FTC Fines Facebook $5 Billion

Federal regulators have fined Facebook $5 billion for privacy violations and are instituting new oversight and restrictions on its business. This fine is the largest the Federal Trade Commission has levied on a tech company. Facebook will also pay a separate $100 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges it made misleading disclosures about the risk of misuse of Facebook user data.

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Tax Tips for Taxpayers to Consider When Selling Their Home

The IRS has some good news for taxpayers who are selling their home. When filing their taxes, they may qualify to exclude all or part of any gain from the sale from their income. Here are some thing that homeowners should think about when selling a home:

  • Ownership and use- To claim the exclusion, the taxpayer must meet ownership and use tests. During a five-year period ending on the date of the sale, the homeowner must have owned the home and lived in it as their main home for at least two years.
  • Gains- Taxpayers who sell their main home and have a gain from the sale may be able to exclude up to $250,000-$500,000 of that gain from their income.
  • Losses- Some taxpayers experience a loss when their main home sells for less than what they paid for it. This loss is not deductible.
  • Possible exceptions- There are exceptions to these rules for some individuals, including persons with a disability, certain members of the military, intelligence community and Peace Corps workers.

If you need tax help, call our office at 816-524-4949 or visit our website at Hoorfarlaw.com

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Religious Contributions Not Considered in Dischargeability of Student Loans

The bankruptcy court is not required to take religious contributions into consideration when decided whether a debtor is entitled to discharge student loans, according to a District Judge in New York. The debtor did not present compelling facts to support an argument that the First Amendment or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 compels the deduction of religious contributions in deciding whether the repayment of student loans impose an “undue hardship” under bankruptcy code.

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, call our law office at 816-524-4949 or visit our website at Hoorfarlaw.com

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U.S Credit Card Debt Closed 2018 at a Record $870 Billion

U.S credit card debt hit $870 billion, a record high, as of December 2018. At the end of last year, credit cards were the fourth-largest portion of consumer debt in the U.S after mortgage, student loan and car loans.

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IRS Issues Standard Mileage Rates for 2019

In 2019 the standard mileage rates for the use of a vehicle will be:

  • 58 cents per mile driven for business use, up 3.5 cents from the rate for 2018,
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 2 cents from the rate for 2018, and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

Taxpayers typically have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

If you have a question about taxes, call our law office at 816-524-4949 or visit our website at Hoorfarlaw.com.

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Summertime Tax Tips

Activities that are common in the summer often qualify for tax credits or deductions. Working a summer job might not you enough to owe federal income tax, they should remember to file a return to get a refund for taxes withheld early next year.

Here are some summertime tax tips from the IRS that can help taxpayers during tax season next year:

  • Martial tax bliss- Newlyweds should report any name change to the Social Security Administration before filing a tax return. Also, report any address changes to the United States Postal Service, any employers, and the IRS.
  • Cash back for summer day camp- Unlike overnight camps, the cost of summer day camp may count as an expense towards Child and Dependent Care expenses.
  • Part-time and summer work- Employers usually must withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from your paycheck, even for part-time and seasonal workers. Self-employed workers or independent contractors need to pay their own Social Security and Medicare taxes, even if they have no income tax liability. Normally, employees receive a Form W-2 from their employer by January 31 of the following year. The Form W-2 shows the amount of earnings, withholding for state and federal taxes, Social Security, Medicare wages and tips. Employees use the information on this form when they file their tax return.
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Freedom Debt Relief Pays $25 Million to Settle U.S Charges It Misled Customers

Freedom Debt Relief LLC, the largest U.S debt settlement services provider, agreed to pay $25 million to resolve U.S regulatory allegations it imposed improper charges on consumers and failed to settle their debts as promised. The U.S Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that Freedom will pay a $5 million civil fine and $20 million of restitution to settle its lawsuit. Freedom was also accused of failing to tell consumers they could reclaim money deposited in their accounts if they exited their debt settlement programs.

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If you are having problems with your debt settlement provider, call our law office at 816-524-4949 or visit our website at Hoorfarlaw.com

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Porn Pirating Lawyer Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

Prenda Law partners John Steele and Paul Hansmeier were charged with running a porn-trolling scheme from 2010 to 2013. It is believed the firm made over $6 million from the scheme. The scam accused people of pirating pornographic films, and many people preferred to pay thousands of dollars to Prenda rather than challenge the accusation in court. Steele and Hansmeier have also been ordered to repay $1.5 million to victims.

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KCMO Woman Sentenced to 34 Months in Prison for Filing False Tax Returns

Antoinette Winston was sentenced to 34 months in prison for using stolen identities to falsify her tax returns. From 2012-2015 Winston stole and used personal information of other individuals to file fraudulent income tax returns requesting refunds from the IRS. Winston plead guilty to 1 count of wire fraud and 1 count of aggravated identity theft.

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Toys ‘R’ Us Will Open U.S. Stores in 2019

About a year after stopping their U.S operations, the toy chain Toys ‘R’ Us is set to return this holiday season by opening about a half dozen U.S stores and a website. The original Toys ‘R’ Us was the only national toy chain. It had been generating about $7 billion in sales each year including Babies ‘R’ Us before the company went under. The new stores are predicted to have more experiences such as child play areas.

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