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McKinnon Patten
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Online tool for student loans. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool can again be used when applying for an income-driven student loan repayment plan. It was suspended in March due to privacy and security concerns. The Department of Education says new encryption protections have been added to the tool to protect taxpayer information. As another protection, the IRS will automatically notify taxpayers by mail when their tax return information is accessed using the device. The tool will be available Oct. 1 via the online 2018–19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid form.
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Budget deficit increased. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported on June 7 that the estimated budget deficit was $432 billion for the first eight months of fiscal year 2017, $26 billion more than the deficit recorded during the same period in 2016. “Although receipts grew, they continue to be $60 billion to $70 billion (or 3%) smaller for the fiscal year to date than CBO expected…” the report stated, mostly due to “smaller than anticipated” individual and corporate tax receipts. See the full report here: http://bit.ly/2rTW74R
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Are income taxes taking a bite out of your trusts? For trusts, the income threshold is very low for triggering the top income tax rate of 39.6%, top long-term capital gains rate of 20% and the 3.8% net investment income tax. The threshold is only $12,500 in 2017. But you can soften the blow by using an intentionally defective grantor trust, shifting nongrantor trust assets into tax-exempt or tax-deferred investments, or distributing trust income to beneficiaries in lower tax brackets. We can review your trusts and help find the best solution to achieve your goals. http://bit.ly/2rRyVpo
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Mark Patten, CPA and Mandy Thiebaud, CPA of McKinnon Patten & Associates discuss with Old Capital Podcast how earned income and passive income are treated by the IRS, capitalizing versus expensing replacements & repairs, and why owning real estate is more than just a return on your investment. Find out about 1031 exchanges, like-kind exchanges as well as cost segregation and how it can benefit your real estate investment. http://bit.ly/2rzqU8L

Old Capital Real Estate Investing Podcast with Michael Becker & Paul Peebles
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If you received a 2016 federal income tax refund, you essentially made an interest-free loan to the government. Rather than wait to receive your 2017 refund until you file your return in 2018, why not begin enjoying that money now by reducing your withholdings or estimated tax payments? It’s particularly important to review them, and adjust them if necessary, when you experience a major life event, such as a marriage, divorce, birth, adoption or job layoff. For help determining your withholding or estimated tax payments for the rest of the year, contact us. http://bit.ly/2sUmMfI
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The IRS announced that it will begin conducting examinations with a new pilot program. The “IRS Taxpayer Digital Communications Secure Messaging” program is designed to save time and costs by reducing paper mail and phone correspondence. The IRS plans to invite 8,000 taxpayers who are currently undergoing correspondence examinations to participate. Tax preparers who have valid powers of attorney can also take part if their clients receive letters confirming eligibility. Taxpayers will register, communicate and transfer documents using Internet-based channels.
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The 2016 tax return filing deadline for individuals is April 18, and the IRS considers a paper return to be timely filed if postmarked by midnight. If you owe tax, dropping your return, along with a check for the tax due, in a mailbox on the 18th may not be sufficient. If the envelope gets lost, you could be hit with failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties. To avoid this risk, use certified or registered mail or one of the private delivery services designated by the IRS. (See IRS.gov for a list.) Let us know if you have questions about the rules. http://bit.ly/2oe1qYK
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Penalty imposed on a 50% owner. If employers fail to pay over payroll tax, the IRS can charge responsible parties with a trust fund recovery penalty equal to the unpaid taxes. In one case, a U.S. District Court imposed the full penalty on a 50% owner, based on his significant role in the company’s finances, even though he didn’t know that his partner (whose duties included paying taxes) had failed to pay them. Responsibility, said the court, is a matter of “status, duty or authority, not knowledge.” In other words, he should have known. (DC NJ, No. 13-1092)
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