Musings of a Burbank CPA: The Power of Influencer Marketing

One of the hottest buzzwords in marketing this year is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing uses key people in thought leadership positions to spread the word about your brand.  These people may be paid or unpaid spokespersons for your brands, products, and services.  The profitable thing about influencer marketing is the leverage.  Instead of marketing or selling to one person at a time, you are marketing to key leaders with followings who can influence many people at once.   Influencer marketing varies by industry; here are some common examples:  Locating photos of your product already on social media and reaching out to those people to do more Hiring a social media expert with a large following to talk about your clothing line Having a prominent lifestyle blogger post a photograph containing your juice product Starting a referral program for a makeup company so “regular” women will spread the word The common theme to all of the above examples is finding people who have a huge number of followers that just happen to be your ideal customers.  To take advantage of this marketing method, ask yourself who is influential in your industry that has the ear and respect of your customer base. How [...]

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Tax Musings of a Burbank CPA: Remember Your Auto Mileage Log or You May Regret it Later

  If you are self employed or if you have a job where you drive a lot and don’t get reimbursed for mileage by your employer, make sure you keep a log of your automobile mileage each year. You need to calculate your business miles as a percentage of total miles annually, then use either the business miles at 53 1/2 cents a mile in 2017 or use the percentage to calculate your actual auto expense. If you get audited, your auto log (complete with beginning and ending odometer readings and the purpose of all the business travel daily) is the only piece of taxpayer prepared information that the IRS auditor is supposed to accept (but it doesn’t hurt to give the auditor a couple of auto repair bills that tie to the odometer readings that are in the log). I have been involved in many IRS audits where the automobile expenses were looked at by the auditor and I am pleased to say that to date I have never had a change to taxpayer auto expenses because of the mileage percentages (once we had a problem with some of the actual auto expense documentation, but if the taxpayer took [...]

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Tax Musings of a Burbank CPA: IRS Phone Scams Still a Serious Threat

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents are still a serious threat to taxpayers. People claiming to be from the IRS or the Treasury Department say that your return has been recalculated and that the taxpayer now owes taxes and demand payment by wire transfer, gift cards or a prepaid debit card.  The “agents” threaten the taxpayer with police arrest, deportation and jail time if the tax bill isn’t paid immediately. They can also leave “urgent” callback demands through telephone robocalls and phishing emails. A new claim is that the “payment” by those methods will be tied into the IRS EFTPS system and that the taxpayer will be able to validate the “payment” through that system after it is made. These phone scams have been going on for years and can still be successful, especially with taxpayers who are on extension and think they may owe money and the elderly.  Since October of 2013 the Treasury General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reports over 10,000 victims have collectively paid more than $54 million because of phone scams.  The IRS will NEVER: * Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method like gift cards, prepaid debit cards [...]

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