Family Services Offers Free Income Tax Preparation To Low-Income Individuals And Families

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — Family Services, the Montgomery County Asset Building Coalition and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are offering free income tax preparation to low-to-moderate income individuals and families (who earn less than $52,000) through theVolunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

The IRS trains and certifies all VITA volunteers to prepare and electronically file incometax forms. VITA volunteers are trained to assist clients in claiming special credits and refunds, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. The mission of the program is to help working families improve their finances and increase their self-sufficiency.

“We can help put money back in your pocket,” said Kathy Cael, VITA site coordinator. “By filing your taxes through a VITA site, not only will you save money in filing fees, but you’ll also receive your tax refund quickly. In most cases, tax refunds are deposited directly into your bank account within 7-to-10 days.”

Read more: http://fsmontco.org/news/family-services-offers-free-income-tax-preparation-low-income-individuals-and-families-0

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Reading May Not Cut Commuter Tax Or Earned-Income Tax

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading City Council members who weeks ago tentatively agreed to a slight drop in earned-income and commuter taxes have now changed their minds; they want both taxes to stay flat.

The difference would mean an extra $1.2 million in annual revenue – mostly from commuters – and council is focusing on the 2015 and 2016 budgets that have gaps of more than $10 million each.

Council President Francis G. Acosta, who is against the move, said he was surprised when a poll of council members Monday showed five in favor of keeping the tax flat.

But he and other council members said they don’t want the extra 2014 revenue to be used to hire more people at City Hall, but rather be put in the contingency fund, or be reserved for 2015 and 2016.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=517020

GoggleWorks Apartments Tax-Exempt, Judge Rules

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Berks County judge has ruled that the GoggleWorks Apartments are completely tax-exempt, a decision that will save the five-story complex at Second and Washington streets $29,500 a year.

The order, handed down this week by Judge Scott E. Lash overturned the Berks County Board of Assessment Appeals, which decided in December that 80 percent of the building is taxable since 80 percent of the 59 apartments are being offered at market rate.

Built by the nonprofit Our City Reading, the complex is owned and managed by the Reading Housing Authority.

In a 26-page opinion, Lash said the market-rate apartments are tax-exempt because they fall within the scope and purpose of the housing authority’s operation, in this case to develop and revitalize a local community.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=514800

Automatic Tips May Be Off The Table

If you’ve dined out in a big group, chances are you had an automatic tip tacked on to your bill.

That practice might soon go away.

Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants may drop automatic gratuities for tables of eight or more at its chains including Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse.

Experts predict others will follow suit.  An Internal Revenue Service ruling will treat automatic gratuities as wages. That could lead to higher payroll taxes for restaurants and make record-keeping more complicated.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/consumer_news/Automatic_tips_may_be_off_the_table.html#0ZM1lP8QkvHAEumM.99

IRS Chief Tells Lawmakers: ‘We Will Uncover Everything’

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Ser...

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Service. The design is the same as the Treasury seal with an IRS inscription. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — The new head of the Internal Revenue Service acknowledged that the embattled agency “undermined the public’s trust” when employees singled out conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny, and he pledged full cooperation with lawmakers in pursuing reforms.

In his first public testimony since taking over at the IRS in mid-May, acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel called actions by employees “completely inexcusable and inherently damaging” to the agency, blaming what he called “a fundamental failure by IRS management” to prevent it.  He said he would hold accountable any employees responsible for misdeeds, promising at one point, “We will uncover everything.”

“This important agency is founded on a principle of operating impartially.  And we failed in that most basic core principle here, and it’s devastating to us as an agency and to the people in that agency,” he said.

Previous IRS officials who have testified gave much less definitive answers to such questions.  Werfel has the advantage of having not been at the agency when the problems occurred.  As a result, the tenor of Monday’s hearing contrasted with other sessions in which members often sparred with invited witnesses.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/la-na-irs-hearings-20130604,0,3733316.story

PPL Goes Before U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court building.

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments from PPL Corp. and federal tax authorities in a case whose outcome could determine the fate of billions of dollars in corporate profits.

The dispute, two decades in the making, involves a British tax imposed on PPL of Allentown after it bought one of many businesses privatized by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

At issue, specifically, are U.S. tax breaks for companies that pay foreign taxes. U.S. multinationals and lawmakers are watching closely — not only because the Obama administration has taken a very public stance against such tax breaks, but also because the nine Supreme Court justices rarely hear tax cases.

“The IRS recognizes the stakes in this case are broader than this particular [British] tax,” said Dirk Suringa, a former Treasury official, now a partner at law firm Covington & Burling.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/mc-sumpreme-court-hears-ppl-case-20130220,0,3330844.story

Don’t Be Fooled By January Pay — Higher Taxes Loom

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Ser...

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Service. The design is the same as the Treasury seal with an IRS inscription. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Workers probably won’t feel the full brunt of next year’s tax increases in their January paychecks, but don’t be fooled by the temporary reprieve.

No matter what Congress does to address the year-end fiscal cliff, it’s already too late for employers to accurately withhold income taxes from January paychecks, unless all the current tax rates remain unchanged, which is an unlikely scenario.

Social Security payroll taxes are set to increase on Jan. 1, so workers should immediately feel the squeeze of a 2 percent cut in their take-home pay.  But as talks drag on over how to address other year-end tax increases, the Internal Revenue Service has delayed releasing income tax withholding tables for 2013.

As a result, employers are planning to withhold income taxes at the 2012 rates, at least for the first one or two paychecks of the year, said Michael O’Toole of the American Payroll Association.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121222/NEWS04/121229781/don-t-be-fooled-by-january-pay–higher-taxes-loom#full_story

Americans Will Feel Paycheck Pinch As Payroll Tax Break Ends In January

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama isn’t talking about it and neither is Mitt Romney. But come January, 163 million workers can expect to feel the pinch of a big tax increase regardless of who wins the election.

A temporary reduction in Social Security payroll taxes is due to expire at the end of the year and hardly anyone in Washington is pushing to extend it. Neither Obama nor Romney has proposed an extension, and it probably wouldn’t get through Congress anyway, with lawmakers in both parties down on the idea.

Even Republicans who have sworn off tax increases have little appetite to prevent one that will cost a typical worker about $1,000 a year, and two-earner family with six-figure incomes as much as $4,500.

Why are so many politicians sour on continuing the payroll tax break?

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/10/social_security_tax.html

City Of Reading Hires Montgomery County Firm For Payroll

At Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer’s request, City Council on Monday awarded data processing giant ADP a $214,100 contract to take over the city’s payroll operations.

The move will get rid of an error-prone, in-house system for which the IRS has fined the city more than $100,000.

“We’re not payroll experts; we’re getting out of the business,” said Christopher Zale, acting director of administrative services.

The IRS fines - $50,400 each for tax years 2007 and 2008 because the city’s W-2 forms weren’t compatible with IRS computers, and weren’t re-filed properly until months after the deadline – were levied in 2010.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=378811