Weekly Digest – May 26, 2023
Many really nice bosses (hint, hint) are wrapping up a week of work with a short Friday so we can enjoy this 3 day weekend honoring our Veterans and spending time with friends and family at the beach, park or attending bar-b-ques.
I am happy to share some cool construction photos as the beach conservation continues, these cranes are just on the next block
The sun rises so early that only this American Oystercatcher was out on the beach with me
Some cool sunrise photos from on top of one of the new rock jetties..
The weather forecast is perfect for this weekend, and I am happy to say my office is closing at 2 PM today, so we can start the weekend a bit early. I hope you have great plans weekend as we celebrate our veterans.
Ramona fields calls on a weekly basis which tend to start with “I have a quick question about…”. We have learned there are no quick questions, even “how are you and your family doing” or “what are your plans for the weekend” will take a few minuets when you actually listen and care. Why call with something on your mind and preface it with a statement minimizing the import. In our office we already know to set up an appointment to give us time to flesh out the “real” issue which may start with “how much would the tax on … be”. The real question/issue might be “I would like to access cash to make a gift, finish my 20 year long renovation, pay for a wedding, etc.” This important discussion revolves around other options which may in fact have tax consequences and will typically take up to an hour or more, but yield valuable, actionable, ideas.
TAX ISSUES/TAX PLANNING
Top 4 of the IRS’s 2023 Dirty Dozen: Be Wary of Scams and Schemes
- Employee Retention Credit Claims: Topping the list this year are the Employee Retention Tax Credit Mills who continue to actively and aggressively pitch to business owners, even as the IRS audits of the amended tax returns requesting those credits have started.
- Phishing and smishing: fake communication via text messages and emails continue to be a concern again this year, as scammers posing as legitimate businesses, the IRS and states contact individuals and businesses in an attempt to obtain information leading to identity theft
- Online account help from third-party scammer: scammers pose as helpful third parties and offer to help create a taxpayer’s IRS online account. There is a very specific system for obtaining an ID Ptin when in doubt ask for help from your tax professional.
- False Fuel Tax Credit Claims: this is NOT available to most taxpayers but unscrupulous promoters look to inflate tax refunds by using this credit via Form-4136
This email came through as I was writing this blog and I had to share it as it is a perfect example of Phishing :
Subject: Keep your TSA PreCheck® benefits. You’re now eligible to Renew!
Your TSA PreCheck® membership is due to expire on 11/26/2023. You can renew it any time between now and that date – your new membership only starts after the old one expires. Renewing is quick and easy, and most members can renew entirely online.
Act now and renew early to ensure your benefits roll into your next trip!
Fraudulent Employee Retention Credit Claims
True Story from this week and a perfect example of fraudulent Employee Retention Credit Claims
This week one of my clients was visited by a scammer who tried to explain that his business was eligible for a huge tax credit and they also offered to handle his payroll processing. We analyzed eligibility for every one of our clients when the law and subsequent IRS guidance came out. We processed those claims in 2021 and 2022 and our clients have already received those funds. I am glad to field these calls so I am assured my clients are not victimized.
IRS Identity Protection PIN
There are options for obtaining the IRS identity protection PIN:
- Access the online link : Sign In or Create a New Account (irs.gov)
- File an application via form 15227 . This option is available if your AGI on your last filed tax return is below $73,000 for single filing status or $146,000 for married filing joint status
- Request an in person appointment at an IRS office
“In a White House press briefing yesterday (May 25), Biden said he has had “several productive conversations” with McCarthy, adding that the talks pertain to “outlines of what the budget will look like, not about default.”
Biden’s proposal included more than $1 trillion of spending cuts, freezing spending for the next two years. The two parties are just $70 billion apart on discretionary spending plans, according to a Reuters report citing a person familiar with the talks—a relatively minor gap.”
Small Business Optimism Sinks in April to Lowest Level in a Decade
Small business optimism has dropped to its lowest level in a decade, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. The decline is attributed to the economic uncertainty which started with the coronavirus pandemic, with businesses facing decreased sales, layoffs, and other challenges. Now concerns continue with interest rate increases, employee shortages, increased costs for overhead, and inflation in general.
We are initiating planning discussions with our clients; asking the tough questions and setting up 90 action plans with longer term goals in mind.
First to the Gate as Usual Will be the Big Winner
Bill Gates predicts that AI-powered smart assistants will be the big winner in the future. He believes that these assistants will be able to help people with tasks such as scheduling, shopping, and managing finances. He also believes that AI will be able to provide personalized advice and recommendations.
Federal Reserve Presidents Signaling More Interest Rate Hikes are Needed to Cool Inflation
Federal Reserve presidents have signaled that more interest rate hikes may be necessary to cool inflation. They have expressed concern that inflation could rise too quickly if the economy continues to grow at its current pace. The Fed is expected to raise rates at least two more times this year. “In separate speeches and interviews this month, several policymakers hammered home a hawkish message: While they welcome recent declines in inflation, they warn that inflation still remains too high for a pause in the central bank’s tightening campaign.”
Cash Saved During Pandemic Enables Shoppers to Keep Spending
The pandemic has caused many people to save more money, but some are still spending. This is due to the stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and other government aid. People are using this money to buy items such as cars, furniture, and appliances, which is helping to keep the economy going. “According to recent research by Hamza Abdelrahman and Luiz E. Oliveira, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, who calculated that Americans still have $500 billion of the $2.6 trillion they accumulated in “excess savings.” That is, savings beyond what they normally would have put away based on the pre-pandemic trend. That extra money is likely to support consumer spending at least through the end of 2023, they estimated.”
Zoom Earnings Top Estimates
Zoom reported a revenue of $328.2 million for Q1 2021, a 369% increase from the same period last year. The company also reported a net income of $186.2 million, a 535% increase from the same period last year. Zoom’s stock price has increased significantly since the start of the year.
- IRS resources for stimulus payments:
- IRS information about the Advance Child Tax Credit Payments
- The best source for up-to-date and accurate health information is the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Our prior blog posts, videos and prior weekly newsletters
- Entrepreneur put together a listing of free tech resources for remote work
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has warnings about COVID-related scams
- The New York Times has an online newsletter on K-12 and higher education
- The Wall Street Journal has a collection of articles on education
- The Louvre has digitized 482,000 artworks from its collection
- How to create a strong password
We sincerely hope that you and your family are well and remain well. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here for you.
If you need help with your accounting, want to create a tax minimization plan, want to discuss your business growth plan or your finances, are concerned about retirement goals or need to be held accountable for your 90 day action plan, contact us for a complimentary discovery session or an appointment to just get started
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