Monday, December 24, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

IRS Working Quickly to Implement AMT Patch

The IRS announced yesterday that it will immediately begin taking the necessary steps for its income-tax processing systems to prepare for the upcoming tax season following final passage of the Alternative Minimum Tax "patch" Wednesday by the House of Representatives.

"Our people will do everything they can to quickly update our systems for this major change and make this filing season as smooth as possible for everyone," said Linda Stiff, IRS Acting Commissioner. "Our goal is to process tax returns accurately and to issue refunds to taxpayers as quickly as possible."

The IRS will post more information on the AMT patch on their website as it becomes available.


Wednesday afternoon my web team published an all-new design for my law firm’s website, I’m really proud of this new layout which features numerous modern design elements to give the site a really fresh Web 2.0 feel. Every single page looks fresh and inviting to people looking for help with IRS tax debt relief. My law firm takes great strides to stay current with the latest technology advancements and we feel like this new website truly reflects our efforts. Check out the new design by going to

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Where the Candidates Stand On the Issues

Primary elections are just a few weeks away in some states, but the candidates’ views on tax issues are not really getting decent media coverage. To help voters make informed choices I constructed the following chart detailing where the top 10 presidential candidates stand on 20 important tax issues. Click the thumbnail below to view the full image.

IRS Receives Passing Marks for 2006 Filing Season

According to WebCPA, the IRS improved last filing season, but still has an opportunity to further improve for this upcoming tax season. According to their report, the accuracy of answers provided by the IRS to questions from callers was at about 90 percent and the performance of the IRS's web site also improved. However, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that the IRS should attempt to reduce the number of paper tax returns it processes by mandating e-filing.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hawaii economy stuck in fairly decent rut

According to the Honolulu Observer, Hawaii has been suffering slow economic growth, but it has not altogether stopped their ten-year economic expansion. A Weakening US economy and high-energy prices have contributed to the relatively slow growth over the past year.

"We do not yet see an end to the current long economic expansion," said UH economist Carl Bonham. The outlook "is a little bit weaker, but not much. The tone of the report is a little more pessimistic."

Tourism and construction are expected to remain stable next year, which could translate into continued income and job growth and low unemployment, though at less favorable levels than in recent years. So far, Hawaii is expected to sidestep a US real estate slowdown that has hobbled home prices in many Mainland markets.

Slower growth also means Honolulu residents are expecting to get relief from rising prices. Honolulu's inflation rate is expected to drop from 5 percent this year to 3.8 percent next year. Honolulu's inflation rate hit a 15-year high of 5.8 percent in 2006 because of booming real estate prices.

IRS Expands Their Fast Track Settlement Program

Recently the IRS announced that it would be expanding the number of test areas that can take advantage of the Fast Settlement program for taxpayers under examination by the Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Division. The program will run until September 5, 2008 in the following areas: Philadelphia, central New Jersey, San Diego, Laguna Nigel, California, and Riverside, California. The program will continue in the three original test cities (Chicago, Houston and St. Paul.)

According to the IRS’ news release, “the program was designed to expedite IRS case resolution. It allows taxpayers under examination with issues in dispute work with IRS representatives from SB/SE’s examination unit and the Appeals Division to resolve those issues. Fast Track employs various techniques to facilitate case resolution. A taxpayer or IRS examination representative may initiate the Fast Track process after an issue is fully developed, and preferably before a 30-day letter is issued. The Fast Track process is designed to be completed within 60 days of acceptance of the application.”

However, taxpayers retain the right to have their issue addressed through the traditional appeals process.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Land Rover LRX Revealed!

Check out the image below of the new Land Rover LRX. This car is being highly anticipated, and is expected to be unveiled at next month’s Detroit auto show. It has long doors, a sloping roof, 20" wheels, and a 2+2-cabin configuration. For more pictures check out AutoBlog.

Outsourcing Tax Return Preparation to India

TaxGuru has made an interesting post on an Indian firm that emailed him in regards to their American income tax preparation services. According to the email the Indian firm was hired by over 35 different American CPA firms last year and prepared over 3,500 tax returns. They charge a very low rate per return allowing a healthy profit to be made by the large CPA firms outsourcing these duties. This company is just one out of dozens that are already offering Indian outsourcing services. According to The CPA Journal some estimate that nearly 200,000 American income tax returns were prepared in India in 2004. Outsourcing these services allows the large CPA firms to lower their hourly expenses by over 50%, while sustaining their high fees.

As this practice becomes increasingly common, I recommend that everyone be cautious when dealing with a firm that outsources to any country. Although the individuals might be trained and might be qualified to prepare taxes, I would still be cautious. Having 100% accurate data in your income tax returns is extremely important. If something is wrong in your return it could result in massive IRS problems, including audits and even owed back taxes. With so much at steak you want to make sure you seek tax help from a reputable company, and outsourcing services to low-paid Indian workers does not exactly scream quality in my eyes. I suggest you ask any firm your considering point-blank if they outsource and where they outsource income tax preparation. If their response is no then you have nothing to worry about. However, if they do outsource I would be very cautious about using their services unless they provide some sort of guarantee.

Friday, December 07, 2007

New 2010 Mustang Spotted

Spies over at spotted Ford performing road tests of what look like the 2010 Ford Mustang. Many of the features seen on the new car reflect the Giugiaro concept car Ford introduced at last year’s LA Auto Show. These features include front and rear fascia and major upgrades to both the interior and exterior. Check out the picture below, or you can view the whole set of pictures at

IRS Announces OPR Settlement

Earlier in the week, the IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) announced a settlement agreement with three attorneys in connection to a $31 million municipal bond issuance involving River Park Square in Spokane, Washington in 1998 handled by the former firm of Preston, Gates & Ellis LLP. However, the IRS and the attorneys both agreed that the settlement does not constitute any admission of wrongdoing. According to the IRS, the ORP is pleased to have reached this agreement because it demonstrates their commitment to ensuring bond lawyers comply with Circular 230 when involved in tax-exempt municipal bond issuances.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fake A Million Dollar Bill? Go Directly to Jail

Last week, Alexander D. Smith, an Augusta, Georgia resident, was charged with disorderly conduct and two counts of forgery after he walked into a bank and attempted to open a new account by depositing a fake $1 million bill. Not only did he try to deposit the bill, but when the teller refused to accept the fake bill Alexander began cursing at the bank employees. Within a few minutes the police arrived and took the man into custody. Upon investigation the police discovered that Alexander had previously purchased cigarettes from a nearby grocery store using a stolen check, thus the second forgery charge.

It amazes me that some one would be dumb enough to even consider using a fake million-dollar bill. But, at least this time he was trying to deposit the money, unlike the woman a few months ago who tried to break a million dollar bill at Wal-Mart.

The picture below, supplied by the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, shows what the fake $1 million bill looked like.

IRS and States Team Up on Payroll Taxes

According to the Wall Street Journal online, the Internal Revenue Service is joining forces with more than twenty-five states in an intensified effort to crack down on employment related tax violations. Among the key issues is whether a worker should be classified as an employee or an "independent contractor" - a difference with significant tax implications for both businesses and workers. You can check out the full article here.

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