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This century’s 5 worst investment calls, so far
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Is it 2008 all over again?

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Dating sites crack down on liars
What NOT to do on a dating website
10 dating apps that even their users can’t stand
Online-dating boomers can teach millennials
Dating in 2016: This is the etiquette

4 factors behind oil’s best one-day gain in 7 years
 AFP/Getty Images
Oil up more than 12%, but down for the week
Move over, China: India to drive oil demand

Tour a $22 million Marbella mansion built from marble
 ENGEL & VLKERS
U.S. cities with the most, least vacant housing
Location Scouts: Insider intel from top markets

Chevy’s new Bolt — the shape of things to come?
 General Motors
Why you probably won’t see 99 cent gas

‘Deadpool’ vs. ‘50 Shades’ for Valentine’s Day record
 Everett Collection
Lithe, beautiful: The ‘Jane’ in every movie script
Film clip: Back on the catwalk for 'Zoolander 2'
Martin Shkreli: Star of stage, screen, pharma

What ‘affordable’ Tesla Model 3 means for buyers
What the ‘affordable’ Tesla Model 3 rollout means for car buyers Getty Images
Tesla predicts rosy 2016 —can Musk deliver?
Tesla’s Model 3: The 5 things we now know

The top 10 tax havens for individuals in the world
 Shutterstock.com
Watch out for these tricky tax issues this year

Challenging job: President Trump’s top diplomat
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally aboard the USS Iowa on September 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Donald Trump is campaigning in Los Angeles a day ahead of the CNN GOP debate that will be broadcast from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  Getty Images
Voters don’t care about promises — just vision

How did Kissinger get into Clinton-Sanders debate?
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger listens to a question at China Development Forum, in Beijing March 21, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee  Reuters
Clinton, Sanders clash over costs at debate

A rare bit of good news about dementia
LLANDUDNO, WALES - SEPTEMBER 08:  Senior citizens walk along Llandudno Pier on September 8, 2014 in Llandudno, Wales. Britain is facing multiple problems stemming from an increase in the elderly proportion of its population, including increasing health care costs, strains on its social security system, a shortage of senior care workers and challenges to the employment market.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)  Getty Images

Burger King’s hot dog plan is so crazy it could work
Burger King to make its biggest menu change yet  Getty Images


need to know
BAE poised to name Charles Woodburn as COO
Kohl's tells 3 top execs their positions are cut
Pope Francis in Cuba for historic meeting
Uber to pay $28.5 million in safety claim case
Shake Shack plans to open in St. Louis
Zika vaccine is at least a year and a half away
10 big stories you’ve missed this week

It’s a ‘new Cold War,’ warns Russian premier

Was that a short-covering rally we saw Friday?

23 ‘loser’ stocks thrown out with the bathwater

What bear market? Stocks look likely to rise

5 signs we might already be in a bear market
Looks like time for bottom fishing in stocks

‘Year of Monkey’ puts China stocks in focus

Funny #Fed Valentines — best of  this year’s quips

Bank of America chief gets a 23% pay raise
Intel lured Qualcomm exec with $25 mln pay
CEO Jamie Dimon’s $26 mln bet on J.P. Morgan

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Something pink and potable for Valentine’s Day?
Passy samples rosé cider
9 incredibly romantic wines

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Yen has crossed a ‘line in the sand’
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/conga/frontpage.html 367898

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Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
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Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 15,974 +314 2.00%
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/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,338 +71 1.66%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,865 +36 1.95%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,070 +23 1.11%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,239 -9 0.75%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 29.02 +2.81 10.72%
FTSE 100
/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 5,708 +171 3.08%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 8,968 +215 2.45%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 3,995 +98 2.52%
FTSE MIB
/quotes/zigman/1482176/delayed 16,515 +742 4.70%
IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 7,921 +175 2.25%
Stoxx 600
/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 312 +9 2.91%
Asia Dow
/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,385 -51 2.10%
Nikkei 225
/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 14,953 -761 4.84%
Hang Seng
/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 18,320 -226 1.22%
Shanghai
/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 2,763 -18 0.63%
Sensex
/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 22,986 +34 0.15%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,540 +2 0.07%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.13 -0.01 0.61%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 113.25 +0.83 0.74%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.45 +0.00 0.18%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.71 0.00 0.04%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 95.97 +0.36 0.38%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 88.99 +0.23 0.26%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 1.75 0.00 0.00%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.26 +0.07 37.97%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.64 -0.08 4.67%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 1.74 -0.04 2.01%
U.K. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866328/realtime 1.42 0.00 0.00%
Japan 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866525/realtime 0.08 0.00 0.00%
Crude Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 29 +3 10.72%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,239 -9 0.75%
Corn
/quotes/zigman/25518696/delayed 364 -1 0.27%
DJIA F
/quotes/zigman/48241424/delayed 15,925 +313 2.00%
S&P F
/quotes/zigman/43106711/delayed 1,860 +36 1.95%
Silver
/quotes/zigman/32655632/delayed 16 0 0.03%

Quotes

Symbol Price Change % Change
FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 102.01 0.10 0.10%
AAPL /quotes/zigman/68270/composite 93.99 0.29 0.31%
GOOG /quotes/zigman/59527964/composite 682.40 -0.71 -0.10%
BAC /quotes/zigman/190927/composite 11.95 0.79 7.08%
C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 37.54 2.56 7.32%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 11.55 0.38 3.40%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 36.47 0.26 0.72%
BP /quotes/zigman/247026/composite 29.02 1.38 4.99%
GE /quotes/zigman/227468/composite 28.26 0.81 2.95%
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Rates »

5 yr CD
1.3%
2 yr CD
0.7%
1 yr CD
0.6%
MMA $10K+
0.2%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.96% 11.96% 11.62%
Business 13.12% 13.12% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.35% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.17% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.20% 15.26% 15.27%
Reward 15.25% 15.28% 15.14%
Instant Approval 18.02% 18.21% 18.00%
Bad Credit 22.56% 22.88% 22.73%
Source:CreditCards.com

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The Tax Blog
The latest news, insights and tips about taxes

Easy Money From Refundable Tax Credits?

As long as there’s a tax code there will be fraudsters looking for loopholes. And what could be easier than opening the spigot to free cash already rubber-stamped by Congress? Enter the refundable tax credit.

Last week’s Tax Guy column explains how refundable tax credits, which allow you to get a check from the government even if you owe no tax, encourage fraud. Claiming some of these credits requires minimal time and paperwork, and can promise hefty sums of cash—in the thousands of dollars.  All a recipe for fraudulently prepared returns, says Tax Guy Bill Bischoff.

Bischoff predicts the $13,170 refundable credit for adoption expenses—and the relative lack of proof needed to claim it—will result in thousands of sham returns this tax year.  But the adoption credit is neither the first nor will be the last tool of tax swindlers.  Here are a few eyebrow-raising examples of credits filers have used to dupe Uncle Sam.

First-Time Homebuyer Credit.  It conjures up the tender image of a young couple buying their first nest, all with the help of the U.S. government. But the now-expired $8,000 credit became an easy target for tax fraud because initially, you didn’t even need to file paperwork proving your home purchase. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that first-time homebuyers would be paid more than $4.3 billion in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) audit last June revealed a number of disturbing statistics that could further plump this figure. Among them, 18,832 taxpayers filed claims for just 7,695 addresses, totaling more than $134 million. And at least 1,295 prisoners received fraudulent credits from their 2008 returns at a $9.1 million price tag.

The Earned Income Tax Credit. Congress created the EITC in 1975 to help offset Social Security taxes for low-income workers. The amount of EITC claimed has risen steeply in the past quarter century, according to another TIGTA report. The IRS estimates that $11 billion to $14 billion of bogus EITC claims are filed each year (a figure that prompted TIGTA to scrutinize the role tax preparers play in submitting improper claims). For those of you keeping score, 23.7 million tax returns claimed the EITC in tax year 2008, which tallies up to $49.2 billion in claims—the IRS’s fraud estimate makes up a decent chunk of that.

Additional Child Tax Credit.  The credit applies to those parents who get less than the full amount of the child tax credit. A TIGTA report shows that in tax year 2007 about two-thirds of filers using individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) received the Additional Child Tax Credit, totaling almost $1.8 billion in fraudulent claims. ITINs are assigned to people ineligible for Social Security numbers but still required to file taxes—namely foreign workers.  Though they’re not valid for employment purposes, almost 300,000 employers filed Forms W-2 with ITINs, reporting wages totaling more than $9.5 billion. What’s more, individuals can be assigned multiple ITINs, which can lead to the improper issuance of refunds.

Readers, do you think refundable tax credits should be eliminated given their fraud-inspiring track record?

Comments

We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 6)

View all Comments »
    • You have an amazing website here! Good to be a part of it.

      Roof Repair Virginia Beach

    • I suppose my take on this is . how old is your home? Does it NEED some updntiag so you can live in it comfortably? Have you saved the money? We did our renovations last year. We had the money, our home was 35 years old and the doors were totally destroyed (not real wood to start with so couldn’t just sand them down and paint them, my hubby had had to make new boxes’ for the drawers over the years as the crappy builder grade ones fell apart one at a time over the years. Not to mention the whole idea of only 5 feet of counter space to try cooking in. (no dishwasher to hide the dirty dishes) My hubby spent a lot of hours on the Ikea program and worked out our kitchen. It is gorgeous. Because we bought Ikea and put together ourselves we had enough left over for a lovely quartz countertop that we absolutely love. If we lived in some other neighbourhood we couldn’t have done this. But our neighbourhood is not the fanciest so anything more than what we did would not make sense. Anyways, we then waited for the Kitchen Event and got 10% in gift cards as well so all the internal fittings for the cupboards got paid for for free. Quite happy all round here.

    • You have a really good website. Very interesting read. I will be back to look for more posts, keep it going.
      ___________________________
      roofing

    • You have a really good blog. Very interesting read. I will be back to look for more posts, keep it going.
      ___________________________
      roofing

    • The scam does not go like that, most people with Itins work for cash, there is no way to track how much they make, they do not even need an Itin to get welfare. They report low earnings to the welfare office(s).
      When they file thier taxes the illegals report whatever amount of wages benifits them to maximize thier refund. For example if a tax filer has 3 children, he will report about 11,000 in earnings which is usually self-employment. This amount is credited to his/her itin, taxes are paid off of the child tax credit of 3,000 for his/her 3 children(1,000 per child – they can be illegal as long they have an ITIN). Whatever amount is left after the taxes are paid is refunded as Additional Child Tax Credit – usually about $1200, See you don’t even have to have a valid social to get money back. Not only do illegals get free food, housing, medical care, education- they even get refunds without even paying taxes out of their pockets. No wonder we owe over $14 trillion.

About The Tax Blog

  • The Tax Blog brings together a team of award-winning tax journalists from the Dow Jones network and around the web to examine the tax issues, changes and legislation that affect families, investors and small business owners. Our contributors include Tax Report columnist Laura Saunders (WSJ), Tax Guy columnist Bill Bischoff and senior reporter Jilian Mincer (SmartMoney.com), retirement-focused reporter Anne Tergesen (WSJ), wealth management writer Arden Dale (Dow Jones Newswires), TaxWatch columnist Eva Rosenberg and personal finance reporter Andrea Coombes (MarketWatch), and reporter Alyssa Abkowitz (SmartMoney). They’ll provide the latest news and insight, mine the tax code for tips and loopholes, and answer your questions about tricky tax situations. Contact the The Tax Blog with ideas, suggestions or tax questions at thetaxblog@dowjones.com.

MarketWatch - Stock Market Quotes, Business News, Financial News
Bulletin
Investor Alert
This century’s 5 worst investment calls, so far
Greenpan on housing bubble ranked by Howard Gold among the epid bad investment calls.
Is it 2008 all over again?

The 10 biggest online dating photo mistakes
Dating sites crack down on liars
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10 dating apps that even their users can’t stand
Online-dating boomers can teach millennials
Dating in 2016: This is the etiquette

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 AFP/Getty Images
Oil up more than 12%, but down for the week
Move over, China: India to drive oil demand

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 ENGEL & VLKERS
U.S. cities with the most, least vacant housing
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Chevy’s new Bolt — the shape of things to come?
 General Motors
Why you probably won’t see 99 cent gas

‘Deadpool’ vs. ‘50 Shades’ for Valentine’s Day record
 Everett Collection
Lithe, beautiful: The ‘Jane’ in every movie script
Film clip: Back on the catwalk for 'Zoolander 2'
Martin Shkreli: Star of stage, screen, pharma

What ‘affordable’ Tesla Model 3 means for buyers
What the ‘affordable’ Tesla Model 3 rollout means for car buyers Getty Images
Tesla predicts rosy 2016 —can Musk deliver?
Tesla’s Model 3: The 5 things we now know

The top 10 tax havens for individuals in the world
 Shutterstock.com
Watch out for these tricky tax issues this year

Challenging job: President Trump’s top diplomat
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally aboard the USS Iowa on September 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Donald Trump is campaigning in Los Angeles a day ahead of the CNN GOP debate that will be broadcast from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  Getty Images
Voters don’t care about promises — just vision

How did Kissinger get into Clinton-Sanders debate?
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger listens to a question at China Development Forum, in Beijing March 21, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee  Reuters
Clinton, Sanders clash over costs at debate

A rare bit of good news about dementia
LLANDUDNO, WALES - SEPTEMBER 08:  Senior citizens walk along Llandudno Pier on September 8, 2014 in Llandudno, Wales. Britain is facing multiple problems stemming from an increase in the elderly proportion of its population, including increasing health care costs, strains on its social security system, a shortage of senior care workers and challenges to the employment market.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)  Getty Images

Burger King’s hot dog plan is so crazy it could work
Burger King to make its biggest menu change yet  Getty Images


need to know
BAE poised to name Charles Woodburn as COO
Kohl's tells 3 top execs their positions are cut
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Uber to pay $28.5 million in safety claim case
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/conga/frontpage.html 367898

Markets »

132.55MDow Volume:
Avg Vol: 132.70M
Unchanged
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Decliners
1500
Advancers
4873
Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
Range: 1 Day
  • 1 Day
  • 5 Days
  • 1 Month
  • 3 Months
  • 6 Months
  • 1 Year
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Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 15,974 +314 2.00%
Nasdaq
/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,338 +71 1.66%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,865 +36 1.95%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,070 +23 1.11%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,239 -9 0.75%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 29.02 +2.81 10.72%
FTSE 100
/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 5,708 +171 3.08%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 8,968 +215 2.45%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 3,995 +98 2.52%
FTSE MIB
/quotes/zigman/1482176/delayed 16,515 +742 4.70%
IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 7,921 +175 2.25%
Stoxx 600
/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 312 +9 2.91%
Asia Dow
/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,385 -51 2.10%
Nikkei 225
/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 14,953 -761 4.84%
Hang Seng
/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 18,320 -226 1.22%
Shanghai
/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 2,763 -18 0.63%
Sensex
/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 22,986 +34 0.15%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,540 +2 0.07%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.13 -0.01 0.61%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 113.25 +0.83 0.74%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.45 +0.00 0.18%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.71 0.00 0.04%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 95.97 +0.36 0.38%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 88.99 +0.23 0.26%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 1.75 0.00 0.00%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.26 +0.07 37.97%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.64 -0.08 4.67%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 1.74 -0.04 2.01%
U.K. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866328/realtime 1.42 0.00 0.00%
Japan 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866525/realtime 0.08 0.00 0.00%
Crude Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 29 +3 10.72%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,239 -9 0.75%
Corn
/quotes/zigman/25518691/delayed 359 -1 0.35%
DJIA F
/quotes/zigman/48241424/delayed 15,925 +313 2.00%
S&P F
/quotes/zigman/43106711/delayed 1,860 +36 1.95%
Silver
/quotes/zigman/32655632/delayed 16 0 0.03%

Quotes

Symbol Price Change % Change
FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 102.01 0.10 0.10%
AAPL /quotes/zigman/68270/composite 93.99 0.29 0.31%
GOOG /quotes/zigman/59527964/composite 682.40 -0.71 -0.10%
BAC /quotes/zigman/190927/composite 11.95 0.79 7.08%
C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 37.54 2.56 7.32%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 11.55 0.38 3.40%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 36.47 0.26 0.72%
BP /quotes/zigman/247026/composite 29.02 1.38 4.99%
GE /quotes/zigman/227468/composite 28.26 0.81 2.95%
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5 yr CD
1.3%
2 yr CD
0.7%
1 yr CD
0.6%
MMA $10K+
0.2%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.96% 11.96% 11.62%
Business 13.12% 13.12% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.35% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.17% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.20% 15.26% 15.27%
Reward 15.25% 15.28% 15.14%
Instant Approval 18.02% 18.21% 18.00%
Bad Credit 22.56% 22.88% 22.73%
Source:CreditCards.com

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