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Report ranks Florida's tax code among the best in the nation

Without a doubt, one of the more contentious issues in any race for federal office has long been the Internal Revenue Code, with some candidates arguing that it's far too complex and in need of a complete overhaul, and others advocating for smaller scale reform such as reducing the number of brackets.

As fascinating as the debates on this subject are, it naturally raises questions about the relative complexity of the tax codes of the 50 states. Interestingly enough, a D.C.-based nonprofit, the Tax Foundation, recently released a report ranking each state on the overall structure of its tax code.

Will the third time be the charm for the IRS to use private debt collectors?

The Internal Revenue Service shocked many people earlier this year when it announced that it would be turning to private debt collectors to help collect delinquent tax debts, which now total over $400 billion.  

While this disbelief makes sense given the vast resources of the federal government, the ongoing concerns over the security of taxpayers' private information and the reputation for unscrupulous conduct in this sector, there is actually precedent for it. Indeed, the IRS turned to private debt collectors for a little over a year back in 1996, and from 2006 to 2009.

Amendment calling for state tax breaks on solar panels passes

Florida voters were asked to decide an important tax-related issue during the primary election held back on August 30. Specifically, they were asked to vote "yes" or "no" on Amendment 4, which called for the same solar tax exemptions currently enjoyed by homeowners to be extended to business owners.

In a perhaps not altogether unsurprising result, Amendment 4 passed by an overwhelming margin -- more than 70 percent of the vote -- and is now poised to become part of the Florida Constitution.

Can I travel abroad if I owe taxes?

Ask anyone who has gone abroad about their experience, and chances are good that you'll be treated with great enthusiasm to stories, pictures and even travel advice. However, if you were to ask them about their preparations for their journey, you may get an entirely different response.

That's largely because planning for a trip abroad can prove to be a herculean effort complete with all sorts of onerous tasks from planning itineraries and packing to getting vaccines and, of course, a passport.

Should Olympians be given a tax break?

People across the nation have been glued to their televisions over the last few weeks, eagerly watching Olympians from across the globe compete in a variety of events and cheering on members of the U.S. team in their quest for the gold.

Interestingly enough, the Rio games have served to revive a longstanding debate here in the U.S. as to whether those athletes who make it to the medal podium should be exempt from federal taxes.

Amendment calls for tax breaks on solar panels for Sunshine State

From the hybrid technology in the cars we drive to the sustainable food we consume in restaurants, it seems as if environmental awareness now permeates many aspects of our daily lives. Indeed, many homeowners and businesses are now looking to go "off the grid," meaning rely completely on power generated by solar panels, in a bid to protect the environment and save money.

In case you have any doubts about the growing popularity of this alternative energy source, consider that neighboring Georgia generates a significant amount of solar power, seeing the number of solar panels and jobs connected with this industry explode in recent years.

What is the IRS' First Time Penalty Abatement policy?

When it comes to the issue of filing their taxes or paying off tax debt, most business owners likely don't give it more than a second thought, as they are supremely confident that they would never file their return late or fail to remit payment in a timely manner.

While this confidence is admirable, the reality is that circumstances beyond people's control can arise that prevent timely tax filings and payments. This is significant, of course, as those who do not file on time face a failure-to-file penalty, which is typically 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for every month the return is late not to exceed 25 percent of unpaid taxes. 

Concerns raised over the scope of proposed IRS inversion rules

Back in April, our blog reported on how the Treasury Department had unveiled a series of proposed rules designed to target inversions and other related tax-saving strategies frequently undertaken by businesses.

To recap, an inversion typically involves a U.S.-based company merging with a company based in a nation with a more favorable tax climate and establishing the headquarters of the newly combined entity there. The practice, while technically lawful, has nevertheless proven to be a sore spot for both the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service for many years.   

TIGTA calls on IRS to enhance OVDP noncompliance

Over the last few years, the Internal Revenue Service has granted noncompliant taxpayers with foreign bank accounts multiple reporting options via its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. Specifically, these options enabled taxpayers to escape significant fines and other associated penalties by coming forward of their own free will and declaring these foreign assets.

At the same time, however, the IRS has been increasingly receiving this same information on hidden bank accounts through reports filed by foreign banks otherwise anxious to escape any of the major penalties called for by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, otherwise known as FATCA.

IRS: Companies can no longer deduct FINRA fines, penalties

Over the last few years, it's been all but impossible to pick up the business section of the paper without encountering some story about a major corporate entity either under investigation or reaching a settlement with the federal government over purported malfeasance.

When these companies do settle, the large fines they pay to the government aren’t deductible, but many other expenses actually are. This, in turn, has created some consternation among members of Congress, with many calling for either fuller disclosure or enhanced restrictions on the corporate settlement expenses that can be deducted.