This week, France and Spain passed a measure to levy a 3% tax on big tech's ad revenue. Google responded by raising their ad rates by 2%. The lesson here is that when taxes go up, the company will just pass that rate along to their customers.
JT needs to file taxes and wants to know the best option for online filing. Leo uses TurboTax. Leo says that TurboTax offers 1040EZ filing for free. It will also remind you what you need to include, like compliance with Obamacare. The great thing is that you no longer need to buy software either. And it takes about 20 minutes to do.
But make sure to collect all forms, W2s, etc.
The IRS e-filing system was down for part of the day on tax day, which is a little strange. It is the busiest day of the year, but the IRS knew that ahead of time. A lot of people using software do the e-filing, such as TurboTax, H&R Block, IRS Direct Pay, and others were unable to file electronically.
Read more at arstechnica.com.
(Disclaimer: TurboTax is a sponsor)
Dan wants to know if there's an app that will automatically look at his bank account and divide up his expenses to categorize them for taxes. Leo says that spreadsheets were designed with a database feature which will certainly do that. All he needs to do is set it up. There are also spreadsheet templates for Excel and others which are likely available to do what he wants. Leo also says that it may be worth doing with Mint. It's free and has a lot of automatic features.
The chatroom recommends SimplePlanning.net.
Hackers have been stealing people's information, filing their returns, and getting the refund. Last year, the IRS noticed that the FAFSA online system could get enough personal information that it could be used by hackers. In October, the IRS sent a memo to the Department of Education saying that the system could be abused. But because up to 15 million people used the system out of convenience, they kept it online. In February, the IRS noticed a pattern of fraudulent activity, and shut it down last month.
Seth is hearing that some cities want to tax streaming services. Leo says that is horrible. Pasadena is charging 9.4% on each streaming service starting in January. The argument is that cities are losing revenue due to cord cutting. 9.4% is a high percentage, and isn't it taxing citizens twice? They already tax the internet access, so why would people have to pay that tax twice because of streaming? It's also highly problematic from a net neutrality aspect. Will they pick and chose what services to tax? All bits should be treated equally.