IRS rules for independent preparers tossed by court

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In 2011, the Internal Revenue Service instituted new rules that require independent tax preparers to register, pay an application fee, pass a qualifying exam and take continuing education courses.

But several independent tax preparers objected and sued the IRS; on January 18, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled the IRS did not have the authority to set the rules.

"I think they should be credentialed," said Linda Robinson.

Robinson, who just filed her return for 2013, said she is familiar with the problem of incompetent and fraudulent tax preparers.

"A lot of these people aren't necessarily honest," said Robinson. "I know some cases where people's money had been deposited into their preparer's account and they never received the money.

Duval County School Board building vandalized

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating a burglary at the Duval County School Board building.

According to a police report, JSO responded to a silent alarm at the school board building and found that a glass door had been shattered. 

Additionally, two marked DCPS vehicles had broken front driver's and passenger's side windows. The report says someone rummaged through both vehicle's center consoles and officers found a cement rock in the front seat of one of the vehicles.

One suspect was caught on surveillance video allegedly throwing a rat trap through the shattered glass doors. An investigation is underway.

Man in his 50's arrested for Monday night shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A man in his 50's has been arrested for the Monday night shooting of another man believed to be in his 50's.

Sgt. Jay Farhat with the JSO Homicide Division said the victim was gunned down in the middle of Radcliff Court. This happened around 8 p.m.

Farhat said the suspect fired more than one shot. The victim died at a local hospital.

Police did not release the name of the victim or the suspect.

A New Year means new laws for Florida drivers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- It is a new year in the Sunshine State and on Florida's roadways there are some new laws in effect.

To start, say you want to flash your headlights to warn other drivers about nearby police.

"Just to alert," said Kim Rolfe, of Jacksonville. "It's just a courtesy to let other driver's know 'Hey, you're about to pass a cop.'"

Before the new year, that was illegal in Florida.

"I did not know that that was illegal!" Rolfe shouted with a laugh. "I thought I was just doing something nice for my fellow drivers!"

As of January 1, 2013, it's now legal, after the state legislature cleared up the law.

"So, it could be a good law to aide in safety," William Lee, of St. Augustine, said Tuesday morning. "So, I think it's good."

If you're ever in an accident, there's another law you should know about. It's about the personal injury protection (PIP) portion of your Florida policy.

Protect your home from holiday break-ins

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This is one of the busiest times of year for home break-ins. Thieves know people go out of town, and they are searching neighborhoods for that perfect home.

This year, Marcus Prom is having his family at his house for Christmas, but in years past, he has traveled. "All the time," he said.

So he's memorized the checklist on what you should do to protect your home if you leave during the holidays. It's a checklist police and insurance agencies promote this time of year.

"Leave your lights on. Turn them off and on different times. Leave some on inside your house. Leave your television on. Move your cars around, and just tell your neighbors, the neighbors that you trust," Prom said.

San Marco residents want a grocery store

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Is there a grocery store in your neighborhood? People in San Marco say, "No." And they're demanding a place to shop.

There's a Publix Super Markets sign that's been creating buzz in the neighborhood for years. San Marco native Joanne asked, "Are they going to go through with it?"

That's the burning question in San Marco. At first, people were excited when they saw the sign at the corner of Hendricks Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard. But that was years ago. It meant the return of a place to buy food in their close-knit neighborhood.

Donnelly Rembert exclaimed, "Grocery store, grocery store, grocery store. And I say that three times because when my husband was growing up in San Marco, we had three grocery stores. No more groceries."

Homeowner pushing for horns rather than train whistles in San Marco

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Wanting some peace and quiet at night has Kevin McLaughlin spearheading a campaign to do something about all the train whistles that blow because of all the San Marco rail traffic.

"This is one of the major thoroughfares for trains in Florida," said McLaughlin, a San Marco homeowner and realtor.

From the St. Johns River to the Bowden Road train terminal, there are ten crossings that require a whistle to warn drivers of an approaching train.

McLaughlin wants Jacksonville City Hall to consider the advantages of Wayside horns that are mounted at the crossings that give a more concentrated warning to motorists.

These horns would not require trains to blow the whistle as they approach the crossing. The cost for each crossing he says could at the high end push $100,000.