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Visit our blog frequently to read our take on developments and news about taxes, accounting, financial and retirement planning.

IRS’s Appeals Function To Offer Online Consultations

Westchester NY accountant Paul Herman of Herman & Company CPA’s is here for all your financial needs. Please contact us if you have questions, and to receive your free personal finance consultation!

From: Tax-News.com, Washington
The Internal Revenue Service Office of Appeals will soon pilot a new web-based virtual conference option for taxpayers and their representatives.

Each year, the Office of Appeals hears the appeals of more than 100,000 taxpayers attempting to resolve their tax disputes without going to court. Currently, taxpayers involved in the appeals process can meet with an Appeals Officer by phone, in person, or virtually through videoconference technology available only at a limited number of IRS offices.

The new pilot program will use a secure, web-based screen-sharing platform to connect with taxpayers face-to-face from anywhere they have internet access.

“Taxpayers who choose the web-based option will be able to get face-to-face service remotely,” said IRS Chief, Appeals, Donna Hansberry. “In the future, the technology may give taxpayers greater options in engaging with Appeals and could allow us the flexibility to serve taxpayers virtually from any location using mobile devices or computers.”

“We hope this is one more option to enable IRS employees to provide timely, efficient and effective service to taxpayers,” said Hansberry.

Appeals plans to start the pilot on August 1, 2017, and will assess the results, including taxpayer satisfaction with the technology.

Success story: Victim of Preparer Fraud Receives Refund

Westchester NY accountant Paul Herman of Herman & Company CPA’s is here for all your financial needs. Please contact us if you have questions, and to receive your free personal finance consultation!

Every year the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) helps thousands of people with tax problems. This story is only one of many examples of how TAS helps resolve taxpayer issues. All personal details are removed to protect the privacy of the taxpayer.

TAS advocated on behalf of a taxpayer who was the victim of tax return preparer fraud. The taxpayer was very frustrated, since the first time she became aware of the fraud was when the IRS sent her a balance due notice on her tax return. TAS advocated for her by submitting all of the appropriate documentation to the IRS. It took significant efforts by TAS to get the IRS to recognize the taxpayer as a victim of preparer fraud. Ultimately, TAS was able to get the taxpayer’s account corrected and the balance due amount removed. The TAS office was relentless in making sure the taxpayer received the proper refund and that she was not held responsible for the refund the preparer received.

When working with the Taxpayer Advocate Service, each individual or business taxpayer is assigned to an advocate who listens to the problem and helps the taxpayer understand what needs to be done to resolve their tax issue. TAS advocates will do everything they can to help taxpayers and work with them every step of the way. Occasionally we feature stories of taxpayers and advocates who work together to resolve complex tax issues. Read more TAS success stories.

Learn more about TAS eligibility: https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about-us/learn-more-eligibility 

Westchester NY accountant Paul Herman of Herman & Company CPA’s is here for all your financial needs. Please contact us if you have questions, and to receive your free personal finance consultation!

Which Type of Mortgage Loan Meets Your Needs?

Few purchases during your lifetime will be as expensive as buying a home. Whether it’s your primary residence, a vacation home or an investment property, how you choose to pay for it can have a significant impact on your financial situation over time. If you’re considering a mortgage loan, understanding the main categories of mortgages — fixed-rate and adjustable-rate — and the situations they’re best designed for will help you match the right type for your needs.
Fixed-rate loans offer stabilityA fixed-rate mortgage, as its name suggests, is a loan whose interest rate remains constant for the life of the loan — typically 15 or 30 years. One of the primary benefits of a fixed-rate loan is that it provides a measure of certainty about one of the biggest expenses in your monthly budget. With interest rates likely to rise after an extended period of historically low rates, you won’t have to worry about potentially higher payments in the future if you select a fixed-rate loan.

That said, if interest rates were to fall again, your fixed-rate loan would leave you unable to take advantage of the shift unless you refinance, which might involve fees. You’re also paying a premium for the stability offered by a fixed-rate mortgage. You could consider a 15-year fixed-rate loan, which would charge a lower rate than a 30-year loan, but the tradeoff will be higher monthly payments.

ARMs provide flexibility

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) typically offer a fixed interest rate for an initial period of years. This rate, which is usually lower than that of a comparable fixed-rate mortgage, resets periodically based on a benchmark interest rate. For example, a 5/1 ARM means that your interest rate is fixed for the first five years and then will adjust every year after that.

Paying less interest in the beginning frees your cash for other investments. You might also take advantage of an ARM if you’re confident that you’ll have more money in the future than you do today, or if you plan on selling your house before or soon after the initial fixed-rate period expires. When considering an ARM, you’ll need to assess your ability to keep up with potentially higher payments — say, if the initial period expires, your rate goes up and you’re unable to sell the home, or if your income changes.

The best for you

The right loan type depends, naturally, on your financial position. But whether you’re buying a primary residence, vacation home or investment property also plays a role. Regardless of which type of home you’re purchasing, having a basic knowledge of the loan types can help ease the buying process. Let our firm assist you in evaluating the best mortgage for your needs.

Any U.S. tax advice contained in the body of this website is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or applicable state or local tax law provisions.