Social Security Halts Tax-Refund Grab to Recover Old Debts

Update: The Social Security Administration says it will immediately stop collecting old debts by grabbing taxpayers’ refunds. In a statement, Carolyn W. Colvin, the acting commissioner of the agency, says: “I have directed an immediate halt to further referrals under the Treasury Offset Program to recover debts owed to the agency that are 10 years old and older pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law to refer debt to the Treasury Department. “If any Social Security …

New IRS Message to Taxpayers: We’ve Got Your Back

The recently installed head of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, dropped in on members of the media the other day at the National Press Club in Washington. His message: The tax collection agency is out to restore public trust amid accusations the IRS acted inappropriately in reviewing tax-exempt status for certain public welfare groups, known as 501(c)(4) organizations. “Taxpayers need to be confident that the IRS will treat them fairly. It doesn’t make any difference who they are, what …

Federal Grant for You? It’s Uncle Sham Calling

Uncle Sam may have oodles of agencies, but the “Federal Government Grants Department” isn’t among them. Nor does the “Federal Grant Association” exist, despite claims it is awarding free government money to lucky recipients who are randomly telephoned. So beware of callers using these and other official-sounding names to promise thousands in cash for reasons such as paying your taxes on time, being debt-free, needing debt relief, or just being a good citizen or money-spending consumer. The government grant scam …

In a Time of Enmity, the Charitable Deduction May Be Too Good to Give Up

The Federal Government is looking for money.  I know, big surprise.  Next target: remove the charitable gift deduction. In a recent article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Jack Shakely shares that in this time of deficits, the deduction may be too costly to keep. And he has a point. An individual giving a million dollar gift to a building project or a new national program – doesn’t need the tax deduction. Seventy percent of Americans don’t itemize and don’t get the …