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Samantha Keller CPA

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How Much of that Charitable Contribution is Deductible?

Posted by Samantha Keller CPA

Jan 30, 2017 9:05:04 AM

How do you know how much of a charitable contribution you can deduct on your tax return?

You donate $300 to your favorite charity this past summer, but now it’s time to file your taxes, you can’t recall if it was $300 or $325. You’re in luck! The IRS requires that a charitable organization provide written documentation for contributions made throughout the year, above certain thresholds.

Here is what you as a donor and/or you as a charitable organization need to know regarding documenting a donation:

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Topics: charitable deduction



'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



Health Coverage Forms to File? You Have Extra Time

Posted by Samantha Keller CPA

Dec 29, 2015 4:30:00 AM

As 2015 comes to a close, another filing season is about to begin. If you are an insurer, a self-insured employer, a provider of minimum essential coverage, or an applicable large employer with reporting requirements you have been granted an extension for filing Health Coverage Forms 1095-B, 1095-C, 1094-B and 1094-C. 

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Topics: health coverage forms, IRS Notice 2016-4



How Much of that Charitable Contribution is Deductible?

Posted by Samantha Keller CPA

Nov 13, 2015 10:00:00 AM

At this time of year, our thoughts often turn to charitable donations. We contribute because we can, because we believe in an organization’s mission, or because someone needs our help. In addition to the benefit to the person/organization that’s been donated to, and the validation we feel at helping, there is another benefit – the tax deduction. But how much of your donation is deductible? Here is what you as a donor and/or you as a charitable organization need to know regarding documenting the donation.

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Topics: NFP, tax, charitable deduction, irs 1771



Identity Theft, the IRS and You: Protect Thyself Part 2

Posted by Samantha Keller CPA

Aug 14, 2015 11:55:00 AM

IRS Issues IR-2015-99: Warns Taxpayers to Guard Against New Tricks by Scam Artists; Losses Top $20 Million 

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Topics: Information Security, identity theft, irs scams



Identity Theft, the IRS and You: Protect Thyself

Posted by Samantha Keller CPA

Aug 4, 2015 9:53:00 AM

Picture this:
You go to file your tax return, and it gets rejected by the IRS stating that a return with your social security number has already been filed. How can that be? 
This past tax filing season saw a rise in the number of tax-related identity theft cases, with information from 104,000 filers being stolen by scammers in recent months. 

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Topics: identity theft



Key Tax Provisions-- Extensions Still Uncertain

Posted by Samantha Keller CPA

Nov 13, 2014 2:14:57 PM

With the fourth quarter of 2014 here, we continue to await Congressional action on the extension of a number of key tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013. Though the continuing delay creates uncertainty for taxpayers as they begin to prepare for their 2014 tax returns, most observers hope that extender legislation will come now that the midterm elections are over.

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Topics: tax planning,, depreciation, tax provision, section 179, year end tax planning, sales tax





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