When a business or individual is hit by a natural disaster such as a flood, storm, or tornado filing or paying taxes becomes a low priority. For this reason, the IRS offers natural disaster tax breaks in the form of extensions so that businesses and individuals living in federal disaster areas can get back on their feet before dealing with their tax issues.
The IRS offers extensions in both filing of returns and paying taxes 2010 due to those that have homes or businesses in areas declared a disaster area by the federal government. This also applies to businesses who have financial records stored in a disaster area, regardless of whether their business is located in the area impacted by the disaster. In these situations late payment penalties are also often times waived.
In some cases, the government will allow you to amend your previous year’s taxes to file a casualty loss, although the disaster is in the current year. This enables the taxpayer to receive their refund, which they are in desperate need of, quicker.
In most cases, the extensions are made available automatically such as in North Carolina, which was given tax extensions until June 30 of this year when their state was declared a disaster area due to tornados and flooding on April 16. Parts of Illinois also received an automatic extension date of June 30 when they experienced flooding and storms.
If you are unsure what is available to you, it is in your best interest to contact the IRS. They do have a disaster line of 866-562-5227 for your help. You will also find resources at www.irs.gov.
While most people are focused on their 2010 tax returns, there is tension in the market. An antitrust lawsuit was filed on Monday by the U.S. Department of Justice in a move to prevent the acquisition of TaxACT by H&R Block. Talk of the $287.5 million deal has led to fears of increased costs and an obstruction of improvements in the market without a third major player to drive competition.
These fears surfaced after H&R Block (Kansas City) revealed its intention in October to merge TaxACT and H&R Block AT Home, creating a division that would be headed by the team from TaxACT.
The Antitrust Division’s assistant attorney general, Christine Varney, issued a release charging that the deal would result in millions of citizens being charged higher costs for digital tax products classified as “do-it-yourself”. Varney further argued that the merger would wipe out advancements made in areas such as free federal filling which is currently a strong suit for TaxACT.
Requests for a response to Varney’s assertions were not immediately met by H&R Block .
In his contribution to the debate, former H&R block CEO Alan Bennett argued that H&R Block would continue offering free filing for most basic federal returns. He further added that on the one hand this was good since the model is cost effective, efficient and useful however, the approach is ultimately geared towards getting users of the simple free software to pay for more complex filing.
Citing that 90 percent of the tax market is currently controlled by H&R Block, TaxACT and Intuit, Varney stressed that permitting the merger would phase out the aggressive competition between the two companies leaving Intuit as the only other large competitor.
Bootlegged Tax Software A Bust
Cincinnati resident Brandon C. Davis recently plead guilty to selling over one million dollars worth of illegally copied tax and finance software using a popular online auction website. The majority of the software sold belongs to software giants Quicken and TurboTax.
U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart, who oversees Ohio’s Southern District worked with a team of agents to catch Davis in the act. The team included IRS Criminal Investigations Special Agent Tracey E. Warren, US Postal Service Inspector Dugan Wong, and FBI Special Agent Mark Batts, along with others. The team announced that Davis had entered a guilty plea in front of Judge Weber, Seionor US District Judge. The plea included counts of mail fraud, two charges of filing a false tax returns, and one count of copyright infringement.
Court documents show that Davis bought the software either though online downloads or on CD, along with the label and packaging material that is protected by copyrights held by Quicken and TurboTax. Davis then copied the software numerous times without approval from either company and created fake packaging and labels for the CDs.
Davis then sold the software on auction site eBay, and mailed out the counterfeit product after receiving payment. The software was advertised as being genuine, although Davis sold the product for far less than it’s suggested retail value.
Charges for filing a false tax return were a result of Davis’ failure to report the income from sales of the counterfeit in tax years 2008 and 2009.
The Obama administration has been pushing hard recently to receive the American public’s approval of the bailouts given to America’s top automakers. Started by the preceding White house administration, these bailouts have proved to be a failure in the current administration’s policy where taxpayers once again have to pick up the tab. Taxes 2010 accounted for a majority of what the last two White House administrations paid the top automakers in Detroit to increase jobs and spurt economic growth.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently claimed that the bailout led to an increase in jobs in the city of Detroit. When analyzing the unemployment figures for Detroit, the numbers show that since Obama took office the unemployment rate in Detroit has only fallen by one percentage point. This shows that Geithner’s claims sound a bit deceptive. When looking at the number of jobs in metropolitan Detroit, there were 713,390 jobs in Detroit when President Obama took office. As of April 2011, the figures state that there are 695,200 Detroit jobs. This is a decrease in jobs by 18,000. The results are the same for the wider Detroit area. There were 1.7822 million jobs in 2009. As of April 2011 there are 1.7398 million jobs in Detroit. This is a decrease of 43,000 jobs. If a comparison is done for statewide jobs then the results also show a decline. Geithner previously claimed that TurboTax lead to his mis-filing of tax credits, therefore pundits are make a similar joke of this accounting again.
What caused the jobless rate to fall so sharply? To reflect the nationwide trend, people have been removed from the Detroit workforce in such large numbers while at the same time the number of real jobs has decreased as well. Geithner deceptively cast the auto bailout in terms of jobs returning to Detroit. The actual numbers reflect differently in Detroit as well as the rest of the USA.
When it comes to choosing which software to use for your taxes this year, many options are available. For those that wish to choose the best software, it does not take a mountain of research to discover that TurboTax reigns as the top dog in the world of tax software, every year.
TurboTax has received accolades from many publications including The New York Times, PC Magazine, as well as CNET. They all hail TurboTax products for being the easiest to use, most effective, and simplest taxes software package to date.
TurboTax triumphs over other tax software with its easily navigate able interface. The ability to effortlessly import older data and tax information is also a huge reason to pick TurboTax over any other product.
Using TurboTax is possible for all levels of users, no matter how simple or how complicated your returns might be. TurboTax takes you step by step through every piece of information that must be filled out, ensuring an accurate return and the biggest benefit to its user.
Using software to do your own taxes is less difficult that most would believe and can save hundreds each year that would normally be spent to get a professional to process your taxes. The IRS states that nearly 19 million returns are done online this year so far, which is a rise of nearly 6 percent when compared to the year before it. When it is this simple to prepare your taxes yourself, the only thing stopping you from saving money is not choosing TurboTax software.
If you own an iPad and still need to file your taxes here is some great news. TurboTax announced today that we now have a new app for the iPad- combining the unmatched simplicity and precision of TurboTax with the ease and portability of the iPad. It is the first and only app that allows taxpayers to prepare and e-file their state and federal tax returns with Turbo-tax using only an iPad. Now you can tap your way to a refund.
The app is optimized for iPad and allows users choose whether to work in portrait or landscape and they have the freedom to prepare their taxes (for 2010) anywhere and at anytime they are on the go.
Turbo-tax on iPad, like all TurboTax products guides people gradually through their returns to their maximum refund. Their returns can also be e-filed from the iPad and can receive their refund with direct deposit, in as little as eight days.
The mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple App store for free to try it out and can be purchased when they are finished. TurboTax Deluxe cost $29.99 and is where customers begin and depending on their tax situation, they can select Turbo-tax Home & Business or TurboTax Premier for an added cost. Preparation of state tax is an additional cost. All prices include e-filing at no extra charge.
Once they have filed their taxes, taxpayers can verify they’re federal tax refund status based on IRS projections with the MyTaxRefund iPad app for free, experience iPad TurboTax tax.