Obama wants cheaper pennies and nickels

The U.S. Mint is facing a problem — especially during these penny-pinching times. It turns out it costs more to make pennies and nickels than the coins are worth, and because of that, the Obama administration this week asked Congress for permission to change the mix of metal that goes to make pennies and nickels, an expensive recipe that has remained unchanged for more than 30 years.

To be precise, it cost 2.4 cents to make one penny in 2011 and about 11.2 cents for each nickel. Given the number of coins that the mint produces — 4.3 billion pennies and 914 million nickels last year alone, those costs add up pretty quickly: a little more than $100 million for each coin.

But even though Treasury has been studying new metals since 2010, it has yet to come up with a workable mix that would definitely be cheaper, and it has no details yet as to what metals should be used or how much it would save to do so.

Even if a cheaper metal can be used, it might not take the cost of a penny down to less than a penny. Just the administrative cost of minting 4.3 billion pennies costs almost a half-cent per coin by itself, leaving precious little room to make a penny for less than a cent, no matter the raw material used.

Funny money?
The raw material cost of the metals used in a current penny is only about 0.6 cents per coin, according to prices quoted on the London Metal Exchange, and a breakdown of a penny’s composition from the mint. The mint paid 1.1 cents on average for the metal used in a penny in 2011, but that is the cost of ready-to-stamp blanks from the supplier, not raw material traded on commodity markets.

There have been times in recent years when a run-up in zinc and copper prices has taken the raw material value of a penny above one cent. That’s the case for a nickel today. Its more expensive metal mix means the raw materials in each are worth almost 6 cents per coin, based on current market prices.

Despite popular belief, since 1982 pennies have only been copper plated, not copper through and through. Much less expensive zinc makes up 97.5% of the mass of a penny, the rest is a copper coating. Nickels actually have much more copper in them — 75% copper and 25% nickel, the same mix it has always had. The mint did make steel pennies for one year — in 1943 — when copper was needed for the war effort. And steel might be a cheaper alternative this time. Steel is roughly one-quarter the price of zinc on the London Metal Exchange.

Treasury had already made a cost-saving move in December when it stopped making dollar coins. With 1.4 billion surplus presidential dollar coins sitting in bank vaults waiting to be circulated, and American consumers showing little appetite to start using the coins, Treasury estimates the halt in production of the coins will save about $50 million a year.

Treasury spokesman Matt Anderson said Treasury has the authority to stop making the dollar coins on its own, but it can’t change the mix of metals in pennies without permission. As for the suggestion of some that the penny be abandoned altogether, Anderson said only “that is not a proposal we have put forward.”

7 Things You Didn’t Know Affect Your Credit Score

We all know to pay our bills on time and carry as little debt as possible, and most of the time, that is all that matters in your credit score. Yet, there are other, smaller factors that many people aren’t aware of that can cause your score to suffer.

Small Unpaid Private Debts
Many people pay their mortgage, credit card and utility bills with unflappable consistency, yet neglect smaller debts. They may feel that these debts are illegitimate or that they will just go away if ignored. For example, municipalities have been known to report unpaid parking tickets and even library fines to credit bureaus. Unfortunately, any unpaid debt can weigh down your credit score.

Tax Liens
You might not think of the IRS as an agency that reports to credit bureaus, but Uncle Sam figured out long ago how to use your credit history as leverage. In fact, these records remain in your credit history for 15 years; even longer than a bankruptcy. If you have an unpaid tax lien, paying it off will certainly help your credit score, but it can’t undo all the damage done by having there in the first place.

Utility Bills
Your electricity bill or gas bill is not a loan, but failing to pay it will hurt your credit score. While these companies won’t normally report their customer’s payment history, they will report delinquent accounts much more quickly than other institutions, so be careful.

Too Many Recent Credit Applications
It can be tempting to sign up for various credit cards that offer some bonus for your business. Banks can offer tens of thousands of points or miles, while retailers grant in-store discounts when you apply for their credit card. By themselves, these applications have an insignificant effect, but too many credit checks in too short of a time period can lower your credit score. To avoid this problem, limit the number of applications for credit, especially when you are shopping for a home, car or student loan.

Long-Term Loan Shopping
Consumers may know that too many credit inquiries will lower their credit score. Nevertheless, to allow consumers to shop around for the best rates on automobile, student and home loans, the FICO will not penalize borrowers who have multiple credit checks in a short period of time. Various FICO formulas negate multiple inquiries with either 14 or 45 days. Therefore, continuing to shop around for a loan over several months will fall outside of this safe harbor and will lower your score.

Business Credit Cards
Do you have a credit card in the name of your business? Nevertheless, almost all banks will still hold you personally responsible for your debts. Furthermore, your payment history is reported to the credit bureaus. Therefore, any late payments or unpaid debts in the name of your business will affect your personal credit, so long as you are the primary account holder on a business card.

Mistakes
Any incorrect information in your credit history can hurt your score. For example, people with common names frequently find other people’s information in their file. In other cases, typos and clerical errors result in adverse information affecting your score. This is one of the reasons why consumers are encouraged to complete soft inquires at least once a year and dispute any mistakes they find.

The Bottom Line
By paying close attention to the decisions they make, consumers can avoid taking actions that seem harmless, but can really hurt their credit.

LLC Tax Benefits For Small Businesses

Why is it smarter to operate a business as a LLC for tax purposes?

No matter the timing, it is important for you to consider which business entity will benefit your small business the most, during tax time. An LLC is specific type of business entity, whereof the federal government provides favorable tax benefits under certain scenarios. This type of structure has become very popular for small businesses.

LLCs are treated as “Pass Through” entities
No matter the size of your small business, the IRS essentially provides the tax benefit of larger companies to businesses that operate as LLCs. The term “Pass Through” relates to the fact that your LLC bypasses all of the taxes at the corporate level. In other words, as a registered LLC, you will not have to pay taxes for your company profits as a business, but you will be required to pay taxes for company profits individually. The taxes are assessed as the profits pass through the corporation down to the LLC’s owners, also called Members. These taxes are calculated by the distributive share of ownership, determined by the percentage profits allocated to each member of the LLC. Typically, these percentages are agreed upon in the LLC Operating Agreement. Each member then pays individual taxes on that amount. This is beneficial for a company, because a corporation pays taxes on profits from the business level, but at the shareholder (member) level.

Retained Earnings- LLC can choose C-Corp Taxation
Retained Earnings are the profits that a company chooses to keep within the LLC. If you are registered as an LLC, you still have the option to be taxed as a C-Corp. This is ideal for a company who expects to retain a substantial percentage of profits. Operating your company as an LLC, you can elect to be taxed as a C-Corp and receive the benefit of a 15% tax on the first $50,000 that is earned. 15% is a very low tax bracket for small businesses. It is a lower tax bracket than personal income taxation, which will give you more money to put back into your company.

Other ideas to consider
Small business owners must take into consideration the overall impact of their business entity, at present and in the future. Are you looking to take the company public someday? Are you looking to raise money through Venture Capitalists or Angel Investors? Decisions such as these will affect your ultimate decision regarding your legal business entity and the taxes that go along with.

Get an A+ on Your Next IRS Audit

The best way to avoid being audited is to follow the rules. File a return every year and be complete and honest. However, the IRS uses statistical sampling to identify auditees and you might just find yourself in their spotlight no matter how thorough you might be. If this is you, prepare yourself and manage expectations. An IRS audit might not be as bad as you think. Preventative Measures

Getting an A+ on the audit is all about keeping accurate logs and correct reporting.

Not a tax expert? No problem. Hire a professional to do your taxes, especially if you are incorporated. Taxes are complex and your time is probably better spent managing your business.

Do not ever lie to, or hide the truth from your preparer. For example, if they ask you to disclose a foreign bank account, do it. More and more international banking centers are complying with the US’s requests to disclose account information.

Computers have greatly increased the ability for the IRS to collect data and query to determine whose returns are not telling the entire story. For example, the 1099 INT that your bank mails to you is also reported to the IRS. If you fail to report your 1099 INT, be sure that the IRS is already aware through simple database querying. When your name makes it to their exceptions report, you could greatly increase your chances of being audited.

Statistical Sampling – How the IRS Finds You
Every year the IRS publishes the Data Book, which is an extremely large, complex document telling us what the IRS is looking for. The 2010 Data Book reveled how the following groups were audited:

1% of individuals with income of less than $200,000
8% of individuals with income greater than $1,000,000
8% of corporations earning more than $1,000,000
2.5% of corporations earning under $100,000
98% of corporation earning 20 B or more
Key triggers: missing schedules, excessive deductions, complex return

Key takeaway: if your corporation earns more than $1,000,000 you are a target. If you as an individual earn more than $1,000,000, you are a target. If you are a whale, 20 B or more, you are not just a target, but you have a full time IRS presence at your organization.

Sometimes just being a high profile, high net worth individual can trigger the IRS to scrutinize your return. Everybody should remember Richard Hatch of Survivor fame who served jail time for failing to report his million dollar prize. The IRS is known to target individuals whose incomes make headlines such as prize winners, executives, and star athletes and entertainers.

You’ve been selected, now what?
Proper record keeping will be your savior. If you are disorganized, you will want to apply for a delay so that you can organize your paperwork. Basically, what you will be doing is supplying support for every number recorded on the return. For example, you will need support for all revenues and expenses. If you deducted $12,000 in expenses you had better be able to supply documentation that totals $12,000. For any amount other than $12,000, the auditor will reverse your deduction. Expenses are where most people fail to keep accurate records.

Expense Logs
Proper expense logs make an audit less of a burden, you will have readily accessible information to support the documentation. Otherwise, maintaining organized records is always a good business decision. A good log should include account number information. Docstoc has great logs for travel, mileage, and other expenses.

Special events like the sale of property and equipment, or grants and donations should command extra scrutiny on your part. Seek professional help if you need further advice on how to treat such transactions.

In many cases you can reconstruct missing information, but this requires time. The IRS will usually presume that the deducted expense should be reversed so long as there is no supporting documentation. Not having to reconstruct missing documentation is a great advantage in an audit because calling banks and vendors can take valuable time.

Where will the audit take place? In a correspondence audit you will send in your support via fax, mail, or email. Most audits occur in this manner. If you are selected for a field office audit you will present your documentation at an IRS office or an IRS agent will visit your premises.

Should you hire an attorney or CPA?
In most cases yes. If you had a professional preparation or used a service like Turbo Tax, they might have certain guarantees and will assist you through the audit process. Turbo Tax’s website even claims that Turbo Tax will pay the penalty and interest, but read the fine print, this is only if you supplied accurate information.

An experienced professional will assist you in preparing supporting documentation. They will determine what to send and how to present it. Additionally, if the IRS does not request specific support, do not volunteer. A professional will have a much better sense of how to handle the IRS requests.

Health Savings Accounts Save on Taxes and Health Care

As 2011 W-2 forms and 1099s start arriving in mailboxes throughout the country, now is the time to remind taxpayers with health savings accounts (HSAs) that they have until April 17 to contribute to their HSAs to maximize their 2011 deductions, up to the legal limit.

For 2011, HSA contributions are tax deductible up to $3,050 for individuals and up to $6,150 for families. HSA holders who are 55 and older can deduct an additional $1,000. In 2012, tax-deductible contribution limits have been increased to $3,100 for individuals and $6,250 for families.

Health savings accounts have two components: a tax-advantaged savings account coupled with a high-deductible health insurance plan. In addition to the tax savings, a high deductible health insurance plan paired with an HSA typically costs significantly less in monthly premiums compared to more traditional health insurance while still providing quality coverage, including preventive care.

Savings deposited into an HSA grow tax-deferred and can be withdrawn tax-free as long as the HSA dollars are used for qualified medical expenses, which include health insurance deductibles as well as vision and dental care that are not covered by health insurance plans.

“HSAs make sound financial sense because they enable consumers to save tax-free for their current and future medical needs,” said Richard A. Collins, CEO, UnitedHealthcare’s Golden Rule Insurance Company.

According to a recent Fidelity Investments® survey, “almost seven in 10 (68 percent) of pre-retirees said the cost of medical care in retirement is one of their three biggest financial concerns.”

“Unspent HSA savings can accumulate year after year, earning interest. This helps build up a ‘medical nest egg’ that can be valuable later in life when health care needs can increase significantly,” Collins said.

To learn more about HSAs, visit www.HSAcenter.com, an interactive online resource developed by Golden Rule to educate consumers about the advantages that health savings accounts offer. Golden Rule’s expertise in the consumer-directed health care market goes back more than 20 years when the company introduced the first medical savings account (MSA), predecessor to the HSA.

Some of the Most Common Abusive Tax Schemes?

Tax evasion using foreign jurisdictions is accomplished using many different methods. Some can be as simple as taking unreported cash receipts and personally traveling to a tax haven country and depositing the cash into a bank account. Others are more elaborate involving numerous domestic and foreign trusts, partnerships, nominees, etc. The following schemes are not all-inclusive, but just a sample of abusive tax schemes.

Abusive Foreign Trust Schemes: The foreign trust schemes usually start off as a series of domestic trusts layered upon one another. This set up is used to give the appearance that the taxpayer has turned his/her business and assets over to a trust and is no longer in control of the business or its assets. Once transferred to the domestic trust, the income and expenses are passed to one or more foreign trusts, typically in tax haven countries.

As an example, a taxpayer’s business is split into two trusts. One trust would be the business trust that is in charge of the daily operations. The other trust is an equipment trust formed to hold the business’s equipment that is leased back to the business trust at inflated rates to nullify any income reported on the business trust tax return (Form 1041). Next the income from the equipment trust is distributed to foreign trust-one, again, which nullifies any tax due on the equipment trust tax return. Foreign trust-one then distributes all or most of its income to foreign trust-two. Since all of foreign trust-two’s income is foreign based there is no filing requirement.

Once the assets are in foreign trust-two, a bank account is opened either under the trust name or an International Business Corporation (IBC). The trust documentation and business records of this scheme all make it appear that the taxpayer is no longer in control of his/her business or its assets. The reality is that nothing ever changed. The taxpayer still exercises full control over his/her business and assets. There can be many different variations to the scheme.

International Business Corporations (IBC): The taxpayer establishes an IBC with the exact name as that of his/her business. The IBC also has a bank account in the foreign country. As the taxpayer receives checks from customers, he sends them to the bank in the foreign country. The foreign bank then uses its correspondent account in the to process the checks so that it never would appear to the customer, upon reviewing the canceled check that the payment was sent offshore. Once the checks clear, the taxpayer’s IBC account is credited for the check payments. Here the taxpayer has, again, transferred the unreported income offshore to a tax haven jurisdiction.

False Billing Schemes: A taxpayer sets up an International Business Corporation (IBC) in a tax haven country with a nominee as the owner (usually the promoter). A bank account is then opened under the IBC. On the bank’s records the taxpayer would be listed as a signatory on the account. The promoter then issues invoices to the taxpayer’s business for goods allegedly purchased by the taxpayer. The taxpayer then sends payment to the IBC that gets deposited into the joint account held by the IBC and taxpayer. The taxpayer takes a business deduction for the payment to the IBC thereby reducing his/her taxable income and has safely placed the unreported income into the foreign bank account.

Five Ways to Offset Education Costs

College can be very expensive. To help students and their parents, the IRS offers the following five ways to offset education costs.

1. The American Opportunity Credit
This credit can help parents and students pay part of the cost of the first four years of college. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act modifies the existing Hope Credit for tax years 2009 and 2010, making it available to a broader range of taxpayers. Eligible taxpayers may qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student. Generally, 40 percent of the credit is refundable, which means that you may be able to receive up to $1,000, even if you owe no taxes.

2. The Hope Credit
The credit can help students and parents pay part of the cost of the first two years of college. This credit generally applies to 2008 and earlier tax years. However, for tax year 2009 a special expanded Hope Credit of up to $3,600 may be claimed for a student attending college in a Midwestern disaster area as long as you do not claim an American Opportunity Tax Credit for any other student in 2009.

3. The Lifetime Learning Credit
This credit can help pay for undergraduate, graduate and professional degree courses – including courses to improve job skills – regardless of the number of years in the program. Eligible taxpayers may qualify for up to $2,000 – $4,000 if a student in a Midwestern disaster area – per tax return.

4. Enhanced benefits for 529 college savings plans Certain computer technology purchases are now added to the list of college expenses that can be paid for by a qualified tuition program, commonly referred to as a 529 plan. For 2009 and 2010, the law expands the definition of qualified higher education expenses to include expenses for computer technology and equipment or Internet access and related services.

5. Tuition and fees deduction Students and their parents may be able to deduct qualified college tuition and related expenses of up to $4,000. This deduction is an adjustment to income, which means the deduction will reduce the amount of your income subject to tax. The Tuition and Fees Deduction may be beneficial to you if you do not qualify for the American opportunity, Hope, or lifetime learning credits.

You cannot claim the American Opportunity and the Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits for the same student in the same year. You also cannot claim any of the credits if you claim a tuition and fees deduction for the same student in the same year. To qualify for an education credit, you must pay post-secondary tuition and certain related expenses for yourself, your spouse or your dependent. The credit may be claimed by the parent or the student, but not by both. Students who are claimed as a dependent cannot claim the credit.

What is Taxable and Nontaxable Income?

You can receive income in the form of money, property, or services. This section discusses many kinds of income that are taxable or nontaxable. It includes discussions on employee wages and fringe benefits, and income from bartering, partnerships, S corporations, and royalties. The information on this page should not be construed as all-inclusive. Other steps may be appropriate for your specific type of business.

Generally, an amount included in your income is taxable unless it is specifically exempted by law. Income that is taxable must be reported on your return and is subject to tax. Income that is nontaxable may have to be shown on your tax return but is not taxable. A list is available in Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income.

Constructively-received income. You are generally taxed on income that is available to you, regardless of whether it is actually in your possession.

A valid check that you received or that was made available to you before the end of the tax year is considered income constructively received in that year, even if you do not cash the check or deposit it to your account until the next year. For example, if the postal service tries to deliver a check to you on the last day of the tax year but you are not at home to receive it, you must include the amount in your income for that tax year. If the check was mailed so that it could not possibly reach you until after the end of the tax year, and you could not otherwise get the funds before the end of the year, you include the amount in your income for the next year.

Assignment of income.
Income received by an agent for you is income you constructively received in the year the agent received it. If you agree by contract that a third party is to receive income for you, you must include the amount in your income when the party receives it.

Example. You and your employer agree that part of your salary is to be paid directly to your former spouse. You must include that amount in your income when your former spouse receives it.

Prepaid income. Prepaid income, such as compensation for future services, is generally included in your income in the year you receive it. However, if you use an accrual method of accounting, you can defer prepaid income you receive for services to be performed before the end of the next tax year. In this case, you include the payment in your income as you earn it by performing the services.

Employee Compensation
Generally, you must include in gross income everything you receive in payment for personal services. In addition to wages, salaries, commissions, fees, and tips, this includes other forms of compensation such as fringe benefits and stock options.

You should receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, from your employer showing the pay you received for your services.

Childcare providers.
If you provide child care, either in the child’s home or in your home or other place of business, the pay you receive must be included in your income. If you are not an employee, you are probably self-employed and must include payments for your services on Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Business, or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040), Net Profit From Business. You generally are not an employee unless you are subject to the will and control of the person who employs you as to what you are to do and how you are to do it.

Babysitting.
If you babysit for relatives or neighborhood children, whether on a regular basis or only periodically, the rules for childcare providers apply to you.

Fringe Benefits
Fringe benefits you receive in connection with the performance of your services are included in your income as compensation unless you pay fair market value for them or they are specifically excluded by law. Abstaining from the performance of services (for example, under a covenant not to compete) is treated as the performance of services for purposes of these rules.
Recipient of fringe benefit.
You are the recipient of a fringe benefit if you perform the services for which the fringe benefit is provided. You are considered to be the recipient even if it is given to another person, such as a member of your family. An example is a car your employer gives to your spouse for services you perform. The car is considered to have been provided to you and not your spouse.

You do not have to be an employee of the provider to be a recipient of a fringe benefit. If you are a partner, director, or independent contractor, you can also be the recipient of a fringe benefit.

Business and Investment Income
Rents from personal property. If you rent out personal property, such as equipment or vehicles, how you report your income and expenses is generally determined by:

Whether or not the rental activity is a business, and
Whether or not the rental activity is conducted for profit.
Generally, if your primary purpose is income or profit and you are involved in the rental activity with continuity and regularity, your rental activity is a business.

Partnership Income
A partnership generally is not a taxable entity. The income, gains, losses, deductions, and credits of a partnership are passed through to the partners based on each partner’s distributive share of these items. For more information, refer to Publication 541.

Partner’s distributive share.
Your distributive share of partnership income, gains, losses, deductions, or credits generally is based on the partnership agreement. You must report your distributive share of these items on your return whether or not they actually are distributed to you. However, your distributive share of the partnership losses is limited to the adjusted basis of your partnership interest at the end of the partnership year in which the losses took place.

Partnership return. Although a partnership generally pays no tax, it must file an information return on Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income. This shows the result of the partnership’s operations for its tax year and the items that must be passed through to the partners.

S Corporation Income
In general, an S corporation does not pay tax on its income. Instead, the income, losses, deductions, and credits of the corporation are passed through to the shareholders based on each shareholder’s pro rata share. You must report your share of these items on your return. Generally, the items passed through to you will increase or decrease the basis of your S corporation stock as appropriate.

S corporation return.
An S corporation must file a return on Form 1120S, U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation. This shows the results of the corporation’s operations for its tax year and the items of income, losses, deductions, or credits that affect the shareholders’ individual income tax returns. For additional information, see the Instructions for Form 1120S.

Royalties
Royalties from copyrights, patents, and oil, gas and mineral properties are taxable as ordinary income. You generally report royalties in Part I of Schedule E (Form 1040), Supplemental Income and Loss. However, if you hold an operating oil, gas, or mineral interest or are in business as a self-employed writer, inventor, artist, etc., report your income and expenses on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ.

For additional information, refer to Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income.

Bartering
Bartering is an exchange of property or services. You must include in your income, at the time received, the fair market value of property or services you receive in bartering.

Don’t be Scammed by Cyber Criminals

The Internal Revenue Service receives thousands of reports each year from taxpayers who receive suspicious emails, phone calls, faxes or notices claiming to be from the IRS. Many of these scams fraudulently use the IRS name or logo as a lure to make the communication appear more authentic and enticing. The goal of these scams – known as phishing – is to trick you into revealing your personal and financial information. The scammers can then use your information – like your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers – to commit identity theft or steal your money.

Here are five things the IRS wants you to know about phishing scams.
The IRS never asks for detailed personal and financial information like PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to an IRS site:

• Do not reply to the message.
• Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
• Do not click on any links. If you clicked on links in a suspicious e-mail or phishing website and entered confidential information, visit the IRS website and enter the search term ‘identity theft’ for more information and resources to help.

The address of the official IRS website is www.irs.gov. Do not be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is bogus, do not provide any personal information on the suspicious site and report it to the IRS.

If you receive a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine if the IRS has a legitimate need to contact you. Report any bogus correspondence. You can forward a suspicious email to phishing@irs.gov.

You can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. Details on how to report specific types of scams and what to do if you’ve been victimized are available at www.irs.gov. Click on “phishing” on the home page.

Get Ready for the Tax Filing Season with IRS Social Media

Get Ready for the Tax Filing Season with IRS Social Media
The Internal Revenue Service uses social media tools and platforms to share the latest information on tax changes, initiatives, products and services. These social media platforms include the IRS2Go phone application, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and iTunes. A listing is available on IRS.gov.

IRS2Go
The IRS plans to offer even more features for its IRS2Go phone app for the 2012 filing season. The app is available for the iPhone and Android, and it’s free. Stay tuned for future updates.

YouTube
The IRS has short and informative YouTube videos on tax related topics in English, Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL). The channels have received nearly 2.2 million views. The main English channel is the fourth most-viewed federal government YouTube channel.

IRS Videos — http://www.youtube.com/irsvideos

ASL Videos — http://www.youtube.com/IRSvideosASL

Multilingual Videos — http://www.youtube.com/IRSvideosMultilingua

Twitter
IRS tweets include various tax-related announcements, news for tax professionals and hiring initiatives:

@IRSnews — http://twitter.com/irsnews
IRS news and helpful information for the public, the press and practitioners

@IRStaxpros — http://twitter.com/irstaxpros

IRS news and guidance for tax professionals

@IRSenEspanol — http://twitter.com/irsenespanol

Información, Comunicados de Prensa y Noticias en Español del IRS

(News and information in Spanish from IRS)

@RecruitmentIRS — http://twitter.com/recruitmentirs

IRS Human Capital Office

@YourVoiceatIRS — http://twitter.com/yourvoiceatirs

Taxpayer Advocate Service

Facebook
The IRS has four Facebook pages that focus on general taxpayers, return preparers, recruitment and taxpayer advocate issues:

IRS
IRS Return Preparer Office
IRS Recruitment
Taxpayer Advocate
iTunes
The IRS creates audio files for use as podcasts in English and Spanish. Each short audio recording provides information on one tax related topic. The audio files and their transcripts can be found in the Multimedia Center on IRS.gov. These files are also available as podcasts on iTunes.

Widgets
Widgets are tools that can be placed on websites, blogs or social media networks to direct others to IRS.gov for information. The IRS has developed a variety of widgets that feature the latest tax initiatives and programs. These widgets can be found on Marketing Express, the marketing site that allows IRS partners and tax preparers to customize their IRS communications products.

 
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