News and Alerts

**  House Ways and Means Committee is putting forward the next phase of tax cuts. Read the attached article here.  **

****  Just like with Hurricane Harvey last year, Hurricane Florence victims in North Carolina and elsewhere are being given an extension until 1/31/19 to file their 2017 income tax returns. Read the attached article here.  ****

*** ALERT!!!  THERE IS A NEW TAX SCAM THAT INVOLVES FAKE TAX REFUNDS TO GET YOU, THE TAXPAYER, TO DIVULGE PERSONAL AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION TO SCAMMERS.  Click here to read the IRS’s news release regarding this new scam. ***

* Click here to see a short list of what tax provisions got extended via the congressional budget deal signed by President Trump on 2/9/18. The three most prevalent are 1) mortgage insurance premiums, 2) tuition and fees deduction, and 3) the exclusion from income of principal residence debt cancellation. Click here for a complete tax summary of the bill. *

BIG NEWS! I have developed an Excel spreadsheet onto which you can enter your daily M-K activity and it will flow that information onto a master spreadsheet that generates a total for each category by month, as well as totals for the entire year, which you can then put on our Cosmetics Business tax worksheet. Like our M-K tax workshop video, which is now reduced to $10.00 (see “Speaking Calendar” page), it is available for purchase at the website and delivered to you as a download from a dropbox to your email address. Click here for the announcement and purchase order form. Once you use it, give us your feedback.

**** I know many of you are wondering about the impact of the new tax bill to your personal tax situation. Attached is a summary of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017 that was prepared by the professional association of which I am a member. My impressions are that it will be good for the economy, because of the reduction in the income tax rate to C corporations, and generally good for individual taxpayers. In addition, for small business owners organized as a pass-through entity (either a sole proprietorship, S corporation, LLC, or LLP), which is most of our clients, if your qualified business income (net profit) is less than $157,500 for single filers ($315,000 for MFJ filers), you will be able to claim a 20% deduction. (i.e., These business owners will pay income tax on ostensibly 80% of their net profit.) Except for very limited income ranges, most taxpayers will see a reduction in their tax rates. The uniqueness of the tax impact to a specific individual taxpayer will most likely come through the trade-off between the combination of the increase in the standard deduction, the elimination of the personal and dependent exemptions, and the doubling of the child tax credit. Those with little or no deductions for medical expenses, taxes, mortgage interest, and charity will benefit from the increase in the standard deduction. Others with small children (under age 17) will benefit from the doubling of the child tax credit. The rest will be negatively impacted from the elimination of the personal and dependent exemptions****

**  Get our nationally famous M-K tax workshop on video for only $19.95 now reduced to $10 (plus tax for TX residents) to watch as often as you like. In this video you will learn 1) Jeff The Tax Man’s 1-minute per day record keeping system that empowers Consultants to get to Directorship faster, 2) how your life can make a difference through M-K, 3) how the M-K business is a good tax shelter, which makes this a GREAT recruiting tool, 4) how to maximize the deductions in your cosmetics business, and 5) how you can potentially recapture lost tax dollars by amending prior year tax returns. Click this link to Get M-K Tax Workshop Video in digital format to watch whenever and wherever you want on any device that plays video.  **

*  Read this article to learn that the IRS will enforce health coverage reporting on 2017 returns. Returns may be suspended, refunds delayed, and penalties enforced for not having health insurance coverage.  *

Here is a good article for tips on your year-end tax planning. I also posted this on the Tax Prep Financial Services facebook page.

Here is important information on How to avoid costly tax traps with inherited IRAs.

Read where IRS penalizes more taxpayers for underpayment of estimated taxes. Let us help you with that; we conduct most of our tax estimating and planning in November.

#  OUR 2017 Client Letter IS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOADING AT THE “TAX WORKSHEETS” PAGE OF THIS WEBSITE. Be aware that our tax worksheets have not changed from the January 2016 revision date.  #

Now is the best time to submit current year returns, amended returns, and even late returns, because our experience with other clients who have filed late and were due a refund has been that the IRS did not assess them a penalty, as long as they had timely filed an extension. But you must file within 3 years to claim any tax refund. So have us prepare/amend your 2014, 2015 and/or 2016 tax return(s) now before time runs out. Go to the “Tax Worksheets” page to find out how to submit your tax data to us and become a client. Our process is simple; just follow the submission instructions from the “Tax Worksheets” page of this website to download and complete our worksheets, Engagement Letter, and Healthcare Coverage Questionnaire. Then submit your data and let us help you “Pay YOURSELF, not the IRS.”

*** IF YOU ARE WONDERING IF THAT PHONE CALL OR EMAIL IS TRULY FROM THE IRS, CLICK HERE FOR THE DEFINITIVE RESOURCE, AS WELL AS INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO REPORT THE FRAUDSTERS TO THE PROPER AUTHORITIES. ***

**** READ HERE HOW IDENTITY THIEVES MAY HAVE USED THE FAFSA DATA RETRIEVAL TOOL TO ACCESS TAXPAYER INFORMATION. ****

 ****** BEWARE:  THE LATEST IDENTITY THEFT SCAM IS FRAUDSTERS EMAILING PROSPECTIVE VICTIMS STATING THEY ARE THE IRS AND ATTACHING A FACSIMILE OF AN IRS NOTICE CP2000. DO NOT RESPOND TO IT OR OPEN THE ATTACHMENT!! THE IRS DOES NOT COMMUNICATE WITH TAXPAYERS THROUGH EMAIL!!! ******

**** The IRS reminds taxpayers who received advance payments of the premium tax credit to file their tax return. Failure to do so results in loss of eligibility to receive advance payments of premiums through the marketplace. This means the taxpayer will be responsible for the full cost of health insurance throughout the year. If you have received subsidies but have not filed your tax return, whether inadvertently or because you are on extension, be sure to file as soon as possible. ****

*** Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) update – The Obama administration through its tax collection agency, the IRS, has tasked the tax preparer community with policing Obamacare. Tax Prep Financial Services must discover who within your household had healthcare coverage, when (which months), and from whom. Therefore, we have added a new, required 2017 Healthcare Coverage Questionnaire to answer these questions. In addition, we ask to see copies of all your health insurance cards. Download the questionnaire, as well as all our other tax worksheets, and learn how to become a client, at the “Tax Worksheets” page of this website. ***

**** ALERT:  Be on the lookout for a new tax scam wherein scammers are calling taxpayers and posing as IRS agents threatening arrest, deportation, or removal of drivers license, an act which the IRS is not authorized to do. THE IRS DOES NOT CONTACT TAXPAYERS IN THIS MANNER; THEY CONTACT TAXPAYERS BY MAIL. ****

***DON’T BE A VICTIM OF TAX SCAMS THAT ARE PERVASIVE DURING TAX SEASON. THESE INCLUDE PHISHING EMAILS PURPORTING TO BE FROM THE IRS OR TAKING YOU TO AN IRS LOOK-ALIKE WEBSITE.THE IRS NEVER COMMUNICATES WITH TAXPAYERS VIA EMAIL. Emails posing to be from IRS agencies are not new, but they have ramped up. If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov. We want to bring to your attention the newest scam. This particular email comes from support@irs.gov and notifies the taxpayer that they need to pay a failure to file fee for not filing Form 5471. The email tells the recipient to see the attached file for more information. Opening such attachments can compromise the user’s computer. The IRS has notified tax preparers about a new phone scam. Prospective victims are told they owe money to the IRS and must pay their tax promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses, they are threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver’s license. ***

**ALERT! We recently heard about a tax ID scam. If you use Intuit products, such as Quicken or Quickbooks, beware of an email that requests you to click a link to update your Intuit tax information. The link will take you to a malicious website.**

**** Latest tax scam, bogus phone calls from IRS impersonators demanding payment for a non-existent “Federal Student Tax.” ****

**** BEWARE:  Phishing email scams purporting to be from the IRS are up 400%. Click here to read an article explaining this danger. Also, the IRS is urging all taxpayers who receive such emails to forward them to phishing@irs.gov. ****

*** And now identity protection PINs, intended to protect victims of identity theft, have been stolen from the IRS. Click here to read the article. ***

ALERT:  As suspected, because of all its complications, it is taking ALL tax preparers longer to administrate the compliance of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which means be prepared for your tax preparation bill to be slightly ($20-$60) higher this year – regardless of who you pay to prepare it.

Click here for information on TaxPocket, an app for your phone that allows you to track your expenses and mileage, link to our website, call, email, or get directions to our office, receive push notifications via phone or facebook of tax alerts, speaking engagements, and more – all from your smartphone. (I do not know everything about it, but I will try to put more details regarding this promising tool on our website as I learn them.) Wouldn’t it be nice to have a mileage log that is always with you, that you can start and stop with the push of a button, and that uses the GPS in your phone to track the business, medical, or charitable miles driven? You can download TaxPocket from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Be sure to link to me, Jeff Peterson, by searching for my profile ID, which is #57920. However, please do not send us the app’s Organizer Report. It is much less comprehensive than our INCOME TAX DATA-ITEMIZER.

* If you have thought about re-financing your mortgage but haven’t, you should see your mortgage broker to do so while interest rates are at historic lows. It could save you hundreds of dollars every month.*