Ask TaxMama Issue 594 April Fools Day

Dear Family,

Happy April Fool’s Day! This morning I read a CNN story about a family with a $54,000 tax refund. The H&R Block office was apparently so surprised that they repeatedly recomputed the tax return to see if there was a mistake. There wasn’t. And this is not an April Fool’s Prank! 

It turns out they did nothing illegal. How did this nice couple get such a windfall? They adopted children. A lot of children! This year, the adoption credit is refundable for the first time. Which means you get money back, even if you didn’t pay anything in. I’ll tell you more about adoption issues next week at the WSJ Tax Blog.  

The same thing holds true for these other common credits – Additional Child Tax Credit, Homebuyers Credit, Earned Income Credit, part of the American Opportunity Credit (education). There are a few others that may or may not apply to you. Since credits like these give taxpayers money without you having to pay anything into the system, they are the targets of fraud. So expect IRS to hold on to your refund a little longer while they try to make sure you’re really entitled to the credits. 

TODAY’S THE DEADLINE

 Tax pros wanting to sign for TaxMama’s EA Exam Review Course, the 10% discount ends tonight – midnight ET. Remember, the class starts in May, but to order materials, I need to have a head count as soon as possible. 

Note: Wednesday, April 20 at 4:00 pm PDT (7:00 pm EDT) We will have a live open question and answer session about the enrolled agent examination. I will answer any questions you might have about the exam and my class. Please mark your calendar. 

Answering Your Tax Questions

I am answering questions, usually early in the morning at the TaxQuips Forum. As promised, I start with the Family Forum and answer paid members first. However, so far this year, Team TaxMama® and I have managed to answer every single question posted. Considering how many are coming in, that’s pretty darn good. 

Some good information in the TaxQuips forum this week came from folks like Mike Emeigh the NC TaxPro answering a question about trust taxes. Rita Lewis an Enrolled Agent from CT answering a question about deductions related to blindness.  Kris Hix, EA in Kentucky helped out on the multi-state filing question – and even knows about the unique issues related to cities in Ohio. Tax Nerd David Toelkes, a real estate professional in SC explains how some of the numbers work when a family sells a property owned by both the mother and son.  

Everybody pitches in on Sethu Subramanian’s amended return question. Illuminating! Reader Joshua Semar reminded us that you get copies of your prior year tax returns by just walking into an IRS office and waiting around. You don’t have to mail away for it, or pay a tax professional to get it for you on the same day! 

There were lots of interesting discussions going on. And we learned about interesting people. I think that’s what I love most – learning about your interesting experiences. 

Incidentally, on the TaxMama® contact page where it says we will not answer questions submitted via that form, we mean it. If you have a tax question, post it in the TaxQuips Forum. I don’t have time to sort through the 3,000+ emails that land in my spam filters every day to find your very important question. That’s WHY I set up the TaxQuips Forum – so I FIND your questions – and answer them – as soon as possible. Unfortunately, lots of other, real, business emails to me get lost among the spam. (Really, I found 3 important messages there yesterday afternoon.) So if you don’t get a reply from me within 48 hours – please re-send your message or post it in the TaxQuips Forum

Thanks again to everyone who’s been pitching in and helping out! When tax season is over…you will be getting gifts. Make sure I have your mailing address.  Thank you all ever so much!

 You will find the highlights of this week’s articles, below, along with this week’s features – IRS News, Money Funnies, AccountingWeb Blog, and more. 

Remember, we will be using Twitter more and more often, to get quick notes and updates out to you – www.twitter.com/taxmama . You don’t need to subscribe to Twitter if you’re on Facebook. Just friend me there. The posts will appear there, as well.  

More Places to Ask Your Tax Questions! 

As you know, I am doing my best to give you opportunities to ask your questions, get answers, or just plain get useful information. I am using every means to reach you and your friends – and to keep you in the loop about changes to tax laws, and to give you information to help you keep your taxes as low as possible. That’s my goal in life – is to keep you safe from taxes, tax predators and tax audits.  

You can find lots of information in this week’s articles and interviews. 

Coming up –

April 4, 7:20 am EDT–  with Mike and Bruce on radio WTOP in Washington, DC

April 6, 7:00 am PDTSFV Breakfast Roundtable – 2 units CPE for EAs 

April 7, 8:00 am PDTTaxMama Tax Roundtable – where Family Members and all TaxMama EA class members can get your questions answered, live.  

April 13, 5:30 pm PDT – Moderating a Teen Dollars and Sense discussion with Dr. Brad Klontz on H&R Block’s BlogTalk Radio show – we’ll have links working for you next week. (Note: Your school can get money from this H&R Block grant program. Look into it.)  

April 18, 9 am PDT – KFWB Money 101 with Bob McCormick – two hours LIVE to answer your last-minute tax questions. Joining me off the air, answering even more of your questions on the phone are NAEA members: Saroj Sharma, EA in Northridge, CA and Jake Cordova, EA in Denver, CO.  

Articles and news in the last week of March 2011

Interviews

With Donald Jay Korn for the Consumer Reports Money Adviser

With Kelsey Hubbard on the WSJ Digital Network – Tax Report.
You will find several videos with TaxMama ® as part of the Dow Jones Tax News team.

Do you need to make Estimated Taxes this year? This will help. 
 
TaxMama writing:Update on the Tax Preparer Program at the  AccountingWeb.com blog
 
This week’s MarketWatch article about Gift tax issues –  especially about IRS’s new gift tax compliance initiative.
 
WSJ Tax Blog topics – The Cost Basis of New Stock and How to Get Charitable Contribution Deductions for your donations to Japan and other overseas disaster areas.

 Incidentally, these columns are all syndicated through the Dow Jones Newswire. So clones are apt to pop up all anyplace, – like on the WSJ,  Fox News, the Middle East North Africa Financial Network, and other surprising places.

This week’s Equifax tax article is Itemized Deduction, AMT, and Other Tax Nightmares

 This week’s Suze Orman article will be about Women Owned Small Businesses, Part 3
http://www.moneymindedmoms.com/articles .   Meanwhile, you can find a lot of interesting stories and tips from my MMM Sisters – and you can enter the Ask Suze sweepstakes – to get some personal guidance from Suze Orman. (We spent some time on the phone with Suze recently, regard this MMM site. I am very impressed with her integrity and the way she is working with us on this project. There were some problems that I was too busy to really notice. But she did – and was already pro-active about getting them resolved before I was even aware they existed.)

As always,  there’s more…I just can’t remember it all

In today’s issue of Ask TaxMama

In IRS News, IRS tells about  Tax-Time Errors Filers Should Avoid. My mailbox if full of IRS-related tax scams. IRS tells us how to recognize and avoid them!   Does your business qualify for the Health Care Tax Credit? Do you want to know how to handle it? The IRS webinar on the topic is now available online – a video and the handouts. 

In Money Funnies ,  You know you’re living in 2011 when… 

This week’s TaxQuips  starts with Goran, who wants to hire workers with ITINs instead of Social Security numbers. May he?  DD’s wife cashed in a bond from her aunt, bought decades ago. How do they figure out the basis? Pam is using her car for 2 businesses, how does she claim her Sec 179 depreciation? The week ends with Robert who is hiring a debt negotiation firm to eliminate $50,000 worth of tax debt – and wants to know the tax implications. Next week, I’ll actually introduce you to a credit repair service that you can trust. (Believe it or not!)

Note: You can view them all on YouTube, too at  Daily TaxQuips from TaxMama® – taxmama1’s channel.

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-594       

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TAX CALENDAR

http://taxmama.wpengine.com/tax-calendar-2011/

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04/18/2011 Last Day to set up and fund IRAs and Roth IRAs for previous year

04/18/2011 Individual Personal Returns due 

04/18/2011 Personal Returns due – Nonresident, US income, etc.

04/18/2011 Personal Returns due – Easy Form Return

04/18/2011 Personal Returns due – Not Itemizing Return Form

04/18/2011 Personal Return – Extensions due 

04/18/2011 US Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return

04/18/2011 US Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return Extension Due

04/18/2011 Partnership Returns due 

04/18/2011 Issue K-1’s with Partnership Returns

04/18/2011 Electing Large Partnership Returns due 

04/18/2011 Estate & Trusts Returns are due; Bankruptcy fillings use the same form

04/18/2011 Partnership, Estate & Trusts Returns – Extensions due 

04/18/2011 Individuals, Farmers & Fishermen Pay 1st Quarter Estimated Tax Payment

04/18/2011 Corporations – 1st Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due 

04/18/2011 Estates & Trusts 1st Estimated Tax Payment

04/18/2011 Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

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From TaxMama® to You!

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EA EXAM NEWS & SOLVING THE TAX PUZZLE

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