Ask TaxMama Issue 550 – May Day and Homebuyer Credit Deadline

Dear Family,

Well, it’s the end of April.

The world somehow survived a volcano and an earthquake that left travelers stranded all over the world. It’s interesting the different ways that tavel companies dealt with it. Yesterday, within seconds of each other, I received two emails. The first was from an executive at British Airways, apologizing for the inconvenience and outlining what they are doing to make their stranded passengers a priority. The second was a Los Angeles Times Travel article talking about folks who couldn’t reach their port of embarkation for their Princess Cruise ship in Valparaíso, Chile. They were stranded in-country and couldn’t get transportation. Princess Cruises flatly refused to refund their money – said they should have bought travel insurance. Doesn’t British Airways’ behavior make you feel good? Yet, the millions of people who read the LA Times are going to think twice before booking with Princess Cruise Lines. 
http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-leftbehind-20100503,0,3000671.story

This is an ever smaller world. Individuals consumers have power. Even when we cannot get satisfaction from legal venues, word-of-mouth spreads rapidly. Whether good or bad.

Speaking of legal redress, I got a call this week from a blue-collar fellow paying over $1800 in child support payments for his two children. Even before the furlough days and cutbacks cut his paycheck my 25%, this amount was over 50% of his take-home pay. He has paid attorneys fees of over $25,000 over the last couple of years to resolve this issue – and got nothing done because of attorney error. Why am I hearing about huge attorney fees in divorce cases, where the attorneys mess up horribly? This isn’t the first time. Over and over again, I am hearing from people who pay $20k-$50k and up and the attorneys don’t file the right paperwork, or don’t file on a timely basis, or don’t retain, or request, the key documents needed. Can anyone tell me if there is a way to screen divorce attorneys in advance? Or do folks need to resort to paralegal services and do-it-yourself tools?

Anyway, I found him these tools. Perhaps they can help you.

Look up your state’s forms
http://www.divorce.com/divorce-forms 

NOLO is offering 40% off during their Annual eBook Sale through June 1, 2010.
Use coupon code is A123 for an additional 10% off any product.
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/family-law-divorce/?img=17&kbid=1453
(disclosure – TaxMama receives a commission)

IRS just released their Cash Audit Techniques Guide. If you have a business that primarily operates on cash, take the time to really study this guide. Or make sure your tax pro does. You definitely want to know what IRS will be looking for when they audit your business. And IRS will be auditing. They realize that substantial portion of the Tax Gap can be found in businesses that get paid primarily in cash. Businesses like laundromats, restaurants, convenience stores; and where employees get paid in cash, like construction and trucking.
http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=211049,00.html

Reminder – the federal homebuyers credits end TODAY! If you’re going to claim that free $8,000, be sure to open escrow (or your local equivalent), or sign an offer to buy, by TODAY! You have until June 30th to complete the purchase.

Incidentally, if you want to make a difference, The Internal Revenue Service is requesting membership nominations for the Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC), which provides recommendations to IRS leadership on a wide range of information reporting and administration issues.

APRIL SPECIAL ends MAY 3rd. SIGN UP NOW
TaxMama Tote

Tax Professionals interested in taking the EA Exam. The first 50 people to sign up before May 3rd will get free TaxMama FAMILY MEMBERSHIPS. You will also be getting this handy dandy tote to hold all your books, notes and discs.
http://irsexams.com/news/

AccountingWeb.com covers the tax woes of former child stars
http://www.accountingweb.com/topic/celebrity-news/child-stars-learn-growing-can-be-taxing

TaxMama is taking a break from MarketWatch until mid May.
http://www.marketwatch.com/Journalists/Eva_Rosenberg
But you’ll find lots of useful tax information in the MarketWatch.com Tax Guide.
http://www.marketwatch.com/taxes

In today’s Money Funny, beware of watchful eyes!
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/category/asktaxmama/money-funnies/

In IRS News today you will learn that your employer’s medical plan may cover children under age 27. And about the extension to COBRA coverage.
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/category/asktaxmama/irs-news/

In TaxQuips this week we learn about S corporations, the Taxpayers Advocate Service, reliable sources you can cite for your tax returns, what to do if your refunds are lost.
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/category/tax-quips/

As always, we love your feedback, opinions and ideas.
You are what makes all this fun – and interesting!

Please use the Comments link online.
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/asktaxmama/ask-taxmama-issue-545/

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Eva Rosenberg, EA

Your TaxMama®  is watching…out for you.

www.TaxMama.com
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www.TaxMama.com/TaxQuips
www.IRSExams.com
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 EA Exam News and Solving the Tax Puzzle 

Take TaxMama®’s 2010 EA Exam Review Class
http://irsexams.com/   

– sign up now – and join the FUN! Get Family Membership with Registration through May 3rd!
http://irsexams.com/registration/

Read the ebook –  Everything You Wanted to Know About the EA Exam
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