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.

A Basic Overview Of The Turbo Tax Advertisement Controversy

The Turbo Tax 2013 Advertisement Controversy

The Turbo Tax 2013 advertisements were undoubtedly memorable and those who have seen them will not soon forget them. It is also impossible to deny that these advertisements were more aggressive in than previous advertisements aired by the company. Despite the fact that TurboTax is one of the most popular tax programs on the market, the company is definitely trying as hard as it can to put down the competition.

Why Were the Ads Controversial in the First Place?

The Turbo Tax 2013 ads emphasized the fact that many tax preparation companies hire trained professionals who do not work as accountants year round. The ads clearly displayed various people who prepared taxes during the tax season later going back to their regular jobs. More specifically, one individual in question worked as a sales clerk while another worked as a plumber.

The ads did not mention H&R Block by name, except to note at the very end that TurboTax handles more tax clients than H&R Block and all other similar companies combined. However, the fact that Turbo Tax was trying to undercut H&R Block and other, similar companies was unmistakable.

The Case

H&R Block retaliated with a swift, harshly worded statement against Turbo Tax before taking the tax software giant to court. In court, H&R Block made a few valid arguments against Intuit, the company that owns and runs Turbo Tax. H&R Block noted that the company puts down those individuals who do not work as accountants on a year round basis, without noting the fact that these individuals do have the training required to properly prepare tax forms. The ads also did not note the fact that many of H&R Block’s employees have extensive experience. Furthermore, the lawyers also note that the ad portrays an unflattering picture of those who work in sales or plumbing.

While the court noted that these arguments were valid, in the end TurboTax won the case and is able to play the ads when and where desired. The courts found that the ads did not breach any laws and, more specifically, did not cause illegal harm to H&R Block. Given this ruling, it is not unrealistic to expect more, similar Turbo Tax ads next tax year.

While Turbo Tax has won the first round of this battle, this is u

Boxing Generic copy
Boxing Generic copy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

nlikely to be the last battle between these two giants. H&R Block does tax preparation in person while TurboTax is a software program that a person can use on his or her own. However, both these companies are vying for the same clients and so are likely to continue attacking each other and other, similar businesses in an effort to reduce the competition and get a larger share of customers.

Free Tax Filing For Amended Returns

Free Tax Filing For 2010 Amended Return

Even with the best of intentions, mistakes happen. Sometimes they can be costly. But in the case of amended tax returns, fixing them could be free.

There are any number of reasons why people may want to amend their federal tax return. In addition to correcting simple errors, they may want to take advantage of a new credit, such as the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit. Or they may have forgotten that lottery win back in July 2010.

IRS Form 1040X, 2005 revision
IRS Form 1040X, 2005 revision (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever the cause, free tax filing for 2010 amended return is as simple as filling out Form 1040X available from the IRS website or from some online tax preparation applications like FreeTaxUSA or TurboTax. The IRS, however, is not set up to accept electronic filings for Form 1040X, so they will have to be printed out and mailed.

Be sure to have your completed 2010 tax return ready to include any necessary information. In offering free tax filing for a 2010 amended return, many online tax services can provide this information quickly and easily.

Then just fill in the second section of Form 1040X identifying what has changed. Be sure and download any additional credit IRS forms needed to explain your claim. Explain why you are amending the return, print the form and send it to the appropriate IRS address. Be sure and include any documentation to support your claim, such as a bill of sale, copy of a deed and such.

If you have used online services such as TurboTax or H&R Block, check for free services offered in filing for a 2010 amended return. Other services, such as filing for state amended returns, may require a fee.