Taxes

As the number of people covered by high-deductible health plans soars, some insurers and employers are easing the strain on consumers' wallets by covering certain benefits like doctor visits or generic drugs before people have reached their plan's deductible.

But there's a hitch: Under Internal Revenue Service rules, high-deductible plans that can link to health savings accounts can only cover preventive services, such as vaccinations and mammograms, until patients buy enough services on their own to pay down their deductible.

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State budget officials say tax collections for Kentucky’s General Fund grew by nearly 4% in the past fiscal year, fueled by strong sales and individual income tax receipts.

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Despite a strong showing during the first 10 months of the year, tax revenue was down last month in Kentucky, dashing hopes of a sizable surplus at the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

Federal authorities say they have recently prosecuted a number of tax preparers in Kentucky who falsified returns.  During a news conference in Louisville Monday, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky John Kuhn, said it’s important that the public guard against dishonest preparers.

"Taxpayers have to remain diligent when they work with return preparers," emphasized Kuhn.  "Taxpayers remain responsible for the contents of their returns."

Two Logan County tax preparers, Tara L. Mitchell and Mechelle Blankenship, were recently charged with falsely claiming education credits for taxpayers who were not entitled to them. 

Kuhn explained that some preparers who charge clients a percentage of their tax refund intentionally prepare false returns to increase their clients’ refund and their own fees.

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Officials with the Kentucky Department of Revenue are using safeguards to protect against growing concerns of fraud. Issues at the federal level earlier this year resulted in a break from processing state tax returns in Frankfort. 

Taxpayers Confused By Late Health Law Forms

Feb 17, 2016

As the 2015 tax filing season gets underway, tax preparers said a delay in health law tax forms is tripping up some consumers, while others want details about exemptions from increasingly stiff penalties for not having insurance.

Under the law, most people must have health insurance or pay a fine. In 2015, the penalty was $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975, or 2 percent of household income, whichever is greater.

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For Kentucky tax filers, the check will be in the mail a little later than usual this year. The state Department of Revenue says enhanced security features and fraud analysis tools will delay refund checks. 

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Motorists can now look up the taxes paid on any of their vehicles with a new feature on the Kentucky Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing’s website. Using the Vehicle Identification Number owners can access the taxes that were paid in 2015. 

The old saying goes, "Nothing is certain except death and taxes." But the Affordable Care Act has added a new wrinkle.

For many policyholders, the ACA has introduced a good deal of uncertainty about their tax bills. That has led to surprise refunds for some and higher-than-expected tax payments for others.

FRANKFORT — In his final State of the Commonwealth address, Gov. Steve Beshear celebrated many of his major policy accomplishments during his tenure and called on lawmakers to continue moving the 2015 session toward job-creation initiatives.

The over-riding theme of Wednesday evening’s address was Beshear’s advocacy for workforce development in Kentucky, and the four ways he says he’s strengthened it: early childhood development, education reform, affordable healthcare, and low taxes.

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