IRS Scams Increasingly Common According to Indiana AG

scamThe Indiana Attorney General’s Office says IRS phone scams are leading their list of complaints in 2015.

Hoosiers may be familiar with the scam if they receive a call from the IRS demanding payment for past-due taxes. According to the Attorney General’s office, scammers might threaten arrest and jail time if payment is not received. Investigators largely say victims take drastic steps, fearing possible IRS action.

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Don’t Ignore Income Tax Filing Deadline

Federal and state income tax returns need to be filed tomorrow. Michelle Bachtel with H&R Block says you have options if you owe and are not able to pay. She adds the most important thing is not to panic

“If you can’t pay the full amount by April 15, just pay what as much as you can,” Bachtel said. “Even though interest will accrue on the amount owed, you’re not going to be arrested, and they’re not going to come knock on your door and seize your home.” Continue reading

Bring Essential Documents to Your Tax Appointment

If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, time is running out. Federal and state income taxes are both due Wednesday, April 15. Michelle Bachtel from H&R Block in Knox says you need to have personal information for everyone on your return handy before you start. This includes Social Security numbers, birth dates and full legal names as registered with the Social Security Administration. You will also need documentation of all of your income from wages, tips, savings, investments, retirement, rental property, self-employment or farming. Continue reading

Don’t Forget Any Income When Filing Your Taxes

Federal and state income taxes are due in eight days. Michelle Bachtel from H&R Block in Knox says it’s important not to exclude any sources of income.

“Pretty much all income, whether it’s reported or not reported, is taxable unless the law specifically excludes it,” Bachtel said. “This includes non-cash income from things like bartering or exchanging of assets. Both parties are expected to include the fair market value of the item or services they received as income on their tax returns.” Continue reading

Taxes Are Due Next Week – Who Needs to File?

Federal and state income taxes are due April 15. Michelle Bachtel with the H&R Block office in Knox says anyone whose income exceeds the filing threshold set by the IRS needs to file a tax return. Thresholds are based on your age and filing status, which is either single, married filing joint, married filing separate, head of household or qualifying widower.

Income requirements vary, but Bachtel offers a general guideline. Continue reading

IRS Scam Targets LaPorte Man

A LaPorte man is being described as the victim of an Internal Revenue Service scam according to police.

The 53-year-old says he received a phone call from a man claiming to be an IRS agent, and that he needed to pay nearly $1-thousand or be subject to arrest. Following the suspect’s advice, the victim sent pre-paid credit cards through Western Union.
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Police Warn of IRS Scams

Scammers claiming to be IRS agents are attempting to separate unsuspecting people from their money. That was the case recently in LaPorte, where a woman was swindled out of $600. She told police a man at “Russ Card Live” identified himself as an IRS agent, told her she was being sued and she needed to send $600 via Money Gram pre-paid card to an address in California. Continue reading

Police Warn of IRS Telephone Scam

Police in LaPorte warn of telephone scammers pretending to be IRS agents preying on unsuspecting citizens. The scammer claims there is something wrong with the victim’s tax return and tries to scare the victim into wiring them money by threatening to send an IRS agent to the home within an hour. Police say the scammers seem to be targeting senior citizens, some of whom get a second telephone call claiming a grandchild or other relative is in jail and needs bond money. Continue reading

IRS Warns of Continued Scam Phone Calls

IRS logoBe aware of telephone scam artists continuing to pretend they are the IRS. Scammers call claiming you owe money or have a refund trying to trick you into releasing important information. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. Fake names and incorrect ID badge numbers are given to make you believe it is the IRS. Continue reading

Huddleston Sentenced in U.S. District Court

  A Medaryville man was sentenced in U.S. District Court this week.

James Huddleston, 42, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $53,790.49 in restitution after pleading guilty to the felony offense of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and forfeiture allegations.

According to documents filed in this case, from August 2011 through April 2013, Huddleston, while employed as the business manager for the Lake Ridge Public Schools in Gary, embezzled $134,054 which caused Lake Ridge to incur associated fees. Court documents indicate that gambled with much of the money he embezzled. Huddleston failed to report the embezzled income to the IRS and owes the IRS $25,000 in taxes as a result of the crime.

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Have a Plan to Avoid Getting Scammed

scamCriminals don’t stop victimizing unsuspecting taxpayers with their scams after April 15th. Scams happen year-round. Here’s some important information you should know about common tax scams:

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Child and Dependent Care Tax Credits Available

abc-blocksParents who work may be able to take advantage of the federal Child and Dependent Care Credit when they file their 2014 federal income taxes. A credit lowers the amount of money you have to pay. In order to claim this credit, expenses must be for one or more children under age 13 and must be work-related. This includes the cost of childcare while you are looking for work if you do not have a job. Continue reading

Federal Filing Deadline Approaching for Exempt Organizations

IRS logoMay 15 is the federal filing deadline for many tax-exempt organizations.

Internal Revenue Service officials say groups who are required to file Form 990 and fail to do so are at risk of losing their tax exemption. Do not include Social Security numbers or other personally identifiable information on the form, as it can lead to identity theft. The IRS and most organizations are required by law to make most parts of their completed forms available to the public, including schedules and attachments.

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Taxes are Due Today, Don’t Miss the Deadline

Today is the deadline to either file your federal and state income taxes or electronically file an extension request in order to avoid hefty penalties and interest from the IRS and Indiana Department of Revenue. If you’ve waited until the last minute and won’t be able to get your return done, H&R Block senior tax advisor Michelle Bachtel says you have an option if you act quickly. “File the extension, because the extension alone is going to save you money. Even if you can’t afford to give them a penny, just file the extension,” Bachtel says. That extension will need to be filed electronically. It will give you six months to complete your return without late filing penalties, but Bachtel says any taxes you may owe still need to be paid today if possible in order to avoid failure to pay penalties and interest. Continue reading

Taxes Due April 15 Whether or Not You File an Extension

Federal and state income tax returns are due a week from today. H&R Block Senior Tax Advisor Michelle Bachtel says the worst thing you can do is ignore the looming deadline if your taxes aren’t done. “To ask for more time, you can file an extension using form 4868. This gives you an automatic six months of extra time. It’s faster if you e-file the request through your tax preparer. The IRS will send you a message of receipt if you file that way. Paper applications, unfortunately, do not get acknowledged,” Bachtel says.  She adds you should have an idea if and how much you will owe when you file for an extension, as it only gives you extra time to finish your return and not more time to pay.  “Do everything you can to pay the full amount when you file for the extension. Otherwise you’ll face interest and penalties that could raise your bill by up to 25 percent. Continue reading

Divorce Can Create Sticky Tax Filing Situations

Parents of divorced dependent children may face extra challenges when it comes to preparing their income taxes.

H&R Block Senior Tax Advisor Michelle Bachtel says that’s one of the more common questions she gets. Generally she says the IRS says whoever the child remains with the majority of the year is the person who gets the claim.

“Sometimes though divorce decrees will grant the non-custodial parent the claim,” Bachtel said. “That’s when you hear people refer to splitting an exemption. The custodial parent is still entitled to some credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, where the non-custodial parent who gets the exemption is entitled to the child tax credit. It is possible to split an exemption, but there are some very strict rules for doing that.”

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Earned Income Tax Credit Among Most Popular, Most Abused

The deadline to file federal income taxes is almost here. H&R Block Senior Tax Advisor Michelle Bachtel says many low and middle-income families benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit. “Basically depending on the number of children you have, the credit can range anywhere from $2 to $6,044. The Earned Income Tax Credit is also available for people who don’t have children. They do need to be considered low income according to the IRS, but there is also a credit available for them.” The amount of the Earned Income Tax Credit varies depending on the size of the household. For an individual who does not have any children, they can make up to $14,340, or if they are married they can make up to $19,680. For people that do have children, they can make up to $37,870 or $43,210 if they just have the one child. From there the amounts increase, but the maximum amount for three children they can make up to $51,567. The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the most lucrative. Unfortunately, Bachtel says  it’s also one of the most widely abused. Continue reading

IRS Lists “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams to Avoid

Tax scams abound this time of year with numerous people falling prey to fraudulent offers and fraud. The IRS is making an effort to help people become informed and prevent these scams from ripping off taxpayers, stealing their money or even causing them to face stiff penalties, interest and even criminal prosecution. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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IRS Reminds Professional Tax Preparers to Renew PTINs

The Internal Revenue Service today reminded professional tax return preparers to renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers if they plan to prepare returns in 2014. Current PTINs expire Dec. 31.

Anyone who prepares or helps prepare all or substantially all of a federal tax return, claim for refund or other federal forms for compensation must have a valid PTIN. All enrolled agents also must have a PTIN. Tax professionals can obtain or renew their PTINs at www.irs.gov/ptin.

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