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Despite my tongue-in-cheek title, there are some major consequences of the country going over the so called fiscal cliff. With just one week left for a deal to come together to avert a series of widespread spending cuts and tax increases, the latest news is that a deal appears to be unlikely. Your Paycheck The average household will see an increase of $3,500 in their taxes. Payroll taxes will also go up by 2% (reverting back from a temporary reduction intended to stimulate the economy). The full effect of this will not likely be seen until a few weeks into... Read more →


Foreclosures, Short Sales, And Loan Modifications To Trigger Millions In New Taxes

There is a very dark cloud on the horizon that will be devastating to those facing foreclosure or even a short sale or loan modification. In 2007 Congress passed into law 'The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act' which provided forgiveness for the taxes that would normally be owed when a home is foreclosed, short saled, or a loan is modified. This protections of this law disappear on January 1, 2013 leaving millions of homeowners in a very precarious situation. From the IRS website - "If you owe a debt to someone and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled... Read more →


How Identity Thieves Can Steal Your Tax Refund

Last April more than 400 Palm Beach Florida employees (mostly police officers and firefighters) had a very unpleasant surprise at tax time. When each attempted to file they were informed that the IRS had already processed their tax returns. All that an identity thief needs is your name, date of birth, and Social Security number, and a tax return can be filed and your refund stolen. The problem has become so prevalent that the IRS has set up a special phone number for victims to call. The scary part about this is that once your personal information has been comprised... Read more →


If you watch cable news, you have undoubtedly seen the ads promoting firms that offer to settle your IRS debt at huge discounts. The nation’s largest tax resolution firm, Tax Masters, is now being sued by the states of Texas and Minnesota for deceptive practices. In the below video, ABC’s Nightline does a great job of really exposing some serious issues with this company. Is It Possible To Get A Payment Plan With the IRS? I think Brian Ross does a great job and is one of my favorite investigative reporters. Unfortunately, as is almost always the case with these... Read more →


The Bottom Line On Taxes For 2011

Although this story is still developing as I write this article, it appears likely that tax legislation will pass before year-end extending the so-called Bush Tax Cuts. The $858 billion legislation will also bring back the estate tax. Estate Tax The estate tax is returning but will offer a generous exemption. It is expected to exclude the first $5 million for single individuals and $10 million for those that are married. These generous exemptions mean that most Americans won't owe any estate tax upon their death. Those with estates larger than $5 million ($10 million for married couples) would be... Read more →


Tax Advice: Waiting For Your Refund? Need An Extension Of Time To File?

The end of tax season is upon us; at least for most Americans. Others are still pulling together those last minute receipts and trying to make the April 15th filing deadline. Today, I want to address some of the questions we have been receiving at Christian Money as the filing deadline draws near. 1. How Can I Find Out The Status Of My Tax Refund? The IRS has set up a special web page for taxpayers to track the status of their refund. The service is aptly called, Where’s My Refund. The following information from your tax return will be... Read more →


The 7 Questions Everyone Asks During Tax Season

Being a financial guy, I regularly hear from my friends and acquaintances each year about their preferred method of filing their tax return. Most people still utilize the services of a tax preparer and do not brave the completion of a tax return on their own. I can certainly understand that choice, especially with the complex nature of our tax code. Today, I will address some of the most frequent questions that I am asked during tax season. 1. Should You Consider Preparing Your Own Tax Return? If you have a fairly simple tax situation and basic computer skills, you... Read more →


7 End Of Year Tax Saving Strategies

While most of us are preoccupied with the holiday season, but the tax year is coming quickly to an end. This is your last chance to maximize 2009 deductions and there are some very smart last minute moves that you still can make. Today, I will address what I consider to be the 7 most important end of year tax strategies that should be considered. 1. Defer Income Many companies provide a year end bonus which is paid out in December. If you don’t need this money, you should ask about deferring it until after January 1. This would be... Read more →


Save Hundreds, Maybe Thousands, By Challenging Your Property Taxes

They say there is always a silver lining in every dark cloud. In our current economic recession, it is getting harder and harder to find any silver linings. During the last three years, real estate prices have plummeted. What is interesting to note, is that despite much lower real estate prices many people have not seen any reduction in their real estate taxes. Today, I want to discuss the step-by-step process of determining if you are eligible for a tax cut based on the current market value of your home. Your county real estate taxes pay for essential services provided... Read more →


3 Steps To Lowering Your Real Estate Taxes

They say there is always a silver lining in every dark cloud. In our current economic recession, it is getting harder and harder to find any silver linings. During the last three years, real estate prices have plummeted. What is interesting to note, is that despite much lower real estate prices many people have not seen any reduction in their real estate taxes. Today, I want to discuss the step-by-step process of determining if you are eligible for a tax cut based on the current market value of your home. Your county real estate taxes pay for essential services provided... Read more →


Answers To The Four Big Questions About The April 15 Tax Filing Deadline

Well, believe it or not it's that time of year again. Every April 15, we face our tax filing deadline in the United States. Each year about this time, Christian Money.com is inundated with questions from last-minute filers. Today I will address those questions and provide you with some useful links if you count yourself among those who have yet to file your federal tax return. 1. How Can I Get An Extension Of Time If I Am Not Ready To File? You can obtain an automatic six-month extension of time to file your tax return by filing IRS form... Read more →


Answers To The 7 Questions Everyone Asks During Tax Season

Well. its that time again…. We all scramble to find our receipts and tax documents to get prepared to file the dreaded tax return. I remember growing up in Chicago and my parents’ tax preparer coming to our house each year. He did their tax return on our kitchen table. We were always warned that this was the night of all nights for us to be quiet and be on our best behavior. I watched the tax guy set up his adding machine and unpack his sharpened pencils. When he was finished I would hear my parents discussing with excitement... Read more →


Where Is Your Rebate?

The IRS is Reporting this week that more than five million Americans may miss out on receiving their stimulus check since they have not filed a tax return. This group is comprised of individuals that are not normally required to file a federal tax return based on income and other considerations. The message is clear; even if you are not required to file, you must do so to receive your stimulus check. To be eligible to receive a stimulus check, you must have at least $3,000 in earned income (or from Social Security/Railroad retirement benefits) and meet a few other... Read more →


Jim Addresses Several Questions Related To The Upcoming Tax Filing Deadline And the Mailing of Tax Rebate Checks.

1. What is the filing deadline this year for a federal tax return? April 15. 2. Can I get more time if I am not ready to file by April 15th? Yes, you can file IRS form 4868 and request an extension of up to six months to file your return. 3. What if I owe money and can not pay at the time I file my return? If you owe money to the IRS and can not pay that when filing your return, you should still file anyway. Additionally, you should submit IRS form 9465 (request for installment agreement).... Read more →


Jim, Should I Answer An E Mail Asking For My Tax Information?

Jim, I received an e mail that was allegedly from the IRS. The e mail contained a link that took me to a page that requested all of my personal information as well as my Social Security Number. The e mail suggest that I was due a refund, could this be legitimate? To my knowledge, the IRS does not send out refund notices via e mail. It is very likely that what you received was a “phishing” e mail (a type of e mail used to steal personal information). The first tip off would be if the link contained in... Read more →