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Due to the major changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is recommending that all taxpayers perform a “paycheck checkup” on their current withholdings. The IRS provides a withholding calculator application on their website to determine proper withholding amounts.

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With the 2018 tax deadline rapidly approaching, taxpayers will face fraudulent attempts by scam artists using the April 15 deadline as a way to gain financial and personal information. These attempts are made through a wide range of elaborate schemes via a number of tactics - especially phone scams.

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As tax season rages on, cyber criminals are targeting taxpayers with new scams. After a 60 percent jump in so-called phishing scams in 2018, the IRS is warning us to be extra vigilant this year. Hackers are using the advancements in technology to target taxpayers year-round but tax season is prime phishing season.

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The IRS is requiring certain verification of identities during phone calls in an attempt to prevent tax fraud. Taxpayers and tax professionals must have the required verification in order for the IRS to answer questions regarding certain tax items. By law, the IRS telephone assistors will only speak with the taxpayer or the taxpayer's legally designated representative.

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With the government shutdown over and the IRS reopened, what can be expected? Currently, the IRS has an estimated five million unanswered inquires that took place during the shutdown. Additionally, it is estimated that they have already received several million tax returns since the filing season started on January 28.

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As part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law in December 2017, the new law grants a tax credit for 2018 and 2019 for employers that voluntarily offer paid family and medical leave.

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Division of assets, possible child support, alimony, child custody, emotions - divorce can be a complicated, stressful and painful process. For 2018, now add taxes and timing into the mix.

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act greatly simplified the "kiddie tax". The original kiddie tax required children under the age of 18, or under age 24 if they are a full time student, to pay taxes on their unearned income (interest, dividends, capital gains, rents, etc.) over $2,100 at their parents' highest tax rate. It also required a separate form and some complicated computations, as well as requiring parents to share their tax information with their children.

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Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are mandated withdrawals from qualified retirement plans and IRAs after you have reached the age of 70½. Miss one or don't take enough out of your account and a 50 percent penalty applies. While the IRS requires these distributions, that doesn't mean you can't plan to use it to your benefit.

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If you have any foreign assets that have not been reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it is imperative that you take action now!

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