Lowrance Law, LLC

IRS issued new Publication 554 entitled “Tax Guide for Seniors.” Click Here for Pub. 554 

Believe it or not, IRS has a great website, IRS Website, and many publications about tax are there for download.  Just below is a quoted portion from Publication 554.  There are selected topics of particular interest to older taxpayers.  In addition, there are several ways that Seniors can get help preparing there income tax returns.    For example, see AARP Tax Taxaide, for example.   For help, the IRS says:”
Return preparation assistance:  The IRS wants to make it easier for you to file your federal tax return. You may find it helpful to visit a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), or American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Tax-Aide site near you. 

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly.

These programs provide free help for low-income taxpayers and taxpayers age 60 or older to fill in and file their returns. For the VITA/TCE site nearest you, contact your local IRS office. 

For the location of an AARP Tax-Aide site in your community, call 1-888-227-7669. When asked, be ready to press in or speak your 5-digit ZIP code. Or, you can visit their website on the Internet at www.aarp.org/taxaide.

From Publication 554:

“The purpose of this publication is to provide a general overview of selected topics that are of interest to older taxpayers. The publication will help you determine if you need to file a return and, if so, what items to report on your return. Each topic is discussed only briefly, so you will find references to other free IRS publications that provide more detail on these topics if you need it.

While most federal income tax laws apply equally to all taxpayers, regardless of age, there are some provisions that give special treatment to older taxpayers. The following are some examples.

Higher gross income threshold for filing: You must be age 65 or older at the end of the year to get this benefit. You are considered 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. Therefore, you are considered 65 at the end of the year if your 65th birthday is on or before January 1 of the following year.

Higher standard deduction: If you do not itemize deductions, you are entitled to a higher standard deduction if you are age 65 or older at the end of the year. You are considered 65 at the end of the year if your 65th birthday is on or before January 1 of the following year.

Credit for the elderly or the disabled: If you qualify, you may benefit from the credit for the elderly or the disabled. To determine if you qualify and how to figure this credit, see Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.

Bill Lowrance
PS: No legal advice here; see your own attorney or accountant for tax advice.

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According to the NYT, the Swiss Bank UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, is going to return about $18 billion dollars to more than 19,000 account holders most of whom are US citizens.   The US citizens holding the accounts, according to the IRS and Justice Department, have evaded at least $300 million a year in taxes, and that does not count penalties and interest.

In its article, “What to Do if UBS is Outing Your Secret Account,” NYT lists possible strategies to take in dealing with the IRS – see also NYT artcle about UBS’ plan to disclose accounts.  If you have held such an account, your best choice to try and avoid criminal prosecution is to voluntarily disclosure your situation to the IRS.  You may not be prosecuted, the choice is up to the Justice Department and the IRS, but you will have to report all your accounts and income and pay taxes, penalties and interest.  Of course, paying money is better than sitting in a prison cell.

When I worked as an attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel, IRS, I specialized in criminal and civil tax matters involving offshore tax havens and hidden money.  We had to decide how to investigate cases, get the money back and determine civil or criminal steps to take.  We often collected millions of dollars in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest.

If you have the offshore account that has not been reported, do not wait for the IRS to knock on your door.

Bill Lowrance

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TIGTA Audits IRS 2008 Report To Congress

January 6, 2009

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is the only government entity that conducts internal audits the IRS.  Well, now you can read the most recent interesting report that covers their audit April 1, 2008 through September 30, 2008.  The report is TIGTA’s semiannual report to Congress. There are some “blockbuster” (technical tax term) statements and […]

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Famous Tax People 08

January 5, 2009

Accounting Web posted a great article about famous tax cheats for 2008—sort of a looking back for tax cheaters. The list:  Wesley Snipes, Joe Francis (Girls Gone Wild), Nicholas Cage, Helio Castroneves and Paul Hogan (Crocodile) among others. Read the whole story Click Here Interesting story. Bill Lowrance

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Taxes 2008–What Is New

January 5, 2009

IRS has published the Form 1040 that individuals file for their 2008 tax returns.  Yes, it is time to think about filing your 2008 individual income tax return. The normal due date is April 15, 2009. There a some new changes this year. IRS publishes the new Form 1040, along with instructions, every year. The instructions […]

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