Friday, March 12, 2010


According to Reuters News, the United States boosted it's investigation of taxes last year by 10 percent. Tax authorities also boosted their investigation of other financial crimes (again, by 10 percent).

The Internal Revenue Service is trying to pursue wealthy tax cheats. They reported a 13 percent rise in the number of reviews of what is known as 'legal source' crimes. A 'legal source' crime is a legitimate business by which the income hidden in some way.

Their convictions are also up slightly.They say there was also a 13 percent jump in 'illegal-source' financial crimes. These are crimes from gambling or gun-running. For some inexplicable reason, there was a reduction in their pursuit of narcotics-related crime.

Last year, the IRS had a voluntary amnesty program to encourage tax cheats to come forward without fear of jail time. Last year about 15,000 taxpayers decided to take advantage of the amnesty program.

A Tax Amnesty program provides comprehensive tax relief. Typically an amnesty program has a very short window of opportunity. The goal is to collect as much back taxes as possible in a very short period of time, usually two or three months. The IRS waived penalties if you filed returns and paid your taxes during the amnesty period.

The bad news for tax cheats is that authorities are culling this information to potentially go after other individuals and other financial institutions that may have been helping Americans evade taxes.

I interpret this to mean that the IRS will look at how much money specific businesses make. If a business, partnership or corporation makes over or under the newly created guidelines -- then, that business will be scrutinized very carefully.

Everyone would like to spend less on taxes. Fortunately, the tax laws make it easy. You can reduce your taxable income through various deductions, or reduce your tax liability through various credits.

Here's some suggestions for uncovering the tax breaks that are right for you:

1.Tax Basics -- First of all, we have to pay our taxes. So, plan in advance on what to do. I file my taxes online using "TAX ACT". Any do-it-yourself software program will work for you (either online or just on your computer). If you're not brave enough to do it yourself -- there are many tax preparers out there willing to file for you. There are lots of free places to get your taxes done as well. I know that there's help for Senior citizens, for sure.

2.Filing Status -- Determine your filing status. Filing status determines which tax rates and which standard deduction amounts apply to a specific tax return. If you've gotten married or had a child (including adoption) in the past year, don't forget to include spouse or child.

Seriously, after we had our first child, my ex-husband forgot to add our son as a dependent!! I had even named the boy after him and all. It can happen. Also remember to change your filing status if you've recently gotten divorced (me!). Persons that are not married but are raising the children on their own are considered to be a "Head of Household". They would need to pay less taxes.

3.Investments -- Taxpayers who invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or real estate can benefit from lower tax rates on long-term gains. If a person were to shift their investments from short-term gains to long-term gains, you could lower your taxes quite a bit. Homeowners have many tax advantages available to them. Oftentimes, annuities are not taxable. Be sure and get some good tax advice before you invest.

4.Some Tax Breaks -- When an investment is valuable and cost a chunk of money, it also comes with a tax savings. The following are some expenditures that may also come with a tax benefit: Capital Gains, Capital Losses, with short and long-term holding periods, Capital Assets, and the sale of your home.

I'm not a tax accountant. Taxes are confusing to everyone (even tax accountants). Be sure and do your research. Most people already know most of what I've gone over here. But, if you don't -- study up. And, remember,the government is finding more ways all the time to catch tax cheaters. So -- Please!! Do NOT cheat on your taxes.

Guest Author:Meghan Furst an insurance agent.I have a blog @ htttp:// Please stop by,read my articles and COMMENT.Or ask questions.I Love questions and will personally answer them.

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