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The www.FedPrimeRate.com Personal Finance Blog and Magazine

Sunday, April 15, 2018

New Fraud Targets Tax Professionals

New Fraud Targets Tax Professionals; segment by the outstanding folks at Nightly Business Report:


For more on tax fraud / scams, check out the 2018 IRS Dirty Dozen.


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Monday, January 01, 2018

Should You Prepay Your 2018 Property Taxes?

Should You Prepay Your 2018 Property Taxes?; segment by the exceptional folks at Nightly Business Report:

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Used TaxAct for My Taxes This Year

The American tax code stinks, and everyone knows it, yet politics and money prevent reform.

So we are forced to waste a lot of time wrestling with filing every year, and I hate it.  I really do.

The prohibitive cost of using a certain popular online tax preparation service prompted me to try something new this year.  I tried TaxAct (www.TaxAct.com +TaxAct ) and I am very pleased to report that I can recommend it.

The site made everything easy for me, though I will confess that my tax situation is relatively simple this time around.  I was able to process both my federal and state returns for free, and I was able to e-file my federal with the IRS for free to boot.  Very cool.

For those who have to mess with all kinds of deductions, credits, allowances, etc. the pricing for premium preparation packages is not that bad with TaxAct.  Much cheaper than many competitors.

If you use TaxAct online, the pricing looks like this:

TaxAct Online
TaxAct Online

If you choose to download the TaxAct software instead, it will cost you more:

TaxAct Download
TaxAct Download

My lady has an old friend who's an accountant and he does her taxes for free; nice to have friends like that.

For those of you struggling with a stressful tax situation, and you're doing your taxes by yourself: my heart aches for you!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No E-File for Those Taking Advantage of The New Homebuyer Tax Credit

I hate doing my taxes. I loath it. It's a huge waste of my time dealing with a tax code that seems to be bloated just for the sake of being bloated (to keep tax attorneys and accountants fat.) I don't hate tax attorneys, nor do I hate accountants. I just hate the tax code and the system that perpetuates it's insanely oppressive nature.

I'd pay someone or a firm to do my taxes for me, except I don't want to spend the money. Even more critically: if there's one thing I want to have full control over in my business life, it's my taxes.

I use the online version of TurboTax. Been using it for many years, and have been quite happy with it. However, there was an unexpected problem last year. TurboTax screwed up my state taxes, and when I contacted Intuit on 3 separate occasions about a refund, they made excuses, and I'm almost certain that they lied to me. I had to contact my credit card company to get a chargeback. Needless to say, I don't use Turbo Tax to do my state taxes anymore, and if a competitor comes out with a better product, I'll use it for my federal taxes.

If anyone has any experience with the HR Block offering, or any other competing tax software, please post a comment!

You Can't E-file if You Took Advantage of the New Homebuyer Tax Credit

E-file is great, as it makes the whole crappy business of doing your taxes a bit more efficient. However, for those who want to take advantage of the generous First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit which Uncle Sam instituted to help the struggling housing market, you won't be able to e-file your taxes. You'll have to print out your docs and sign and mail stuff the old fashioned way. Yuck! Sucks, but that's just the way the IRS wants to do it. Here a short clip from the folks at TurboTax:

Before I go, just wanted to add this: if you're worried about getting audited, and you make less than $200,000, you should really stop worrying. Click here to read this article.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

EDITORIAL: Why I Am Not Voting For Barack Obama

I am a rare and endangered species in America - I am Black, and I am not voting for Obama.

The racial undertones of this 2008 Presidential Election cannot be ignored…well, not by persons like myself. Although most Americans have done everything they can to stay away from the racial issues, the fact of the matter is that most Black people in America are voting for Obama simply because he is Black. As long as he doesn’t admit to worshipping the devil or being a serial killer, they will support his candidacy as the fulfillment of the dream that fostered the Civil Rights Movement and every struggle for justice that Black Americans have endured in this country. I get it; really, I do. I would hope that non-Black Americans are at least able to sympathize with that position, considering the circumstances. Such a unilateral and uncontested, even blind support of a candidate is charged almost purely by emotion, but in this case it is at least emotionally justifiable.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t vote for Barack Obama if you paid me to, which ironically enough, is exactly what he is doing.

Barack Obama’s economic policies often offend me. He has re-branded all out socialism as “Change” and “Hope”, or as MadTV so eloquently put it, “Chope”.

Among Obama's flawed economic policies are a “Windfall Profits Tax”, a “tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate”, an indexed minimum wage increase that automatically rises with inflation, and a federal ban on the permanent replacement of striking workers. If you have a one-sided view of the economy, this sounds great; more money in your inelastic pocket. However, these kinds of anti-capitalist policies would actually contribute to the destruction of the balance that makes our economy strong in the best of times because it unfairly assures the underdog that he will never experience the worst of times. America cannot be the “Land of Opportunity” if those who take advantage of the opportunities are penalized as a result. Minimum-wage jobs are not designed to support families of 3 or more; that‘s what professional degrees, skilled trades, and even second jobs are for. Strikes are risky, and an employer has every right to fire employees who don’t show up for work, whether it makes him a cold-hearted miser or not. Unfair redistribution of wealth is socialism, pure and simple.

If you want to be a socialist, move to China.

On the other hand, while McCain is not as conservative as I would like, his economic policies are far more fair and balanced. For example, McCain's remedy for victims of the sub-prime mortgage lending bubble is to adjust their loans to reflect the current value of their homes as opposed to the former, inflated value. They still have to pay the debt they signed up for, but there is a compassionate act of good will on behalf of the government that demanded the banks begin lending to the sub-prime market in the first place. Instead of penalizing Americans who make over $250,000 a year (which is not rich, by the way), he wants to reduce prices on gas and food, which is fair to everyone. McCain also lists a number of economists who approve his economic plan on his website, which lends to it’s greater realistic soundness compared to Obama’s plan.

I enjoy my freedom too much to have my vote bought by someone who would rather see me live as a poor, minimum-wage earning worker for the rest of my life than help empower me to become a business owner who can afford to hire employees and make profits without being unfairly taxed. I can’t sell out to someone like that.

I don’t care if he’s Black or not.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Tax Season Is Over, Thank Goodness

Got my taxes done, finally. I feel like someone has stolen 2-3 days of my life. A complete waste of the limited and precious time I have on this planet, as usual.

As a self-employed individual, I am thankful that the tax code is very entrepreneur-friendly, but this fact doesn't make up for the reality that for most of us, tax time is both unnecessarily stressful and very unproductive. Considering the fact that the United States is the most productive country in the world by a multitude of measures, I'm surprised that serious tax reform hasn't gained any political momentum. I blame the lobbyists!

In case you didn't know, the U.S. Tax Code is the most complicated body of law in the country. But can a guy get a tax deduction for paying child support? Nope! You can get a deduction for paying alimony, but not for paying child support, because child support payments "have no tax relevance." Basically, support payments are not tax deductible because the payments are voluntary. So if you do the right thing and make payments, the tax man doesn't care: he's not going to give you a break. This policy doesn't make sense to me, especially considering all the deadbeat dads out there. Bottom line: the government should adopt policies that encourage us to be good citizens, better citizens, which is what a child support deduction would do. Is that too much to ask, Uncle Sammy?

You Like Irony? How's This for Irony...

I ended up paying $150 to prepare and e-file my federal and state taxes using the online version of a very popular tax preparation software package. I paid an extra $30 for an "audit defense" package from a related company. The irony? I blame the tax lobby for blocking the efforts of reformists, yet, by paying a hefty fee to use third-party software to file my taxes, I'm supporting a company that will, in turn, pay lawyers to hang out in Washington and spend their time convincing lawmakers that tax reform isn't needed. Makes me a bit sick to my stomach to think about it.


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