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The Internal Revenue Service announced on March 13 that it plans to end its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) on Sept. 28, 2018. The OVDP allowed taxpayers to avoid prosecution by voluntarily disclosing untaxed money held overseas and paying a set penalty. The OVDP, which has been available since 2009, has experienced a significant decline in taxpayer participation as awareness of offshore tax and reporting requirements has increased.

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Among the data exposed in the Equifax breach of 2017 were Social Security numbers, which thieves can use to file a fraudulent tax return using taxpayer information obtained in the breach. Tax-related identity theft is one of the top tax scams on the IRS "Dirty Dozen" list and the breach will exacerbate that problem.

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Twenty years! That's how long Roth IRAs have been around. In the year 2000 only about $77 billion was invested in these types of accounts but by 2017 it is estimated that there is almost $3 trillion in Roth IRAs. While these accounts have enjoyed explosive growth over two decades, many things are not fully understood about this tax-free retirement account.

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Beginning in 2018, regardless of when incurred, home equity loan interest is generally not deductible under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The IRS has issued clarifying guidance that taxpayers, in certain situations, can continue to deduct interest on a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage, as mortgage interest. All the interest paid on these types of loans is deductible if they are secured by a qualified residence and the total loans do not exceed the home's cost. Also, the total amount of these loans cannot exceed $750,000, reduced to $375,000 for taxpayers filing as married filing separate.

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The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, passed by Congress and signed by President Trump on Feb. 9, 2018, retroactively extends over 30 tax provisions that had expired at the end of 2016. This one year extension applies to the extended provisions and is effective for 2017 only. Many of the extended provisions are related to energy credits which are especially important for businesses and individual taxpayers.

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Retirement means different things to different people. Some people look at this as the last chapter in a long life. They wish to slow down, travel a bit and spend more time with their families. Other people look at retirement as an opportunity to reshuffle the cards and pursue new dreams or passions that their earlier career did not provide.

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Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), an individual had until the due date (including extensions) to reverse a Roth conversion if it did not make sense, which resulted in a date of October 15 of the year following the conversion. With passage of the TCJA, this recharacterization was eliminated.

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Cybercriminals typically increase their activity in the first part of the year through phone scams and email phishing schemes. These scammers try to obtain personal information using different tricks and tactics so they can file income tax returns and claim refunds on behalf of unsuspecting taxpayers. Some scammers may also allege a taxpayer owes taxes and aggressively demand payment for a quick payout.

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Virtual currency, or cryptocurrency, is a digital representation of value that can be exchanged for goods and services or held for investment. These currencies include Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and many others. For Bitcoin, if a taxpayer "mines" the virtual currency, it needs to be included in gross income at the fair market value upon receipt or discovery of the currency. The character of the income depends on the intended purpose of the currency.

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In response to the federal tax bill signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017, New York state governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, signed an emergency executive order allowing individuals the ability to prepay next year's New York property taxes. The order is intended to protect taxpayers from the impact of the GOP tax bill, which caps the deductibility of state and local taxes at $10,000. By allowing individuals to pay a portion or all of their 2018 property taxes in 2017, the executive order aims to provide individuals with options as a result of the tax bill's negative financial impact.

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