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What is an 'offer in compromise'?

There are a thousand reasons people fall behind on their taxes. There are medical emergencies; loved ones unexpectedly pass away; car and house repairs drain the savings account -- it can be anything that wipes you out financially or even emotionally. And for some of us, once that deadline passes, it is so much easier to forget about it.

Plain as the nose on your face: Don't miss common tax deductions

There are so many moving parts to an income tax return that it can be hard to keep track of everything. It isn't unusual for the average taxpayer to be distracted by the difficult details and to miss the easy ones. In some ways, preparing a tax return is like taking a multiple choice test: Knock the easy ones out first, then move on to the ones that require more complicated calculations and documentation.

Considering an end-of-year charitable gift? Tips from the IRS

Charitable giving is important all year 'round, but it's often this time of year when we receive the vast majority of solicitations. Why? Well, charities know that if you're in the position to itemize, you may be looking for a few more deductions to offset some gains and bring your entire tax bill down.

The uncivil nature of civil forfeiture: People, businesses suffer p2

In a strange way, our discussion of the law of civil forfeiture in our last post made us think of the expression, "Hate the sin, but love the sinner." The law allows the IRS to seize the property of a private citizen or a business if the IRS suspects that the property is somehow tied to illegal activity.

The uncivil nature of civil forfeiture: People, businesses suffer

Was it 9/11 or the financial meltdown and recession that put more small businesses in the IRS's crosshairs? A mere sideways look from the agency can cost a small business more time, money and credibility than most can afford -- even if the business has done nothing wrong. Welcome to the land of civil forfeiture.

Because a mind - and a tax break - is a terrible thing to waste p3

This is the time of year that many people start thinking about their taxes. There is time left in 2014 to reduce a tax bill, and there are a number of ways to do that. For those among us who have a little extra cash, it may be time to think about donating to a charity.

Because a mind - and a tax break - is a terrible thing to waste p2

California law now allows taxpayers to claim a credit for donating to the Cal Grant B program. The program helps low-income students in the state pay for college books and housing. In an effort to increase the amount of money and the number of students who benefit, lawmakers developed a plan that also benefits taxpayers.

Because a mind - and a tax break - is a terrible thing to waste

The news is full of stories about the student loan debt crisis. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported recently that the debt burden  for both private and federal loans in this country has topped $1.2 trillion And, more than 7 million American borrowers have defaulted on their loans.

The IRS is calling? Hang up. It's a scam.

Scammers have been contacting taxpayers in California and Oregon lately telling them they owe money to the federal government. The taxpayer must pay immediately, the caller says, and only by wire transfer or temporary debit card. Saying no reportedly earns an aggressive response: The taxpayers are told they will be arrested or deported or will have their driver's licenses suspended, among other threats.

There is a taxpayer advocate, and she's set TAS' 2015 priorities p3

The National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina E. Olson, recently issued the list of priorities for the Taxpayer Advocate Service. The TAS is the independent internal watchdog of the IRS, and Olson's annual priorities address the agency's shortcomings. For example, in our last post, we were talking about victims of tax preparer fraud and the IRS' failure to issue replacement refunds to them. The IRS has that authority -- the agency just hasn't done anything with it.

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