A Simple Solution For Reducing Taxpayer Fraud

Some of the best ideas are the most simple. This dawned on me while chatting with a fellow tax pro at a recent networking event (okay, it was a cocktail party, same thing). The two of us spent a few minutes talking about tax fraud and the child tax credit (yes, that’s what tax professionals talk about at events like these). That’s when I told him my great idea. It’s crazy simple. And I think it would significantly reduce instances of modern tax fraud. I get that we’re always going to have under-reporting and over-deducting. But tax fraudsters today have …

The Great Working Mom Debate Isn’t About Kids, It’s About Money

I was finishing up with a colleague at the office when I saw my cell phone light up. It wasn’t a number that I recognized so I let it go. The office phone rang a few minutes later and my assistant advised that it was the school. Of course it was. It was a dental emergency. I scrambled a little bit to get my things and headed out. I’m at the dentist now with my MacBook Air propped up on my lap, still working. I’m lucky in that I have a job that allows me to dash away for last …

IRS Offers More Info on Veteran Tax Credit

Remember the newly expanded tax credit for hiring veterans that was passed last year? The IRS has finally issued more guidance on the credit. The Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Work Opportunity Tax Credits was part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which was announced on Veterans Day last year. The credit give employers a tax credit for hiring a qualified veteran. A qualified veteran is defined as a veteran with aggregate periods of unemployment of at least 4 weeks but less than 6 months in the year prior to being hired or with aggregate periods of …

IRS Offers Repayment Info for First Time Homebuyers

One of the frustrating things from a tax professional’s point of view about the magically shifting world of tax credits and deductions on the whims of Congress is that it confuses taxpayers. For 2011, tops on the list of things taxpayers can’t understand is the disappearance of the Making Work Pay Credit. But second? Repayment of the first time homebuyer’s credit. In case you’ve forgotten all about it, let me quickly refresh your memory. As part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) in order to make the realtor lobby happy jump start the economy, Congress passed …

Veterans Day Tax Bill Moves Forward

When I was in high school, the coolest grown-up that I knew enlisted in the service. My older brother, Rob (okay, so maybe my circle of cool grown-ups was somewhat limited), joined the Navy. He drove me back to school shortly after the announcement, somehow managing to get lost between our tiny town and Durham, NC – or perhaps it was all a ruse to try and make me a Tarheel fan – prompting my mother to joke that she expected a submarine to pop up in the pond behind our house one day with Rob asking, “Hey, Mom, which …

New Jersey Says No To Tax Credit for “Jersey Shore”

As it turns out, the New Jersey tax credit wasn’t a “shore” thing after all (I know, it was a terrible pun but I couldn’t help it). New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has decided against a $420,000 tax credit for the hit MTV show, Jersey Shore, taking his veto pen to the credit after a call from the state Senate and taxpayers in the state. Christie’s office had previously signaled that they would not take any action related to the tax credit since the show’s application was part of a pre-approved process under the Corzine administration. However, Christie – …

Back to School: Education Tax Credits

Education tax credits can help offset the costs of paying for your education or costs you pay for an eligible student who is your spouse or a dependent you claim on your tax return. For 2011, the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit are available to qualified taxpayers who pay expenses for eligible students. Credits are great because they are dollar for dollar reductions in your taxes due as opposed to deductions which merely reduce your income subject to tax. The American Opportunity Credit isn’t so much new for 2009 through 2012 as it is the juiced up …

Here’s the Situation: Call to Block “Jersey Shore” Tax Credit

When you live in Philadelphia, you have to make fun of New Jersey. I think it’s in the City charter or something. And as much as I love Jon Stewart, Springsteen, fresh blueberries and the oh-so-civilized liquor laws, I still can’t help but poke fun at state whose residents identify themselves by exit numbers and whose sports teams won’t even own up to being there (yes, I’m talking to you, NY Giants and NY Jets). But even those things pale in comparison to New Jersey’s biggest and easiest target to skewer: the hit MTV show, Jersey Shore. The show has …

Mmm… Obama’s Plan Is So “Job Creating”

President Obama will send his new jobs creation plan to Congress later today. He’s going to pitch it first in the Rose Garden surrounded by the kinds of folks that make for good press (vets and teachers, for example) and then send it to Congress for consideration. It’s not going to be an easy road. You might recall that Obama already touted the jobs plan, tentatively referred to as the American Jobs Act (until Congress gets their hands on it), in his speech on Thursday. In case you didn’t see the speech live, you can read the full text is …

Ten Tips For Claiming Summer Camp Expenses On Your Taxes

If your household is anything like mine, you’re in full summer camp mode right now…  With school out, summer becomes a whirlwind of vacations and summer camp – especially for working parents who depend on summer camp as child care. Fortunately, expenses associated with summer camp may result in a tax break in the form of the child care credit so long as they are work-related. There are, however, some rules and restrictions (as if you expected any different). Follows are ten tips for sorting out summer camp expenses: Overnight camp is fun for the parents but doesn’t qualify for …