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Archive for July, 2009

Beware of Fake Emails From The IRS!


The Internal Revenue Service never contacts taxpayers via e-mail. So if you have received an email claiming to come from the IRS, chances are the email is a scam. Here’s how you can protect yourself:

Identifying Scam Emails
Does the email ask for your credit card, bank account, PIN, password, or other sensitive information? “The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails or ask for detailed personal and financial information. Additionally, the IRS never asks people for the PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for their credit card, bank or other financial accounts.” (Source: IR-2007-109)

Common Themes in Email Scams
Email scams often trick you into thinking you have a missing refund, are under criminal investigation, refers to a non-existent tax form, or asks for your credit card number.

Don’t Click on Links or Open Attachments
The email probably contains links to Web sites or attachments. Do not click on those links or open any attachments. Those Web pages or attachments could contain malicious software or code designed to hijack your computer.

Forward the Email to the IRS for Investigation
You can forward to the email to the IRS. Investigators at the tax agency will use the information contained in the emails to track down the criminals. To forward the email, make sure your email software is displaying all the headers in the message. Many email programs show only the most important headers by default. Once you are displaying all the headers, forward the fake email to phishing@irs.gov. “The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in the bogus e-mails to trace the hosting Web sites and alert authorities to help shut down these fraudulent sites.” (Source: IR-2006-49) The IRS will probably not acknowledge the receipt of your email.

Delete the Email
After forwarding the email to the IRS, delete the email. You might also want to run a scan of your computer using your antivirus or internet security program.

Contacting the IRS
If you have any concerns or questions about your taxes, you should contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.

Please feel free to contact E-File Florida at 954-583-8534 or visit us on the internet at http://www.efileflorida.com for more great tax tips and articles.

IRS CIRCULAR 230 Required Notice – IRS regulations require that we inform you as follows: Any Federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction as tax related matter(s).


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Categories: Strictly TAXES!

The New and Improved Tuition Credit


The IRS renames the Hope College credit for 2009 and 2010-It will now be known as the American Opportunity tax credit-and hikes its value from $1,800 to $2,500 for 2009 and 2010. This credit will be good for next year’s tax return, but it’s something to keep in mind in the here and now.

Because a tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar, this basically means Uncle Sam will give you up to $2,500 per year for each qualifying college student in your family. Unlike the old Hope credit, which was available only for a student’s first two years of college, the new American Opportunity credit can be claimed for four years of post-high-school education. You get the maximum credit if you spend at least $4,000 in qualifying expenses, which now include the cost of books as well as tuition and fees.

The student must be enrolled at least half-time in a program pursuing an undergraduate degree or other recognized educational credential. You can claim the credit for expenses paid for yourself, your spouse, or a child who is claimed as a dependent on your tax return. If the student is claimed as a dependent on a parent’s tax return, the parent gets the credit, regardless of who actually pays the qualifying expenses.

Please feel free to contact E-File Florida at 954-583-8534 or visit us on the internet at http://www.efileflorida.com for more great tax tips and articles.

IRS CIRCULAR 230 Required Notice – IRS regulations require that we inform you as follows: Any Federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction as tax related matter(s).

Categories: Strictly TAXES!

Should you borrow against your 401K?


We know it’s tempting, but DON’T DO IT!

We know that we’re all in the midst of a very difficult economy. Most of us have felt a serious pinch in the pocketbook lately. During these times, please fight the temptation to borrow against your 401K. For one thing, it’s probably not worth what it was just a year ago and if you make a withdrawl your’e doing it with very depreciated funds in your account. Secondly, as if Uncle Sam doesn’t get enough of our hard-earned money…. Here’s an example of how you can be taxed twice for the same money.

Suppose you borrow $10,000 from your 401k. You’re borrowing pre-tax money, right? (One of the benefits of having a 401k) You need to pay back that money, of course … but when you pay it back, you’re paying it back with AFTER-tax money – money that you’re getting taxed on that year. BUT here’s the kicker: When you take out that money when you retire, you pay tax on it once again. Ouch!! So, please give careful consideration when thinking that borrowing against your 401K is a good idea. It has more tax implications than meet the eye, on the surface.

Please feel free to contact E-File Florida at 954-583-8534 or visit us on the internet at http://www.efileflorida.com for more great tax tips and articles.

IRS CIRCULAR 230 Required Notice – IRS regulations require that we inform you as follows: Any Federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction as tax related matter(s).

Categories: Strictly TAXES!

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit


Summer is definitely upon us! Along with the heat, summertime is historically a busy time for families to move. Things are starting to heat up in the real estate market again we’re getting plenty of inquiries about the First Time Homebuyer’s Tax Credit. This tax credit is an excellent opportunity for anyone seeking home ownership, but there is a time limit on it. If you or anyone you know is looking to take advantage of a buyer’s market, low interest rates AND a huge tax credit, YOU MUST ACT QUICKLY!

Here are some basic facts about this tax credit:

Dollar Amounts of the Homebuyer Tax Credit
The tax credit is worth 10% of the purchase price of the home. For 2009, the maximum credit is $8,000 (or $4,000 for married couples filing separately).

Qualifying as a First-Time Homebuyer
For the purpose of this tax credit, a first-time homebuyer is defined as someone who has not owned a primary residence in the three-year period ending on the date of purchasing the home. Married couples are considered first-time buyers if neither spouse has owned a residence in the previous three years.

Limited Time Period for Purchasing a Residence
The credit has a very limited life-span. Individuals will need to purchase a residence after April 9, 2008, and before December 1, 2009.

What is a Primary Residence?
A primary residence is a residence in which an individual lives most of the time. A primary residence can be a house, condominium, co-operative apartment, houseboat, or mobile home. Because the tax credit is for people who purchase their primary residence, individuals may qualify for the tax credit even if they own a vacation home or rental property as long as those properties were not their primary residence for at least three years preceding the purchase of their new home.

Income Phase-out Range
The credit is phased out for individuals with modified adjusted gross income between $75,000 and $95,000. For married couples filing a joint return, the phase out range is $150,000 to $170,000.

When to Claim the Credit
The taxpayer can claim the tax credit on his/her next tax return in January, 2010. The IRS will also allow the purchasers to file an amended 2008 return to claim the credit, if they want the cash sooner.

E-File Florida is uniquely positioned to help taxpayers/homebuyers through the maze of purchasing their new home and applying for the First Time Homebuyer’s Credit. We are licensed in real estate as well as income taxes! Feel free to call or email us with any questions you or anyone you refer may have. We are here to serve YOU!

You can contact E-File Florida at 954-583-8534 or visit us on the Internet at http://www.efileflorida.com for more great tax tips and articles.

IRS CIRCULAR 230 Required Notice – IRS regulations require that we inform you as follows: Any Federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction as tax related matter(s).

Categories: Strictly TAXES!
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