Your Tax Responsibility in the Sharing “Cloud Based” Economy

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Do you make extra money through the use of social media? or your car to pick up passengers? Even rent-out a spare bedroom to make extra money? If so, you’re participating in the Sharing Economy (aka, the gig, on-demand or access economy). Income from these emerging areas is generally taxable, and related expenses may be deductible. Use this link for basic tax tips to keep in mind.

By C Fitts Tax Solutions, LLC Posted in Tax Talk

New Tax Scams to be Aware of!

Credit Card ThiefTaxpayers can avoid scams by taking a few minutes to review the tell-tale signs of these schemes. This is just a few:

EFTPS Scam

A new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) has been reported nationwide. In this ruse, con artists call to demand immediate tax payment. The caller claims to be from the IRS and says that two certified letters mailed to the taxpayer were returned as undeliverable. The scammer then threatens arrest if a payment is not made immediately by a specific prepaid debit card. Victims are told that the debit card is linked to the EFTPS when, in reality, it is controlled entirely by the scammer. Victims are warned not to talk to their tax preparer, attorney or the local IRS office until after the payment is made.

 “Robo-call” Messages

 The IRS does not call and leave prerecorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. In this tactic, scammers tell victims that if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Those who do respond are told they must make immediate payment either by a specific prepaid debit card or by wire transfer.

 Private Debt Collection Scams

The IRS recently began sending letters to a relatively small group of taxpayers whose overdue federal tax accounts are being assigned to one of four private-sector collection agencies. Taxpayers should be on the lookout for scammers posing as private collection firms. The IRS-authorized firms will only be calling about a tax debt the person has had – and has been aware of – for years. The IRS would have previously contacted taxpayers about their tax debt.

Scams Targeting People with Limited English Proficiency

Taxpayers with limited English proficiency have been recent targets of phone scams and email phishing schemes that continue to occur across the country. Con artists often approach victims in their native language, threaten them with deportation, police arrest and license revocation among other things. They tell their victims they owe the IRS money and must pay it promptly through a preloaded debit card, gift card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls” or via a phishing email.

Tell Tale Signs 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. The IRS will usually 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.

For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they 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. Alternatively, 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.

For anyone who owes tax or thinks they do:

How to Know It’s Really the IRS Calling or Knocking

The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as:

  • when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill,
  • to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or,
  • to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.

Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters (called “notices”) from the IRS in the mail. For more information, visit “How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door” on IRS.gov.

 

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Eight arrested in Miami, FL on April 25, 2017, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud!

TIGTA Seal graphic

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Press Release


April 27, 2017
TIGTA-2017-08
Contact: Karen Kraushaar, Director of Communications
Karen.Kraushaar@tigta.treas.gov
(202) 622-6500

Eight Individuals Arrested for Fraud in IRS Phone Scams

WASHINGTON — J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), announced the arrests of eight individuals based upon indictments that charged eleven individuals who were allegedly involved in schemes to impersonate Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents in order to obtain money from victims by falsely representing that the victims owed back taxes or other fees. Two of the eleven individuals were charged in an indictment for their fraudulent conduct last year.

Agents representing TIGTA and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (SSAOIG) arrested eight suspects in Miami, FL on April 25, 2017, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to the court documents, the suspects are responsible for almost $8.8 million in schemes that defrauded more than 7,000 victims.

“These arrests demonstrate that TIGTA and its law enforcement partners continue to make significant progress in our investigations related to the IRS impersonation scam that continues to sweep the country. Over the past three years, this scam has resulted in reported taxpayer losses of more than $55 million,” the Inspector General said. “The scammers are relentless and so are we,” he added. “Our investigators will not rest until we have brought those responsible for this scheme to justice.”

The eight individuals arrested are: Yosvany Padilla, Elio Carballo Cruz, Esequiel Bravo Diaz, Ricardo Fontanella Caballero, Alejandro Valdes, Angel Chapotin Carrillo, Alfredo Echevarria Rios, and Joel Leon Pando. The criminal indictments were filed with the following courts: the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas on April 4, 2017; and on April 19, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi (Joel Leon Pando). Two other individuals, Dennis Delgado Caballero and Jeniffer Valerino Nunez, were previously arrested in May of 2016 based upon Criminal Complaints that were filed in the Eastern District of Arkansas. One suspect, Lazaro Hernandez Fleitas, remains at large.

According to the court documents, the suspects knowingly conspired with others to commit wire fraud by falsely impersonating IRS agents and demanding money under such false pretenses. Victims received telephone calls from people claiming to be from the IRS, who told them the IRS would arrest them if they did not make payment immediately. The callers made these threats and used other methods of intimidation to persuade the victims to wire money, utilizing MoneyGram, Walmart2Walmart Money Transfer, and other wire services.

“No legitimate employee of the United States Treasury Department or the Internal Revenue Service will demand that anyone make payments via MoneyGram, Western Union, Walmart2Walmart Money Transfer, or any other money wiring method, for any debt to the IRS or the Department of the Treasury,” George said.

“Nor will the Department of the Treasury demand that anyone pay a debt or secure one by using iTunes cards or other prepaid debit cards,” he said. “If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately and go to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) scam reporting page to report the call.”

Investigators verified the identity of the suspects and their activities through a variety of investigative methods. TIGTA and SSAOIG Special Agents conducted the investigations that led to the arrests.

By C Fitts Tax Solutions, LLC Posted in Tax Talk
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13 Ways To Spend Your Tax Refund On Home Improvements

Here’s how to use your refund to refurbish or enhance your home.

$500 refund: It’s all in the details

$1,000 refund: Think upgrades

  • Upgrade your water heater
  • Give your ceiling a lift

$2,000 refund: Add style

  • Upgrade your home’s lighting
  • Treat yourself to wood flooring
  • Build a deck or enhance the one you have

$3,000 refund:  Add features with ROI in mind

  • Add a backsplash to your kitchen
  • Splurge on French doors

$5,000 refund: Go big with projects you’ll enjoy

  • Put up a privacy fence or replace an old one
  • Create a simple outdoor kitchen

 Follow this link for the complete article.

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Private Collection of Some Overdue Federal Taxes Starts in April

CalculatorThose affected by this new program will hear from IRS first. IRS Will Still Handle Most Tax Debts.

Taxpayers: Watch Out for Scam Calls!!! Continue reading

By C Fitts Tax Solutions, LLC Posted in Tax Talk
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Working Grandparents Could Receive #EITC

art-eitc-awarenessWorking grandparents are encouraged to find out, not guess, if they qualify for this very important credit. To qualify for EITC, the taxpayer must have earned income either from a job or from self-employment and meet basic rules.  EITC eligibility also depends on family size. The IRS recommends using the EITC Assistant, on IRS.gov, to determine eligibility, estimate the amount of credit and more.

When claiming the EITC or ACTC, you should file as soon as you have all necessary documents together to prepare an accurate return. In other words, file as you normally would.

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Myth debunked about Delayed #Tax-Refunds!

RefundIt ‘s not true that all refunds are delayed! Read more to get the facts. Continue reading

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The Due Date for Employers to File W-2s is tomorrow

Art - Home Office(2)The new deadline is part of legislation signed into law at the end of 2015 to combat identity-theft related refund fraud.

The Social Security Administration encourages all employers to e-file their Forms W-2 by using its Business Services Online.  Employers who file paper Forms W-2 should file them with the Social Security Administration, Data Operations Center, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18769-000

By C Fitts Tax Solutions, LLC Posted in Tax Talk

Bring the Documents You Need to Get the EITC You Deserve

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Whether you go to a volunteer return preparation site or a professional tax return preparer, you should bring certain documents to show all your income and expenses and support all your credits, deductions and dependents or qualifying children.

Bring the following to make sure your return is prepared accurately:

  • A valid/unexpired driver’s license or photo identification for both you and your spouse (if married).
  • Social security cards, a social security number verification letter for all persons listed on the return.
  • Birth dates for all persons listed on return.
  • Copies of last year’s state and federal tax returns, if you have them.
  • All income statements: Forms W-2 and 1099, Social Security, unemployment and other statements, such as pensions, stocks, interest and any documents showing taxes withheld. If you own or run a business or farm, collect records of all your income.
  • All records of expenses, such as tuition, mortgage interest, or real estate taxes. If you own or run a business or farm, collect records of all your expenses.
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers to direct deposit any refund.
  • Dependent child care information: name and address of paid caretakers and either their Social Security number or other tax identification number.
  • If you purchased coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement.
By C Fitts Tax Solutions, LLC Posted in Tax Talk