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Archive for Barry Fowler

Avoid Holiday Shopping Ho-Ho-Hoaxes

Barry Fowler, Tax Connections

Package Theft

You may find it hard to believe, but according to delivery services like the USPS and UPS, some 23 million recipients each year don’t get their holiday goodies because thieves steal them right off the doorsteps. There is an easy way to prevent this. Simply arrange for a delivery that requires a signature upon receipt. Other options include sending gifts to the recipient’s workplace or have them delivered to a pickup location operated by the carrier. For example purchases made through Amazon can be delivered to an Amazon Locker location and retrieved by using a pickup code. There’s no extra fee to use the service, which can be selected during checkout. Amazon has about 2000 secure locations in more than 50 cities. Read more

Holiday Fraud Awareness Reminders

Fraud Alert: this reminder comes at a timely moment as we head into the busy and hopefully joyous holiday season. With all the distractions of the season, it’s easy to forget about the devious schemes some people on this planet use to con others out of their hard earned cash.

Complete strangers commit the most common cases of fraud via the telephone and Internet. However, it’s not uncommon to hear about other crimes committed by trusted employees, financial advisers, tax preparation officials and even family members. You simply must be alert and learn how to recognize when a con is happening. Read more

IRS Has Not Yet Released Date For Accepting 2017 Tax Returns

Barry Fowler, Tax Advisor

It seems that a whole lot of taxpayers are anxious to get their taxes in to the IRS!

I’ve never seen the IRS issue a statement that they have yet to determine the date when they will be accepting tax returns; however, they’ve done just that this year.

Below, I outline various reasons that could be responsible for this sudden frantic rush:

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Still Unsure If You Were Affected In The Equifax Breach? Plus, Ways To Protect Your Data

Barry Fowler, Tax Advisor

The recent Equifax breach affects over 143 million American taxpayers.

As you might imagine, this could wreak havoc for those affected and you may not even know you’ve been affected until you go to file your taxes next year.

The data breach gave hackers access to the Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers of people around the world, and as mentioned above 143 million American taxpayers. Criminals can use all of that date to steal identities, so there are sure to be consequences in the short term and long term. One of those long-term ramifications could be that a criminal will use your personal information to file a bogus tax return in 2018.

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Disaster Victims Can Take Hardship Distributions From Retirement Plans

Barry Fowler, Tax Advisor

The IRS has announced relief for victims of recent disasters. If you live in a federally-declared disaster area, you qualify for this program. As an affected taxpayer, you may take a loan or hardship distribution from your retirement plan.

Streamlined procedures have been put in place to allow taxpayers quick access to funds in these accounts. The plan must allow for hardship withdrawals. However, these distributions may be made prior to the plan being amended to allow such withdrawals.  Contact the human resources department at your company to see if your plan allows these loans or distributions. The IRS is waiving the six-month ban on distributions that normally affects taxpayers taking hardship distributions. Any distribution or loan under this announcement must be made by January 31, 2018.

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Taxpayers -Top 10 IRS’s Tips Deducting Casualty Losses

Barry Fowler Tax Advisor

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.

Damage that occurs as a result of natural disaster, fires, accidents, thefts or vandalism are often tax deductible if the loss is major and not covered by insurance or other reimbursement. It’s important to be aware of the help the IRS provides in the event of a disaster.

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Did Harvey Wash Away Years Of Unfiled Tax Info?

Hurricane Harvey has been devastating for many Texans. It could prove to be even more devastating if you haven’t filed your income tax returns in several years and you lost your important papers during the storm.

Even if Harvey wiped out your important papers, your tax filing delinquency will not be forgotten by the IRS. Read more

IRS Has A Heart For Hurricane Harvey Victims

Barry Fowler

With a major portion of Houston and surrounding areas under water and devastated, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced significant tax relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Those in Texas who have been affected by the storm have until January 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. This includes an additional filing extension for taxpayers with valid extensions through October 16, and businesses with extensions through September 15. Read more

What To Do When You Receive An Audit Letter

Summer is typically when the IRS sends out notices and audit letters, so if you’ve received one, remember, first and foremost, don’t freak out.

Don’t panic!

After all, it’s just a piece of paper sent to you from the IRS. While the IRS can be scary, if you are a law-abiding taxpayer, I assure you even if you end up getting audited it’s not as scary as it seems. Read more

An End Of Summer Troubling Tax Tidbit

Summer is swiftly coming to an end.

It’s time to think about getting the kids back to school. And what a relief, there’s been little to no thought about taxes. Sure, we think about the sales tax breaks we get buying back to school items and clothing this time of year, but that’s actually enjoyable. Read more

Tax Tips For Deducting Disaster Related Losses

Along with the fun of summer also comes the dread of potential natural disasters. Summer time is the beginning of hurricane season beginning in June and ending in November. While tornadoes can pop up anytime, there seems to be more occurrences during summer than other times of the year. In some areas of the country, summer is also the rainy season, so flooding can occur. Read more

Selling Your Home May Not Be A Taxing Event

Spring and summer in some areas of the country are prime times to sell a home.

In warmer climates like Texas, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and the Carolinas, the home buying/selling season is less defined. In more temperate climates it rarely matters when you put you home on the market. Read more

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