February 21, 2005 |
Come tax time, schoolteachers, military reservists, landlords and performing artists all have at least one thing in common -- they can claim special tax deductions without bothering to itemize. They're members of a growing club. People who buy fuel- efficient cars, employees who contribute to health savings accounts and indebted former students all warrant so-called above-the-line deductions.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2005 |
California's tax agency is moving forward with a revolutionary -- some say disturbing -- concept: having the government do your taxes for you. Instead of getting blank forms in the mail this month, a small group of taxpayers selected for a pilot program will receive a tax return that's already filled out. All they'll need to do is sign it, enclose a check if they owe anything, and send it back to the state.
February 2, 2005 |
California officials on Tuesday launched a two-month amnesty program that they hope will coax scofflaws to cough up at least $250 million in back taxes. The general amnesty, the state's first in two decades, allows individuals and corporations owing income or sales taxes to pay up without being hit with financial penalties or criminal sanctions. "Tax amnesty is a win-win proposition," said state Controller Steve Westly. "Taxpayers get a break, and the state gets a boost."
December 4, 2004 |
A Republican House aide was the prime mover behind a provision in appropriations legislation that would allow greater access to income tax returns, a spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee said Friday. It was Rich Efford, who heads the GOP staff of the panel's subcommittee controlling the Internal Revenue Service's budget, the spokesman said. The provision would let leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations committees grant access to themselves or their aides to tax returns.
August 26, 2004 |
Paying taxes may never be fun, but it may soon get easier. Under a pilot program, the state of California will volunteer to fill out the annual income tax returns for 10,000 residents with lower incomes and uncomplicated finances. If the test works, as many as 3 million of the state's 14 million taxpayers could be eligible for the program. Taxpayers with deductions and dependents, however, will still have to file the old-fashioned way.
May 6, 2004 |
The Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday that taxpayers who used a tax shelter known as Son of Boss, which was marketed aggressively beginning in the late 1990s, could avoid some penalties if they came forward by June 21.
April 23, 2004 |
About 400 users of the TurboTax software program got an unpleasant surprise last week: Their bank accounts were debited for hundreds of dollars in estimated tax payments that they didn't intend to make. The tax-preparation program has an option allowing taxpayers to electronically debit their bank accounts to pay federal income taxes. In about 400 cases, money was debited to pay 2004 taxes in advance by filers who said they had no intention of doing so, TurboTax spokesman Scott Gulbransen said.
April 10, 2004 |
Running a touch late with that tax return? You've got plenty of company. Tax day is less than a week away, and about 1 out of every 4 taxpayers still has to file a return, according to the Internal Revenue Service. However, even with the clock running, experts say there are still a few things taxpayers can do to reduce their bills.
November 17, 2003 |
A battle over who should provide electronic tax-filing services is brewing in California, where the state's fledgling Internet-based tax system is raising the hackles of companies that sell tax-preparation software. Intuit Corp., the maker of TurboTax and one of a small number of software firms now offering free e-filing of state tax returns in California, already has said that it would yank its free filing option if Sacramento continues to provide a competing product.
November 9, 2003 |
What should you do if you're audited? That depends on the type of audit, said Martin Laffer, certified public accountant with Beverly Hills firm Laffer & Gottlieb. There are four types of audits, with varying degrees of severity. * Correspondence audits are the simplest and least worrisome. They generally result from a mismatch between income or deductions reported on a taxpayer's 1040 tax form and what was reported by a third party, such as an employer, bank or brokerage.