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Why Not Follow Gov.Coumo's Lead on Information Security Protection

Posted by Timothy M. Korn CPA

Dec 8, 2016 4:07:00 PM

In mid-September, the New York State Department of Financial Services released a press release stating, "Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a new first-in-the-nation regulation has been proposed to protect New York State from the ever-growing threat of cyber-attacks. The regulation requires banks, insurance companies, and other financial services institutions regulated by the State Department of Financial Services to establish and maintain a cybersecurity program designed to protect consumers and ensure the safety and soundness of New York State’s financial services industry.

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Topics: Information Security, cyber attack, cybersecurity, startegy



Tuition Credits, Changes, and The PATH Act

Posted by Brian Dansa

Dec 1, 2016 7:30:00 AM

In accordance with the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, for 2016 every educational institution was required to provide a Form 1098-T (Tuition Statement) to those attending their institution. The Form 1098-T provides information related to tuition and fees that the taxpayer or taxpayer’s dependent would use to determine their applicable educational deduction, American Opportunity Credit, or the Lifetime Learning Credit.

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Topics: tax planning,, dopkins tax, Path Act 2015, Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, form 1098-t, Tuition credits, tax advisory



Trusts as Shareholders and 9 Other Ways to Lose Your S Election

Posted by Sarah E. DesJardins

Nov 17, 2016 1:10:00 PM

In 1980, there were roughly 545,000 S corporations filing tax returns in the United States. By 2011, that number was well over 4 million.[1] As S corporations become increasingly popular, it is important to recognize that an S election can be inadvertently terminated. Understanding the ways in which an S corporation can lose the election can help avoid the possibility of double taxation. Discussed below are ten ways in which an S corporation can have the S election revoked, many of which deal with trusts since the rules surrounding trusts as shareholders are complex.

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Topics: s corporations, s election, s corp, how trusts risk s elections, s corp risks, scorporation



The IRS Giveth, the IRS Limiteth, and the IRS Taketh Away – Retail/Restaurant Remodel-Refresh Safe Harbor

Posted by Robert J. Bauer CPA

Nov 10, 2016 2:56:00 PM

Rev. Proc. 2015-56 established an automatic accounting method change to adopt a safe-harbor method of accounting for remodel-refresh expenditures for qualified taxpayers primarily engaged in retail or restaurant businesses (including certain landlords).  This safe harbor allows qualifying taxpayers to immediately deduct 75% and capitalize 25% of their qualifying remodel-refresh costs.  Sounds great!  But there are several limitations:
  • A business or landlord is a qualified taxpayer only if it has an applicable financial statement (generally, this means an audited financial statement or a 10-k filed with the SEC).
  • A qualifying taxpayer must conduct its activities under specific NAICS codes:
    • 44 or 45; however, automotive/motor vehicle dealers, gas stations, manufactured home dealers, and non-store retailers are excluded.
    • 722; however, hotels/motels, civic organizations, amusement parks, country clubs, and any taxpayer within code 7223 (food service contractors, caterers, and mobile food trucks) are excluded.
  • Landlords qualify if the building they own or lease is leased or sub-leased to a taxpayer that operates under the above NAICS codes.
  • In addition to these major limitations, the Rev. Proc. also contains approximately two pages of specific exclusions.

Huh?

With all of these exclusions and with the tangible property regulations (remember those?) being relative new, there were obviously many questions surrounding this Rev. Proc.  In response, the IRS released fourteen frequently asked questions to help clarify these provisions.  One important aspect of the Rev. Proc. that was explained in the FAQ’s was related to the potential tangible property regulation method changes that would have to be adjusted in order to utilize the remodel-refresh safe harbor method.  Specifically, a taxpayer desiring to make this change is required to revoke and not use partial disposition elections on qualifying property, place certain capitalized costs in general asset accounts (GAAs), adopt the safe-harbor method on a timely filed 3115, and appropriately classify capitalized costs under § 168(e). While these FAQ’s are helpful in providing additional guidance related to this Rev. Proc., for most taxpayers who have not already adopted the safe-harbor method these FAQ’s come too little, too late:

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Topics: tangible assets and repairs, tars, tangible property regulations, tangible property, irs, remodel refresh safe harbor, Rev. Proc. 2015-56



Some Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) are Expiring – Is Yours?

Posted by Jill E. Colombo CPA

Oct 26, 2016 2:55:00 PM

Changes to the Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN) program are required as part of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act enacted by Congress in December 2015.  Some ITINs will begin expiring as of January 1, 2017. 

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Topics: itin, Letter 5821, individual taxpayer identification number, Form W-7



'Tis the Season for IRS Scams

Posted by Samantha Keller CPA

Oct 20, 2016 3:23:00 PM

After hearing about the police in India arresting 70 people on suspicion of posing as IRS agents, and Bob Pollock's post last week on the IRS CP 2000 scam  I couldn't help but remind and caution you about IRS scams.If you missed the story about the bogus call centers, you can read about here.

These schemes – which can occur over the phone, in e-mails or through letters with authentic looking letterhead – try to trick taxpayers into providing personal financial information or scare people into making a false tax payment that ends up with the criminal.

It May Be a Scam, If ...

Scammers posing as IRS agents first targeted those they viewed as most vulnerable, such as older Americans, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English. These criminals have expanded their net and are now targeting virtually anyone.

In a new variation, scammers alter what appears on your telephone caller ID to make it seem like they are with the IRS or another agency such as the Department of Motor Vehicles. They use fake names, titles and badge numbers. They use online resources to get your name, address and other details about your life to make the call sound official. They even go as far as copying official IRS letterhead for use in email or regular mail.

Brazen scammers will even provide their victims with directions to the nearest bank or business where the victim can obtain a means of payment such as a debit card. And in another new variation of these scams, con artists may then provide an actual IRS address where the victim can mail a receipt for the payment – all in an attempt to make the scheme look official.

The most common theme with these tricks seems to be fear. Scammers try to scare people into reacting immediately without taking a moment to think through what is actually happening.

These scam artists often angrily threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation or other similarly unpleasant things. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests, sometimes through “robo-calls,” via phone or email. The emails will often contain a fake IRS document with a telephone number or email address for your reply.

Helpful Hints

Remember the official IRS website is IRS.gov.

Do not be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. 

Never provide personal information, financial or otherwise, to suspicious websites or strangers calling out of the blue.

The real IRS would never:

  • Angrily demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

What you should do if you think you’re the target of an IRS impersonation scam:

  • If you actually do owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or do not immediately believe that you do, you can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484. 
  • If you’ve been targeted by any scam, be sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Compliant Assistant at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

For more information on reporting tax scams, go to IRS.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

The Federal Trade Commission provides a Step-by-Step Checklist of what to do if you have been a victim of identity theft, tax-related or other.  Their checklist includes information on what to do right away, what to do next, and any other additional steps that you might have to take depending on your situation.

Keep in mind that the IRS sends notices by regular mail, and that they will not email you asking for personal information.  You should report suspicious emails to phishing@irs.gov, and suspicious phone, fax or mail scams to 1-800-366-4484.

Related blogs

Identity Theft, the IRS and You: Protect Thyself

Phishing 101: What's a 'Phish' Anyway?

Phishing 201: Advanced Phishing Threats

Phishing 301: Targeted Phishing Attacks

 

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Topics: irs scams



Receive an IRS CP 2000 Notice? Beware.

Posted by Bob Pollock

Oct 13, 2016 4:40:00 PM

The IRS is warning taxpayers that a new scam has come to their attention.  This scam involves a phony IRS CP 2000 notice and a claim that the income reported on your tax return does not match the income reported by your employer or some other third party payer. The fake notice requests taxpayers to make a payment to the “IRS Austin Processing Center”. 

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Topics: irs scams, irs, irs cp 2000



IRS Announces Relief for Late Rollovers of Retirement Plan Funds

Posted by Jennifer C. Plail CPA

Sep 29, 2016 8:32:00 AM

The IRS has released new guidance to help taxpayers avoid taxes and penalties for late rollovers of distributions from employer-sponsored retirement plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Ordinarily, such rollovers must be completed within 60 days to be considered valid. The new guidance establishes a process for taxpayers who miss the 60-day rollover window for any one of 11 different reasons to correct the error.

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Topics: ira rollover, ira, employee benefit plan, individual retirement accounts, retirement plan, irs rev proc 2016-47



Shine the Spotlight on Your WNY Top Private Company

Posted by Pat Bohen

Sep 19, 2016 12:02:46 PM

Dopkins & Company, LLP is privileged to work with Business First to showcase and applaud the contributions and achievements of Western New York’s Top Private Companies. Why not celebrate with us and other privately-helds? Nominate your company by clicking this link, but hurry, nominations close September 26th.

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Topics: private companies, dopkins, business first of buffalo, privately held companies, buffalo private companies, wny top private companies



ATTN not-for-profits: ASU 2016-14 impacts financial statements

Posted by Karen D. Costa CPA

Aug 22, 2016 2:00:00 PM


On August 18, 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update 2016-14 (ASU 2016-14), Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958): Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities.

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Topics: not-for-profits, not-for-profit financial statements, asu 2016-14, topic 958





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