Monday, July 20, 2009

Questions for the Tax Lady: July 20th, 2009

As I mentioned last Monday, I am now doing a weekly feature on my blog titled “Questions for the Tax Lady.” Throughout the week, I am going to gather questions from friends and followers of mine on Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook that I will answer in this new weekly feature. In addition to answered questions asked of me directly, I also found a few other users on Twitter who posted random tax questions. Check out the questions and answers from last week below, or click one of the links to ask me your own question!

Question #1: How do I get an IRS levy released?

The IRS must release your levy if ANY of the following occur:

1. You pay the tax, penalty, and interest you owe (please see Full Pay Service).

2. The IRS discovers that the time for collection (the statute of limitations) ended before the levy was served (please see Tax Account Review).

3. You provide documentation proving that releasing the levy will help the IRS collect the ta owed.

4. You have an Installment Agreement, or enter into one, unless the agreement says the levy does not have to be released (please see Installment Agreement).

5. The IRS determines that the levy is creating a significant economic hardship for you (please see Currently Not Collectible).

6. The fair market value of the property exceeds such liability and release of the levy on a part of such property could be made without hindering the collection of such liability.

For more information check out this article on

Question #2: What are the tax legalities of an eBay business?

An eBay business should be treated just like any other home business. In fact, all income you make from eBay should be reported to the IRS, regardless of the amount you make. However, just like having a garage sale, you will only need to report the money you make if it is in fact income. Therefore, if you bought a computer for $1000 and sold it on eBay (or at a garage sale) for $100 then it is not income since you did not make any profit. However, if you make and sell products on eBay for a profit, then you should report the income to the IRS.

Although many people fear that eBay is required to send the IRS data for its users, their spokesperson Chris Donlay says this is not the case. “The IRS would need to provide us with a subpoena for a specific individual before we would provide any data. I don't believe this is something that would be typically done for a routine audit, though it theoretically could happen.”

However, just because eBay is not reporting the income does not mean it is ok not include it on your tax return. Remember that the IRS now has the ability to monitor bank accounts and if you are making regular deposits then they might get suspicious. To learn more about eBay and tax issues, check out this interesting article I came across this weekend.

Question #3: When did April 15 become tax day?

According to Wikipedia:

The {tax} filing deadline for individuals was March 1 in 1913 and was changed to March 15 in 1918 and again to April 15 in 1955. Today, the filing deadline for U.S. federal income tax returns for individuals remains April 15 or, in the event that the 15th falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the first succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or holiday.

Question #4: Is Schaumburg, IL Restaurant Sales Tax the Highest in the Nation at 12%?

Yes, the 12% sales tax levied on foods and beverages in Schaumburg, IL make it the highest sales tax rate in the nation. In addition to the state’s general sales tax the small tourist town also levies a 2% Village of Schaumburg Home Rule Food & Beverage Tax.

Schaumburg’s neighbor Chicago, IL has the highest sales tax rate of any major metropolitan city at 10.25%. However, these rates are based off of a relatively low state sales tax. California has the highest statewide sales tax at 8.25%, but nearly every city and town levies additional sales taxes. In fact, in the South Gate and Pico Rivera, CA the total sales tax is also 10.25%.

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