The Weird and Wacky Things You Can Claim On Your Tax Return

Image Credit: The New York Public Library on Unsplash

This is the second in a three-part series on tax filing that looks at how business owners can maximize their tax savings. Here’s the first part.

It’s nearly the end of the tax year, and that can only mean one thing; it’s almost time to lodge your tax return.

Sure, it can be a stressful and time-consuming chore to get all your receipts together, even more so if you then choose to lodge your return yourself rather than using an accountant. Still, the chances are at the end of it, you’ll get a nice refund cheque back from the ATO to spend on your next holiday or to pay down your debt.

The key to maximising that refund is to make sure you claim all the deductions you’re entitled to. Most of those will relate to things you’ve purchased as part of your job or business. The general rule is that if a purchase is made to enable you to earn income or to operate your business, you can claim a deduction. Some of those deductions will be obvious, but some could be just a bit unusual….

Can you seriously claim a tax deduction for your pet pooch? Well, probably not. But there are circumstances where a deductible dog could be a real possibility.  If your business uses a guard dog to keep your premises secure, a dog is indeed deductible. It’s regarded as a capital asset of the business, and you can claim an immediate deduction for the whole cost using the very generous temporary full expensing tax break. Obviously, it needs to be a dog suitable for the purpose; a poodle is unlikely to cut it. The same logic applies to dogs on a farm, such as a sheepdog.

If you’re a professional performer (actor, musician, dancer, magician, circus performer, etc), there are all manner of strange deductions which you might look at claiming. Mime lessons? Absolutely. The cost of ceremonial swords? Certainly, if you’re a professional sword swallower. Acting classes, dance classes, musical instruments, magic tricks….if you make a living on stage or screen, a whole world of odd and interesting claims opens up to you.

Most offices these days have an array of pretty pictures dotted about the place, often in customer focussed spaces like reception areas and meeting rooms. Using the temporary full expensing tax break, you could be looking at an immediate tax deduction for your business for that fine canvas you’ve had your eye on. Just make sure it really is used in your business.

If the ATO finds out that the picture you claimed was in your office reception area is really hanging in your lounge room at home, your business will lose the deduction and end up paying more tax plus some interest and penalties! Again, provided they are used in a business context (perhaps as part of a communal recreation room in a factory or office), they should be deductible. If you just plan to put them in your own rumpus room at home, however, forget it!

It’s well established that you can claim a deduction for the tools you use in your trade. But depending on what your trade is, your tools could be very different to the hammers, spanners and drills usually claimed. If you work in the adult industry, you could be looking at a deduction for sex toys, lube, and “accessories”. You can only claim the business use element of course; if you use them in your personal activities, forget the tax deduction.

If you’re an exotic dancer, you could even consider a deduction for fake breasts; whilst we’re not aware of anybody making such a claim in Australia, it’s been successfully done in the USA, and there’s no reason in principle why it couldn’t be done under our law. Expect an awkward conversation with the ATO if you try it though. The key to claiming any tax deduction is to keep records such as invoices, receipts and bank statements.

If you are claiming something unusual, expect to be challenged by the ATO but if the way you earn your assessable income is aligned with the items you’ve claimed a deduction for, you should be OK, no matter how strange it is. And one final piece of advice; if in doubt about what you can claim, talk to a tax adviser at H&R Block, who’ll be able to give you specific guidance on your situation.

By: Mark Chapman

Source: The weird and wacky things you can claim on your tax return

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See various ways to save money as well as how to save on taxes. Keep more of your money! Then, prepare your current year return on eFile.com and see how well your tax planning and saving went during the year – eFileIT.

Read below for various real-life scenarios to claim a tax break you may not have thought of.

  • Pets: There are some notable expenses you may be able to deduct relating to pets or animals:
  • Moving Expenses: If you lost your job and are relocating to start a new job, these moving expenses are tax deductible if you are an active duty military member or if you are an employee who has reimbursed expenses dated before January 1, 2019 and did not claim them on a prior tax return. The expense of moving your cat, dog, bird, or other pet from your old to new home is treated the same as moving your other personal properties.
  • Guard dog: If you have a dog that watched over your business location, pet care costs may be deductible as business expenses.
  • Pest control: A cat or other animal that keeps your business free of pests may come with deductible pet care expenses.
  • Foster or shelter volunteering: fostering animals may be eligible for charitable contributions and volunteer mileage is generally tax deductible.
  • Farming: the IRS may allow you to depreciate your farm animals as they age if they are used for breeding. The IRS once allowed a Louisiana farmer to depreciate the costs for his ostrich.
  • Service animal: expenses for a service animal may be deductible as medical expenses.
  • Cat Food Expenses: Under certain conditions, the cost of cat food might be considered a legitimate deductible expense. A junkyard owner bought cat food to attract local stray cats in order to drive away mice and rats. He claimed it as a business expense and it was approved by the IRS. The average house cat will likely not qualify because the cat would need to perform some task associated with the upkeep of a business.
  • Parenting, Lifestyle, Home:
  • Clarinet Lessons: A parent was able to deduct the expenses for clarinet lessons for her child because she claimed it corrected her child’s overbite. This was based on a 1962 case where an orthodontist argued that playing the clarinet helps correct a child’s overbite, thus allowing it to be claimed as a medical expense.
  • Babysitter Expenses: A mother claimed her babysitter expenses as a deduction because she was performing charitable deeds while she was away from her child. This would mean that you pay somebody to look after your child while you perform volunteer work for a charity. In this case, the tax court rejected and overruled an IRS revenue ruling when, despite not having the money go directly to a charity, a parent used the baby sitter expense as a charitable contribution while volunteering for a charity.
  • Leftover Wedding or Party Items: donated leftover decorations, food, flowers, or attire can be donated and may be deductible.
  • Family Wages Deduction: if you run a family business, wages you pay your kids may be deductible as business expenses.
  • Legitimate Business Expenses:
  • Cost of Body Oil: For one bodybuilder, it worked. He claimed a deduction for the cost of body oil that he used in competitions. The IRS didn’t seem to have any problem with this as it was a legitimate business expense.
  • Cost of Breast Implants: In 1994, one erotic dancer’s attempt to get more tips led her to undergo breast augmentation surgery. She then proceeded to deduct the expense from her taxes. A tax court judge ruled in favor of the dancer, stating that the implants were a stage prop, and thus a legitimate work expense that can be deducted.
  • Lawn Care Expenses: These expenses might be deductible, but your house will have to be your workplace and the state of your lawn would have to have relevance to the performance of your business. In one situation, a sole proprietor successfully deducted lawn care expenses as business expenses because he met his clients in his home office.
  • Private Airplane Expenses: A couple owned and rented out a condo that was a 7 hour drive away from their primary residence. To save time and money, they bought a private airplane and were able to deduct airplane expenses, like fuel and depreciation for business use, for the property management trips to their condo. However, it turned out that the expenses increased the overall loss on the rental condo.
  • Business Trips: Any business trip viewed as “ordinary and necessary” to the course of doing business by the IRS is eligible for a travel expense deduction. In one case, the owner of a dairy took a trip to Africa to conduct research on wild animals, and successfully claimed it as a business expense because it was relevant to his business.
  • Whaling Boat Repairs: Whaling boats need repairs and, since 2004, captains of whaling boats can deduct up to $10,000 for repairs, equipment purchases, and other expenses associated with the business. However, starting a whaling business to claim a deduction is not a smart move. Whaling is banned by the United States government and only certain Native American tribes are allowed to engage in it.
  • Medical Expenses:
  • Swimming Pool Costs: If you have a medical condition that would improve with a swimming pool exercise regimen, your swimming pool expenses might qualify as a deductible medical expense. This happened in the case of an arthritis patient who was prescribed to swim regularly in order to treat his condition. He installed a swimming pool on his property and deducted the expenses from his taxes. After some investigation, the IRS approved the deduction, but if the pool were used for recreational purposes, it wouldn’t have been approved.
  • Sex-Change Operation Expenses: A man who was diagnosed with gender-identity disorder (he felt he was a woman trapped in a male body) wanted to deduct almost $22,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses for various surgeries—including hormone therapy, sexual-reassignment surgeries, and breast augmentation—in order to become a woman. The tax court decided that the hormone therapy and the sex-change operation in the amount of $14,500 was a qualified medical tax deduction. However, the expenses for the breast augmentation was not; it was deemed nondeductible cosmetic surgery by the court.
  • Medical Expenses to Quit Smoking: You might qualify to deduct expenses for smoking cessation programs, nicotine patches, stop-smoking aides, and other programs geared towards stopping smoking.
  • Costs for Getting in Shape: Weight-loss expenses may be deductible if a doctor signs off on it and claims that your life might be in danger if you don’t start exercising and lose weight. The cost for remedies that help you drop a few pounds, improve your heart rate, or reduce your cholesterol might all be deductible.

These people saved money by claiming deductions and taking advantage of tax breaks. Now, here are some more practical ways to save money on your taxes.

Strange Tax Breaks from Across the U.S. and Around the World

Find state specific tax breaks below as well as other stories from the United Sates and countries with their own tax codes.

  • States: many states have their own tax code which are often full of bizarre tax deductions and other rules.
  • In Wisconsin, cloth diapers are not subject to sales tax, but disposable diapers are.
  • In Texas, cowboy boots are exempt from the sales tax, but hiking boots are not.
  • In Ohio, a corpse in a mortuary gets makeup applied on it without getting taxed, but a living person is taxed for the makeup that gets applied in a beauty salon.
  • In South Carolina, one can get a $50 deduction if they donate a dead deer to the poor.
  • In Maryland, oyster farmers get a tax break, but those who farm other types of shellfish don’t.
  • Hawaii gives a $3,000 tax deduction to those who grow state-approved trees.
  • People who were persecuted by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 were exempt from taxes in California (learn more about the history of taxes in United States).
  • A business owner bought a racehorse and claimed it as a business expense. No, he was not in the horse-racing business; he claimed that he needed to entertain his clients and that a racehorse would do just that. The economic stimulus package allowed for a tax deduction as large as $25,000 to be claimed for buying a racehorse, but the deal expired without creating many new purchases.
  • In one case, the use of a yacht was deducted as a business expense because the owner tried to impress his customers and encourage them to do business. Maintenance and cleaning of the yacht, however, was not allowed to be deducted because the IRS code prohibits it.
  • One man who owned several properties hired his girlfriend to manage them. She looked for furniture for the houses, made sure the proper repairs were made, and managed his home. He was able to deduct $2,500 of the $9,000 he paid her as a business expense.
  • A dentist submitted fraudulent insurance claims. When the fraud was discovered, she was ordered to pay the money back as well as serve some time in jail. However, she was able to deduct her repayment to the insurance company as a business expense. That is because the repayment was done to compensate for a loss sustained by the insurance company and therefore was not considered a fine.
  • A man was arrested for drunk driving after he wrecked his car; he had waited to sober up—but obviously not for long enough. His insurance company refused to compensate him for the wrecked car because he broke the law. The driver, however, was able to deduct the cost of his car as a casualty loss because he acted reasonably. If he hadn’t waited to sober up, then it would have been gross negligence and thus nondeductible.
  • In 1981, a drug dealer from the Minneapolis area was caught in possession of large amounts of cocaine, amphetamines, and marijuana. He was arrested and later audited; the tax audit found that he owed $17,000 in taxes. The drug dealer argued that he should be able to deduct a significant amount of the back taxes as business costs incurred by running his business from his home. He was successful in getting a deduction, but still went to jail for drug possession.
  • A man working for a graphic design agency bought a pair of skis from Yamaha Snowmobiles, a company for which he was making a catalog. He used the company discount and then successfully deducted the skis as a business research expense.
  • A hair stylist successfully deducted the entire cost of her wardrobe that she wore while working with her clients as a business expense.
  • Across the world: various countries abide by their own tax code which has certain odd rules.
  • In Germany, one can deduct bribes. While the deduction is seldom used, it does exist as part of the tax code. All one has to do to report it is disclose their name and the name of the official that they bribed.
  • The United Kingdom gives tax breaks to video game companies that create “culturally British” games. The criteria for being culturally British is not very clear; the game must score a minimum of 16 out of 31 points on a test that has been designed to measure the cultural content and contribution of the game.
  • In the Netherlands, those who study and practice witchcraft can claim a tax break given out by the government. It has existed for quite some time, but in 2005 it gained the attention of the public after a judge upheld the tax break in court.
  • During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, stadiums and businesses in the immediate area surrounding them were exempt from the value added tax as well as the income tax from profits. This allowed FIFA to keep more of the money for itself. Critics did not care for this measure, however, as it deprived the government of South Africa of tax revenue associated with the World Cup matches.
  • In Italy, almost a third of all men over 30 still live at home. To encourage them to move out, the government issued a 1,000 euro tax break to those who rent their homes. However, the problem is considered to be tied to the difficult job market in Italy that prevents young men from obtaining jobs that will support their independent lifestyles. Critics say it’s unlikely that the tax break will encourage many young Italian men to move out on their own.

Related contents:

How much will tax cuts save me? Has this economic strategy worked elsewhere? Will interest rates ever return to level… Sky News

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Air Travel is Getting Worse Here are 6 Tips To Make It Less of a Headache

Thousands of flights were canceled or delayed over the Father’s Day weekend, with the chaos at airports in the U.S. and abroad pointing to a summer of discontent for travelers. Airlines, tricky to operate under the best of conditions, are now also grappling with severe personnel shortages just as passengers return in droves as the pandemic eases.

“We’re used to navigating around weather delays in the summer, but having this huge travel resurgence combined with weather and staffing issues at airports and airlines has made it a much more complicated landscape,” said Misty Belles, a travel expert and spokesperson for Virtuoso, a global network of travel advisers specializing in luxury experiences. So what can you do to minimize the frustrations? Travel pros recommend some tricks of the trade to make air travel less of a headache this summer.

Book through the airline

Booking your ticket directly through an airline can make for more effective customer service and faster rebooking if necessary. By contrast, airlines tend to be less helpful when your travel arrangements are made through online aggregators such as Expedia or Priceline.“There has never been a more important time to book directly with the airline. When you book through a third party and you have to rebook, the airline says, ‘Go to them,’” Willis Orlando, travel expert at Scott’s Cheap Flights, told CBS MoneyWatch.

“They also have less robust customer service operations than an airline does.”

Even if it can seem like takes forever to connect with an airline customer service representative, once you’re in touch they can usually resolve problems. “With online travel sites, there is an extra layer of communication and policies, and you’re not always owed the same as what you are if you booked through the airline,” Orlando added.

Catch the first flight of the day

Another rule of thumb is to always book the first departing flight of the day for a better chance of it taking off on-time, even if it’s $50 or $100 more expensive than other fares. “Take the first morning flight out,” Belles of Virtuoso said. “It’s painful getting up at 4 a.m., but those flights are less likely to get bumped as the day goes on and things get backed up.”

Plus, bad weather typically disrupt operations later in the day, she added. For extra assurance, purchase a second, fully-refundable ticket for a flight scheduled two to three hours later. If your first flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, call the airline and request a full refund — then hop on the second flight.

When arranging a backup flight, book through a different carrier and try to use airline miles or points, which go right back into your travel bank if you end up cancelling the flight. “Booking tickets with airline miles gives you the benefit of a refundable ticket without paying for one. You can get your miles credited back to your account,” said Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder of Indagare Travel, a luxury travel planning company.

Fly direct

On a recent trip, Bradley flew from New York to Venice, Italy, and then drove an hour and a half to Slovenia, as opposed to connecting through Paris or Amsterdam and flying to a regional airport located closer to her final destination. And she’s glad she did. “Other people went through Paris or Amsterdam and connected and had massive lines, huge issues with bags and worries about flights being cancelled,” she said. “They would have been much better off going to a major airport a little further away and doing that drive.”

Of course, direct flights are more expensive than routes with connections, but they reduce the odds of something going wrong that mars your long-awaited vacation.  

“Avoid connections. If there are two or three legs, you’re doubling or tripling your chances of running into a problem,” said James Ferrara, co-founder and president of InteleTravel, a network of 75,000 independent travel advisers. “The more you can connect the lower the price, so it’s not an option for everyone.” If you must use connecting flights, don’t even think about a 45 minute layover. Give yourself at least two hours, or longer.

Upgrade to be first in line

Once you’ve booked your flight, download your airline’s mobile app and enable text messages to receive alerts related to your flight. Also join the airline’s frequent-flier program. “All of those things will help you get information quicker,” Ferrara said. Consider upgrading to a premium seat if one is available. Indeed, the better your standing with the airline, the more priority you’ll be given when it comes to rebooking a canceled or significantly delayed flight.

“When seats are overbooked or flights are canceled, they award seats on new planes based upon your status on that first plane. First class, business class and passengers with higher mileage levels will be rebooked first. You’ll get a seat before the person at the back of the plane does,” Bradley said. If you work with a travel adviser, they will take care of the rebooking process for you and advocate on your behalf. And it won’t cost you anything, as their fees are paid by airlines and hotels.

Travel on a Wednesday

If you’re traveling for an event like a wedding or sports tournament, if possible plan on arriving a couple of days in advance. Building a two to three day cushion leaves room for canceled flights or other travel mishaps without it causing you to miss the main event. “Don’t count on flying and arriving the same day,” Bradley said. “Build in a buffer and you’ll get there.”

Take an extra day off of work and fly on a weekday if you can. Also avoid flying between Friday and Monday, experts say. “The most important thing right now is not to fly on weekends. This is what weekends are going to look like at least through the summer,” Ferrara said, referring to the recent chaos at airports.

Only bring carry-on

If possible, avoid checking luggage, which avoids long bag drop lines at airports. Bradley urges her clients to either carry on or ship. In addition, if your flight is canceled and you have your bag with you, you’ll be more nimble. “You can jump on a different flight, whereas if your bag is in the belly of plane, it takes longer to maneuver and get yourself on a different flight,” Bradley said. “I am huge proponent of never checking your bag.”

By:

Source: Air travel is getting worse. Here are 6 tips to make it less of a headache. – Vigour Times

Critics by

When deciding what to wear to the airport, you’ll want to keep airport security in mind. Skip the belt and chunky jewelry, wear a jacket you can easily take on or off, and opt for shoes you can slip off easily. I also always wear socks because no one wants to walk barefoot through security.vPlus, since you will likely be checking your ticket a thousand times while you’re at the airport, wear something with pockets so you can easily access your phone and passport.

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling for two weeks, a month, or a weekend. You can fit everything you need in a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. Remember, laundry exists all over the world, and when is the last time you ever wore everything you packed anyway? What you pack will vary based on where you’re going of course, but my go-to is two pairs of shoes, a couple pairs of jeans, a couple dresses, a sweater or sweatshirt, five shirts, PJs, and five pairs of socks and underwear.

Depending where you’re traveling you may need extras (like a swimsuit, scarf, rain jacket, etc), but you get the idea. When deciding what to wear to the airport, you’ll want to keep airport security in mind. Skip the belt and chunky jewelry, wear a jacket you can easily take on or off, and opt for shoes you can slip off easily. I also always wear socks because no one wants to walk barefoot through security.

Plus, since you will likely be checking your ticket a thousand times while you’re at the airport, wear something with pockets so you can easily access your phone and passport. The TSA suggests packing in layers, which works well. Put things you won’t need to touch at security or in-flight at the bottom of your personal item, and pack items you know you’ll have to access at the top. These items might include large electronics (laptop, Kindle, iPad), food, liquids, gels, and aerosols.

All airports have different procedures, and actually I’ve been through some airports that don’t even make you pull out liquids. I think it depends on their screening equipment. That being said, you can avoid any holds-ups by following the “official” rules, which say all liquids, gels, and aerosols should be 3.4 ounces or less, and they should all fit in a single, quart-sized plastic bag.There is nothing worse than getting to your seat only to find that the overhead bin space around you is full. If this happens, you’re basically suck with two unfortunate options: 1.) put your bag behind you, knowing that you’ll have to wait for everyone to deplane before you get it, or 2.) move against the flow of people boarding the plane and find a bin closer to the front of the aircraft.

I always make a game-time call as I’m boarding or I ask the welcoming flight attendant about the status of overhead bin space. If it looks full, I put my bag in a bin closer to the front of the plane on the way to my seat so it will be easy to grab as I deplane. Just make sure to remember the aisle number! If you’re worried about making a connection, there are a few things you can do to deplane and get to your connecting gate quickly. First, use the airline’s app to figure out where you’ll be landing and what gate you need to go to.

Next, let a flight attendant know you have a tight connection. You might also want to inform your seat mate so you can get up quickly. If you’re lucky, the flight team will make an announcement asking people to stay seated so passengers with tight connections can deplane. 

Qatar on a Budget: Insider Travel Tips From Qatar Tourism GlobeNewswire (Press Release)

16:32 Thu, 23 Jun
15:10 Thu, 23 Jun
01:23 Thu, 23 Jun

16:52 Wed, 22 JunCost of watching Leeds United home and away revealed as travel fares mount Leeds Live

Rising fares, staff gaps casts shadow on air travel rebound Reuters – YouTube

04:17 Sat, 18 Jun
01:13 Fri, 17 Jun

23:00 Thu, 16 Jun

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Taxes 2022: IRS Says This Year ‘Taxpayers are Getting Our Message’

An estimated 160 million tax returns are expected to be filed this year, according to the IRS, and so far, the tax season has been running smoothly.

The tax agency has processed 6.6% more returns compared with a year ago, though it has received 2.1% fewer returns so far from taxpayers.

And according to Ken Corbin, wage and investment division commissioner and chief taxpayer experience officer for the IRS, the tax agency is well on its way to improve taxpayers’ experience for the 2023 tax year.

“So far we’ve received over 91 million individual returns this year and we’ve processed 89 million returns,” Corbin told Yahoo Finance Live. “What’s great about that is that we’re seeing that more taxpayers are getting our message. We’ve seen about a 96% electronic filing rate, which is outstanding.”

Processed returns

The IRS is still grappling with an unprecedented paper backlog of millions of unprocessed returns – some dating back to last year.

As of March 31, the tax agency had 2.7 million unprocessed individual tax returns dating back to 2021 and 2.3 million unprocessed returns from the calendar year 2022. Under normal circumstances, the IRS has a backlog of 1 million unprocessed returns entering a filing season.

To reduce the chances of further delays, the IRS urged taxpayers to electronically file their returns this year. The agency has also doubled down on measures to hire and reassign workers to get through the pile of unprocessed paper returns.

The IRS also redesigned its online website IRS.gov to make it more user-friendly so taxpayers could navigate and find information easily. The tax agency also added a new individual account that allows taxpayers to keep track of their personal information and tax status.

“The pandemic has really given us an opportunity to sit back and think about the journeys of the taxpayer as they interact with the IRS,” Corbin said. “It’s an opportunity to be innovative but to also bring cohesion around how we administer the taxes… we’ve introduced new technology like voice and chat bots on our phone as well as IRS.gov. And we’ve implemented taxpayer experience days, where taxpayers can come into our offices and talk with us [on the weekend].”

File electronically

If you have yet to file your tax return this season, and want to avoid any substantial delays with your refund, you should file electronically.

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins recently told Yahoo Money that filing a paper return could delay your tax processing for 10 months or longer. This can be a real set back if you’re waiting on a refund or the remaining portion – if not the complete amount — of your Child Tax Credit.

“Number one, file electronically and use direct deposit – there are lots of options out there, including our IRS free-file program,” said Corbin.

Folks that received an advanced CTC payment last year or collected unemployment were encouraged to use the IRS.gov personal account to check how much they received in aid before filing, so their returns wouldn’t be held for a manual review, said the IRS.

Take advantage of IRS resources

The IRS has implemented a variety of programs to help individuals file their taxes as zero cost.

“More taxpayers seem to be seeking help in filing their returns, whether they are going to a tax professional or even using our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, where we offer free tax prep for taxpayers,” said Corbin.

VITA programs are run each year by IRS-certified volunteers to ensure lower-income households can get the tax preparation and services they need to file accurate tax returns and get their refund. VITA resources can also help non-filers claim tax credits they may be eligible for, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and any stimulus checks they may not have received.

Still, the IRS recognizes that there is still work to be done to avoid the jammed paper backlogs it is currently contending with.

“We have to be sensitive to those taxpayers whose returns have not been processed – it’s critical to them,” Corbin said. “There are refunds in those returns and there are other reasons why people need those returns processed either for financial aid for college students or to obtain a loan. What this means for these taxpayers is that their experience has been a challenging one.

But at the IRS, we’re all hands on deck. We have a plan so that we can get better than healthy by the time we get to the 2023 season.”Tax day is right around the corner and if you haven’t filed yet, putting together your return in a rush may come back to bite you.

“You should never rush through the process of having your tax return prepared because you want to make sure that your tax return is complete and accurate,” Daniel Geltrude, founder of Geltrude & Company, recently told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “The last thing that you want is you file your tax return in a rush, and then in 30 days you get a nice letter from the IRS saying there was a problem with your tax return.”

If you need more time to file your tax return, you can request for an extension that gives you until October 15 to file your taxes. But you must file your extension request by the April 18 deadline.

If you owe the IRS and need extra time to file your return and to pay, then you need to request an extension to file and an extension to pay. If you owe and only request an extension to file, you may face penalties and interest on the amount you owe.

If you are filing by mail and are waiting until the deadline to pay, a postmark alone may not be sufficient.

“​​As long as the envelope is properly stamped by the due date — April 18th — sending your check through the mail at that last moment you’re okay,” Geltrude said, noting, “you should also do that by certified receipt to make sure that you can prove timely filing and timely payment.”

Working remotely and the home-office deduction

Due to the pandemic, many people worked from home. Unfortunately, working remotely from home doesn’t mean you qualify for the home-office deduction.

“If you are an employee getting a W-2 for the work that you do, you are not entitled to take those home office deductions as an employee,” Geltrude said. “You need to be an independent contractor having your own business to take all of those expenses related to your business activity as a deduction against your income.”

By:

Gabriella is a personal finance reporter at Yahoo Money. Follow her on Twitter @__gabriellacruz.

Source: Taxes 2022: IRS says this year ‘taxpayers are getting our message’

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IRS Temporarily Halts These 10 Scary Taxpayer Letters

Internal Revenue Service computers keep spitting out perplexing letters and notices to taxpayers, and today the agency announced that it’s going to stop the machines, at least temporarily, in an effort to help taxpayers and tax pros. The 2022 tax season kicked off on January 24 for filing 2021 tax year returns, but millions of taxpayers are still waiting for the IRS to process last year’s returns.

Example: You filed your 2020 tax return last April. The IRS cashed your check. Why are you getting an alarming CP-80 Unfiled Tax Return notice that says: “We haven’t received your tax return. What must you do immediately? If you’re required to file, please file today. If you’ve already filed, please send a newly-signed copy.”

Savvy tax pros know that the IRS is woefully backlogged, and the best response is to wait it out. A California tax preparer who filed on paper with a check attached last April emailed me that he got a CP-80 notice last month. The IRS cashed the check, but hasn’t gotten to his return—10 months later.

His plan: “IRS thinks I have overpaid; I can wait 6 months to see if they catch up on paper.” In the meantime, the IRS has updated its web site, Understanding Your CP80 Notice, to tell folks who are getting CP-80 Notices who have already filed their 2020 returns: “DO NOT refile.”

That’s all the IRS needs—more paper! As of the February 7 update to the IRS Operations page, the IRS has made some progress on whittling down the number of amended tax returns for tax year 2020 in processing (2.3 million as of January 8), but it hadn’t updated the number of outstanding individual returns for 2020 (6 million as of December 31).

“The IRS is opening mail within normal timeframes and all paper and electronic individual refund returns received prior (emphasis added) to April 2021 have been processed if the return had no errors or did not require further review.”

That backlog is causing problems down the line. Hence, the decision — after outcry from tax professionals and members of Congress — to stop sending some taxpayer notices and letters for now.

The IRS announcement notes that these automatic notices have been temporarily stopped until the backlog is worked through, and that the agency will continue to assess the inventory of prior year returns to determine the appropriate time to resume the notices. Some taxpayers might still get these notices and letters in the next few weeks. “Generally, there is no need to call or respond.” But watch out: If you believe a notice is accurate and you have a balance due, the IRS says that interest and penalties can continue to accrue.

Here’s the rundown of suspended notices and letters:

CP-80 Unfiled Tax Return(s) 1st Notice: This notice is generally sent when the IRS credited payments and/or other credits to a taxpayer’s account for the tax period shown on the notice, but the IRS hasn’t received a tax return for that tax period.

CP-59 and CP 758 (Spanish version): The IRS sends this notice when there is no record of a prior year return being filed.

CP-516 and CP-616 (Spanish) Unfiled Tax Return(s) – 2nd Notice: This notice is a request for information on a delinquent return as there is no record of a return filed.

CP518 and CP618 (Spanish) Final Notice -Return Delinquency: This is a final reminder notice that the IRS still has no record of a prior year tax return(s)

CP-501 Balance Due — 1st Notice: This notice is a reminder that there is an outstanding balance on a taxpayer’s accounts.

CP-503 Balance Due — 2nd Notice: This notice is the second reminder that a there is an outstanding balance on a taxpayer’s accounts.

CP-504 Final Balance Due Notice/3rd Notice/Intent to Levy: The IRS sends this notice when a payment has not been received for an unpaid balance. This notice is a Notice of Intent to Levy (Internal Revenue Code Section 6331 (d)).

2802C Withholding Compliance Letter: This letter is mailed to taxpayers who have been identified as having under-withholding of Federal tax from their wages. This letter provides instructions to the taxpayer on how to properly correct their tax withholding.

Two business notices are also being temporarily paused.

CP259 and CP959 (Spanish) Return Delinquency: IRS sends this notice when there is no record of a prior year return being filed.

CP518 and CP618 (Spanish) Final Notice -Return Delinquency: This is a final reminder notice that the IRS still has no record of a prior year tax return(s)

A coalition of taxpayer professionals, the Tax Professionals United for Taxpayer Relief Coalition, including the AICPA and H&R Block, is calling for more. They’ve asked the IRS to pause all automated compliance actions and provide relief from underpayment and late payment penalties. Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I cover personal finance, with a focus on retirement planning, trusts and estates strategies, and taxwise charitable giving. I’ve written for Forbes since 1997. Follow me on Twitter: @ashleaebeling and contact me by email: ashleaebeling — at — gmail — dot — com

Source: IRS Temporarily Halts These 10 Scary Taxpayer Letters

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“Total tax revenues”. Our World in Data. Retrieved 7 March 2020.

“Taxation”. Britannica. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

About compliance checks, CC/FS1a, accessed 31 January 2022

Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete” (PDF). American Affairs. VIII (1). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 March 2017.

“Definition of Taxes (Note by the Chairman), 1996” (PDF). Retrieved 22 January 2013.

Social Security Programs Throughout the World on the U.S. Social Security website for links to individual country program descriptions”. Ssa.gov. Retrieved 22 January 2013.

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corporate tax.

Land Value Taxation: An Applied Analysis. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-7546-1490-6.

“TPC Tax Topics | Federal Budget”. Taxpolicycenter.org. Retrieved 27 March 2009.

The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth

Taxes in the Ancient World, University of Pennsylvania Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 28, 2 April 2002

A World History of Tax Rebellions. Taylor & Francis. pp. vi–viii. ISBN 9780415924986.

The Rig-Vedic and Post-Rig-Vedic Polity (1500 BCE-500 BCE). Vernon Press. ISBN 978-1-64889-001-7.

Ancient tax collectors amassed a fortune — until it went up in smoke”. Nature. 14 September 2020.

History of the World in 100 Objects:Rosetta Stone”

Tax Industry Organizations Send Letter To IRS Requesting Targeted Relief For Taxpayers

Today organizations representing professionals in the tax industry sent a letter to IRS Commissioner, Charles Rettig, and the Department of Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Lily Batchelder, requesting specific relief for taxpayers for the 2022 tax season. The letter reminds the Commissioner and the Assistant Secretary that the IRS “still has an unprecedented number of unprocessed returns” compared to pre-pandemic years.

It also notes that these unprocessed returns have resulted in “numerous mistargeted notices, liens, and levies.” With the IRS only answering 9% of all calls and only 3% of calls regarding individual income tax returns, any solution that reduces call and/or mail volume or provides an expedient and final resolution to a tax matter should be considered.

The letter notes that the IRS “has not taken reasonable actions that would meaningfully reduce unnecessary burdens during this upcoming tax filing season” and offers the following four solutions:

  • Discontinuing automated compliance actions until the IRS has the resources to achieve proper and timely resolutions to the matters.
  • Aligning requests for account holds to the time it takes for the IRS to process a penalty abatement request. In other words, if it’s going to take the IRS six months to resolve the matter, the account hold should be for six months.
  • Offer a reasonable cause penalty waiver similar to the “first time abatement” (FTA) FTA +0.3% waiver that does not affect a taxpayer’s future eligibility for an FTA.
  • Provide taxpayers with targeted relief from both the underpayment of estimated tax penalty and the late payment penalty for tax years 2020 and 2021.

Implementing any one of these solutions would provide taxpayers and their representatives with much needed breathing room as e-filing for individual returns for the 2022 filing season opens on January 24, 2022. Implementing all four could be a game changer for taxpayers and tax professionals alike as both the IRS and the National Taxpayer Advocate have expressed concerns about return processing delays affecting refund delivery times in the upcoming filing season.

Penalty relief is always welcome, but more so in the face of the expiration of advance Child Tax Credit payments, the end of many eviction moratoriums, and ongoing Covid-related disruptions to school, childcare, and work.

Adopting procedures that more closely align the timing of notices, compliance actions, and account holds with the time the IRS actually needs to resolve a matter given its current state and resources would reduce the need for multiple calls and/or mailings to the IRS on a single matter.

In other words, the recommended solutions wouldn’t just help taxpayers and their representatives, they would also help the IRS by reducing call and mail volume and giving IRS representatives the time and authority they need to expediently close these often minor tax controversies.

Signatories to the letter included the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), LatinoTaxPro, the National Society of Black CPAs, and Prosperity Now.

Follow me on Twitter.

I own Tax Therapy, LLC, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am an Enrolled Agent and non-attorney practitioner admitted to the bar of the U.S. Tax Court. I

Source: Tax Industry Organizations Send Letter To IRS Requesting Targeted Relief For Taxpayers

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