Tax Break

Tax clips from the Web: Mitt’s millions, cost basis and more

January 24, 2012

Mitt Romney taxesTax season looms! Indeed, for many, it already has begun. Here are some of the best stories on taxes that you might have missed elsewhere on the Web.

Mitt’s millions raise a fundamental tax question

Call it the dawn of the debate over carried interest and why it may be taxed differently in the future. The primary question that has emerged from the ruckus over Mitt Romney’s finances, which Kay Bell asks in her tax blog don’tmesswithtaxes, is whether capital gains should be taxed at a lower rate than normal income. There are arguments on either side. One is that  investments help build the U.S. economy, so tax breaks may be justified. On the other side is an argument that Warren Buffett was famous for making in the Op/Ed pages of the New York Times last August in which he asked why capital gains tax breaks should result in a billionaire paying an effectively lower tax rate than his middle-income staff.

Cost basis exploration

Forbes’ blogger Kelly Philips Erb weighs in with “Got Stock? Cost Basis Rules May Impact Taxes,” a good read if you have income from investing in stocks. This year investors need to know about changes to “cost basis” rules from the IRS. The department made changes partly to ensure that investors pay enough tax on gains from their stocks last year. Now stock brokers are required for the first time to provide the cost basis amounts to their clients in time for filing, and send a new form to the IRS. Investors still have responsibility for reporting all transactions that resulted in stock gains, of course, so whether the process will become more complicated remains to be seen.

Quick Links

Thinking about getting some help with your filing? The IRS has regulations in place to prevent people from going to “unscrupulous” tax preparers. Taxabletalk.com explains them in a handy video here.

And finally, e-filing tax returns is quickly becoming the norm.

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