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March 28, 2014

11 Illegal Tax Deductions

No, You Can't Deduct That: 11 Tax Deductions That Can Get You in Trouble

Tips for U.S. Taxpayers with Foreign Income

Did you live or work abroad or receive income from foreign sources in 2013? If you are a U.S. citizen or resident, you must report income from all sources within and outside of the U.S. The rules for filing income tax returns are generally the same whether you’re living in the U.S. or abroad. Here are seven tips from the IRS that U.S. taxpayers with foreign income should know:
1. Report Worldwide Income.  By law, U.S. citizens and resident aliens must report their worldwide income. This includes income from foreign trusts, and foreign bank and securities accounts.
2. File Required Tax Forms.  You may need to file Schedule B, Interest and Ordinary Dividends, with your U.S. tax return. You may also need to file Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets. In some cases, you may need to file FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. See for more information.
3. Consider the Automatic Extension.  If you’re living abroad and can’t file your return by the April 15 deadline, you may qualify for an automatic two-month filing extension. You’ll then have until June 16, 2014 to file your U.S. income tax return. This extension also applies to those serving in the military outside the U.S. You’ll need to attach a statement to your return to explain why you qualify for the extension.
4. Review the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.  If you live and work abroad, you may be able to claim the foreign earned income exclusion. If you qualify, you won’t pay tax on up to $97,600 of your wages and other foreign earned income in 2013. See Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, for more details.
5. Don’t Overlook Credits and Deductions.  You may be able to take atax credit or a deduction for income taxes you paid to a foreign country. These benefits can reduce the amount of taxes you have to pay if both countries tax the same income.

You can get more on this topic in Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. IRS forms and publications are available on 

Additional IRS Resources:
The best resource is Kauffman Nelson LLP. We prepare returns for expats and nonresidents and have done so for over 30 years.  We know the law and we know the the forms.  Want a consultation?  Email  and ask for Don Nelson, Attorney, CPA.

March 25, 2014


From USA TODAY IRS: Bitcoin is not currency The federal government will tax digital money such as Bitcoin like property, not currency, the IRS said Tuesday in its first significant guidance on the virtual coin. Although Bitcoin may operate like coin and paper currency and can be used to pay for goods and services, no country accepts it as "legal tender," the Internal Revenue Service said in its notice. "Virtual currency is treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes," the notice said. "General tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency." The guidance means that wages paid in Bitcoin are subject to federal income tax withholding and payroll taxes and must be reported on W-2 forms. Businesses that accept Bitcoin for goods and services will be taxed on the fair market value of the Bitcoin payment as part of their gross income, the IRS said. The fair market value would be calculated as the U.S. dollar value on the date payment was received. Get USA TODAY on your mobile device:

March 24, 2014

March 21, 2014


You normally must pay income tax on your investment income. That is also true for a child who must file a federal tax return. If a child can’t file his or her own return, their parent or guardian is normally responsible for filing their tax return.

Special tax rules apply to certain children with investment income. Those rules may affect the tax rate and the way you report the income.

Here are four facts from the IRS that you should know about your child’s investment income:

1. Investment income normally includes interest, dividends and capital gains. It also includes other unearned income, such as from a trust.

2. Special rules apply if your child's total investment income is more than $2,000. Your tax rate may apply to part of that income instead of your child's tax rate.

3. If your child's total interest and dividend income was less than $10,000 in 2013, you may be able to include the income on your tax return. If you make this choice, the child does not file a return. See Form 8814, Parents' Election to Report Child's Interest and Dividends. 

4. Children whose investment income was $10,000 or more in 2013 must file their own tax return. File Form 8615, Tax for Certain Children Who Have Investment Income, along with the child’s federal tax return.

Starting in 2013, a child whose tax is figured on Form 8615 may be subject to the Net Investment Income Tax. NIIT is a 3.8% tax on the lesser of either net investment income or the excess of the child's modified adjusted gross income that is over a threshold amount. Use Form 8960, Net Investment Income Tax, to figure this tax. For more on this topic, visit

For more on this topic, see Publication 929, Tax Rules for Children and Dependents. Visit to get this booklet and IRS forms.

March 7, 2014


Excellent article  from Forbes.