Possible Scams related to Orlando Shooting

Warning from the IRS...Beware of fake charitiessoliciting funds for thefamilies of the Orlando Mass-Shooting

As a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) in Asheville,  I get calls all of the time regarding phone scams.  One of the most popular phone scams is someone pretending to be the IRS.  The point of the call is to get enough of your personal information so that they can hack your ID.  Your online identity is a big business and people are trying to steal it.  Another scam that has become popular lately is fake charities.  Just today, I received a notice from the Internal Revenue Service highlighting the possibility of fake charitiy scans surrounding the recent mass-shooting in Orlando.    Below is the email alert I received.  Before you give, please make sure the funds you are donating are going to a recognized charity that has the 501c3 status.

 

IRS Warns Consumers of Possible Scams Relating to Orlando Mass-Shooting

WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today issued a consumer alert about possible fake charity scams emerging due to last weekend’s mass-shooting in Orlando, Fla., and encouraged taxpayers to seek out recognized charitable groups.

When making donations to assist victims of last weekend’s terrible tragedy, there are simple steps taxpayers can take to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate charities. IRS.gov has the tools taxpayers need to quickly and easily check out the status of charitable organizations.

While there has been an enormous wave of support across the country for the victims and families of Orlando, it is common for scam artists to take advantage of this generosity by impersonating charities to get money or private information from well-meaning taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person solicitations.

The IRS cautions donors to follow these tips:

  • Be sure to donate to recognized charities.
  • Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. The IRS website at IRS.gov has a search feature,Exempt Organizations Select Check, through which people may find qualified charities; donations to these charities may be tax-deductible.
  • Don’t give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone who solicits a contribution. Scam artists may use this information to steal a donor’s identity and money.
  • Don’t give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift.
  • Consult IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, available on IRS.gov.   This free booklet describes the tax rules that apply to making tax-deductible donations. Among other things, it also provides complete details on what records to keep.

Bogus websites may solicit funds for victims of this tragedy. These sites frequently mimic the sites of, or use names similar to, legitimate charities, or claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities in order to persuade people to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources.

Additionally, scammers often send emails that steer recipients to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes.

Taxpayers suspecting fraud by email should visit IRS.gov and search for the keywords “Report Phishing.”

More information about tax scams and schemes may be found at IRS.gov using the keywords “scams and schemes.”

Issue Number:    IR-2016-89

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WordCamp Asheville – 2016

I was honored be have been asked to blog about my experience as a first time visitor to Wordcamp Asheville this year.  Being a Certified Public Accountant, CPA, I am not your traditional WordCamp attendee.  But that is OK, there is something there for everyone!

Here is a sample of my Day 1 experience:

Day 1 of #WCAVL

On Saturday, the day was full of a rich variety of sessions and speakers on topics ranging from “Not Your Father’s SEO “with Rich Owings to “Taming the Beast-How to Use Facebook Effectively to Promote a WordPress Website or Blog” with Sarah Benoit.  The sessions were broken out into four tracks 1) All Users 2) Business 3) Design/Front-End and 4) Developer. As an attendee, you could participate in as many classes as you wished and in any category that interested you. Having the classes broken out into these tracks helped everyone choose speakers that had presentations that would have been tailored to our areas of interest and to our level of experience.   Every speaker I heard spoke passionately about their subject and showcased their extensive experience. I witnessed so much knowledge being shared freely with everyone. It’s not often that professionals of this caliber are willing to share their secrets of the trade but this group proved to be both informative and generous with their time and talents.

 

If you would like to see a listing of the entire weekend then check out the Wordcamp Asheville website.  There you can see the entire schedule of events and speakers.  Considering that you got a full weekend’s worth of expert speakers, meals and a swag bag it was an incredible value.  I am already looking forward to WordCamp 2017!

If you would like to read my Full Blog Post

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Need A Business Loan? Here are the steps…

As a Certified Public Accountant,CPA, in the Greater Asheville area I work with a lot of small businesses and at some point those businesses life cycle they find themselves that they are in need of an influx of cash for capital improvements, cash flow or for acquisition and growth.   There are many sources for that funding and in this video I discuss the different ones you can choose from as well as take you through a case study of the  process of applying for a loan from The Support Center which has an Asheville office.

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Review of crowdfunding website Fundly

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Crowd Funding Website FundRazr

 

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Alicia Sisk-Morris, CPA is your CFO to Go!

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What is Minimum Essential Coverage?

Minimum Essential Coverage

Today I was reading an  update from the IRS and thought I would share it with you as so many people are affected by the Affordable Care Act / Obamacare.  As a CPA in the Asheville area I deal with this issue on a daily basis and with every single person on their tax return.  If you receive your insurance from the market place make sure that you receive your 1095 A so that we can reconcile any premium tax credits you may have received.

Below is the most recent information released form the IRS covering this issue.  Feel free to share with blog with anyone who might benefit from it.

Health Care Law: Do You Have Minimum Essential Coverage?

The individual shared responsibility provision requires you and each member of your family to have basic health coverage – also known as minimum essential coverage – qualify for a health coverage exemption, or make an individualshared responsibility payment for months without coverage or an exemption when you file your federal income tax return.

Many people already have minimum essential coverage and do not need to do anything more than maintain that coverage and report their coverage when they file their tax returns. Most taxpayers will simply check a box to indicate that each member of their family had qualifying health coverage for the whole year.

Here are some examples of coverage that qualify as minimum essential coverage:

Employer-sponsored coverage

  • Group health insurance coverage for employees under
    • a governmental plan such as the Federal Employees Health Benefit program
    • a plan or coverage offered in the small or large group market within a state
    • a grandfathered health plan offered in a group market
  • Self-insured group health plan for employees
  • COBRA coverage
  • Retiree coverage

Individual health coverage:

  • Health insurance you purchase directly from an insurance company
  • Health insurance you purchase through the Health Insurance Marketplace
  • Health insurance provided through a student health plan

Coverage under government-sponsored programs:

  • Medicare Part A coverage
  • Medicare Advantage plans
  • Most Medicaid coverage
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP
  • Most types of TRICARE coverage
  • Comprehensive health care programs offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Department of Defense Nonappropriated Fund Health Benefits Program
  • Refugee Medical Assistance

U.S. citizens, who are residents of a foreign country for an entire year, and residents of U.S. territories, are considered to have minimum essential coverage for the year.

For more information on the types of coverage that qualify as minimum essential coverage and those that do not, as well as information on certain coverage that may provide limited benefits, visit the MEC page on IRS.gov/aca.

If you need health coverage, visit HealthCare.gov to learn about health insurance options that are available for you and your family, how to purchase health insurance, and how you might qualify to get financial assistance with the cost of insurance.

HCTT 2016-31

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Top 10 Facts about the Adoption Tax Credit

Adoption

 

Working as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) in the greater Asheville – Western North Carolina area I am blessed to learn about various aspects of my client’s financial life.  One of the major factors affecting a tax payer is the addition of a child whether it is by birth or adoption.  Adoption holds a special place in my heart as my mother worked as a social worker for 20 years assisting families in adopting children.  I love hearing about those special adoption stories and I so deeply respect a family’s choice to open their homes and adding another member to their family.

When you adopt a child, there are additional and special tax considerations to take into account when calculating the Adoption Tax Credit.  Below are the top ten facts per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  If I can be of further assistance to you regarding your adoption credit, please let me know.  I can be reached in both my Weaverville and my new downtown Asheville office.

 

Top Ten Facts about the Adoption Tax Credit

If you adopted or tried to adopt a child in 2015, you may qualify for a tax credit. Here are ten things you should know about the adoption credit.

1. Credit or Exclusion. The credit is nonrefundable. This means that the credit may reduce your tax to zero. If the credit is more than your tax, you can’t get any additional amount as a refund. If your employer helped pay for the adoption through a written qualified adoption assistance program, you may qualify to exclude that amount from tax.

2. Maximum Benefit. The maximum adoption tax credit and exclusion for 2015 is $13,400 per child.

3. Credit Carryover. If your credit is more than your tax, you can carry any unused credit forward. This means that if you have an unused credit in 2015, you can use it to reduce your taxes for 2016. You can do this for up to five years, or until you fully use the credit, whichever comes first.

4. Eligible Child. An eligible child is an individual under age 18 or a person who is physically or mentally unable to care for themself.

5. Qualified Expenses. Adoption expenses must be directly related to the adoption of the child and be reasonable and necessary. Types of expenses that can qualify include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and travel.

6. Domestic or Foreign Adoptions. In most cases, you can claim the credit whether the adoption is domestic or foreign. However, the timing rules for which expenses to include differ between the two types of adoption.

7. Special Needs Child. If you adopted an eligible U.S. child with special needs and the adoption is final, a special rule applies. You may be able to take the tax credit even if you didn’t pay any qualified adoption expenses.

8. No Double Benefit. Depending on the adoption’s cost, you may be able to claim both the tax credit and the exclusion. However, you can’t claim both a credit and exclusion for the same expenses. This rule prevents you from claiming both tax benefits for the same expense.

9. Income Limits. The credit and exclusion are subject to income limitations. The limits may reduce or eliminate the amount you can claim depending on the amount of your income.

10. IRS FORMS  File Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses, with your Form 1040.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

Issue Number: IRS TAX TIP 2016-37

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Finding Financial Freedom – A Financial Literacy Program for Mommy Monday on Feb. 29th

Financial Freedom

I have just finished up my financial literacy program for Mommy Mondays presentation next week. The discussion will focus on family budgets, money saving tips, debt reduction and how to improve your credit score. If you have a group that would benefit from this presentation, please let me know. I am happy to share it with others. Contact me to book a time.

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Small Business owner? Alicia is here to help

Frustrated Boromir Meme | SELF-EMPLOYED OR SMALL BUSINESS OWNER AT TAX TIME? CALL ALICIA SHE CAN MAKE YOUR HEADACHE GO AWAY | image tagged in memes,frustrated boromir | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Alicia Sisk-Morris 828-645-2000 call for an appointment and rest easily knowing you will be taken care of properly.

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