bank secrecy act

The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970: What You Need to Know

In addition to the Tax Code, the IRS is charged with enforcing several other laws, including the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (The BSA). For most of its history, the BSA was a relatively obscure law that only impacted banks; it required banks to develop anti-money laundering internal controls. However, there are two provisions that significantly affect individuals and small businesses: offshore account disclosure and structuring.

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Get Ready to File Your 2019 Tax Return With These Simple Tips

Now that the 2019 tax year is over, we’re entering the busy 2020 tax season. However, before you file your 2019 tax return, it’s a good idea to reacquaint yourself with U.S. tax laws. This is especially true this year, since the IRS announced some big changes.

Keep reading to learn how tax filing has changed for the 2019 tax year and tips for confusion-free filing.

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Do I Need to Pay Self-employment Taxes

Do I Need to Pay Taxes If I’m Self-Employed? Short Answer, Yes. Here’s How

There are many perks to being self-employed. Keeping your own hours, not needing budget approval, and being your own boss — to name just a few. Unfortunately, not having to pay taxes isn’t on that list.

If you are self-employed, the government requires you to report your income and pay both self-employment and income taxes. So, you shouldn’t be asking yourself if you have to pay taxes, but how you should pay them.

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How to Report Virtual Currency on Your Taxes

How to Report Virtual Currency on Your Taxes and Stay on the IRS’ Good Side

In the summer of 2019, the IRS mailed a series of notification letters to taxpayers who owned virtual currency. These letters informed taxpayers that the IRS was aware of their virtual transactions and expected them to submit amended tax returns if they had not included virtual income and transactions on their 2018 returns.  

Previously, the IRS was unable to track virtual currency transactions, so these letters came as a surprise to many taxpayers. If you received one of these letters or are new to virtual currency, please keep reading to learn how this might affect your taxes. 


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tax schemes 2019

Watch Out for These Top Tax Scams During Tax Season 2020

Tax season is nearly here, which means it’s time to gather all your returns, find your receipts, tally up your donations, and figure out all your write-offs from 2019. It’s also time to educate yourself about some of the top tax scams that make the rounds every year.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of unsavory people out there looking to rip you off. During tax time, these people will attempt to steal your identity, drain your bank account, and take your tax refund. No matter who you are, you need to watch out for these tax fraudsters.

Let’s take a look at some of the top tax schemes to be aware of this year and find out how you can protect yourself in 2020 and beyond.
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Easily Missed Tax Deductions

Home Office Expenses and Other Tax Deductions You Won’t Want to Miss

Many taxpayers wince when they think about paying and filing their taxes, but there’s one area of taxes that won’t make you cringe: deductions! Most of us would like to pay less in taxes, and claiming deductions is one way to do just that.

Let’s examine some of the most easily missed tax deductions and how you can use them to your benefit during tax season and all year ‘round. Read more

What Is Assignment of Income

FAQ: What Is the Assignment of Income?

Assignment of income allows you to assign part of your income directly to another person. While there are several valid reasons to assign your income to someone else, many taxpayers mistakenly believe that it can help lower their taxable income. While assignment of income allows you to divert income, you cannot divert taxes.

In this article, we’ll provide some examples of failed attempts at avoiding income taxes through the assignment of income and the valid reasons someone might want to assign income to someone else. Read more

Tax Identity Theft During the Holidays

Protect Yourself From Tax Identity Theft This Holiday Season

Tax identity theft is a growing concern. In 2018, tax fraud ranked second for the most frequent type of identity theft — only behind credit card fraud. The IRS is always working to improve security and minimize tax identity theft cases. Last holiday season, the IRS warned taxpayers that the increase in shoppers makes December a shopping season for identity thieves too.

Identity thefts use a variety of tactics and schemes to steal your money. For instance, one method is to use stolen credit card information, social security numbers, and other personal information to file a fraudulent tax return and steal your refund.

In this article, we’ll take a look at popular tax scams, how the IRS is improving tax identity security, and steps you can take this holiday season to protect yourself from tax identity theft. Read more

Mayor Pugh

Former Mayor Pugh: A Lesson in What Not to Do With Taxes

Recently, a grand jury indicted former Mayor Catherine Pugh in federal court on 11 different counts, three of which were tax crimes: one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of tax evasion. Within days, she pled guilty to four charges.

At S.H. Block Tax Services, we believe there are valuable lessons for all Marylanders on what not to do with your taxes. Read more

what is tax evasion

Tax Evasion Vs. Tax Avoidance: The Difference and Why It Matters

Although both sound like something the IRS would frown upon, tax evasion is different than tax avoidance. Tax avoidance refers to using legitimate methods to lower your tax liability, while tax evasion is reducing your tax liability through deception and other illegal means.

While some taxpayers knowingly initiate tax evasion tactics on their own, others fall for the promise that a shady company can reduce their taxes owed. The IRS often catches these tax scheme promoters and sometimes finds the clients guilty of tax evasion as well.

Understanding the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion can help keep you out of trouble with the IRS. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance and how an experienced tax attorney may be able to help clear up misunderstandings with the IRS. Read more