’s Big Roundup of Tax-Time Tips

Hopefully this won’t come as breaking news, but it’s that time of year again. You know, the one that evokes one of life’s two certainties (Hint: it’s the one that happens once a year). Whether you’ve already filed your taxes, are racing to meet the April 18 deadline, or even anticipating a refund or dealing with a tax bill, our experts and reporters offer insight on tax-related questions you may have…but are too afraid to ask.

Tax Time Dos and Donts

IRS Audits: 4 Famous Red Flags

Needless to say, the IRS is vigilant in its quest to find inaccuracies on our tax returns. Here are some line items that tend to come under the microscope more than others.

Tax Debt: What To Do If You Can’t Pay Your Taxes

If you can afford to write a check and pay off your tax debt, that’s your best bet. But if you don’t have the cash available to do that, read on. There are other options.

4 Reasons to Avoid Paying Taxes with a Credit Card

The IRS suggests that paying your taxes with a credit card is convenient and safe. That may be true, but it isn’t cheap.

Pay Your Taxes With Plastic? Beware.

A little-known fee makes paying your taxes with plastic really expensive. That’s because the IRS contracts with companies to handle credit card payments. And the government doesn’t pay those companies for the service; you do.

Taxes on Cancelled Debt

1099-A In the Mail? How to Avoid Taxes on Cancelled Debt

When you lose a home or investment property, or have an automobile repossessed, typically you’ll receive a 1099-A form. Because the dollar amounts involved in these transactions can be large—involving tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars—this is one area where you truly can’t afford to get it wrong.

1099-C In the Mail? How to Avoid Taxes on Cancelled Debt

Creditors who forgive $600 or more are required to file Form 1099-C with the IRS. Nearly 2.7 million of these forms were processed by the IRS in 2009 and that number is expected to increase for the 2010 tax year.

Taxes and Your Home

Repay Your Home Tax Credit? That Depends.

If you received a federal tax credit to help buy your house, you may be wondering whether you have to repay it. The short answer: Maybe.

Why Do I Have to Impound My Taxes?

Lenders are increasingly asking that borrowers pay one-twelfth of their property taxes each month as part of an increased mortgage payment. Not sure what an impound account is? Keep reading.

The Good Stuff: Refunds

IRS Introduces Refund Tracking App

The IRS recently introduced IRS2Go, an app for iPhones and Android phones that lets people check on the status of their tax refunds and get tips on tax filing.

IRS Debit Cards May Give Tax Prep Loans Run for Their Money

The IRS will give out 600,000 tax refunds in the form of pre-paid debit cards this year, which could help some people avoid using costly tax return anticipation loans to get their money right away.

Tax Liens: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

IRS Eases Up on Tax Liens: Good News for Credit Scores

Finally, some good news from the IRS. They are lightening up on tax liens. The IRS’s draconian tax lien policy has ruined millions of Americans’ credit ratings, and probably made it even more difficult for them to pay the debt they owe to the IRS.

New IRS Rules Could Impact Credit Scores

We all know that Uncle Sam doesn’t take kindly to those who don’t pay their taxes, but how do unpaid taxes impact your credit and credit scores?

How Can I Remove A Tax Lien?

Is there anything you can do to get a tax lien removed from your credit report?

Scams and Risks

Lawsuit: IRS Debt Help is a Scam

The Minnesota Attorney General sued Tax Masters, saying the company charges up to $8,000 in up-front fees while failing to do anything to resolve consumers’ tax debt.

IRS Warns of Phony Agents

It’s tax season, which means you should keep an eye out for scam artists purporting to be from the IRS.

Report: IRS Still Putting our Financial Data at Risk

The IRS has failed to fix most of its existing data security vulnerabilities, even as new ones continue to crop up, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

For Those Reading This on April 18 Who Haven’t Yet Filed…

Some of us here at feel your pain. Consider this our gift to you:

It’s Tax Day! Need to File a Last Minute Tax Extension?

The IRS allows you to apply for an automatic six-month extension to file your taxes by filing the Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File, Form 4868. This extension gives you until Oct. 17 to file your tax return.

Image: Chad Miller, via

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