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September 2016 Archives

The IRS and small businesses

Many Georgia residents have quit their jobs and opened up their own businesses. While they enjoy the freedom that being a business owner can provide, they may not realize until it is too late that the Internal Revenue Service may be closely scrutinizing their tax returns and looking for unreported income.

Protecting your personal information after a data breach

While it wasn't the first and certainly won't be the last, the data breach at Yahoo is certainly the largest to date. In September the company revealed that at least 500 million accounts had been hacked, with thieves stealing names, personal information and passwords. In a released statement, the company accused a "state-sponsored actor" of perpetuating the crime.

Gretchen Carlson and Fox News settle for $20 million

Many Georgia residents have likely heard about the sexual harassment lawsuit that was filed against former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News anchor, brought sexual harassment allegations against Ailes that quickly became very public. After Carlson's lawsuit was filed, six other women told their stories about Ailes to New York magazine, and Ailes stepped down from his position at Fox News.

Federal tax liens and how to handle them

When people in Georgia fail or refuse to pay their taxes, the Internal Revenue Service can issue a federal tax lien. A tax lien is secured by all of the personal and real property that is owned by the taxpayer. This includes homes, business interests, vehicles and other assets.

Protecting your loved one's identity after death

If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he would surely add "identity theft" to the other two certainties he observed in life: death and taxes. While the internet does streamline our lives in its ability to warehouse all documents and link all aspects of our lives, our growing reliance on the cloud-based servers and remote databases also enables unscrupulous individuals to access and manipulate this online information. Such is the case when loved ones pass away. Mining personal information from hospitals, funeral homes or obituaries, identity thieves obtain personal information about the deceased, using fake or purchased social security numbers to obtain credit cards or file tax returns.

What kind of taxpayer the IRS likes to audit

Georgia residents have less risk of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service than they have had in decades. That's because the IRS began auditing fewer returns after the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 forced the agency to pay greater attention to taxpayer rights than collection activities. Budget cuts have also resulted in fewer IRS audits.

An overview of estate tax

A federal estate tax is applied to the assets of a deceased person. However, if the assets transfer to the spouse, the estate tax is not applied. Furthermore, there is an estate tax exemption of $5.45 million for 2016, so on a federal level, only people whose assets are worth more than that will be affected by tax. While Georgia does not have an estate tax, people preparing an estate plan might wonder how the federal estate tax will affect them.

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