I guess I have been on hiatus from blogging here. It wasn’t really intentional. I was thinking about how I could bring in more substantive, useful information without dramatically increasing my time investment. At the same time, other events took up the time that I was devoting to blogging. I did manage to send out and post my newsletter as usual this month, but I haven’t found time to resume blogging.
IF SOMEONE CALLS YOU AND SAYS THEY ARE FROM THE IRS, THEN SAYS ANY OF THESE THINGS, THEY ARE TRYING TO ROB YOU
The IRS will not do any of the following:
(1) ask you to pay a tax debt with a prepaid debit card or a gift card.
(2) demand payment of a tax debt without having told you first, in writing, how much they think you owe them.
(3) threaten to have the local police arrest you for not paying what they say you owe them.
If someone calls you on the telephone, says they are from the IRS, and says anything like any of the above, hang up, because they are trying to rob you.
There are variations on this scam. The caller might say they are calling on behalf of a taxing authority or government agency other than the IRS. I can say with confidence that if you receive a telephone call in which the caller claims to be from any government agency and makes any such request, demand, or threat, you should hang up on them. I have received such calls more than once, so I know they are out there.
If the caller claims to be calling on behalf of the IRS, the IRS recommends that you do the following (but hang up on the caller first):
Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a phone scam. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
Report phone scams to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
The IRS is trying to spread the warning about these scams. The web site irs.gov has a page titled: “How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.” That’s where I got the above information.
One more time, repeat after me: if a caller (or someone sending you a text message or an email, for that matter) says they are contacting you on behalf of the IRS (or some other government agency), and says pay us right now over the phone (or via text or email) or you’ll be arrested, hang up immediately.
This might go in the category of I don’t want to give it attention that it doesn’t deserve, but an article titled Controlling the Environmental Costs of Obesity sounds, from the abstract, like it’s a self-parody incorporating of all the pigovian tax ideas floating around out there these days. Read the abstract and see if you don’t agree.
I said recently that I might have to write another newsletter about homeowners’ association foreclosures, that is, what associations can do when obligations owed to them by homeowners go unpaid. After reading what was written in the newspaper item that I linked, I decided now would be a good time to revisit the subject. You can read about it in my Real Estate Law Update by going to deconcinimcdonald.com and clicking on the publications link.
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The FAQs that the IRS posts on its web site are a trap. If you file a tax return that relies on what the IRS’ FAQs say, the IRS can decide after the fact that it was wrong and therefore you filed an incorrect tax return.
I’m not making this up.
The Taxpayer Advocate thinks that situation is not fair. We’ll see if the IRS, or Congress, does anything about it.
Via TaxProf Blog.
If you don’t follow the news on driverless cars like I do, you may not have heard about, or you may have forgotten about, a fatal auto accident in Florida last year involving a Tesla vehicle that was supposedly on “auto pilot.” A report on that accident has been released that essentially says that the vehicle wasn’t on “auto-pilot” and was in fact being grossly misused by its driver. The Antiplanner lays out the details, and along the way gives a good overview of what the different levels of autonomous cars can do.
ALL I KNOW IS, THEY NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO CLAMP DOWN ON FRAUDULENT TAX RETURNS BEING FILED TO CLAIM THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT
Some genius writing in a major newspaper thinks that congressional efforts to cut down on the abuse of the earned income tax credit (EITC) will harm poor recipients and reduce tax collections. I’m not going to dignify it with a direct link, but I will link to the blog post about it that I saw.
Something has to be done to cut down on the rampant filing of fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities in order to claim the EITC. If you have a better idea than what has been proposed so far, let’s hear it.
I might have to write another newsletter about homeowners’ association foreclosures. A story that was posted yesterday on AZCentral.com indicates that homeowners losing their homes due to foreclosures by associations is a big problem, but I’m skeptical. I haven’t been aware of a large number of foreclosures for failure to pay association assessments, but there are a lot more planned communities in the Phoenix area than there are in the Tucson area, so maybe it’s more of a problem there. And while I do think that the late charges tacked on by associations when assessment payments are in arrears are often excessive, I don’t think that the lawyers who are handling the foreclosures are routinely charging exorbitant fees, contrary to what the linked article suggests.
The article doesn’t mention that the law on what associations can charge, and under what circumstances they can foreclose for nonpayment of assessments, has been changed substantially to the benefit of homeowners in the last several years. In other words, associations can’t just charge whatever they feel like, and foreclose the moment a homeowner falls behind in paying assessments. Associations generally don’t want to take someone’s house, just like banks generally would rather have you make your mortgage payments than they would take your house.
Or if you just need one moved across Tucson, Arctic Cactus can do it, as a story in today’s Daily Star suggests. Unfortunately the only place in that story where you’ll actually see any reference to the company doing the moving is in the photo of the truck hauling the cactus. The name of Arctic Cactus is on the door of the truck.
I offer no comment on the idea of taking a saguaro to Seattle. Arctic Cactus is just doing a job they were hired to do. I’m sure it wasn’t their idea.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.