Tax Haven Raises 2006 Entry Price Irs Owes You Money If You Paid Long Distance Phone Taxes 10 Ways To Cut Your Property Taxes Determining Your Tax Status

While Monaco is a well known European tax haven, Andorra has remained little known outside of the financial community – despite enjoying the same tax advantages and arguably more private banking than her better known rival.

In contrast to the similar financial benefits both Monaco and Andorra residents enjoy, the two small countries have quite different climates.

Monaco has good all year round weather and is located next to the French Riveria, while Andorra is in the Pyrenees and between early December and late April attracts nearly ten million tourists for ski holidays.

Monaco has year round tourists, peaking twice a year in May for the Grand Prix, and September for the Yacht Show.

Neither Andorra or Monaco have their own airports – Nice airport has a helicopter link, a ten minute ride direct to Monaco, Andorra is not so fortunate and the nearest airport is Barcelona, a three hour drive away from the principality.

Both countries have opted to stay out of the EU, preserving their ability to maintain a no income tax policy.

The biggest difference is the entry price for becoming a resident – which entails buying or renting a house or apartment.

One bedroom apartments in Monaco start at 800,000 Euros, but in Andorra the same size apartment starts at less than a third of the price at 250,000 Euros. And while a house in Monaco is a rarity, there is a good choice of houses for sale in Andorra, with prices starting at under a million Euros.

Rising Prices

Given Andorra’s property price advantage for would-be residents choosing between Europe’s primary tax havens, it has come as a surprise to many that the closing costs for buying a property in Andorra has not only been less than half that of Monaco, but also less than buying a property in many other mainland European countries at around four and a half per cent.

But Andorra has just raised property closing costs by introducing a three and a half per cent sale of goods and services tax on property purchases from January 1, 2006 – bringing the tax haven more in line with neighbouring France and Spain.

Demand for property in Andorra and Monaco is unlikely to be affected by the recent increases though, according to European tax haven specialists Tribune Properties.

‘Andorra and Monaco have historically seen an increase in property activity and residency applications when taxes are increasing elsewhere. The new German government has recently increased the top rate of income tax and the United Kingdom has seen an increase in the number of indirect taxes, making the zero per cent personal income tax both Andorra and Monaco offer an attractive preposition to high income earners.

Andorra’s property inflation has been over ten per cent annually for the last three years, and when the 2005 figures are released we would expect it to be four years in a row, with no sign of a levelling off of demand for the year ahead.

With Andorra and Monaco’s high speed cable and broadband internet access more and more company owners are moving their residence to low and no tax countries and running their companies from a distance geographically, while being able to share information with their head office in real time’.

As well as buying a property in Andorra or Monaco, both countries require residency applicants to establish a local bank account and deposit around 50,000 Euros (Andorra) or 100,000 Euros (Monaco), take out private health insurance, and to live there for six months of the year.

The IRS has decided to give up the fight on an ongoing legal issue regarding taxes it has collected on long distance telephone services. Here is the scoop.

The IRS Owes You Money If You Have Paid Long Distance Phone Taxes

Every one of us pays for some form of long distance telephone service. The more you use the service, the more you start hunting for better rates. Whatever choice you make, however, you are always stuck paying a federal tax on the bill. For those of you with large long distance phone bills, this tax can add up quickly given the fact it is calculated at three percent of your total bill.

The tax in question is known as the federal excise tax on long distance telephone service. It was created in 1898. Yes, this tax arose well over one hundred years ago. As you might image, a few people started to wonder how a tax established in 1898 could possibly apply today, particularly given the advancement of telephone technologies. Turns out it doesn’t apply! Given a chance to review the situation, five appellate courts have ruled the tax invalid.

After contemplating the situation, the IRS has decided not to challenge the legal rulings. Instead, it has voluntarily agreed to issue credits or refunds for the excise taxes paid the past three years. Specifically, you will be able to claim a refund of all taxes paid from February 28, 2003 till the date the IRS stopped collecting them.

To collect the refunds, the IRS will create a new box on all 1040 filing forms for the 2006 tax year. In practical terms, this means you will be able to check a box and get a refund when you prepare your 2006 tax return in 2007. The IRS will pay interest on these funds.

It should be noted the refund is applicable only to the long distance excise tax. You still must pay local service taxes and the refund does not apply to taxes collected by states and such. Still, any refund is a good refund in my opinion.

Property taxes are decided collectively by school boards, town boards, legislators, and councils. The tax rate is set by collating the amount of funds an area needs. This is then divided that by the “total taxable” assessed value of the area. The tax an individual pays is computed by multiplying the tax rate by the assessed value of your property and then deducting any applicable exceptions. Property taxes are at an all time high. Studies indicate that they have increased more than 35% in five years.

Property is assessed by determining property costs in any given area. Property is valued by studying: the current sale price of properties in the area, costs to be incurred to replace the property, potential realization of property if it is rented, sold, or gifted, and the historical value of a property.

There are a few ways in which you could save on taxes:

1. Check if the state you reside in is offering any rebates. For example, a money back rebate, energy rebate, capping of taxes, or home owners rebate where under certain conditions you may be eligible to claim a rebate.

2. Ensure that the property is assessed right. This will ensure that you do not have to pay excess taxes. Assert your right to check you assessment report ensure that there are no miscalculations, mistakes, or assumptions. If in any doubt, do put in an appeal. According to statistics almost 50% of the cases win some relief.

3. Check all exemptions allowed according to the law.

4. Buy property jointly with a partner or family member. This way both owners become eligible for tax rebates.

5. Check if your assessment is in according to other properties in your neighborhood. Check with the assessment office or with your neighbors themselves. It helps to know applicable laws. Use the help of a real estate professional to put together a file of properties similar to yours that have a lower assessment. Or, use the bank’s appraisal to support your case. Be sure that the case you gather together is water tight.

6. Use a property consultant to help you save taxes. Some charge a flat fee while others just a percentage of what you save. A professional will check how assessment is done and also if there are any loop holes you can use.

7. There is strength in numbers. Get together with other owners who are also checking or fighting assessments. Check on the National Taxpayers Union Web site for your rights.

8. Ask you home loan provider whether you are eligible for refund of property taxes paid. Some agreements have a provision for this. Many mortgages have automatic escrow of taxes.

9. Even before you buy a home find out what the property taxes are in the area and what have been the increases in tax rates.

10. Be sure to read through assessment and tax manuals published by your local authorities. These will give a clear idea of what are the parameters used and what you must do to reduce or pay the correct property taxes.

In order to be money smart you need to get the help of an efficient and dedicated accountant, plan your tax liabilities well, known thoroughly all aspects of Property Tax. If you are prudent, you can benefit by using ways and means to cut your tax burden and liabilities.

Knowing how to determine your tax status, and knowing the difference between each group will help to make filing your income tax return go smoother. Here we will discuss the ways in which you determine which status to file under.

There are five classifications from which you choose to file: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household or qualifying widower with dependent child. If for some reason, more than one status applies to you, you should choose the status that gives you the greatest tax benefit.

Determining your status as a single filer seems simple enough, but there are different situations that exist that can qualify the taxpayer as single. For example, if you are legally separated even in the last month of the year, you are considered single for the entire year. With no dependents and you are unmarried, you are considered single. Divorce and annulment within the year also qualifies you to file as single.

However, even if you are single, but you have a dependent, or were widowed during the tax year, and you have dependents, your filing status would change to head of household or widowed with qualifying dependent child, not single.

When it comes to determining your status as a married taxpayer, there are simple qualification assessments that establish your legal filing status and if you’re considered married. Obviously, if you are legally married and living together as husband and wife, even for a small part of the tax year, then you would be considered married. If you are living together as common law spouses, and it is legally recognized in the state in which you live, or you lived part of the tax year in the state where the common law marriage began, then your filing status is married. Your filing status is still married even if you are married but not living together, but are not legally separated or divorced.

If you have unique circumstances, it might not be so easy to determine your filing status. If, for example, you were widowed during the tax year and did not remarry, you can file as married with your deceased spouse, and then file as widowed with qualified dependents for the next two years, so long as you do not remarry. If you remarry within the tax year that your spouse passed away, you would file as married with your current spouse, and file with your deceased spouse as married filing separately.

If you are married and want to file a joint return, your tax status is married filing jointly. All income to the household must be included on the one return, and both spouses must sign and date prior to submitting the tax return. All exemptions, deductions, and credits are reported on the joint return, and you share equal responsibility and liability for the information reported on the tax return, as well as any tax money owed. There are ways to ask for release from joint responsibility, either through innocent spouse relief, separation of liability for spouses who have not lived together for the past year, or equitable relief.

There are sometimes reasons that a spouse cannot sign a joint tax return, such as a spouse stationed abroad for the military. In this type of situation, you may sign for your spouse as a proxy, and attach a written explanation.

Choosing your filing status, while lengthy and sometimes complicated, is an important in the process of completing your Federal Income Tax return.

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