Tag Archives: welcome to the real world

IRS hacking crisis just gets worse and worse

Back in May, people flipped out when the IRS revealed that more than 100,000 taxpayer accounts had been compromised by hackers.

Turns out that would have been relatively good news. Now, as the National Journal reports, the IRS says that the total number of accounts breached was probably more like 330,000. The hack attack, which IRS thinks originated in Russia, resulted in $50 million in fraudulent tax refund filings.

As CNN Money notes, the IRS says that the bad guys appeared to have personal information on at least another 300,000 or so taxpayers whose accounts were not accessed. But only the taxpayers whose tax accounts were compromised are getting warning notices from the IRS and information about free credit monitoring.

The IRS may not be actively reaching out to taxpayers on this issue, but here’s a link to some information on what you can do if you think you’ve been victimized. Unfortunately, the first indication people often have that someone has used their Social Security Number to file a fake tax return (and get a real refund) is when they are unable to electronically file their return.

At that point, the taxpayer/victim has to file a paper return, along with Form 14039, which will allow the taxpayer to file electronically next year.

“The Situation” is in a not-so-good tax situation

Did you know that “Jersey Shore” reality show personality Michael Sorrentino, aka “The Situation”, and his brother Marc, grossed almost $9 million in a variety of ventures over four years? Me neither, until I read the U.S. District Court indictment, reported inThe New York Times,charging the brothers with conspiracy and filing false tax returns. Michael…Continue Reading

Washington Post’s maps paint a fascinating – and unexpected – picture of the USA

The Washington Post’s “GovBeat” feature is doing some great work, including this story and link to 25 maps and charts of the United States (your first 10 stories a month at Washingtonpost.com are free; then the paywall rises up.) One, “Finding America’s Uninsured,” (#23) shows that the national problem of people not having health insurance…Continue Reading

Super-rich have super-low tax rates, in super times or bad ones

Let’s stop a moment to reflect on the tax lives of the 400 highest-earning Americans, and how they suffered in the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Oh, wait a minute—they didn’t suffer. As James B. Stewart points out in The New York Times, the fortunate 400 still averaged $202 million apiece in adjusted gross income in…Continue Reading

Could government-gathered tracking info show up in your tax audit?

As ProPublica points out, despite the veritable explosion of stories about secret government surveillance programs, there’s a whole lot we still don’t know. We don’t know how long the government has been collecting our phone records or how much is collected. It would be nice to know what government officials think they can do under…Continue Reading

Now that’s a home run: McCourts back in court over billion-dollar Dodgers franchise

Nasty multi-million dollar divorces make for some great financial insights, especially when they wind up in court. Today’s lesson: How profitable it can be to own a professional sports franchise, and how the tax code’s preferential rates for capital gains benefit the super-wealthy. Frank McCourt owned the Los Angeles Dodgers. When he and his wife…Continue Reading