If you receive an automated call that claims that you are eligible for a refund from the Iowa Department of Revenue, you may be a target of new tax scam. To further mislead call recipients, the perpetrators have very cleverly managed to make the Iowa Department of Revenue’s general taxpayer services number (515-281-3114) appear on caller IDs; however, that number is never used for automated calls.
We have been receiving calls about the latest tax scams that are appearing throughout the country.
An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds. Callers fraudulently claim to be employees of the IRS. These con artists can sound convincing, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
If you have access to a 401(k) plan, contributing at least the amount for which your employer will provide matching funds is one of the best ways to save for retirement. That has been true for some time. However, the IRS has just given you even more incentive to pack money into your 401(k).
Ideally, we would all file our tax returns on time and pay every penny that we owe to the IRS by April 15. At times, however, we all have trouble living up to ideals. If you missed this year’s filing deadline, you obviously can’t go back in time and undo that, but there are steps you can take to limit the damage to your finances.
Life can often get in the way of our best intentions. Tasks get put off or pushed aside as more pressing issues demand our attention. The cost of putting of filing your taxes, however, can be very high. Whether you are short of time to complete your tax return or money to pay the bill, making a small time investment in jumping through some basic hoops can save you the hefty penalties that the IRS imposes on procrastinators.
If you still have not filed your taxes for 2013, don’t panic. The IRS estimates that 1/3 of Americans wait until the last minute to complete their tax preparation. It is not the ideal way to handle your tax return, but it’s not too late to get all of your documentation in order and file an accurate return that includes all of the credits and deductions you are entitled to claim. The important thing is to get started now and commit to filing what you need by the April 15 deadline.
A first job can be an empowering and educational experience for teenagers. It provides them with their own money, which they must learn to manage. It gives them a sense of what things cost and what it takes to earn them. It teaches them to prioritize wants and needs and can form the basis for good lifelong financial management practices. It is also an opportunity for them to begin learning about income tax. Most teens do not earn enough to have to file a tax return, but in some situations, minors are required to file, and some who are not required will benefit from filing anyway. When teenagers begin their first jobs, understanding a few basic tax principles will help them to understand their tax obligations and how they might limit the income tax they will owe. Parents will also benefit from understanding how their children’s jobs may affect their own tax returns.
You have a host of options for assistance with your income tax preparation, from a storefront with a dancing mascot to a high-priced tax attorney. How do you begin to choose among them? It is important to understand what level of experience, expertise, and service you are getting when you hire your tax preparer. When you understand what your fees buy with each type of preparer, then you can decide which is the best value to you.
Tax planning is a year-round job. Thinking about how to increase the credits and deductions for your small business early in the year will help you better control your obligation at tax time, and being aware of some key opportunities and pitfalls will help you to effectively plan your financial year.
Tax Tip: If you are struggling to put away money for retirement, the Saver’s Credit can help.
If you are a low- to moderate-income earner, the Saver’s Credit provides a wonderful opportunity to reap additional benefits from putting money into a retirement plan.