Tax Season is over! Scams are Not!

We’ve provided information over this tax season about many different scams and tactics used to steal personal information from you. However, just because tax season has come to an end, this does not mean that scamming season has too.  We’ve received an article from USA.gov about caller scams and what you can do to protect yourself, here’s the main points to consider:

Did you know that caller IDs can be faked?
If you receive a call from Washington DC from someone who claims they are from the IRS, beware! The caller may even know part of your social security number, they will threaten to sue, arrest, or deport you if you do not pay. They may even give specific information about how to send a payment such as pre-paid cards or wire transfers. The IRS will never contact you via phone, there are very few authorized collection agents who may contact you by phone call, but this will only occur once you have received multiple letters from the IRS with information about who is assigned to you specifically.

Sign, Caution, Warning, Danger, Safety, Hazard, Risk


What can I do if I get one of these calls?

  • Do not make any kind of payment or share account information!

Once you do this, there is no way to get the money back because the scammers are using false information and will disappear right away. If you have any questions about payments on taxes, visit IRS.gov/payments. You can also call the IRS at (800) 829-1040.

  • Tell your friends and family!

The more people know about these scammers and their tactics, the less scam victims there will be. It is important to spread the word to everyone and stay updated on different methods used to obtain personal information.

Additional steps:

If you spot a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
Call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 or go to this page.
For this, and more articles regarding scams, visit FTC Consumer Information.

Business Resource Partners has an Enrolled Agent on staff who will help you with your tax preparation needs. We offer more than just tax preparation and bookkeeping! Visit Our Services section to find out what BRP can do for your business!

I Received a Letter From the IRS, Now What?!

The IRS will send millions of correspondence for different reasons. We wanted to share some information we received about what you should do when you receive a letter from the IRS.

Here’s what to do:
  1. Don’t Panic! Responding will take care of any issues.
  1. Read Carefully:  There can be many reasons for receiving a letter from the IRS. Most deal with tax returns or accounts. The letter will provide specific instructions and details about what to do so it is important to read the letter carefully and more than once.
  1. Is the letter asking for something? It might be about changes to your account, taxes owed, or a payment request. Sometimes, they may ask for more information on the issue discussed.
  1. Is it about changes to a return? If the letter indicates a change or correction to your tax return, review the changes and compare it with your original return (You should always have your own copy).
  1. Is a reply necessary? There is no need for a reply unless instructed, or if you need to make a payment.
  1. Don’t agree with your notice? Respond! There is a contact stub at the bottom of each letter so you may respond and explain why you disagree. Be sure to include any supporting documents for the IRS and allow up to 30 days for a response. Always send this type of correspondence certified and keep copies of everything you send.
  1. No appointments necessary: If you need to call, use the phone number that is on the upper right hand corner of the notice. Have your tax return and notice in hand for reference.
  1. Keep Records! Always keep copies of any notices that you receive along with your tax records.
  1. Be aware of scams: The IRS will never send you an e-mail or contact your through social media and ask for financial information. They will never demand a specific form of payment such as a prepaid card. For information on payment options, click here.

For more information on the IRS Collection Process, see Publication 594, or to make a payment, visit IRS.gov/payments.

Business Resource Partners has been happy to serve you this tax season and we look forward to 2017! We have our Enrolled Agent on staff who will directly represent you to the IRS and assist in tax planning for you and your business. We offer more than just bookkeeping and taxes for your business! For a complete list of our services, please visit our Services page.
Our sister company, Almond Street Business Center offers a variety of services for your company as well. You may also click any of the links below for more information.

SBRN Lunch With the Experts: Change in Venue!

SBRN Lunch with the Experts:
Web Marketing Trends for 2017 and Optimizing for Mobile Device
The Florida SBDC Network assists thousands of new and growing businesses by providing services to help them successful in their decisions. They will be hosting a no-cost training session to help you better plan for the ever growing virtual trends this year.
Effective marketing for your business can make all the difference in its success. Learn from the experts how to expand your customer base with new trends and strategies!

When?
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What time?
11:30AM to 1:00 PM

Where? (CHANGE FROM ORIGINAL LOCATION)
1250 North Hancock Road Clermont FL, 34711
Building 2, Room 102 & 103

How do I sign up?
This event is free but registration is required and seats are filling up fast! Visit the registration page to secure our seat to this event.
For information on this, and future events of the SBRN, see the flyer we have included below.

“NEW” IRS Collection Tactic

The IRS has sent us an interesting article that will affect many tax payers, we wanted to share this with you before the end of tax season.

Starting this month, the IRS will be using four private-sector collection agencies (PCA) to collect unpaid tax debts on the government’s behalf. This is authorized under a federal law that was enacted by congress in December of 2015. These are tax debts that are not currently being worked on and were assessed years ago. If a tax payer is being assigned to a private firm, there would have been multiple attempts to contact by the IRS in the past years.

  • How is this going to work?

The IRS will send an official letter to the tax payer and his or her tax representative informing them that they will be assigned to a PCA and will be given the name and contact information for the PCA. This mailing will also include a copy of Publication 4518 of what to expect.

Once your letter is sent, the designated private firm will send a letter to the tax payer with information that will assure that the transfer and all future collection calls are legitimate.

Important: The PCA are authorized to discuss payment options and payment agreements. However, all payments must be made directly to the IRS via check, or electronically. Never make a payment to a private firm or anyone besides the IRS or U.S Treasury. For more info on payment options, click here.

For a list of the agencies selected, visit this page.

  • Prepare for phone scams!

There will be scammers who jump at this opportunity to pose as PCA employees. It is important to know that these agencies will only be assigned if you owe money from previous tax years. You will be made aware about these PCAs before you hear from them.

The IRS or PCA will never:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment using a specific method such as prepaid card or wire transfer
  2. Threaten to call local police or other law-enforcement groups
  3. Demand payment without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed
  4. Ask for any credit or debit card numbers over the phone

You don’t need to wait for a call or letter from the IRS! It is important to always come forward and pay what you owe, or set up a payment plan. For a list of ways to take advantage of this, visit IRS.gov.Tax filing deadline is approaching soon! Business Resource Partners has an Enrolled Agent on staff who will directly represent you to the IRS if ever needed. We would be happy to prepare and file your business and personal taxes! Give us a call to set up an appointment (321) 236-2771 or visit us at 310 Almond Street Clermont, FL 3711.

Need More Time to Pay Your Taxes?

Your taxes should always be filed on time regardless of whether or not you can pay what you owe. This prevents you from having to pay a penalty.
If you cannot pay your taxes in full by the April 18th deadline, here are four things you should know according to the IRS.
  1. File on time & pay as much as possible:

You have the option of paying online, by phone, or with the IRS2Go App. Visit this page for electronic payment options.

  1. Get Loan or use a credit card to pay the tax:

The interest and penalties by the IRS for failure to pay are higher than the interest rates of a bank or credit card company. For your credit card options, click here.

  1. Use Online Payment Agreement Tool:

Get ahead! Plan for your payments using the IRS Online Payment Agreement Tool. You may also file Form 9465 which is the Installment Agreement Request with your tax return. This allows you to set up a direct debit agreement and not have to worry about sending a check each month.

  1. Don’t Ignore a Tax Bill:

The IRS may take collection action when you ignore a tax bill. The best option is to call the number on the bill and talk about payment options.

Beginning in 2017, all taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from their prior year’s tax return to verify identity. To learn how to verify identity and electronically signing your return, visit this page.

For all your present and future tax needs, Business Resource Partners is more than happy to provide you with tax preparation and filing.  Our Enrolled Agent will directly represent you to the IRS if ever needed. Our office also offers Payroll Services, HR, Virtual office space, and more! Call us to set up your appointment at (321) 236-2771, or visit us at 310 Almond Street Clermont FL 34711.

Is Your Personal Information REALLY Protected?

Protecting your personal information such as social security number and finances is always important any time of year, but most importantly during tax time.
We found an article published on the IRS.gov website about protection specific to computers and we wanted to share some key facts.
The IRS says to treat your personal information like cash, don’t hand it out to just anyone. Much of your information can be taken and used to steal your identity and open new accounts. Be wary of websites or people asking for personal information claiming that it is necessary, many scammers will attempt just about anything to get this information from you.
What practical steps can you take to protect yourself better?
  1. Avoid Phishing Scams:
Scammers can pose as banks, credit card companies, IRS, or third party working for governing authorities. Different methods can be used to get your attention such as winning something, urgent personal information update requirements. Never open an attachment or link of a suspicious e-mail. These oftentimes contain malware and can harm or hack your computer and information.
  1. Protect Personal Data:
Do not carry your social security card with you or anything that may include this number. Do not include this number when filling out forms on paper or online. Scammers will ask you to include this number in documents even when it is not needed.
  1. Use Strong Passwords:
When creating or updating passwords to your online data, always use 10-12 characters. Try not to use common information such as important dates or names. Be as unpredictable as possible! Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts and never send these through text or email. Always use a secure Wi-Fi network to prevent other networks from accessing your information.
  1. Use Security Software:
Always have security software installed on your computer. Most come with a pre-installed firewall, but it is important to have one that protects from viruses, Trojans, spyware and adware. Parents, use the parental control options and educate children about suspicious websites and emails.
  1. Back Up Files:
It is important to always save important documents such as tax returns, finances, etc into a removable USB as a back up. Have paper copies to help in the next year’s tax preparation and always keep track of where these are stored and who has access to them.
Business Resource Partners will help with your tax needs including preparation and e-filing. Time is almost out for tax filing! Give us a call or stop by our office to meet with one of our tax prep experts!

Tax Credit For Making Your Home More Energy Efficient!

If you made your home more energy efficient in 2016, you may qualify for a tax credit this year! We received this great article from the IRS and we wanted to share some main points that stood out. For this, and many more publications, visit the IRS.gov website.

Non-Business Energy Property Credit

  • This credit counts for 10% of the cost of qualified energy saving items. These items include adding insulation, energy-efficient exterior windows and doors, and certain roofs. It does not include the cost to install these items.
  • The credit amount for each type of property has a different dollar limit rather than a percentage. For example, any installation costs of high efficiency heating and air-conditioning, water heaters, or stoves that burn biomass fuel.
  • This credit has a maximum lifetime limit of $500, only $200 of this limit may be used for windows.
  • The main home must be in the U.S and the non-business energy property credit is only available for existing homes.
  • Always have a written certification from the manufacturer that this product does qualify for the tax credit. This will usually be posted on the website. Always keep the original copy with your tax records and not attached to your tax return.
  • You may claim the credit on your 2016 tax return if you did not reach the lifetime limit in the past years.

Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit:

  • This credit is 30% of the cost alternative energy installed in or on a home, including cost of installation.
  • Qualified materials include: solar hot water heaters, solar electric equipment, wind turbines, and fuel cell property.
  • If the credit is more than the tax owed, carry forward the unused portion of this credit to next year’s tax return. There is no dollar limit on the credit for most types of property.
  • The home does not have to be your main home unless the alternative energy equipment is qualified fuel cell property. The residential energy efficient property credit is for both existing home and homes under construction. It is available through 2016.

For Residential Energy Credits, use Form 5695.

Business Resource Partners offers more than just bookkeeping services. We provide tax preparation and filing for both personal and business tax returns. We have a specialized team who is here to help!

We have extended our business hours this tax season and we are ready to work around your busy schedule!

Call us at (321) 236-2771 or visit 310 Almond Street Clermont, FL 34711.

 

What to be aware of when choosing a Tax Preparer:

With tax season already upon us, it is important to know who is preparing your taxes and what their qualifications are. They are responsible for your information and it is important to be conscious of the potential threats presented this time of year.

 

So, what are some things to consider?

 

  1. Qualifications: There are different qualifications depending on your needs. These include

Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), Enrolled Agents, Annual Filing Season Program Participants, Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents, and Enrolled Actuaries.

For more information on this, visit this page which breaks down each qualification and can help you better determine your needs this year.

 

  1. Check the History: Check the preparer’s license status as well as any disciplinary actions. For CPAs, check the State Board of Accountancy. For Attorneys, check the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, you can go to IRS.gov or email epp@irs.gov with the first and last name of the agent, a complete address if it is available, and the Enrolled Agent Number is available. It is recommended to include as much information as possible. For more information on this, visit the verification page.

 

  1. Ask about Service Fees: Avoid preparers who base their price on the percentage of your return or claim they can get you a bigger refund than the competition. Do not give them any tax documents or anything that would include your social security number.

 

  1. Ask for E-filing: Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file. The IRS has processed billions of e-files successfully and there is no reason why this should be impossible.

 

  1. Make Sure the Preparer is Available to You: You might need to contact your preparer after the April 18th due date. Don’t hire someone who is constantly on the move and will be difficult to get in touch with.

 

  1. Provide Records & Receipts: A good preparer will want to have all the necessary information in order to properly file your tax return such as total income, tax deductions, credits, etc. For example, do not rely on someone who only wants your last pay stub instead of a From W-2. This is again IRS e-filing rules.

 

  1. Never Sign a Blank Return: This may sound like a no brainer, but it is worth mentioning. Do not use a preparer who asks you to sign a blank return.

 

  1. Review Before Signing: If something is not making sense, ASK. You should feel completely informed and comfortable with any document you are signing. Always double check the bank Account and Routing number to make sure that it is yours. Always keep copies of everything.

 

  1. Make Sure Your Preparer signs and includes their PTIN: This is the preparer’s Preparer Tax Identification Number and they must include this in the document by law.

 

  1. Report any abusive behavior to IRS: Most preparers will be honest and provide excellent service, however, some are dishonest. To report any abusive or fraudulent actions, use Form 14157. If you suspect your return was changed without your consent, fill From 14157-A. These are available on gov any time.

 

As always, if you need any help with Tax Preparation and filing, Business Resource Partners is always here to help! We have our Accountant Michael, our Enrolled Agent Mythili, and our owner Lorrie who is a participant in the Annual Filing Season Program. Our front desk ladies Stephanie and Andrea would be happy to schedule appointments for your needs.Please contact us at (352) 236-2771 or visit us at 310 Almond Street Clermont FL, 34711.

$1 Billion Available!

The IRS has unclaimed federal income tax refunds totaling more than $1 Billion for roughly 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2013 income tax return.

If you or someone you know did not file for taxes in 2013, you may be afraid to do so now for fear that you’ll be penalized or in legal trouble. Did you know there is no penalty for filing late if you are due a refund? You can still file a 2013 tax return with the IRS no later than this year’s Tuesday, April 18th deadline. There are an estimated 66,900 individuals who may be due 2013 refunds in Florida, totaling about $67,758.

The law usually provides most tax payers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. The unclaimed money becomes property of the U.S Treasury if the tax payer does not file a return within the three years. If you are filing a 2013 tax return this year, make sure you properly address mail and postmark the tax return by the April 18th date.

If you have not filed taxes for 2014 & 2015, your check for your 2013 refund may be held. The refund will be allocated to any debts such as a state tax agency, money owed to the IRS, child support, or student loans.

You could lose more than just a refund for the year of 2013 if you do not file your taxes. Low or moderate income workers may be eligible for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). In 2013, this credit was worth as much as $6,044.

If you have questions about how to get forms for prior year’s tax returns, visit the Forms and Publications page on the IRS website. These forms are available to you at no charge.

If you are missing any forms such as W-2, 1098, 1099, or 5498 for the years 2013-2015, you should contact your employer, bank, or other payer. If you are unable to get these forms from a previous employer, you can use the IRS’s tool for Getting Your Transcript Online and obtain your Wage & Income Transcript. You may also file Form 4506-T to request a transcript of your 2013 income and use the information to file your tax return

If you need to file your 2013 or later tax returns, Business Resource Partners will gladly provide this service for you! Please call our office and schedule your appointment with our tax professionals at (321) 236-2771 or visit us at 310 Almond Street Clermont, FL 34711.

5 Overlooked Business Tax Deductions for 2017

We found an awesome article written by Steve Nicastro, a staff writer at NerdWallet. We wanted to share his useful information with you for this, and future tax seasons. For his full article, visit Nerdwallet.com


If you fail to claim your small business tax deductions, you could be losing out on a good amount of money. Deductions are a legal way of reducing the amount of income from your business that is subject to tax.

How can I make sure I’m always on top of this?

Keep a record! Always save receipts, invoices, and any other documents. You can deduct salaries and wages, mortgage interest and taxes, office supplies, repairs and insurance, and depreciation of property. Here are 5 commonly missed deductions.

  1. Home Office Deductions:

If you have a room in your home that you regularly use as a place of business to deal with patients, clients, or customers, you may be able to claim a home office deduction on your income taxes. If you are also using the room as a place for guests to stay, this could disqualify you. For more information about this, visit Home Office Deduction.

  1. Carryovers:

Depending on how profitable your business was, you may be able to carry back the loss 2 years for a refund, or carry it forward up to 20 years to offset your future taxable income. This, however, has many moving parts and it is best to consult a tax professional to look at your specific circumstance. For more on this, the IRS provides comparison methods.

  1. Start-up Expenses:

You may deduct up to $5,000 in start-up costs, and $5,000 in organizational costs. However, both deductions phase out when your total start-up expenses reach $50,000. If you exceed the $50,000, no first-year deduction is allowed and you will need to amortize you costs over the next 180 months of operation.

  1. Losses & Bad Debts:

The IRS defines a bad debt as one that was acquired in your business and became partly or completely worthless. This can include loans to clients, suppliers, employees, distributors, and debts of an insolvent partner. They become bad debts only after you’ve tried to collect the amount due over a reasonable period and have taken the correct steps to do so.

  1. Tax, Legal & Educational Expenses:

Expenses that are necessary and directly related to your business such as fees paid to your accountant and lawyers are deductible. However, legal fees that are paid to acquire business assets are not deductible.

Business Resource Partners understand these and countless other tax prep necessities. Our tax professionals are happy to assist you now, and in the future with your business and tax needs.

Call us at (321) 236-2771 or visit 310 Almond Street Clermont FL, 34711.

We look forward to serving you!