Helpful tips to avoid tax problems

Straight from the evil-overlord’s mouth, here are the “dirty dozen” tax frauds that you should strive to avoid. The IRS will be watching for these especially carefully. Here’s a sample:

3. Phishing is a technique used by identity thieves to acquire personal financial data in order to gain access to the financial accounts of unsuspecting consumers, run up charges on their credit cards or apply for loans in their names. These Internet-based criminals pose as representatives of a financial institution — or sometimes the IRS itself — and send out fictitious e-mail correspondence in an attempt to trick consumers into disclosing private information. A typical e-mail notifies a taxpayer of an outstanding refund and urges the taxpayer to click on a hyperlink and visit an official-looking Web site. The Web site then solicits a social security and credit card number. It is important to note the IRS does not use e-mail to initiate contact with taxpayers about issues related to their accounts. If a taxpayer has any doubt whether a contact from the IRS is authentic, the taxpayer should call 1-800-829-1040 to confirm it.

12. Frivolous Arguments: Promoters have been known to make the following outlandish claims: the Sixteenth Amendment concerning congressional power to lay and collect income taxes was never ratified; wages are not income; filing a return and paying taxes are merely voluntary; and being required to file Form 1040 violates the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination or the Fourth Amendment right to privacy. Don’t believe these or other similar claims. These arguments are false and have been thrown out of court. While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in court, no one has the right to disobey the law.

If you don’t do your taxes yourself and want to try to avoid unethical tax preparers that might suck you into these or other tax abuses which will lead to trouble, I’ve been a fan of Consumerist for finding reliable consumer help on practically anything. Searching the site for “Tax preparation” yielded a few potentially helpful threads.

[tags]IRS Dirty-Dozen tax schemes, Avoid these illegal or unethical tax frauds[/tags]

This day in history, 1959 – Barbie debuts

At the American Toy Fair in New York city, Barbie made her debut today in 1959.

Eleven inches tall, with a waterfall of blond hair, Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States with adult features. The woman behind Barbie was Rith Handler, who co-founded Mattel, Inc. with her husband in 1945. After seeing her young dauther ignore her baby dolls to play make-believe with paper dolls of adult women, Handler realized there was an important niche in the market for a toy that allowed little girls to imagine the future.

Barbie’s appearance was modeled on a doll named Lilli, based on a German comic strip character. Originally marketed as a racy gag gift to adult men in tobacco shops, the Lilli doll later became extremely popular with children.

A brief video of Barbie’s beginning plus a lot more information on her origins at the link above.

[tags]Today in history 1959 – Barbie debuts, Barbie’s 1959 beginnings[/tags]