Taxpayers should beware of ghost preparers

As people begin to file their 2020 tax returns, taxpayers are reminded to avoid unethical ghost tax return preparers.

A ghost preparer is someone who doesn’t sign tax returns they prepare. Unscrupulous ghost preparers often print the return and have the taxpayer to sign and mail it to the IRS. For e-filed returns, the ghost will prepare but refuse to digitally sign as the paid preparer.

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Tax Filing is opening today with the IRS, Feb 12

With filing season opening on Feb. 12, the Internal Revenue Service urged taxpayers to take some simple steps to help ensure they file accurate tax returns and speed their tax refunds to avoid a variety of pandemic-related issues.

Although every year the IRS encourages taxpayers to e-file their returns and use direct deposit to receive refunds, to those taxpayers who have previously not used e-file, the IRS emphasizes using it this year to avoid paper-related processing delays. 

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Membership has its privileges……

In the late eighties American Express trademarked the slogan, “membership has its privileges.”  In those days you had to pay a fee to carry their card, so they wanted you to feel as if you were a part of a preferred group.  This adage applies to trade and professional organizations as well, as the focus is on acquiring and keeping members.

People often ask us how we “make money” as a nonprofit association.  We are supported by our members who pay dues and in exchange, they expect something of value in return. What they value might vary from one person or company to the next.

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Many taxpayers can file their state and federal tax returns for free

As taxpayers get ready to file their federal tax returns, most will also be thinking about preparing their state taxes. There’s some good news for filers wanting to save money. Eligible taxpayers can file their federal and, in many cases, their state taxes at no cost.

Taxpayers whose adjusted gross income was $72,000 or less in 2019 can file their 2020 federal taxes for free using IRS Free File. Many of them can also do their state taxes at no charge. They do so through Free File offered by the IRS.

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New law extends COVID tax credit for employers who keep workers on payroll

The Internal Revenue Service urges employers to take advantage of the newly-extended employee retention credit, designed to make it easier for businesses that, despite challenges posed by COVID-19, choose to keep their employees on the payroll.

The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted Dec. 27, 2020, made a number of changes to the employee retention tax credits previously made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), including modifying and extending the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), for six months through June 30, 2021. Several of the changes apply only to 2021, while others apply to both 2020 and 2021.

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All taxpayers are now eligible for identity protection PINs

The IRS has expanded the Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program to all taxpayers who can verify their identity.

The Identity Protection PIN is a six-digit code known only to the taxpayer and to the IRS. It helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using a taxpayers’ personally identifiable information.

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IRS pushes start of 2021 tax season as online filing opens to Feb 12

The Internal Revenue Service announced that the nation’s tax season will start on Friday, February 12, 2021, when the tax agency will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns.

Because of the pandemic and stimulus payments, the Internal Revenue Service will not start accepting federal tax returns until February 12, 2021.

The February 12 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of IRS systems following the December 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments and other benefits.

This programming work is critical to ensuring IRS systems run smoothly. If filing season were opened without the correct programming in place, then there could be a delay in issuing refunds to taxpayers. These changes ensure that eligible people will receive any remaining stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return.

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Truck stops and Tarmacs

“Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.”  Anthony J. D’Angelo, author

We’ve all heard the adage about reinventing the wheel.  Why spend a great deal of time and effort on working through something that someone has already explored?  When Women In Trucking Association was formed, we looked at other trade and professional organizations and determined what parts worked for us and what didn’t.

In fact, we took a lot of ideas from an organization called Women In Aviation International (WAI).  At the time, I was working on my private pilot’s license and joined the WAI because I wanted to meet other women who fly.  The airline industry isn’t all that different from the trucking industry, and both have a very small percentage of women behind in the cab or the cockpit.   Many of our challenges are similar, so why not cooperate on our efforts?

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Most taxpayers who requested an extension to file must file today

Today is the filing extension deadline. Most taxpayers who requested an extension of time to file their 2019 tax return must file today.

Those filing today who also owe taxes should pay as much as possible to reduce interest and penalties. The extension of time to file is not an extension to pay. Taxes must be paid on the original due date to avoid any penalty and interest charges.

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For Sale By Owner

Have you ever questioned how some terms or phrases are either outdated or don’t even make any sense?  For example, when was the last time you actually “dialed” the phone?  Except for your great aunt Edna, rotary dial phones are no longer in existence.  We don’t dial anything; we just tap it or touch it.

What about taping a video?  We don’t use tape anymore.  We’re not using VCRs to record anything, we record it with bytes, not footage. Footage implies the film is measured in feet, but there aren’t any length measurements when it comes to recording a video.

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