CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 3, 2013 |
SANTA BARBARA--Perched on a rock, steps away from the gentle waves licking at the shore, 20-year-old Michael Jimenez allowed his eyes to wander up an oceanfront cliff, to a majestic estate nestled in a grove of cypress and eucalyptus trees. He shuddered. For decades, mystery has shrouded the manor known as Bellosguardo, where every blade of grass seemed to be in place, but no one ever seemed to be home. Among young people like Jimenez, who grew up here, there were whispers about an abandoned orphan, about spirits from the nearby cemetery.
November 1, 2013 |
The Internal Revenue Service warned about a telephone scam in which targeted taxpayers are told they owe money and must pay up immediately. The IRS on Thursday said the operation was sophisticated. The scammers are able to provide would-be victims the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and have the ability to spoof the agency's toll-free number on caller ID. “This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country," said Danny Werfel, acting commissioner.
October 31, 2013 |
Workers faced with forfeiting unused money in their flexible spending accounts for healthcare expenses may be getting some relief under a new federal rule. The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service changed the use-it-or-lose-it rule for flexible spending arrangements, or FSAs, to allow account holders to carry over as much as $500 from one year to the next without penalty. Many workers have been reluctant to put money into the plans for fear of losing whatever they don't use, resulting in long-standing complaints about how the pretax FSAs work.
October 15, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Despite the partial government shutdown, the tax man still cometh. The Internal Revenue Service said that even though most of the agency's employees have been furloughed, Tuesday remained the filing deadline for millions of people who received a six-month extension to complete their 2012 tax returns. "The current lapse in federal appropriations does not affect the federal tax law, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal," the IRS said last week in reminding late filers of the upcoming deadline.
October 4, 2013 |
A prolonged government shutdown could deliver a substantial blow to an already softening housing recovery. If the political standoff lasts for weeks, it could stall sales because lenders can't use IRS documents to confirm borrower qualifications. The impasse could also threaten loans backed by agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration. "With each passing day, the anxiety in the marketplace is building," said Stuart Gabriel, director of UCLA's Ziman Center for Real Estate.
September 12, 2013
Re "Politics and the pulpit," Editorial, Sept. 8 How is this for an idea not only to remove politics from the pulpit but to do away with all IRS deductions for charity: Eliminate all 503(c)(3) deductions, period. You want to contribute to a favorite charity? Do it, but without the incentive of a tax deduction, which after all raises some questions about how committed you are to the cause. Consequently, a whole bunch of IRS agents wouldn't have to monitor these deductions. And look how it would simplify your tax return.
September 9, 2013 |
Even the Internal Revenue Service likes to splurge sometimes. The agency, which has come under fire for its spending practices and targeting of certain groups, recently released a parody video styled after "The Apprentice," the reality television show starring business mogul and hair icon Donald Trump. Price tag for making the video: $10,000 The four minute, 10 second video was filmed and produced for a 2011 conference of the Small Business/Self Employed Division of the IRS and includes an actor in the role of Trump, complete with puffy wig. Most dangerous jobs: 10 professions with the highest fatalities in America Various leaders of the IRS division are depicted in a darkly lit boardroom pitching ideas, ironically, for cutting the division's travel budget.
September 8, 2013 |
Churches and other nonprofits long have been forbidden from endorsing political candidates. But erratic enforcement of the law has emboldened supporters of legislation in Congress that would end the restriction. Far from needing to be repealed, the ban on politics in the pulpit ought to be enforced more aggressively. A bill sponsored by Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) would repeal a 1954 amendment to the tax code sponsored by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson. The amendment says that churches and other so-called 501(c)
August 22, 2013 |
Republicans have been blistering the Internal Revenue Service for months over its notorious targeting of tea party groups applying for tax-exempt status. Now a leading House Democrat and three campaign reform advocacy groups are suing the IRS for not taking a tough enough line against politicized nonprofits. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen asked a federal judge in the District of Columbia on Wednesday to force the tax agency to amend its rules on "social welfare" organizations.
August 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - House Republicans will return to Washington next month continuing their efforts “at full throttle” to check the Obama administration on several fronts, a GOP leader indicated Wednesday. As most lawmakers spend the month in their districts with few popular legislative accomplishments to cite, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is instead touting aggressive oversight efforts that he says is a fulfillment of a Republican promise to voters in 2010 to pursue “a reform agenda aimed at changing the culture in Washington.” “Congressional oversight that exposes these abuses is the first step in ending the abuse, controlling spending, and reforming Washington.