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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Tax Musings of a Burbank CPA: IRS Warning Taxpayers About “Phishing” Schemes to Steal Personal Information

The Internal Revenue Service has been warning taxpayers to watch out for phony websites and emails looking to steal personal information. The was a big spike in these “Phishing” schemes this last tax season, plus the IRS has seen email scams targeting tax and payroll professionals as well as human resources personnel and schools in addition to average taxpayers. In these scams, criminals pose as a person or organization the taxpayer trusts or recognizes, such as a bank, credit card company, tax software provider or government agency. There are websites that appear legit but have fake login pages so that victims will provide passwords, social security number s and other information that can be used for identity theft directly or can be sold to other criminals to use. Some of the scams are increasingly targeting tax professionals in an attempt to access their cleint list of personal and financial data. These phony emails and websites can also infect the victim’s computer with malware, giving the criminal access to the device so they can find sensitive information as well as track keyboard strokes, allowing access to login information. Just remember that Government Agencies don’t communicate by email but by certified mail. [...]

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Musings of a Burbank CPA: Presidents Born and Dying on the Fourth of July

In this Independence Day celebration blog I want to talk about the United States Presidents who were either born or died on the 4th of July. So which Presidents have been born on the 4th of July?  The only one is Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, who was born on July 4, 1872.  He was Vice President to Warren G. Harding, who won the  1920 Presidential Election, until 1923, when Harding died of a heart attack and made Coolidge President; he won the 1924 Presidential Election but only served one term before choosing not to run in 1928.  Coolidge ironically also died of a heart attack on January 5, 1933 at the age of 60. There were three Presidents who died on the 4th of July.  James Monroe, the 5th President of the United States, won the 1816 and 1820 Presidential Elections and served two terms as President.  He was the last of the Founding Fathers to serve as President.  He died on July 4, 1831 in New York City at the age of 73. Now we come to the strange case of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the 2nd and 3rd Presidents of the United States. They were [...]

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