WASHINGTON, DC (February 16, 2011)—A recent informal poll of Enrolled Egents (Federally-Licensed Tax Practitioners) revealed many common misconceptions among taxpayers. At the top of the list were:

“I had a really big loss in the stock market this year, so I won’t owe any income taxes.” Deduction of capital losses against ordinary income is limited to $3,000. Also incorrect: “I traded some stocks and have a loss/didn’t make any money, so there’s no need to report those sales.”

“They paid me in cash and I don’t have to report that, right?” If it’s income, you must report it.

“I’m too young/too old to have to pay taxes.” Even your dependent high schooler has to file a return after earning income over $5,700. And, Uncle Sam may still be interested in your return after you’re dead. A personal representative of the decedent is required to file a tax return and the estate tax when due.

“If I didn’t receive a document about it, it’s not taxable.” A good preparer will provide you with a checklist that reveals missing documents, but too often taxpayers who are preparing their own returns or dealing with an unlicensed preparer will fail to include important information simply because they missed something in the mail, or because the document was never mailed.
 
“Income earned in a foreign country is not taxable.” Taxpayers are required to report all earned income to IRS, no matter where it was earned.

“You don’t have to report gambling income, and besides, I lost.” Gambling losses do not net out against income. For the non-professional gambler, income goes on page one of Form 1040; the losses go on Schedule A and are not subject to the 2% floor, but cannot be greater than the winnings. Therefore, the “net” sheets many casinos provide individual taxpayers are worthless.

“Income from my hobby can’t be taxable.” The operative word here is “income.” It’s taxable.

One of this year’s widest-spread misconceptions came in the wake of the IRS announcement that employers must now report medical insurance paid for employees. Duped by a viral email, taxpayers across the country mistakenly believe that medical insurance must now be reported as income and taxed. Not true. The expense will be reported on the W-2, and not added to income.

Finally, a lot of taxpayers hold misconceptions regarding paid preparers. The notion that all tax preparers do is fill out forms neglects the real value of a paid preparer: they keep up with myriad tax laws and regulations and have the expertise to know how to apply these rules for your benefit. And, no matter who prepares your taxes, you are the one who is legally responsible for what’s on your return, making it a doubly good idea to hire a licensed preparer. This brings us to one more misconception: that all return preparers are federally licensed. In fact, the only federally-licensed tax practitioners are Enrolled Agents (EAs), who must pass competency testing and a background check and complete annual continuing education requirements. To find an EA in your area, go to the “Find an Enrolled Agent” directory at www.naea.org.

About the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA): NAEA is a non-profit membership organization composed of tax specialists licensed by the US Department of the Treasury.  C. Collis Redd, EA and Janet N. Greaves, EA of REDD & GREAVES, P.C. are members of NAEA.  Both Mr. Redd and Ms. Greaves have passed a sixteen (16) hour exam administered by the IRS for the Department of the Treasury and proudly carry the EA credentials designating Collis and Janet as tax experts and licensing Mr. Redd and Ms. Greaves to practice in all areas of administrative tax law.

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If you had someone prepare your tax return last year, they may not be able to perform that service for you this year due to the new IRS preparer initiative.  There are estimated to be about 1.2 million unlicensed preparers in the U.S., but now that IRS says all preparers must be at least registered, many may not qualify or may not be able to pass the test or may not be able to meet the continuing education requirements.

If the preparer you used last year is not able to perform this year to prepare your 2010 tax return, we can help.  Our Firm of tax professionals are not only registered, but licensed, as well.  We can prepare all types of tax returns, both current year and prior years, if you have not filed in a while.  If the bookkeeping is holding you back from filing, we can help with that, too.  And, if you end up owing the IRS, we will still be there for you, because representing taxpayers before the IRS is our specialty.  WE PROVIDE TAX HELP.

Please check out our website and read about the qualifications of my partner, Janet N. Greaves, EA and myself to serve your needs.  Give us a call if we can help.

Thank you,

C. COLLIS REDD, EA

PRESIDENT AND CEO

REDD & GREAVES, P.C.

4801 WOODWAY, SUITE 300 EAST

HOUSTON, TEXAS  77056

INFO@RHGEAS.COM

WWW.RHGEAS.COM

 PHONE:  713 947 9666

FAX:         713 947 7753