H&R Block Agrees To Making The Tax Code Less Complicated

H&R Block At Home is profitable because most people don’t like to do their own taxes.  So, it seems weird that the company is all in favor of making the 74,000 page tax code easier to understand.  The CEO of H&R Block, Bill Cobb, supports deliberations that are underway to make this happen.

He spoke on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” and said that there are things that can be done to simply the code.  But he also said that it doesn’t make sense splitting up the code just because it is too hard to understand.

H&R Block

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But on the other hand, the Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, says that he wants to make H&R Block go out of business by streamlining the whole tax system via neutral revenue options.

But Cobb thinks that before going for something that drastic, the government has to determine how social programs are going to be administered.  He says that every social program under the sun is linked to the tax code.  He claims that the rates are not the problem.  Refundable credits are what make the code so complicated.

Cobb stressed that the amount of money taxpayers receive from the government is all that matters for a majority of the population.  The average refund in the United States is around $3,000, and this is very important to the average person.  It is considered a reward for working so hard during the year.  Cobb says that there are two busy seasons in the United States.  The first is during April when everyone is scrambling to file their taxes.  The second is during the end of January when the refund period begins.

Recently Cobb rung the opening bell on Wall Street.  He was also there to get exposure for H&R Block’s new service called Block Advisers.  This branch of the company deals with tax prep for small companies, difficult tax returns and financial planning.

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2015 Tax Advice New Filers Can Use From Intuit

When I filed my taxes for the first time, I didn’t have Turbotax or any other program to help me out. It was a very intimidating and scary process for me and I was constantly worried about messing up and having to pay a penalty to IRS. Filing for taxes is an easy job if you are aware of what you need to do. The following are some of the tips that you can use as a first time tax filer:

Logo of the Internal Revenue Service

Logo of the Internal Revenue Service (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first thing that you need to do is to organize all your files and documents. Have all these stored in one place, be it the forms, the receipts or other kinds of relevant documentation. By doing this you will be able to save a lot of time and also make the whole process more easy and convenient. Next, you should also check whether you qualify to file for free or not. If you have a W-2 along with very little bank interest then you would qualify.

Also, do not forget about filing for your state taxes with TurboTax 2015. When you have a tax filing program like TurboTax, you would be able to file for state taxes and federal taxes easily because all your information can be transferred automatically. Another top tip to keep in mind would be to file online using TurboTax 2015 instead of doing the process manually because the latter is a time consuming process and the scope for errors is also higher.

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Government Report Shows Former IRS Employees Still Accessing Taxpayer Data

According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, the IRS continues to leave its vast computer systems without proper security. Private taxpayer data is vulnerable to hackers, fraudsters and former IRS employees. This GAO report tells of significant deficiencies relating to the financial reporting systems. Millions of Americans are rightfully concerned because they are required by law to file tax returns but worry about fraud.

The IRS must continue making improvements to taxpayer financial data controls. This news comes in the wake of a very unpleasant six weeks for taxpayers and the IRS. Taxpayers have entered this filing season with greater fears over fraud. TurboTax recently announced it was suspending tax return filings due to fraud.

Taxpayer distress became more severe when some learned that their tax return had been filed by someone else who received their refund. At first, it did not involve federal taxes, only state returns. The FBI began investigating returns filed using TurboTax. Those interviewed about this spoke of data being compromised and returns may have been filed on the basis of 2013 returns.

The report tells of easily compromised IRS passwords and outdated software having improper security functions. Worse yet, at times the IRS fails to delete access for employees who quit or have been fired.

David M. Walker (U.S. Comptroller General)

David M. Walker (U.S. Comptroller General) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Additionally, former employees of the IRS retain access to its data system when they should have been immediately cut off. A co-author of the report says that there is a plethora of taxpayer data that remains at risk for identity theft.

Taxpayers have no confidence in the credibility and security of the IRS especially after the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration stated that 1.6 million taxpayers had been affected by identity theft early in 2014. It was a fraction of that four years before. Electronic filing likely plays a role.

The GAO warns that gaining access to IRS files does not require much sophistication on the part of hackers. At the same time, it reports that some security weaknesses have been addressed, but more improvements must be made.

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TurboTax 2015 Responds Well To Issues

We are currently in the midst of the tax season, and many tax filers already received their refunds. These individuals should feel happy and lucky because there is an issue currently afflicting the tax industry. Based on recent reports from the TheBestCompanys.com, some individuals are not receiving receiving the refunds they were expecting. Apparently, identity thieves found a way to claim and steal from these unsuspecting individuals.

Since the start of the year, internet fraud on the Turbotax 2015 free platform increased by approximately 37%. This percentage includes suspicious filers and filers who had their information compromised by hackers. TurboTax 2013 creators were not aware of this glitch for quite some time. When they discovered the issue, they started making changes to their interface, and now these issues are becoming less frequent.

The chief tax officer of Intuit, David Williams, believes internet fraud will be an ongoing problem. If they correct one problem, he expects the problem to pop up somewhere else. Intuit plans to do their part by placing safeguards and deterrents in vulnerable spots within the interface.

This will help out the tax filer tremendously, but the tax filer needs to do their part as well. Intuit encourages tax filers to guard their information when they are filing a tax return. This will put another barrier in front of any hackers and thieves.

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Maximize Your Refund With TurboTax 2015

If you are using TurboTax 2015 to file your 2014 taxes, the software can save you a lot of time by transferring last year’s information into the current year, explains Frank Ellis, a tax specialist.

In an article in the Traverse City based Tax Preparation Examiner, Ellis explains in detail how users can simply use last year’s information and then submit their return to the IRS with the up to date information.

Users are also able to use TurboTax 2015 to get the largest possible refund, and Ellis tells you how to do this by explaining how to access many of last year’s details and entries that have been saved on your computer.

This saves time as you do not need to retype much of your information, and also ensures more accuracy. The convenience of TurboTax 2015 doesn’t stop there; the software also allows you to transfer important and relevant information from other files.

The fact that TurboTax 2015 looks for important documents and enters financial details automatically is one of the biggest appeals for most users filing their 2014 taxes. The software is designed to make the filing process as easy as possible, and to maximize the refund amount.

Ellis also points out the security and safety of the software – two things important to anyone dealing with personal financial information. Also pointed out are those all important little known deductions and credits, the many innovative tools of TurboTax 2015, and any important deadlines for filing.

Using a tax refund calculator is highly recommended during the entire process, to give users a fairly accurate idea of how much refund to expect. The entire tax filing process is easier and goes much more smoothly when you are able to make any necessary adjustments, based on your estimates of any tax refund.

Many users like to have some idea of their refund amount during the filing process, and the tax refund calculator allows you to be informed every step of the way. You can prepare more efficiently for the financial year when you are able to estimate the amount of your tax refund in advance.

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Sales Tax Rules And Prepared Foods

Sales taxes are a fact of American life, and they are really noticeable in the area of fast food.

For instance, when a hungry consumer drives through his favorite drive-thru, he should expect to pay the price of his burger plus additional coinage to cover sales tax. Most states, counties and municipalities feed their coffers by charging a local sales tax on most every kind of purchase imaginable. Local law regulates what purchases are taxable and at what rate.

English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pi...

English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pizza Margherita taken by Valerio Capello on September 6th 2005 in a pizzeria (“I Decumani”) located on the Via dei Tribunali in Naples. Italiano: Fotografia di un’autentica pizza Margherita napoletana scattata da Valerio Capello il 6 settembre 2005 nella pizzeria “I Decumani” situata in Via dei Tribunali a Napoli. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Application of sales tax regulations is not always straightforward, though. “Prepared food” sales tax rules are different from sales tax rules on single items such as milk or bread. For example, a take and bake pizza at your local eatery incurs sales tax, but some people, and states, are confused and upset about that. Is a cold pizza that the customer has to take home and bake actually prepared food?

Amazingly, the states of South Dakota and Arkansas wrote and published rules which say that pizza which is put together in a store and the baked at home is actually a prepared, and taxable, food because the restaurant had to assemble two or more ingredients to put the product together.

The Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Governing Board says a take and bake pizza is prepared food and therefore, taxable. The state of Wisconsin has a flow chart that its Department of Revenue employs to apply sales tax regulations to pizza and everything else.

Recently, an amendment to the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement says all states can make their own decisions on which pizzas are subject to sales tax. Yes, even pizza can get complicated when it comes to the tax man.

H&R Block specializes in navigating the muddiest of tax waters for the American taxpayer.

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