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Henderson CPA shares Business owners can claim a qualified business income deduction

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Oct 29 2018
Business owners can claim a qualified business income deduction
Eligible taxpayers may now deduct up to 20 percent of certain business income from domestic businesses operated as sole proprietorships or through partnerships, S corporations, trusts, and estates.  The deduction may also be claimed on certain dividends.  Eligible taxpayers can claim the deduction for the first time on the 2018 federal income tax return they file in 2019. This provision is the result of tax reform legislation passed in December 2017.
Here are some things business owners should know about this deduction:
The deduction applies to qualified:
– Business income 
– Real estate investment trust dividends
– Publicly traded partnership income
Qualified business income is the net amount of qualified items of income, gain, deduction and loss connected to a qualified U.S. trade or business. Only items included in taxable income are counted.
The deduction is available to eligible taxpayers, whether they itemize their deductions on Schedule A or take the standard deduction.
The deduction is generally equal to the lesser of these two amounts: 
– Twenty percent of qualified business income plus 20 percent of qualified real estate investment trust dividends and qualified publicly traded partnership income.
– Twenty percent of taxable income computed before the qualified business income deduction minus net capital gains.
For taxpayers with taxable income computed before the qualified business income deduction that exceeds $315,000 for a married couple filing a joint return, or $157,500 for all other taxpayers, the deduction may be subject to additional limitations or exceptions. These are based on the type of trade or business, the taxpayer’s taxable income, the amount of W-2 wages paid by the qualified trade or business, and the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of qualified property held by the trade or business.
Income earned through a C corporation or by providing services as an employee is not eligible for the deduction.
Taxpayers may rely on the rules in the proposed regulations until final regulations appear in the Federal Register. 
More Information
REG-107892-18, Qualified Business Income Deduction 
Notice 2018-64, Methods for Calculating W-2 Wages for Purposes of Section 199A

Henderson CPA shares IRS Notice: Taxpayers should know the telltale signs of a scam

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on June 07 2018
Many taxpayers recently filed their taxes and may be waiting for a response from the IRS. Because of this summertime tends to be a period when thieves increase their scam attempts. They try to get people to disclose personal information like Social Security numbers, account information and passwords. 
To avoid becoming a victim, taxpayers should remember these telltale signs of a scam:
The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:
Call to demand immediate payment using a specific method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury. Taxpayers should never make checks out to third parties.
Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds.
For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do, they should:
Not give out any information and hang up immediately.
Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a call or email. Recipients should also send emails to phishing@irs.gov.
Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. They should add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
For anyone who owes tax or thinks they do, they can:
View tax account information online at IRS.gov to see the actual amount owed. Taxpayers can then also review their payment options.
Call the number on the billing notice.
Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help.

Henderson CPA shares - IRS reminds retirees of April 1 deadline to take required retirement plan distributions

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Mar 20 2018


Henderson Nevada — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers who turned age 70½ during 2017 that, in most cases, they must start receiving required minimum distributions (RMDs) from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans by Sunday, April 1, 2018.
The April 1 deadline applies to all employer-sponsored retirement plans, including profit-sharing plans, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and 457(b) plans. The RMD rules also apply to traditional IRAs and IRA-based plans such as SEPs, SARSEPs, and SIMPLE IRAs, however, they do not apply to ROTH IRAs.
The April 1 RMD deadline only applies to the required distribution for the first year. For all subsequent years, including the year in which recipients were paid the first RMD by April 1, the RMD must be made by Dec. 31. A taxpayer who turned 70½ in 2017 and receives the first required distribution (for 2017) on April 1, 2018, for example, must still receive the second RMD by Dec. 31, 2018. 
Affected taxpayers who turned 70½ during 2017 must figure the RMD for the first year using the life expectancy as of their birthday in 2017 and their account balance on Dec. 31, 2016. The trustee reports the year-end account value to the IRA owner on Form 5498 in Box 5. Worksheets and life expectancy tables for making this computation can be found in the appendices to Publication 590-B.
Most taxpayers use Table III (Uniform Lifetime) to figure their RMD. For a taxpayer who reached age 70½ in 2017 and turned 71 before the end of the year, for example, the first required distribution would be based on a distribution period of 26.5 years. A separate table, Table II, applies to a taxpayer married to a spouse who is more than 10 years younger and is the taxpayer’s only beneficiary. Both tables can be found in the appendices to Publication 590-B. 
Though the April 1 deadline is mandatory for all owners of traditional IRAs and most participants in workplace retirement plans, some people with workplace plans can wait longer to receive their RMD. Employees who are still working usually can, if their plan allows, wait until April 1 of the year after they retire to start receiving these distributions. See Tax on Excess Accumulation in Publication 575. Employees of public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations with 403(b) plan accruals before 1987 should check with their employer, plan administrator or provider to see how to treat these accruals.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to begin planning now for any distributions required during 2018. An IRA trustee must either report the amount of the RMD to the IRA owner or offer to calculate it for the owner. Often, the trustee shows the RMD amount in Box 12b on Form 5498. For a 2018 RMD, this amount would be on the 2017 Form 5498 that is normally issued in January 2018. Remember that although an IRS trustee may calculate the RMD, the IRA owner is ultimately responsible for calculating the amount of the RMD.
IRA owners can use a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) paid directly from an IRA to an eligible charity to meet part or all of their RMD obligation. Available only to IRA owners age 70½ or older, the maximum annual exclusion for QCDs is $100,000. For details, see the QCD discussion in Publication 590-B.
A 50 percent tax normally applies to any required amounts not received by the April 1 deadline. Report this tax on Form 5329 Part IX. For details, see the instructions for Part IX of this form.

 

Henderson 89074 CPA shares IRS Alerts Taxpayers about Refund Scam

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Mar 01 2018
 


The IRS warns taxpayers of a new twist on an old scam. Criminals are depositing fraudulent tax refunds into individuals’ actual bank accounts, then attempting to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers.
Here are the basic steps criminals follow to carry out this scam. The thief:
Hacks tax preparers’ computers to steal taxpayer data. 
Uses the stolen information to file tax returns as the taxpayers. 
Has refunds deposited into taxpayers’ bank accounts. 
Contacts their victims, telling them the money was mistakenly deposited into their accounts and asking them to return it. 
While the IRS is aware of variations of this scam, the agency also knows that this scam may continue to evolve. Here are two current versions of this scam:
Criminals pose as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS. The thief contacts the taxpayer to report an erroneous refund deposit and request that the taxpayer forward the money to the thief’s collection agency. 
The taxpayer who received the erroneous refund gets an automated call with a recorded voice saying the caller is from the IRS. The recording threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of his or her Social Security number. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a phony case number and telephone number to call to return the refund. 
Here are some things taxpayers should remember if someone contacts them about an erroneous refund:
There are established procedures taxpayers should follow to return erroneous funds to the IRS. Tax Topic Number 161 - Returning an Erroneous Refund has full details about how to return the money, including the actual mailing addresses where a taxpayer should send a paper check, if necessary. By law, interest may accrue on erroneous refunds. 
The IRS encourages taxpayers to discuss the issue with their financial institutions because there may be a need to close bank accounts. 
Taxpayers receiving erroneous refunds also should contact their tax preparers immediately. 

Henderson CPA-Tax Industry Warn Employers to Beware of Form W-2 Scam; Tax Season Could Bring New Surge in Phishing Scheme

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Jan 19 2018
Henderson NV – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today urged all employers to educate their payroll personnel about a Form W-2 phishing scam that made victims of hundreds of organizations and thousands of employees last year.
The Form W-2 scam has emerged as one of the most dangerous phishing emails in the tax community. During the last two tax seasons, cybercriminals tricked payroll personnel or people with access to payroll information into disclosing sensitive information for entire workforces. The scam affected all types of employers, from small and large businesses to public schools and universities, hospitals, tribal governments and charities.
Reports to phishing@irs.gov from victims and nonvictims about this scam jumped to approximately 900 in 2017, compared to slightly over 100 in 2016. Last year, more than 200 employers were victimized, which translated into hundreds of thousands of employees who had their identities compromised.
By alerting employers now, the IRS and its partners in the Security Summit effort hope to limit the success of this scam in 2018. The IRS last year also created a new process by which employers should report these scams. There are steps the IRS can take to protect employees, but only if the agency is notified immediately by employers about the theft.
Here’s how the scam works: Cybercriminals do their homework, identifying chief operating officers, school executives or others in positions of authority. Using a technique known as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES), fraudsters posing as executives send emails to payroll personnel requesting copies of Forms W-2 for all employees.
The Form W-2 contains the employee’s name, address, Social Security number, income and withholdings. Criminals use that information to file fraudulent tax returns, or they post it for sale on the Dark Net.
The initial email may be a friendly, “hi, are you working today” exchange before the fraudster asks for all Form W-2 information. In several reported cases, after the fraudsters acquired the workforce information, they immediately followed that up with a request for a wire transfer.
In addition to educating payroll or finance personnel, the IRS and Security Summit partners also urge employers to consider creating a policy to limit the number of employees who have authority to handle Form W-2 requests and that they require additional verification procedures to validate the actual request before emailing sensitive data such as employee Form W-2s.
If the business or organization victimized by these attacks notifies the IRS, the IRS can take steps to help prevent employees from being victims of tax-related identity theft. However, because of the nature of these scams, some businesses and organizations did not realize for days, weeks or months that they had been scammed. 
The IRS established a special email notification address specifically for employers to report Form W-2 data thefts. Here’s how Form W-2 scam victims can notify the IRS:
Email dataloss@irs.gov to notify the IRS of a Form W-2 data loss and provide contact information, as listed below.
In the subject line, type “W2 Data Loss” so that the email can be routed properly. Do not attach any employee personally identifiable information data.
Include the following:
Business name
Business employer identification number (EIN) associated with the data loss
Contact name
Contact phone number
Summary of how the data loss occurred
Volume of employees impacted

Steve Giorgione warns: Taxpayers Should Be Wary of Unsolicited Calls from the IRS

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Oct 03 2017
Taxpayers who get an unexpected or unsolicited phone call from the IRS should be wary – it’s probably a scam. Phone calls continue to be one of the most common ways that thieves try to get taxpayers to provide personal information. These scammers then use that information to gain access to the victim’s bank or other accounts. 
When a taxpayer answers the phone, it might be a recording or an actual person claiming to be from the IRS. Sometimes the scammer tells the taxpayer they owe money and must pay right away. They might also say the person has a refund waiting, and then they ask for bank account information over the phone.
Taxpayers should not take the bait and fall for this trick. Here are several tips that will help taxpayers avoid becoming a scam victim.
The real IRS will not:
Call to demand immediate payment
Call someone if they owe taxes without first sending a bill in the mail
Demand tax payment and not allow the taxpayer to question or appeal the amount owed
Require that someone pay their taxes a certain way, such as with a prepaid debit card
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
Threaten to bring in local police or other agencies to arrest a taxpayer who doesn’t pay
Threaten a lawsuit
Taxpayers who don’t owe taxes or who have no reason to think they do should follow these steps:
Use the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page to report the incident.
Report it to the Federal Trade Commission with the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov. 
Taxpayers who think they might actually owe taxes should follow these steps:
Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number.
Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
Every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Taxpayers can visit IRS.gov to explore their rights and the agency’s obligations to protect them.

Steve Giorgione CPA Alert - IRS Issues Urgent Warning to Beware IRS/FBI-Themed Ransomware Scam

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Aug 29 2017
 
 
https://www.stgcpa.com/siteAssets/site9150/images/Henderson_CPA_alert_238x160.jpg WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today warned people to avoid a new phishing scheme that impersonates the IRS and the FBI as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage.
The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It tries to entice users to select a “here” link to download a fake FBI questionnaire. Instead, the link downloads a certain type of malware called ransomware that prevents users from accessing data stored on their device unless they pay money to the scammers.
“This is a new twist on an old scheme,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “People should stay vigilant against email scams that try to impersonate the IRS and other agencies that try to lure you into clicking a link or opening an attachment. People with a tax issue won’t get their first contact from the IRS with a threatening email or phone call."
The IRS, state tax agencies and tax industries – working in partnership as the Security Summit – currently are conducting an awareness campaign called Don’t Take the Bait, that includes warning tax professionals about the various types of phishing scams, including ransomware. The IRS highlighted this issue in an Aug. 1 news release IR-2017-125 Don’t Take the Bait, Step 4: Defend against Ransomware.
Victims should not pay a ransom. Paying it further encourages the criminals, and frequently the scammers won’t provide the decryption key even after a ransom is paid.
Victims should immediately report any ransomware attempt or attack to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.IC3.gov. Forward any IRS-themed scams to phishing@irs.gov.
The IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. For more information, visit the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on IRS.gov. Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube videos.
If you are a tax professional and registered e-Services user who disclosed any credential information, contact the e-Services Help Desk to reset your e-Services password. If you disclosed information and taxpayer data was stolen, contact your local stakeholder liaison. 

Las Vegas CPA Shares - Scammers pretending to be from the IRS continue to target taxpayers.

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Aug 15 2017
These scams take many different forms. Among the most common are phone calls and fake emails. Thieves use the IRS name, logo or a fake website to try and steal money from taxpayers. Identity theft can also happen with such scams.
 
Taxpayers need to be cautious of phone calls or automated messages from scammers who claim to be from the IRS. These criminals often say the taxpayer owes money. They also demand immediate payment. Scammers also lie to taxpayers and say they are due a refund. They do this to lure their victims into giving their bank account information over the phone. The IRS warns taxpayers not to fall for these scams.
 
Below are tips that will help avoid becoming a victim during the summer months and throughout the year:
The IRS will NOT:
Call to demand immediate payment using specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS first mails a bill to taxpayers who owe taxes. If the IRS assigns a case to a Private Debt Collector (PCA), both the IRS and the authorized collection agency send a letter to the taxpayer. Payment is always to the United States Treasury.
Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
Demand payment of taxes without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If a taxpayer does not owe any tax, they should:
Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your report.
If a taxpayer is not sure whether they owe any tax, they can view their tax account information on IRS.gov to find out.
Taxpayers should also watch out for emails and websites looking to steal personal information. An IRS phishing scam is an unsolicited, bogus email that claims to come from the IRS. Criminals often use fake refunds, phony tax bills or threats of an audit. Some emails link to fake websites that look real. The scammers’ goal is to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. If they’re successful, they use it to steal a victim’s money and their identity.
For  taxpayers who get a ‘phishing’ email, the IRS offers this advice:
Don’t reply to the message.
Don’t give out personal or financial information.
Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov. Then delete it.
Do not open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.
More information on how to report phishing or phone scams is available on IRS.gov/phishing.

Henderson CPA shares - Tips to Know for Deducting Losses from a Disaster

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on July 03 2017
The IRS wants taxpayers to know it stands ready to help in the event of a disaster. If a taxpayer suffers damage to their home or personal property, they may be able to deduct the loss they incur on their federal income tax return. If their area receives a federal disaster designation, they may be able to claim the loss sooner.
Ordinarily, a deduction is available only if the loss is major and not covered by insurance or other reimbursement.
Here are 10 tips taxpayers should know about deducting casualty losses:
1. Casualty loss.  A taxpayer may be able to deduct a loss based on the damage done to their property during a disaster. A casualty is a sudden, unexpected or unusual event. This may include natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. It can also include losses from fires, accidents, thefts or vandalism.
2. Normal wear and tear.  A casualty loss does not include losses from normal wear and tear. It does not include progressive deterioration from age or termite damage.
3. Covered by insurance.  If a taxpayer insured their property, they must file a timely claim for reimbursement of their loss. If they don’t, they cannot deduct the loss as a casualty or theft. Reduce the loss by the amount of the reimbursement received or expected to receive.
4. When to deduct.  As a general rule, deduct a casualty loss in the year it occurred. However, if a taxpayer has a loss from a federally declared disaster, they may have a choice of when to deduct the loss. They can choose to deduct it on their return for the year the loss occurred or on an original or amended return for the immediately preceding tax year.
This means that if a disaster loss occurs in 2017, the taxpayer doesn’t need to wait until the end of the year to claim the loss. They can instead choose to claim it on their 2016 return. Claiming a disaster loss on the prior year's return may result in a lower tax for that year, often producing a refund.
5. Amount of loss.  Figure the amount of loss using the following steps:
Determine the adjusted basis in the property before the casualty. For property a taxpayer buys, the basis is usually its cost to them. For property they acquire in some other way, such as inheriting it or getting it as a gift, the basis is determined differently. For more information, see Publication 551, Basis of Assets. 
Determine the decrease in fair market value, or FMV, of the property as a result of the casualty. FMV is the price for which a person could sell their property to a willing buyer. The decrease in FMV is the difference between the property's FMV immediately before and immediately after the casualty. 
Subtract any insurance or other reimbursement received or expected to receive from the smaller of those two amounts. 
6. $100 rule.  After figuring the casualty loss on personal-use property, reduce that loss by $100. This reduction applies to each casualty-loss event during the year. It does not matter how many pieces of property are involved in an event.
7. 10 percent rule.  Reduce the total of all casualty or theft losses on personal-use property for the year by 10 percent of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income.
8. Future income.  Do not consider the loss of future profits or income due to the casualty.                                               
9. Form 4684.  Complete Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts, to report the casualty loss on a federal tax return. Claim the deductible amount on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.
10. Business or income property.  Some of the casualty loss rules for business or income property are different from the rules for property held for personal use.
Call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 for special help with disaster-related tax issues. For more on this topic and the special rules for federally declared disaster-area losses see Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters and Thefts. Get it and other IRS tax forms on IRS.gov/forms at any time.

Henderson CPA ask Do you Know the Rules?

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on May 01 2017

Employee or Independent Contractor?

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Know the Rules
The IRS encourages all businesses and business owners to know the rules when it comes to classifying a worker as an employee or an independent contractor.
An employer must withhold income taxes and pay Social Security, Medicare taxes and unemployment tax on wages paid to an employee. Employers normally do not have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors.
Here are two key points for small business owners to keep in mind when it comes to classifying workers:
1. Control. The relationship between a worker and a business is important. If the business controls what work is accomplished and directs how it is done, it exerts behavioral control. If the business directs or controls financial and certain relevant aspects of a worker’s job, it exercises financial control. This includes:
•    The extent of the worker's investment in the facilities or tools used in performing services 
•    The extent to which the worker makes his or her services available to the relevant market 
•    How the business pays the worker, and 
•    The extent to which the worker can realize a profit or incur a loss 
2. Relationship. How the employer and worker perceive their relationship is also important for determining worker status. Key topics to think about include:
•    Written contracts describing the relationship the parties intended to create 
•    Whether the business provides the worker with employee-type benefits, such as insurance, a pension plan, vacation or sick pay 
•    The permanency of the relationship, and 
•    The extent to which services performed by the worker are a key aspect of the regular business of the company 
•    The extent to which the worker has unreimbursed business expenses 

CPA in Henderson NV Shares IRS Info New IRS Page Imposter.

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Apr 21 2017

The Internal Revenue Service has created a special new page on IRS.gov to help taxpayers determine if a person visiting their home or place of business claiming to be from the IRS is legitimate or an imposter.
With continuing phone scams and in-person scams taking place across the country, the IRS reminds taxpayers that IRS employees do make official, sometimes unannounced, visits to taxpayers as part of their routine casework. Taxpayers should keep in mind the reasons these visits occur and understand how to verify if it is the IRS knocking at their door.
Visits typically fall into three categories:
IRS revenue officers will sometimes make unannounced visits to a taxpayer’s home or place of business to discuss taxes owed or tax returns due. Revenue officers are IRS civil enforcement employees whose role involves education, investigation, and when necessary, appropriate enforcement.
IRS revenue agents will sometimes visit a taxpayer who is being audited. That taxpayer would have first been notified by mail about the audit and set an agreed-upon appointment time with the revenue agent. Also, after mailing an initial appointment letter to a taxpayer, an auditor may call to confirm and discuss items pertaining to the scheduled audit appointment.
IRS criminal investigators may visit a taxpayer’s home or place of business unannounced while conducting an investigation. However, these are federal law enforcement agents, and they will not demand any sort of payment. Criminal investigators also carry law enforcement credentials, including a badge.

 

Henderson CPA - IRS Reminds Seniors to Remain on Alert to Phone Scams during Tax Season

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Mar 24 2017


https://www.stgcpa.com/siteAssets/site9150/images/Hendrson_CPA_Scam_Alert.jpgWASHINGTON – With the 2017 tax season underway, the IRS reminds seniors to remain alert to aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents. The callers claim to be IRS employees, but are not.
These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
The victims are told they owe money to the IRS and must pay it promptly through a preloaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are often threatened with arrest. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Alternately, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the phone scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
“The IRS warns seniors about these aggressive phone calls that can be frightening and intimidating. The IRS doesn't do business like that," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We urge seniors to safeguard their personal information at all times. Don't let the convincing tone of these scam calls lead you to provide personal or credit card information, potentially losing hundreds or thousands of dollars. Just hang up and avoid becoming a victim to these criminals‎."
In recent years, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams and fake IRS communication.
Later this spring, the only outside agencies authorized to contact taxpayers about their unpaid tax accounts will be one of the four authorized under the new private debt collection program. Even then, any affected taxpayer will be notified first by the IRS, not the private collection agency (PCA).
The private debt collection program, authorized under a federal law enacted by Congress in 2015, enables designated contractors to collect tax payments on the government’s behalf. The program begins later this spring. The IRS will give taxpayers and their representative written notice when their account is being transferred to a private collection agency. The collection agency will then send a second, separate letter to the taxpayer and their representative confirming this transfer. Information contained in these letters will help taxpayers identify the tax amount owed and help ensure that future collection agency calls are legitimate.
The IRS reminds seniors this tax season that they can easily identify when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are four things the scammers often do but the IRS and its authorized PCAs will not do. Any one of these things is a telltale sign of a scam.
The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:
•    Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
•    Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
•    Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
•    Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
•    Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
•    Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
•    Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
•    Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
Remember, too, the IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues involving bills or refunds. The IRS will continue to keep taxpayers informed about scams and provide tips to protect them. The IRS encourages taxpayers to visit IRS.gov for information including the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page.
Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube Tax Scams

Henderson Tax CPA shares - Name Change and How It Impacts Taxes

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Feb 23 2017


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A name change can have an impact on taxes. All the names on a taxpayer’s tax return must match Social Security Administration records. A name mismatch can delay a tax refund. Here’s what taxpayers should know if they changed their name:
•    Reporting Name Changes. Got married and now using a new spouse’s last name or hyphenate a name? Divorced and now back to using a former last name? In either case, taxpayers should notify the SSA of a name change. That way the new name on IRS records will match the SSA records.
•    Making Dependent’s Name Change. Notify the SSA if a dependent had a name change. For example, if a taxpayer adopted a child and the child’s last name changed. If the child does not have a Social Security number, the taxpayer may use an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number on their tax return. An ATIN is a temporary number. Apply for an ATIN by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions, with the IRS. Visit IRS.gov to get the form.
•    Getting a New SS Card. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. The form is on SSA.gov or by calling 800-772-1213. The taxpayer’s new card will reflect the name change.
All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.
IRS YouTube Videos: 
•    Changed Your Name after Marriage or Divorce? – English| Spanish | ASL 
Share this tip on social media -- Name Change? How It Impacts Taxes.  http://go.usa.gov/x9uwU#IRS

Las Vegas CPA Shares Fake Charities on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for 2017

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Feb 07 2017

https://secure.emochila.com/swserve/siteAssets/site9150/images/Las_Vegad_CPA_Fake_Charities.jpg     Las Vegas  The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers about groups masquerading as charitable organizations to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors, one of the “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for the 2017 filing season.
"Fake charities set up by scam artists to steal your money or personal information are a recurring problem," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Taxpayers should take the time to research organizations before giving their hard-earned money.”
Compiled annually, the “Dirty Dozen” lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter anytime, but many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or hire someone to prepare their taxes.
Perpetrators of illegal scams can face significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice to shut down scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.
The IRS offers these basic tips to taxpayers making charitable donations:
•    Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible. Legitimate charities will provide their Employer Identification Numbers (EIN), if requested, which can be used to verify their legitimacy through EO Select Check. It is advisable to double check using a charity's EIN.
•    Don’t give out personal financial information, such as Social Security numbers or passwords, to anyone who solicits a contribution. Scam artists may use this information to steal identities and money from victims. Donors often use credit cards to make donations. Be cautious when disclosing credit card numbers. Confirm that those soliciting a donation are calling from a legitimate charity.
•    Don’t give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift.
Impersonation of Charitable Organizations
Another long-standing type of abuse or fraud involves scams that occur in the wake of significant natural disasters.
Following major disasters, it’s common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Scam artists can use a variety of tactics. Some scammers operating bogus charities may contact people by telephone or email to solicit money or financial information. They may even directly contact disaster victims and claim to be working for or on behalf of the IRS to help the victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds.
Fraudsters may attempt to get personal financial information or Social Security numbers that can be used to steal the victims’ identities or financial resources. Bogus websites may solicit funds for disaster victims.
To help disaster victims, the IRS encourages taxpayers to donate to recognized charities. Disaster victims can call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance telephone number (866-562-5227). Phone assistors will answer questions about tax relief or disaster-related tax issues.
Find legitimate and qualified charities with the Select Check search tool on IRS.gov. (EINs are frequently called federal tax identification numbers, which is the same as an EIN).

 

Las Vegas CPA Steve Giorgione shares Industry Urge Taxpayers to Learn Signs of Identity Theft

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Jan 03 2017

No matter how careful you are, identity thieves may be able to steal your personal information. If this happens, thieves try to turn that data quickly into cash by filing fraudulent tax returns.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry ask for your help in their effort to combat identity theft and fraudulent returns. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference.
That’s why we launched a public awareness campaign called “Taxes. Security. Together.” We’ve also started a new series of security awareness tips that can help protect you from cybercriminals.
Here are a few signs that you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft:
1.    Your attempt to file your tax return electronically is rejected. You get a message saying a return with a duplicate Social Security number has been filed. First, check to make sure you did not transpose any numbers. Also, make sure one of your dependents, for example, your college-age child, did not file a tax return and claim themselves. If your information is accurate, and you still can’t successfully e-file because of a duplicate SSN, you may be a victim of identity theft. You should complete Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Attach it to the top of a paper tax return and mail to the IRS. 
2.    You receive a letter from the IRS asking you to verify whether you sent a tax return bearing your name and SSN. The IRS holds suspicious tax returns and sends taxpayers letters to verify them. If you did not file the tax return, follow the instructions in the IRS letter immediately. 
3.    You receive income information at tax time from an employer unknown to you. Employment-related identity theft involves the use of your SSN by someone, generally an undocumented worker, for employment purposes only. 
4.    You receive a tax refund that you did not request. You may receive a paper refund check by mail that the thief intended to have sent elsewhere. If you receive a tax refund you did not request, return it to the IRS. Write “VOID” in the endorsement section, and include a note on why you are returning it. If it is a direct deposit refund that you did not request, contact your bank and ask them to return it to the IRS. Search IRS.gov for “Returning an Erroneous Refund” for more information. 
5.    You receive a tax transcript by mail that you did not request. Identity thieves sometimes try to test the validity of the personal data they have chosen or they attempt to use your data to steal even more information. If you receive a tax transcript in the mail and you did not request it, be alert to the possibility of identity theft. 
6.    You receive a reloadable, pre-paid debit card in the mail that you did not request. Identity thieves sometimes use your name and address to create an account for a reloadable prepaid debit card that they use for various schemes, including tax-related identity theft.  

 

Steve Giorgione CPA in Henderson shares IRS Mileage Update

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Dec 14 2016

https://secure.emochila.com/swserve/siteAssets/site9150/images/Speedomiter_in_henderson_cpa_office.jpgThe Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
•    53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
•    17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
•    14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.   The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.
Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.
A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.
These and other requirements are described in Rev. Proc. 2010-51. Notice 2016-79, posted today on IRS.gov, contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

Learn How to Recognize Website Phishing Scams

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Dec 07 2016

https://secure.emochila.com/swserve/siteAssets/site9150/images/phishing_238x160.jpgSimply ask for it. That’s the easiest way for an identity thief to steal your personal information.
Each day, people fall victim to phishing scams through emails, texts or phone calls and mistakenly turn over important data. In turn, cybercriminals try to use that data to file fraudulent tax returns or commit other crimes.
The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry -- all partners in the fight against identity theft -- urge you to learn to recognize and avoid phishing scams.
We need your help in the fight against identity theft. That’s why, as part of the Security Summit effort, we launched a public awareness campaign that we call Taxes. Security. Together. We’ve launched a series of security awareness tips that can help protect you from cybercriminals.
It’s called “phishing” because thieves attempt to lure you into the scam mainly through impersonations. The scam may claim to be from a friend, a company with whom you do business, a prize award – anything to get you to open the email or text.
A good general rule: Don’t give out personal information based on an unsolicited email request.
Here are a few basic tips to recognize and avoid a phishing email:
•    It contains a link. Scammers often pose as the IRS, financial institutions, credit card companies or even tax companies or software providers. They may claim they need you to update your account or ask you to change a password. The email offers a link to a spoofing site that may look similar to the legitimate official website. Do not click on the link. If in doubt, go directly to the legitimate website and access your account.
•    It contains an attachment. Another option for scammers is to include an attachment to the email. This attachment may be infected with malware that can download malicious software onto your computer without your knowledge. If it’s spyware, it can track your keystrokes to obtain information about your passwords, Social Security number, credit cards or other sensitive data. Do not open attachments from sources unknown to you.
•    It’s from a government agency. Scammers attempt to frighten people into opening email links by posing as government agencies. Thieves often try to imitate the IRS and other government agencies.
•    It’s an “off” email from a friend. Scammers also hack email accounts and try to leverage the stolen email addresses. You may receive an email from a “friend” that just doesn’t seem right. It may be missing a subject for the subject line or contain odd requests or language. If it seems off, avoid it and do not click on any links.
•    It has a lookalike URL. The questionable email may try to trick you with the URL. For example, instead of www.irs.gov, it may be a false lookalike such as www.irs.gov.maliciousname.com. You can place your cursor over the text to view a pop-up of the real URL.
•    Use security features. Your browser and email provider generally will have anti-spam and phishing features. Make sure you use all of your security software features.
Opening a phishing email and clicking on the link or attachment is one of the most common ways thieves are able not just steal your identity or personal information but also to enter into computer networks and create other mischief.
Learning to recognize and avoid phishing emails – and sharing that knowledge with your family members – is critical to combating identity theft and data loss. Businesses should educate employees about the dangers. 
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry joined as the Security Summit to enact a series of initiatives to help protect you from tax-related identity theft in 2017. You can help by taking these basic steps.
To learn additional steps you can take to protect your personal and financial data, visit the Taxes. Security. Together. page. Also read Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers.

 

CPA Henderson Says Newly Married Couples Should Report Marriage to Marketplace

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Oct 01 2016

Share of IRS Release.

If you’re recently married, you probably have a list of things to do.  There’s one other thing you should add to that list: a health insurance review. This is particularly important if you enrolled in coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace and you receive premium assistance in the form of advance payments of the premium tax credit.
When you apply for assistance to help pay the premiums for health coverage through the Marketplace, the Marketplace will estimate the amount of the premium tax credit that you may be able to claim for the tax year using information you provide. This information includes details about your family composition and your projected household income.
It is important for you to report life changes – known as changes in circumstances – to your Marketplace to get the proper type and amount of financial assistance and to avoid getting too much or too little in advance. Reporting changes in circumstances will allow the Marketplace to adjust your advance credit payments. This adjustment will help you avoid getting a smaller refund or owing money that you did not expect to owe on your federal tax return.
To report changes and to adjust the amount of your advance payments of the premium tax credit you must contact your Health Insurance Marketplace. Be sure to report all changes directly to that Marketplace because they can affect both your coverage and your final credit when you file your federal tax return.
Other changes you should report to the Marketplace include:
Birth or adoption 
Marriage or divorce 
Moving to a different address 
Increases or decreases in your household income 
These changes may also open the door for the Marketplace special enrollment period that permits health care plan changes. In most cases, the special enrollment period for Marketplace coverage is open for 60 days from the date of the life event.
The Premium Tax Credit Change Estimator can help you estimate how your premium tax credit will change if your income or family size changes during the year. This estimator tool does not report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace. Because these tools provide only an estimate, you should not rely upon them as an accurate calculation of the information you will report on your tax return. You should use these estimators only as a guide to assist you in making decisions regarding your tax situation.

 

CPA Steven Giorgione asks - YOUR MOVING EXPENSES ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Sept 05 2016

https://secure.emochila.com/swserve/siteAssets/site9150/images/Henderson_move_to_las_vegas_238x160.png

Steven Giorgione says Sadly, many people don’t know this and overlook this easy way to recoup some of their out-of-pocket expenses on moving. This is true even if you choose to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing. In other words, they lower your adjusted gross income (the amount your taxes are based upon) and save you money! So just what can you deduct, and what are the rules that apply? I’m going to give you a quick rundown to make sure you deduct all that is allowed!


Moving from Henderson or to Las Vegas the Henderson for work  the Henderson CPA notes: There are important criteria you must meet to be able to do this. These could be: Distance: This is one of the major tests you have to meet. Your new job must be 50 miles or more further from your old home than your old job was from that same home. So if you worked around the corner from your old job previously, your new job has to be at least fifty miles away from that; on the other hand, if you worked twenty miles from your old home, the new job must be at least seventy miles away. If you were unemployed, then the new job must be fifty miles away from your old house as well.                                 Time: Another important criterion is that you must work full-time for 39 weeks or more during the first twelve months after your move. Self-employed people must work at least 78 weeks during the 24 months following the move, including at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months. Of course, if you moved later in the year, you will not have met the entire time test; you are still allowed to take the deduction if you expect to meet it. However, you will have to amend your return or claim the deduction as “other income” on the following year’s taxes if you do not meet the time test.
There are also eligible expenses to deduct such as:
Costs for packing and transporting: This includes amounts you pay to people that pack your goods, or help you load them on the truck, professional movers, shipping fees or fees paid for renting a moving truck or transportation for your pets and your vehicles.
Personal transportation: If you drive your vehicle to your new home,
but your spouse and the children fly to the location, both sets of travel expenses are deductible. One day’s lodging is also deductible in case it is a long trip. (Meals are NOT deductible.)
Utility costs: Fees that you pay to connect or disconnect your utilities at either home are deductible.
Car expenses: You can deduct either the actual expenses you incurred for the use of your car during the move or take a deduction for the standard mileage rate of 24 cents per mile. In addition, parking fees and tolls can be deducted. 
Storage: If there is a gap between the time your belongings leave your old home, but before they are delivered to your new place, that storage cost is deductible, as is the cost of insuring them during this time. 
To qualify for a deduction, first and foremost your move must have taken place in the tax year for which you’re providing information to the IRS, and it must have taken place for either a job or a job location (i.e., you either relocated for work or your place of business moved far away, forcing you to move your residence to be closer to it.) Therefore, moving expenses can be deductible from your tax.

The Henderson CPA says Identity Theft Affecting Your Financial World…Taxes.

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Aug 21 2016

For 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the states and the tax industry joined together to enact new safeguards and take additional actions to combat tax-related identity theft. Many of these safeguards will be invisible to you, but invaluable to our fight against these criminal syndicates. If you prepare your own return with tax software, you will see new log-on standards. Some states also have taken additional steps. We also know identity theft is a frustrating process for victims. If you become a victim, we are committed to resolving your case as quickly as possible. 
The IRS has put in place assistance and prevention strategy in order to stop identity theft in your taxes. Here are nine key points:

•    Taxes. Security. Together. The IRS, the states and the tax industry need your help. We can’t fight identity theft alone. The Taxes. Security. Together. awareness campaign is an effort to better inform you about the need to protect your personal, tax and financial data online and at home. 
•    Protect your Records. Keep your Social Security card at home and not in your wallet or purse. Only provide your Social Security number if it’s absolutely necessary. Protect your personal information at home and protect your computers with anti-spam and anti-virus software. Routinely change passwords for internet accounts. 
•    Don’t Fall for Scams.  Criminals often try to impersonate your bank, your credit card company, even the IRS in order to steal your personal data. Learn to recognize and avoid those fake emails and texts. Also, the IRS will not call you threatening a lawsuit, arrest or to demand an immediate tax payment. Normal correspondence is a letter in the mail. Beware of threatening phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS. 
•    Report Tax-Related ID Theft to the IRS. If you cannot e-file your return because a tax return already was filed using your SSN, consider the following steps: • File your taxes by paper and pay any taxes owed. • File an IRS Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit. Print the form and mail or fax it according to the instructions. You may include it with your paper return. • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant; • Contact one of the three credit bureaus so they can place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your account. 
•    IRS Letters. If the IRS identifies a suspicious tax return with your SSN, it may send you a letter asking you to verify your identity by calling a special number or visiting a Tax payer Assistance Center. This is to protect you from tax-related identity theft. 
•    IP PIN. If you are a confirmed ID theft victim, the IRS may issue an IP PIN. The IP PIN is a unique six-digit number that you will use to e-file your tax return. Each year, you will receive an IRS letter with a new IP PIN. 
•    Report Suspicious Activity. If you suspect or know of an individual or business that is committing tax fraud, you can visit IRS.gov and follow the chart on How to Report Suspected Tax Fraud Activity.