Tax and Trust: Two Items to Keep in Mind

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1) Phone Scams Becoming More Prevalent

Tax scams can take many forms, with perpetrators posing as the IRS in everything from e-mail refund schemes to phone impersonators. Be vigilant of any unexpected communication that is purportedly from IRS or another government agency. Don’t ever give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact and are sure of the recipient.

This year sophisticated phone scams have been on the rise. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims who refuse to cooperate, are threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

What makes these phone call particularly convincing is that scammers use fake IRS badge numbers and are able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s social security number. Scammers also spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling. They follow-up the phone call with fake IRS emails to some victims to support their scam calls.

Scammers far as far as playing background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site. After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reviewed thousands of complaints about the scams like this and expect the problem to grow.

The IRS does not initiate contact with Taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts, even over the phone.

If you know you owe taxes or think you might, I can work with you in ensuring that you have proper documented contact with the IRS.

2) If people like you they’ll listen to you, if the people trust you they’ll do business with you.

Tax and Health: Two Items to Keep in Mind

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1) Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows employees to be reimbursed for medical expenses. FSAs are usually funded through voluntary salary reduction agreements with your employer. The benefits of an FSA are that no employment or federal income taxes are deducted from your contribution. Some employers will even contribute to your FSA account.

Withdrawals may be tax free if you use the funds for qualified medical expenses. You can withdraw funds from the account to pay for qualified medical expenses even if the funds are not yet in the account.
Your insurance company can provide you with a list of qualified medical expenses. In general, non-prescription medicines (other than insulin) are not considered qualified medical expenses for FSA purposes. However, it covers most medical, dental, vision and pharmacy expenses.

Medical FSA contributions are limited to $2,500 per year. In general, the contributions must be withdrawn for qualified medical expenses by the end of your plan year. At year-end, a business can offer a 10-week grace period to use unspent FSA money or provide an option of rolling over up to $500 of unused amounts in the account to the next year. The FSA plan cannot offer both and the option must be designated in the plan documents.

2) Nothing can save you more money on medical expenses than regular physical exercising. Invest your time and effort in staying fit today; you’ll receive great returns later!