Archive for the ‘IRS Tax Help’ Category

Tax Records- How Long Do I Keep Them?

Friday, January 4th, 2013
  1. If you owe additional tax and situations (2), (3), and (4), below, do not apply to you; keep records for 3 years.
  2. If you do not report income that you should report, and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your return; keep records for 6 years.
  3. If you file a fraudulent return; keep records indefinitely.
  4. If you do not file a return; keep records indefinitely.
  5. If you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return; keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
  6. If you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction; keep records for 7 years.
  7. Keep all employment tax records for at least 4 years after the date that the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.

Are you uncertain about a tax situation?  We can help!

Call today.  Todd Courser 1-800-490-0667

Tax Returns- In Addition to My Basic Records, What Records Should I Keep? (Part 3)

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Following is a list of records to keep in addition to your basic income and expense records:

Medical and Dental Expenses – In addition to the medical expense records, you should keep records of transportation expenses that are primarily for and essential to medical care.  You should record in a diary gas and oil expenses directly related to your medical transportation.  If you don’t want to keep records of these actual expenses, you can keep a log of the miles you drive for medical purposes and use the standard mileage rate.  You should also keep records of any parking fees, tolls, taxi fares, and bus fares.

Mortgage Interest – If you paid mortgage interest, you should receive Form 1098, a Mortgage Interest Statement.  Keep this with your mortgage statement and loan information.

Moving Expenses – You may be able to deduct qualified moving expenses that are not reimbursed.  See IRS Publication 521 to see what expenses qualify and what records you need.

Taxes – Keep Form W-2 and Form 1099-R.  If you made estimated tax payments, you need to keep a copy of your checks.  If you received a refund of state income taxes, you need to keep Form 1099-G.  Keep mortgage statements, tax assessments or other documents as records of the real estate and personal property taxes you paid.  If you deducted actual state and local general sales taxes instead of using the state sales tax tables, you must keep you actual receipts showing general sales taxes paid.

Tips – You must keep a daily record to accurately report your tips on your return.  You can use IRS Publication 1244 to record your tips.

Afraid you may miss something?  We can help.

Call today.  Todd Courser 1-800-490-0667

Tax Returns- In Addition to My Basic Records, What Records Should I Keep? (Part 2)

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Following is a list of records to keep in addition to your basic income and expense records:

Education Expenses- You should keep transcripts that show periods of enrollment and cancelled checks and receipts that verify amounts you spent on tuition, books, and other educational expenses.

Energy Incentives- If you want to claim one of the tax incentives for the purchase of energy efficient products, you must keep records to prove: when and how you acquired the property, the price of the property and that the property qualified for the credit.

Gambling Winnings and Losses- You must keep an accurate diary of your winnings and losses that includes the: date and type of gambling activity, name and address of the gambling establishment, and the amount you won or lost.  See IRS Publication 529 about gambling losses.

Health Savings Account and Medical Savings Account – For each qualified medical expense you pay with a distribution from your HSA or MSA, you must keep a record of the name and address of each person you paid and the amount and date of the payment.

Afraid you may miss something?  We can help.

Call today.  Todd Courser 1-800-490-0667

Tax Returns- In Addition to My Basic Records, What Records Should I Keep? (Part 1)

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Following is a list of records to keep in addition to your basic income and expense records:

Alimony- If you receive or pay alimony, you must keep a copy of your written agreement (separation, divorce, support).

Business Use of Your Home – You may be able to deduct certain expenses connected with the business use of your home.  You need to keep records that show the part of your home that you use for business and the expenses related to that use.  This is not as easy as saying that you work at home.  See IRS Publication 587 on how to allocate expenses between business and personal use.

Casualty and Theft Losses- You must be able to prove that you had a casualty or theft.  Your records must be able to support the amount you claim.  For casualty loss, you need to prove: the type of casualty and when it occurred, the loss was due to the casualty and that you were the owner of the property.  For theft loss, you need to prove: when you discovered the property was missing, that it was stolen and that you were the owner of the property.

Child Care Credit- You must give the name, address, and taxpayer identification number for all persons or organizations that provide care for your child or dependent.

Contributions- You must keep records to prove the contributions you make during the year, cash, non-cash, or out-of-pocket expenses.

Afraid you may miss something?  We can help.

Call today.  Todd Courser 1-800-490-0667

Tax Returns- What Kind of Records Should I Keep?

Friday, December 14th, 2012

It is important to keep all the documents used to determine your tax returns.  A record should be kept of your income and a record should be kept of your expenses which are being included in some way on your tax return.  Your records should be kept by year in a safe place.  When your tax return is completed, a copy of the return should be placed in a file with the information used to prepare the return and kept in a safe place.

If you choose to use electronic files, care should be taken to back up and protect these records.  If these are destroyed, you are still accountable for providing the IRS with the information.

Examples of the records to keep include-

Income- Form W-2, Form 1099, Bank Statements, Brokerage Statements, Form K-1

Expenses- Sales Slips, Invoices, Receipts, Cancelled Checks or other Proof of Payment, Written acknowledgement from qualified charities

Home- Closing Statements, Purchase and Sales Invoices, Proof of Payment, Insurance Records, Receipts for Improvement Costs,

Investments – Brokerage Statements, Mutual Fund Statements, Form 1099, Form 2439

We are here to help you use all your documents to your benefit.

Call today. Todd Courser 1-800-490-0667

Have You Filed Your Tax Returns?

Friday, December 7th, 2012

There are many reasons that you need to file your tax return.  Many people don’t realize, if you don’t file, you can go to jail.  The IRS looks at this as a criminal offense.  They go after anyone who is avoiding doing or paying taxes.  The IRS has continued to get more aggressive in pursuing tax evaders.

Some people don’t file their tax return because they don’t have the funds for the taxes they owe.  It is better to file your tax return, pay what you can and make a deal with the IRS for the remaining amount.  This will keep you in compliance with the IRS and avoid levies being placed on your property.  If you don’t file, you will incur a penalty for not filing and still be incurring penalties on the amount that they think you owe.

In order to make a deal with the IRS, all past tax returns need to be filed.  Have you put off doing your tax returns in the hope no one would notice?  Are you embarrassed that you got to this point?  You aren’t alone.  We see this everyday.  We can help you get in compliance with the IRS.  Come see us today!

Call Todd Courser 1-800-490-0667

IRS problems? Know When to Get Help

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Some important items to remember when you receive a letter or telephone call from the IRS:

  1. Respond timely and early.
  2. Give the appearance of cooperation.
  3. Do NOT allow anyone from the IRS to complete forms for you either over the telephone or in person.
  4. DO get advice on how to deal best with the IRS.

You do have options when dealing with the IRS.  The sooner you act, the more options you will have.  If you put off coming in for advice, you may be limiting your options to the lesser of two evils.  It is best to react quickly and develop an offensive plan rather than react under pressure and on the defensive.  It is usually difficult for a taxpayer to deal with the IRS.  This is not your job, but it is the job of the people working for the IRS.  They do it everyday.  They are strong and do not bend easily.  They have been known to intimidate and threaten.  Under their power, you may loose your ability to negotiate effectively.  This is where we can help.  We have a working knowledge of the IRS.  We know what they can and can’t do.  We know what you can and can’t do.

If you are having problems with the IRS, give us a call.  We speak the language of the IRS and can help your frustration go away.

Todd Courser   1-800-490-0667

TaxMasters filing for bankruptcy – Don’t expect a T. V. pitchman to solve your tax problems

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

During my 17 years of being in business, I have seen many of these “Tax Resolution” shops go out of business.  I have had to fix problems from frustrated clients when they came to me, after they have left these firms. We have helped former JK Harris and Taxmasters clients, where the clients have stated that these folks were good at taking their money but really poor at dealing with their problems.  In many cases, there are problems encountered when trying to handle an IRS issue and usually by the time the client becomes a client he has far more issues than resources to deal with those issues. I tell clients “all these problems didn’t happen overnight and it will take time, money and effort to get your life back on track but we will get it back on track.” Many times the client is fighting both the IRS and other creditors.  In those cases, we are second to none in helping the client see all his options within the IRS, at the state level and finally through the bankruptcy courts, when that makes sense. Bankrutpcy is never a first option, but sometimes when a client has a multitude of issues, it makes the most economic sense. Using the tools we have, we work with clients to try and eliminate the vast majority of their debts.

If you owe the IRS or state money and want a good assessment of what can be done, then give us a call to set up a consultation and get your life back on track. I have clients who have flown here to see me and have worked out settlements for clients across the country.  Let me help you!

Todd Courser 1-800-490-0667

IRS Trouble for Business Owners – Unpaid Payroll Taxes

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Many times in tough economic conditions business owners will get into trouble with the IRS by failing to make the necessary filings or to pay the required payroll taxes. Remember the IRS is a super creditor.  One of the most destructive forces to a business owner are unpaid payroll taxes. Many times owners will forgo paying payroll taxes to keep all the other vendors, mortgage companies, etc. current when it might benefit them more to keep the IRS current.  IRS payroll taxes cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. The interest and penalty can in many cases get reduced but the taxes will be a slow moving tsunami in the life of the business owner.  I have worked with many who have failed to pay payroll taxes.  The clients who can right the ship are the ones who immediately take drastic actions to make sure that they are correcting the situation.

If you are in this situation the best thing to do is to get good counsel, who will keep meeting with you until a clear path to being current on your payroll taxes is achieved.  Remember almost every other debt a business owner will run into is less signficant and the final outcome of collections is less vicious than the reach of the IRS when it comes to payroll taxes.  Call me for help!

Todd Courser  1-800-490-0667

I am now in a lawsuit – what can I expect in the course of litigation?

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

One of the most stress filled moments of a person’s life is when they are involved in a lawsuit. There will generally be many steps before and after the lawsuit but the main steps are listed here for an overall understanding.  First, if you are suing someone you will begin the lawsuit by filing a summons and complaint against that person and “serving” them with a copy of the documents. Second, the person being sued will have to answer the complaint. If the person fails to answer the complaint, then the most likely scenario is that a default judgement will be entered against the person being sued. In the vast majority of my cases either the parties settle their dispute by this point or the default ends the suit with the judgment.

In cases where there is a summons and complaint and the person being sued answers the complaint, then there is a hearing set up and in many cases settlement happens at this hearing or shortly after. If the parties are unable to come to an agreement, then the hearing is usually used to set dates for trial progression or another hearing is set for more time to continue negotiating towards settlement.

If the hearing is conducted as a pretrial then dates will be set on the court calendar, allowing for discovery of issues, for motions (added legal steps) to be taken, and then for a trial date to be set.  In most trials,  the judge decides the outcome and this is called a bench trial, but in some cases, a jury trial is chosen. In small cases, the expected time to go through the entire process can be 4-9 months or longer. In larger cases, with more issues in question, cases can go on for years.

If you have been served with a summons and complaint or if you have an issue that might need to be litigated, please seek counsel that is well versed in litigating cases.  We can help!

Todd Courser   1-800-490-0667