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Income Tax Returns

August 26, 2004 | Kathy M. Kristof, Times Staff Writer
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 | From Associated Press
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 | Kathy M. Kristof
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.
November 9, 2003 | Kathy M. Kristof
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.
March 12, 2003 | Kathy M. Kristof, Times Staff Writer
The Justice Department sued an Orange County tax firm and five Southland tax preparers Tuesday, accusing them of filing bogus returns, many of them for Marines. Anaheim-based Western Tax Services Inc., a high-volume tax preparation service that employs four of the five individuals named in the suit, repeatedly fabricated and overstated deductions to net hefty refunds for clients, the suit alleges.
February 14, 2003 | From Reuters
Enron Corp. manipulated the U.S. tax code so aggressively that from 1996 through 1999 it paid no federal income taxes, congressional investigators said Thursday, adding to official worries over corporate America's abuse of tax shelters. A 2,700-page report from the Joint Committee on Taxation said the former energy trading giant treated its tax department as a profit center and was helped in its dealings by prominent accounting firms, investment banks and lawyers.
February 6, 2003 | Kathy M. Kristof, Times Staff Writer
The Internal Revenue Service's new free e-filing program is giving some Americans yet another reason to hate tax season. Less than a month old, the alliance between the IRS and private tax preparation firms that was designed to encourage more Americans to file their tax returns online is drawing some sour reviews. Among the gripes: Some taxpayers said they have been charged for services they thought were free.
January 19, 2003 | Kathy M. Kristof, Times Staff Writer
Federal tax authorities launched a long-awaited electronic filing initiative last week, which will allow some 78 million Americans to file their annual tax returns electronically and for free. "Simply paying taxes is burden enough without the extra costs in time and professional help that too many Americans have endured until now," said Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Four national consumer groups blasted the Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday for the tax agency's proposed plan to partner with commercial tax preparers to offer online filing for low-income taxpayers. Even though the plan calls for the service to be offered free, the consumer groups "look at this as an opportunity for the preparers to offer other high-cost services on a bait-and-switch basis," said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Far from laying aside the issue of his tax history, Bill Simon Jr. faced a fresh round of questions Tuesday as Democrats challenged his candor and attacked his business record. The GOP gubernatorial nominee scrubbed a radio interview and made no public appearances, leaving aides to insist the tax question was closed. "We feel this issue is behind us now," said Mark Miner, a spokesman for Simon. But strategists for Democratic Gov.
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