IRS Urges Seniors to Remain Alert for Phone Scams During Tax Season

IRS Urges Seniors to Remain Alert for Phone Scams During Tax Season

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.

irs.gov

For questions or to make an appointment:
joe@jandjtaxesandmore.com
734-523-8291

The end of the year is upon us. Are you “tax ready”?

The end of the year is upon us. Are you “tax ready”?

Now is the time to catch up on all the things you’ve been “meaning to do”:
*Make that extra mortgage payment.
*Pay that winter property tax.
*Make that donation (get a receipt).
*Make that IRA contribution.
*Make a payment on that student loan.
*Make sure your employer or previous employer has your correct mailing address.
*If your planning on claiming someone as a dependent (that you haven’t previously claimed), make sure you have documents “proving” you’ve supported them.
*If you’ve recently gotten married (changed your name), make sure you have notified social security and have received a new social security card.
*If your family has grown this year, make sure baby has a social security number.

It’s also a great time to set a side a folder or envelope to begin placing your tax information in. Keep it organized and all in one place, so your not searching for documents.

As always we’re here if you have any questions or concerns. Call us at 734-523-8291, email: jandjtaxes@yahoo.com or private message us on Facebook.

Start Planning Now for Next Year’s Taxes

Start Planning Now for Next Year’s Taxes

By By Joe Bartley,
J&J Taxes and More

You may be tempted to forget all about your taxes once you’ve filed your tax return. Do not give in to that temptation. If you start your tax planning now, you may avoid a tax surprise when you file next year. Now is a good time to set up a system so you can keep your tax records safe and easy to find. Here are some IRS tips to give you a leg up on next year’s taxes:

•Take action when life changes occur. Some life events can change the amount of tax you pay. Some examples that can do that include a change in marital status or the birth of a child. When they happen, you may need to change the amount of tax withheld from your pay. To do that, file a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool on IRS.gov to help you fill out the form.

•Report changes in circumstances to the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you enroll in insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2015, you should report changes in circumstances to the Marketplace when they happen. Report events such as changes in your income or family size. Doing so will help you avoid getting too much or too little financial assistance in advance.

•Keep records safe. Put your 2014 tax return and supporting records in a safe place. If you ever need your tax return or records, it will be easy for you to get them. For example, you may need a copy of your tax return if you apply for a home loan or financial aid. You should use your tax return as a guide when you do your taxes next year.

•Stay organized. Make tax time easier. Have your family put tax records in the same place during the year. That way you won’t have to search for misplaced records when you file next year.

Feel free to call the office (year round) for any questions or advise. 734-523-8291

There’s Still Time to Act to Avoid Surprises at Tax-Time

There’s Still Time to Act to Avoid Surprises at Tax-Time

By Joe Bartley,
J&J Taxes and More

Even though only a few months remain in 2014, you still have time to act so you aren’t surprised at tax-time next year. You should take steps now to avoid owing more taxes or getting a larger refund than you expect. Here are some actions you can take to bring the taxes you pay in advance closer to what you’ll owe when you file your tax return:

Adjust your withholding
If you’re an employee and you think that your tax withholding will fall short of your total 2014 tax liability, you may be able to avoid an unexpected tax bill by increasing your withholding. If you are having too much tax withheld, you may get a larger refund than you expect.
In either case, you can complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate and give it to your employer. Enter the added amount you want withheld from each paycheck until the end of the year on Line 6 of the W-4 form. You usually can have less tax withheld by increasing your withholding allowances on line 5. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool on IRS.gov to help you fill out the form.

Report changes in circumstances
If you purchase health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may receive advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2014. It is important that you report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace so you get the proper type and amount of premium assistance. Some of the changes that you should report include changes in your income, employment, or family size. Advance credit payments help you pay for the insurance you buy through the Marketplace. Reporting changes will help you avoid getting too much or too little premium assistance in advance.

Change taxes with life events
You may need to change the taxes you pay when certain life events take place. A change in your marital status or the birth of a child can change the amount of taxes you owe. When they happen you can submit a new Form W–4 at work or change your estimated tax payment.

Be accurate on your W-4
When you start a new job you fill out a Form W-4. It’s important for you to accurately complete the form. For example, special rules apply if you work two jobs or you claim tax credits on your tax return. Your employer will use the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to withhold from your pay.

Pay estimated tax if required
If you get income that’s not subject to withholding you may need to pay estimated tax. This may include income such as self-employment, interest, or rent. If you expect to owe a thousand dollars or more in tax, and meet other conditions, you may need to pay this tax. You normally pay the tax four times a year. Use Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, to figure and pay the tax