption.  Currently, the exemption amount is $5 million for both gift and estate tax purposes.  This exemption is scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2012, after which it will revert to a much harsher $1 million exemption if no legislative action is taken.  The estate tax rate will also rise from 35% to 55% if no action is taken. Before the end of 2012, a married couple may transfer More…

Nov 182011
 
IRS Scrutinizes Universities For Unrelated Business Taxable Income

The IRS has recently begun scrutinizing several universities, including Notre Dame, Purdue, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, the University of North Carolina, the University of Georgia, Lamar University, the University of Central Florida, Yeshiva University, Suffolk University, and Harvard, for failing to accurately report unrelated business taxable income. Generally, not-for-profit universities are exempt from paying taxes on tuition or other money that relates directly to their educational mission.  However, the government still requires that all tax exempt entities pay income taxes on a class of revenue known as “unrelated business taxable income (UBTI).”  UBTI is income from More…

Nov 162011
 
Tax Tips For Charitable Giving

The holiday season is upon us, and for many people that means charitable giving.  As a reward for their kind gesture, the philanthropically inclined can look forward to a tax deduction next year when its time to file those returns.  Here are some points to ponder when deciding on making those charitable donations ahead of the 2012 tax season. •    A deduction is only available for donations made to a qualified organization.  Qualified organizations include nonprofit groups that are religious, charitable, educational, scientific, or literary in purpose, or that work to prevent cruelty to children or animals.  Nonqualified organization include More…

Nov 112011
 
Florida Employers Could See Major Unemployment Tax Hike

If the Florida legislature fails to act soon, Florida business owners could see a significant increase in their unemployment tax bill.  Business owners will see their bill go up to $172 starting Jan. 1, 2012 as the state continues to feel the effects of a lingering recession, sluggish payroll growth and double digit unemployment.  While certainly disturbing, the tax hike is not altogether unexpected, because it was supposed to occur two years ago.  Employers were initially bracing for a large tax hike in 2010, but state legislators decided to stall the increase in the hopes that the economy would recover. More…

Nov 092011
 
Swiss Bank Credit Suisse Agrees To Disclose U.S. Client Data To The IRS

Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, has informed its U.S. clients that it intends to disclose confidential client account data to the Swiss taxing authorities, who will then decide whether to disclose it to the IRS.  This development comes as the U.S. has been conducting criminal probes of 11 Swiss financial institutions, and as U.S. and Swiss officials are concluding talks on a civil settlement that could require Swiss banks to pay billions of dollars in restitution and hand over the names of thousands of U.S. citizens who have undocumented accounts. Some might recall a similar incident in February More…

Nov 072011
 
IRS Seeking Volunteers To Help Assist In The Preparation Of Income Tax Returns

The IRS is currently seeking volunteers to support partners that provide free tax help to individuals during the tax filing season. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs are community based partnerships managed by the IRS that provide free tax return preparation assistance to low-to-moderate income taxpayers, seniors, people with disabilities and non-English speakers.  In November 2011, IRS awarded matching grants to 213 organizations that will be offering free tax preparation services during the 2012 tax filing season at locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Congress appropriated $12 More…