H&R Block planning to make millionaires | TahoeDailyTribune.com

H&R Block planning to make millionaires

Susan Wood

You could be a millionaire this tax season, and you don’t have to eat bugs, stab your neighbor in the back or sit in a hot seat

Rather, you simply must enter to win the prize by April 16 through one of H&R Block’s 10,000 U.S. and Canadian offices or on the tax preparer’s Web site -www.hrblock.com. The winner will be announced in May. Those who have their taxes done at H&R Block are automatically entered.

There is a catch to cashing in on these life-altering winnings: You’ll need to turn in, on the average, more than half of it to Uncle Sam.

“That’s sick,” said Debbie Brown, manager of the H&R Block on Emerald Bay Road in South Lake Tahoe.

Brown, who makes her living helping her clients legally keep as much of their income as possible, was reacting to the $506,000 her corporate office figured a new millionaire would pay to appease the IRS.

The tax and accounting firm had attempted to ease the weight for prospective millionaires taking part in the ABC hit show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

As part of a two-tier promotion with the current, million-dollar drawing, H&R Block sponsored the show during last February’s sweeps week by giving participants tax immunity on their winnings. There were three $125,000 winners who each saved $63,250 through the corporate partnership.

For those simply plugging along with preparing for one of two certainties in life, the California Franchise Tax Board released a few new tax credits signed into law last year. Beyond the cornerstone credits like home mortgage, the new ones include:

nLong-term care credit, which provides a $500 credit for taxpayers who are eligible caregivers of qualified individuals who need long-term care for six months or more.

nTeacher retention credit, which encourages educators to stay in the profession with a tax credit amounting to up to $1,500, depending on the credentialed teacher’s years of service.

nRefundable child and dependent care expenses credit, which gives up to $907 for taxpayers who pay for child-care expenses while maintaining employment.

Every March, there’s no shortage of tax advice to negotiate complex laws and the overall process of filing.

With today’s energy crisis in the Golden State, federal tax law allows for deductions on capital investments geared toward energy conservation, the 30,000-member California Society of Certified Public Accountants reported.

In addition, the California Society of Enrolled Agents released its list of the top 10 tips for taxpayers this year. Here’s a sampling from the list compiled by this group which consists of tax professionals licensed by the federal government to assist with tax planning, preparation and representation:

-Don’t ignore notices from tax agencies.

-Do not automatically accept a tax agency’s interpretation of a tax situation.

-If contacted via telephone by someone who claims to represent a tax agency, ask the caller to put the request in writing.

-File your tax return on time, even if you can’t pay the amount due.

-Be careful about paying taxes with credit cards as the issuer will charge a processing fee in addition to interest.

-Keep records of mileage, travel and entertainment expenses, if you plan to claim them as deductions.

-Do not assume it’s a good idea to attend your own audit.

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