Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jorge Ramos Gets Trumped (By Jeffrey Lord @ American Spectator)

An Iowa press conference highlights the left’s race card-playing agenda.
By 8.27.15

Full Article Here.

"Ramos was not acting in the role of a journalist at the press conference, he was acting as the left-wing activist he in fact is on this issue. Refusing to follow the basic press conference etiquette that every other reporter in the room was following, fulfilling every stereotype of the smarty-pants rude media type that millions of Americans have come to loathe. Trump responded in way that reminded of that famous moment in the 1980 GOP New Hampshire debate where a similarly disdainful journalist demanded that Ronald Reagan’s microphone be shut off. Reagan instantly half rose from his seat and grabbed the mic, saying sharply, “I paid for this microphone, Mr. Green!” The moment electrified his supporters, Reagan won the primary, the nomination, and eventually the election.

Has Jorge Ramos just won the Republican nomination for Donald Trump? We will see. But certainly Trump’s firm handling of this situation was a serious plus for his campaign. A campaign that is already swimming in favorable polls and large crowds.

.....

The hard reality is that a political party and a political movement — the Democrats and the Left that were built on the power of out and out racism — are fully intending to keep Americans divided by race. Forever.

And Jorge Ramos — as his hateful message of glorifying ethnicity and race over the colorblind ideals of freedom and liberty illustrates all too well — intends to help them.
Shameful.

The good news illustrated in that Iowa press conference? Donald Trump — the son and grandson of immigrants who is also married to an immigrant — won’t stand for any of this disgraceful business.

Good for him."


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Job Search Expenses May Be Deductible


If you look for a job in the same line of work, you may be able to deduct some of your job search costs.


Here are some key tax facts you should know about if you search for a new job:

  • Same Occupation.  Your expenses must be for a job search in your current line of work. You can’t deduct expenses for a job search in a new occupation.

  • Résumé Costs.  You can deduct the cost of preparing and mailing your résumé.

  • Travel Expenses.  If you travel to look for a new job, you may be able to deduct the cost of the trip. To deduct the cost of the travel to and from the area, the trip must be mainly to look for a new job. You may still be able to deduct some costs if looking for a job is not the main purpose of the trip.

  • Placement Agency. You can deduct some job placement agency fees you pay to look for a job.

  • First Job.  You can’t deduct job search expenses if you’re looking for a job for the first time.

  • Substantial Job Break.  You can’t deduct job search expenses if there was a long break between the end of your last job and the time you began looking for a new one.

  • Reimbursed Costs.  Reimbursed expenses are not deductible.

  • Schedule A.  You usually deduct your job search expenses on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. You’ll claim them as a miscellaneous deduction. You can deduct the total miscellaneous deductions that are more than two percent of your adjusted gross income.

  • Premium Tax Credit.  If you receive advance payments of the premium tax credit it is important that you report changes in circumstances, such as changes in your income or eligibility for other coverage, to your Health Insurance Marketplace. Other changes that you should report include changes in your family size or address.  Advance payments of the premium tax credit provide financial assistance to help you pay for the insurance you buy through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Reporting changes will help you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance so you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance.

For more on job hunting refer to Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions. You can get IRS tax forms and publications on IRS.gov/forms at any time.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Key Tax Tips On The Tax Effects Of Divorce Or Separation


Income tax may be the last thing on your mind after a divorce or separation. However, these events can have a big impact on your taxes. Alimony and a name change are just a few items you may need to consider.


Here are some key tax tips to keep in mind if you get divorced or separated.
  • Child Support.  If you pay child support, you can’t deduct it on your tax return. If you receive child support, the amount you receive is not taxable.

  • Alimony Paid.  If you make payments under a divorce or separate maintenance decree or written separation agreement you may be able to deduct them as alimony. This applies only if the payments qualify as alimony for federal tax purposes. If the decree or agreement does not require the payments, they do not qualify as alimony.

  • Alimony Received.  If you get alimony from your spouse or former spouse, it is taxable in the year you get it. Alimony is not subject to tax withholding so you may need to increase the tax you pay during the year to avoid a penalty. To do this, you can make estimated tax payments or increase the amount of tax withheld from your wages.

  • Spousal IRA.  If you get a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance by the end of your tax year, you can’t deduct contributions you make to your former spouse's traditional IRA. You may be able to deduct contributions you make to your own traditional IRA.

  • Name Changes.  If you change your name after your divorce, notify the Social Security Administration of the change. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get the form on SSA.gov or call 800-772-1213 to order it. The name on your tax return must match SSA records. A name mismatch can delay your refund. 

Health Care Law Considerations
  • Special Marketplace Enrollment Period.  If you lose your health insurance coverage due to divorce, you are still required to have coverage for every month of the year for yourself and the dependents you can claim on your tax return. Losing coverage through a divorce is considered a qualifying life event that allows you to enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace during a Special Enrollment Period.

  • Changes in Circumstances.  If you purchase health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace you may get advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2015. If you do, you should report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace throughout the year. Changes to report include a change in marital status, a name change and a change in your income or family size. By reporting changes, you will help make sure that you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance. This will also help you avoid getting too much or too little credit in advance.

  • Shared Policy Allocation. If you divorced or are legally separated during the tax year and are enrolled in the same qualified health plan, you and your former spouse must allocate policy amounts on your separate tax returns to figure your premium tax credit and reconcile any advance payments made on your behalf. Publication 974, Premium Tax Credit, has more information about the Shared Policy Allocation.

For more on this topic, see Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals. You can get it on IRS.gov/forms at any time.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

FTC Offers First Ever Guidelines On Unfair Competition Enforcement

FTC Issues Statement of Principles Regarding Enforcement of FTC Act As A Competition Statute



Frames Agency’s Use of ‘Stand Alone’ Section 5 Authority to Address Unfair Methods of Competition

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a Statement of Enforcement Principles that describes the underlying antitrust principles that guide the Commission’s application of its statutory authority to take action against “unfair methods of competition” prohibited by Section 5 of the FTC Act but not necessarily by the Sherman or Clayton Act.

“The promotion of consumer welfare is a cornerstone of the FTC’s antitrust enforcement, and these principles reaffirm the agency’s legal framework in carrying out that important mission,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “The statement formally aligns Section 5 with the Sherman and Clayton Acts.”
The statement announced today explains that, consistent with FTC precedent, the Commission will adhere to the following principles when deciding whether to use its standalone authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act to challenge unfair methods of competition:
  • the Commission will be guided by the public policy underlying the antitrust laws, namely, the promotion of consumer welfare;

  • the act or practice will be evaluated under a framework similar to the rule of reason, that is, an act or practice challenged by the Commission must cause, or be likely to cause, harm to competition or the competitive process, taking into account any associated cognizable efficiencies and business justifications; and

  • the Commission is less likely to challenge an act or practice as an unfair method of competition on a standalone basis if enforcement of the Sherman or Clayton Act is sufficient to address the competitive harm arising from the act or practice.

The Commission vote to approve the Statement of Enforcement Principles was 4-1, with Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen voting no. The Commission issued a statement, and Commissioner Ohlhausen issued a dissenting statement.


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IRS Tips To Help People Pay Their Taxes




If you owe tax, the IRS offers safe and easy ways to pay. Check out these payment tips:

 

  • Pay your tax bill.  If you get a bill, you should pay it as soon as you can. You should always try to pay in full to avoid any additional charges. See if you can use your credit card or to get a loan to pay in full. If you can’t pay in full, you’ll save if you pay as much as you can. The more you can pay, the less interest and penalties you will owe for late payment. The IRS offers several payment options on IRS.gov. 

  • Use IRS Direct Pay.  The best way to pay your taxes is with IRS Direct Pay. It’s the safe, easy and free way to pay from your checking or savings account. You can pay your tax in just five simple steps in one online session. Just click on the “Payment” tab on IRS.gov. You can now use Direct Pay with the IRS2Go mobile app.

  • Get a short-term payment plan.  If you owe more tax than you can pay, you may qualify for more time, up to 120 days, to pay in full. You do not have to pay a user fee to set up a short-term full payment agreement. However, the IRS will charge interest and penalties until you pay in full. It’s easy to apply online at IRS.gov. If you get a bill from the IRS, you may call the phone number listed on it. If you don’t have a bill, call 800-829-1040 for help.

  • Apply for an installment agreement.  Most people who need more time to pay can apply for an Online Payment Agreement on IRS.gov. A direct debit payment plan is the hassle-free way to pay. The set-up fee is much less than other plans and you won’t miss a payment. If you can’t apply online, or prefer to do so in writing, use Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. Individuals can use Direct Pay to make their installment payments. For more about payment plan options, visit IRS.gov.

  • Check out an offer in compromise.  An offer in compromise, or OIC, may let you settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. An OIC may be an option if you can’t pay your tax in full. It may also apply if full payment will cause a financial hardship. Not everyone qualifies, so make sure you explore all other ways to pay your tax before you submit an OIC to the IRS. Use the OIC Pre-Qualifier tool to see if you qualify. It will also tell you what a reasonable offer might be.

  • Change your withholding or estimated tax.  If you are an employee, you can avoid a tax bill by having more taxes withheld from your pay. To do this, file a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer. The IRS Withholding Calculator tool on IRS.gov can help you fill out the form. If you are self-employed you may need to make or change your estimated tax payments. See Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals for learn more.

To find out more see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. You can get it on IRS.gov/forms at any time.
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Monday, August 10, 2015

IRS Offers Easy-To-Use Online Tools


When you need tax help, the IRS has many online tools that are easy to use. You can e-file your tax return free, check your refund’s status or get your tax questions answered.  Use tools on IRS.gov any time of day or night.

Here’s a list of popular self-help tools that millions have used to get free tax help:

  • IRS Free File.  You can use IRS Free File to prepare and e-file your federal tax return for free. Free File will do much of the work for you with brand-name tax software or Fillable Forms. If you still need to file your 2014 tax return, Free File is available through Oct. 15. The only way to use IRS Free File is through the IRS website.
  • Where’s My Refund?  Checking the status of your tax refund is easy when you use Where's My Refund? You can also use this tool with the IRS2Go mobile app.
  • Direct Pay.  Use IRS Direct Pay to pay your tax bill or pay your estimated tax directly from your checking or savings account. Direct Pay is safe, easy and free. The tool walks you through five simple steps to pay your tax in one online session. You can also use Direct Pay with the IRS2Go mobile app.
  • Online Payment Agreement.  If you can’t pay your taxes in full, apply for an Online Payment Agreement. The Direct Debit payment plan option is a lower-cost hassle-free way to pay your tax each month.
  • Withholding Calculator.  Did you get a larger refund or owe more tax than you expected the last time you filed your tax return? If so, you may want to change the amount of tax withheld from your paycheck. The Withholding Calculator tool can help you determine if you need to give your employer a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. The tool can also help you fill out the form. Give the new form to your employer to make the change.
  • Interactive Tax Assistant.  If you need to know about 2014 taxes, you should try the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to get what you need. If you do not have qualifying health insurance coverage, the tool can help. For instance, you can find out if you must make an individual shared responsibility payment or if you are eligible for an exemption, when you file your income tax return. You can also use the tool to find out if you are eligible for the premium tax credit.
  • IRS Select Check.  If you want to deduct your gift to charity, the organization you give to must be qualified. Use the IRS Select Check tool to see if a group is qualified.
  • Tax Map.  The IRS Tax Map gives you a single point to get tax law information by subject. It integrates your topic with related tax forms, instructions and publications into one research tool.
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Friday, August 7, 2015

IRS Tax Tips For Starting A Business


When you start a business, a key to your success is to know your tax obligations. You may not only need to know about income tax rules, but also about payroll tax rules. Here are five IRS tax tips that can help you get your business off to a good start.


1. Business Structure.  An early choice you need to make is to decide on the type of structure for your business.  The most common types are sole proprietor, partnership and corporation. The type of business you choose will determine which tax forms you will file.

2. Business Taxes.  There are four general types of business taxes. They are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax. In most cases, the types of tax your business pays depends on the type of business structure you set up. You may need to make estimated tax payments. If you do, use IRS Direct Pay to pay them. It’s the fast, easy and secure way to pay from your checking or savings account.

3. Employer Identification Number.  You may need to get an EIN for federal tax purposes. Search “do you need an EIN” on IRS.gov to find out if you need this number. If you do need one, you can apply for it online.

4. Accounting Method.  An accounting method is a set of rules that you use to determine when to report income and expenses. You must use a consistent method. The two that are most common are the cash and accrual methods. Under the cash method, you normally report income and deduct expenses in the year that you receive or pay them. Under the accrual method, you generally report income and deduct expenses in the year that you earn or incur them. This is true even if you get the income or pay the expense in a later year.

5. Employee Health Care.  The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit helps small businesses and tax-exempt organizations pay for health care coverage they offer their employees. A small employer is eligible for the credit if it has fewer than 25 employees who work full-time, or a combination of full-time and part-time. The maximum credit is 50 percent of premiums paid for small business employers and 35 percent of premiums paid for small tax-exempt employers, such as charities.

The employer shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act affect employers employing at least a certain number of employees (generally 50 full-time employees or a combination of full-time and part-time employees). These employers’ are called applicable large employers. ALEs must either offer minimum essential coverage that is “affordable” and that provides “minimum value” to their full-time employees (and their dependents), or potentially make an employer shared responsibility payment to the IRS. The vast majority of employers will fall below the ALE threshold number of employees and, therefore, will not be subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions.

Employers also have information reporting responsibilities regarding minimum essential coverage they offer or provide to their fulltime employees.  Employers must send reports to employees and to the IRS on new forms the IRS created for this purpose.

Get all the tax basics of starting a business on IRS.gov at the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center.

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