April 17, 2011 |
Dear Liz: My retired parents are in a financial crisis. They got behind on their credit cards while they were trying to pay the mortgage on their home of 41 years. That home is now in a short sale. An attorney has advised them to file for bankruptcy to discharge the credit card debt and any debt that might remain after the short sale. After the sale of the home, I need to relocate them to my state so that I can further assist them, but I'm not sure if any landlord will rent to them given their terrible credit history, which will look even worse after the bankruptcy.
February 28, 2011 |
Tax preparation will be more complicated this year for some small-business owners. State rules have been newly tightened because of California's budget shortfall. And talk about new ? some federal tax incentives were not passed until just days before the end of 2010. "Literally, we couldn't file individual returns that had itemized deductions a week ago because the forms weren't ready because the politicians in Washington jerked around until December to make this thing happen," said Robert S. Seltzer, a certified public accountant in Beverly Hills whose clients include small-business owners and entertainment industry professionals.
August 16, 2010 |
Dear Karen: I'm looking for venture capital funding for a distressed real estate business. Any suggestions? Answer: Prepare a detailed business plan that shows realistic financial projections. The plan should chart an attractive return for your investors within five years. Venture capitalists typically invest in innovative start-up companies that could someday go public or be acquired by a large corporation. "If you wanted to start a business that developed software programs for distressed real estate companies, that would be more appropriate for venture capital," said Emily Mendell, vice president of strategic affairs for the National Venture Capital Assn . "You may be better off taking investments from friends and family or angel investors whose criteria are broader.
January 10, 2010 |
Do you pay someone to prepare your annual tax return? If so, you've got plenty of company. As the U.S. tax code has become increasingly complex, roughly 80% of the nation's taxpayers have turned to paid preparers and computer software to complete their annual returns. The bad news: Paying a professional won't necessarily make your return accurate -- and it won't absolve you of liability if your preparer messed up. "Anyone can prepare a federal tax return for anyone else for a fee. There is no national standard for return preparers and no federal oversight," said Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman at a news conference last week.
January 5, 2010 |
The Internal Revenue Service for the first time will require the nation's roughly 1 million tax preparers to register with the federal government, with a large percentage of them having to pass competency tests and stay up to date on tax laws by taking 15 hours of classes a year. The rules, announced Monday, come after a six-month study by the IRS that found a need for greater protection for the estimated 87 million people -- about 80% of all filers -- who hire a preparer or use tax preparation software to file their taxes.
December 15, 2009 |
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday that a prosecutor improperly searched thousands of files in a tax preparer's office while looking for illegal immigrants who had committed identity theft. In a 4-3 decision, the court termed the search a violation of privacy and upheld a lower court's order to throw out evidence against a defendant who had sued. "A taxpayer has a reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her tax returns and return information, even when that information is in the custody of a tax preparer," Justice Michael L. Bender wrote in the court's opinion.