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Showing posts from October, 2012

What is Form 8938?

The IRS introduced a new form required for some individuals with offshore assets, Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets.This Form must be filed by any US citizen or US resident required to file a US income tax return who owns an interest in what are called "specified foreign financial assets"(SFFA) above certain values.SFFAs include foreign financial accounts, foreign securities, foreign corporate shares or partnership interests, and others.The value limitations vary depending on filing status and current residence.The Form was first required to be filed, for most individual taxpayers, with their 2011 tax returns.The FBAR is still required even if individuals file Form 8938.

Sales Tax Audits

Texas sales tax audits will begin with a letter, notifying the taxpayer they have been selected for audit.  If you get one of these letters, you have the right to be represented through the audit, or you can represent yourself.  You should either contact the auditor or a representative who will contact the auditor on your behalf.  Next, you will set up a time for the initial interview.  This can take place at your place of business or at your representative's place of business.  Many of our clients prefer to have the auditor in our office rather than theirs, simply for convenience.  Once the initial interview is conducted, the auditor will proceed to review financial records. This can take more than one visit, and the length of time required depends on the amount of records you have provided, whether the auditor is utilizing a sampling method, and the auditor's schedule (an auditor may schedule a follow up date weeks after the initial meeting due to their workload). 
Once the…

HSAs and Medicare

A while back, I was asked about the rules on contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA) and how they relate to Medicare.The general rule is that an individual cannot contribute to an HSA if he or she is enrolled in Medicare.The question came up about people who are eligible for Medicare but have opted out of both Part A and Part B.After some research, I found that the IRS at one point answered this question in IRS Notice 2004-50, in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2004-33.The IRS stated that an individual otherwise eligible to contribute to an HSA who is eligible for Medicare, but not enrolled in Part A or Part B may contribute to the HSA.See http://www.irs.gov/irb/2004-33_IRB/ar08.html for the entire Notice.However, once an individual attains age 65, applies for, and begins receiving Social Security benefits, they are automatically enrolled in Medicare.A federal appellate court in 2011 ruled in Hall v. Sebelius that individuals receiving Social Security benefits cannot opt out of Medic…