2020 Newsletter

Tax Year 2019

1301 Riverplace Blvd., Suite 800

Jacksonville, FL 32207

 

Satellite Office

2233 Park Avenue

Building 500, Suite 204

Orange Park, FL 32073

 

Phone Numbers

904-278-0117

904-278-2141

Facsimile

904-278-4693

Happy New Year!!

We trust that you and your family had a meaningful holiday season and that 2020 will be a bountiful year.  As usual, during the last quarter of any year prior to the next tax season we are diligently working to get ready for the upcoming season.  We have a new encrypted tax preparation and filing system that helps us to practically eliminate electronic theft.

We are in our second season of using the encrypted link system and we are encouraging you more than ever to send us your tax information thorough the online system.  Since my availability is stretched paper thin during the season, it is imperative that as many of you as possible send your documents to us. We believe that this process will expedite processing and provide you with faster refunds.

I will NOT be traveling as much as I have during previous years.  This is our 41st tax season and I will go into semi-retirement after the tax season in 2021.  I will continue to support our staff with difficulties and complex issues. I understand that this will cause you some concerns, but I am preparing my staff each year to provide you with continued excellent service.

 

Administration

  • All extensions MUST be filed by the due date of the returns.   For individual returns the due dates are April 15, 2020. For S Corps and LLC Partnerships, the due date for extensions is March 15, 2020. For LLC’s, single owned, the due date for extensions will be April 16, 2020.  Please contact our office if you need an extension filed.

  • The fee for extensions is $45.00 per return.  If you live in a state that requires a state return, we must file an extension for the state as well.

  • It is imperative that you keep the appointment that you make.  There is little time for me to go backward to handle returns during the tax season.  If you must cancel, consider mailing or dropping your documents off to us.

  • Copies of Individual Return is $25; Business Return is $50.

  • You may also choose to send your documents through a secure link.  Here’s how:  

 

Client Instruction to Secure Intuit Link:

  • Contact office to request access to Intuit Link

  • Provide name and e-mail address

  • Once e-mail is received, accept invitation

  • Create an account or login using your Intuit account information

  • Once logged in, review Engagement Letter

  • Complete Questionnaire

  • Upload Tax Documents

  • Here’s how you upload your documents:

  • Read, sign and accept the engagement letter.

  • Answer all questions in “Client Questionnaire” section, if a question does not apply to you please check the does not apply box in the lower right-hand corner of each question.

  • To upload documents into the “Document Checklist” section from a computer, click the blue share a document button, then click the blue upload button, then double-click on the saved document you would like to upload. 

  • To upload documents into the “Document Checklist” section from a mobile device, click the blue share a document button, then click the upload photo or document button, then take a picture or click on the saved document you would like to upload.

  • If a document request does not apply to you, please check the does not apply box in the lower right-hand corner of each question.

  • You can add multiple documents in the same section.

  • Once you select “does not apply” in the document checklist section, you cannot change your answer. Please upload the document under another document request line. 

  • If you have questions, do not hesitate to call us.


 

Tentative Tax Travel Schedule

See updated schedule online:

 

Florida Office

  • Monday, February 3 – 6th 

  • Monday, February 17 – 20th

  • Monday, March 16 – 26th

  • Monday, April 6th – 17th

New York/ New Jersey

FEBRUARY 8th – 11th

  • Saturday, February 8th thru Tuesday, February 11th - Appointments

FEBRUARY 22nd – 26TH

  • Saturday, February 22nd thru February 26th – Appointments

MARCH 8th – 11TH

  • Sunday, March 8th thru Wednesday, March 11th –Appointments

MARCH 28TH – APRIL 2nd

  • Saturday, March 28th – April 2nd – Appointments

Orlando

FEBRUARY 29TH – MARCH 3RD

Virginia

March 6th – 7th

 

 





 

WHAT IF AN IRS LETTER ARRIVES?

Our office can respond to the IRS on your behalf as well.

The IRS mails millions of letters to taxpayers every year for many reasons.  If you decide to contact the Internal Revenue, here are seven simple suggestions on how to handle a letter or notice from the IRS:

  1. Don’t Panic! Simply responding will take care of most IRS letters and notices.

  2. Read the entire letter carefully.  Most letters deal with a specific issue and provide specific instructions on what to do.

  3. Compare it with the tax return.  If a letter indicates a changed or corrected tax return, the taxpayer should review the information and compare it with the original return.

  4. Only reply if necessary.   If you do receive a notice, please forward a copy to our office to determine if a response is required.

  5. Respond timely.  Taxpayers should respond to a letter with which they do not agree.  They should mail a letter explaining why they disagree. They should mail their response to the address listed at the bottom of the letter.  The Taxpayer should include information and documents for the IRS to consider. The taxpayer should allow at least 30 days for a response.

 

When a specific date is listed in the letter, there are two main reasons taxpayers should respond to the date:

  • To minimize additional interest and penalty charges; and

  • To preserve appeal rights if the taxpayers does not agree.

 

  1. Don’t call.  For most letters, there is no need to call the IRS or make an appointment at a taxpayer assistance center.  If a call seems necessary, the taxpayer can use the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the letter.  They should have a copy of the tax return and letter on hand when calling. Once again, our office can handle these calls for the taxpayers; and

  2. Keep the letter.  A taxpayer should keep copies of any IRS letters or notices received with their tax records.  We also need a copy of any letters for our records as well.

 

IS IT REALLY THE IRS CALLING?

Many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS official – in person, over the telephone and via email.

DO NOT GET SCAMMED!

 

We want you to understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee.

However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.     To understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and determine if it’s truly the IRS see: www.irs.gov.

 

CONSUMER ALERTS ON TAX SCAMS!

Note that the IRS will NEVER:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.  Generally, the IRS will first mail if you owe any taxes.

  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Private Debt Collection

  • The IRS began a new private collection program of certain overdue federal tax debts selecting our contractor to implement it.

  • The IRS will always notify a taxpayer before transferring their account to a private collection agency (PCA).  First, the IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer and their tax representative informing them that their account is being assigned to a PCA and giving the name and contact information for the PCA.  This mailing will include a copy of Publication 4518. What you can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Agency.

  • Only four private groups are participating in this program.  CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Conserve of Fairport, NY; Performance of Livermore, Calif; and Pioneer of Horseheads, NY.  The taxpayer’s account will only be assigned to one of these agencies, never to all four. No other private group is authorized to represent the IRS.

Some of the Most Prevalent IRS Impersonation SCAMS Include

  • Requesting fake tax payments: The IRS has seen automated calls where scammers leave urgent callback requests telling taxpayers to call back to settle their “tax bill”.  These fake calls generally claim to be the last warning before legal action is taken. Taxpayers may also receive live calls from IRS impersonators.  They may demand payments on prepaid debit cards, iTunes and gift cards or wire transfer. The IRS reminds taxpayers that any request to settle a tax bill using any of these payment methods is a clear indication of a scam.

  • Targeting students and parents and demanding payment for a fake “Federal Student Tax”: Telephone scammers are targeting students and parents demanding payments for the fictitious taxes, such as the Federal Student Tax.  If the person does not comply, the scammer becomes aggressive and threatens to report the student to the police to be arrested.

  • Sending a fraudulent IRS bill for tax year 2015 related to Affordable Care Act: The IRS received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of a CP2000 notices for tax year 2015.  Generally, the scam involves an email or letter that includes the fake CP2000. The notice includes a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to the “I.R.S.” to the Austin Processing Center at a Post Office Box Address.

  • Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals: Payroll and human resources professionals should be aware of phishing email schemes that pretend to be from company executives and request personal information on employees.  The email contains the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In the scam, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of the employees and financial and personal information including Social Security Numbers.

  • Imitating software providers to trick tax professionals: Tax professionals may receive emails pretending to be from software companies.  The email scheme requests the recipient download and install an important software via a link included in their email.  Upon completion, tax professionals believe they have downloaded a software update when in fact they have loaded a program designed to track the tax professional’s key strokes, which is a common tactic used by cyber thieves to steal login information, passwords and other sensitive data.

  • “Verifying” tax return information over the phone: Scam artists call saying they have your tax return, saying they just need to verify a few details to process your return.  The scam tries to get you to give up personal information such as SSN or personal financial information, including bank account numbers or credit cards.

  • Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry: The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies.  The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails or text messages can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information





 

Tax News

The massive new tax reform enacted at the end of 2017 (The Tax Cuts & Job Act, also known as TCJA) is the biggest overhaul of the federal income tax code in over 30 years.  It will have a major impact on individuals and small businesses on 2019 returns and beyond. Let’s look at 5 personal tax changes. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act Legislation enhances and creates numerous tax breaks for individual taxpayers, but repeals or scales back many others.  1) The new law revamps the individual tax rate structure by reducing rates and expanding brackets for upper income taxpayers. Previously, the seven tax rates for individuals were 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 35% and 39.6%. Under the TCJA, the new rates are 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%.  In addition, the new tax law changes the Consumer Price Index used for inflation adjustments, producing smaller inflation adjustments then before. 2) When we file your personal return, we have a choice between claiming the standard deduction or itemizing your return. The new law almost doubles the standard deduction to $12,000.00 for single filers and $24,000.00 for joint filers on the 2019 return.  The standard deduction for head of household is $18,000.00. The new tax law does preserve the additional standard deductions for the elderly and blind. Due to the higher standard deductions and related changes, such as the elimination and cut-backs of certain itemized deductions, more upper income taxpayers are likely to claim the standard deductions for 2019. The increase in the standard deduction is an offset somewhat by the loss of personal and dependent exemption deductions.  3) Previously, you could claim a personal exemption for yourself, your spouse (if married) and each of your qualified dependent children or qualifying relatives. Each exemption was scheduled to be $4,100.00 in 2018. Now the new law eliminates all personal exemptions, including those for dependent children and relatives. 4) The new law doubles the child tax credit (CTC) for each qualifying child from $1,000.00 to $2,000.00. of this amount, $1,400.00 is “refundable” under a late amendment to the law.  The TCJA also creates a new $500.00 credit for nonchild dependents. The existing credits for adoption expenses and dependent care expenses are retained. 5) If you expect to itemize on your 2019 tax return, despite the aforementioned changes, you can still benefit from the deduction for charitable donations. Generally, this deduction remains intact, although the new law did make some modifications.

  1. Previously, the annual deductions for cash donations to public charities was limited to 50% of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new legislation increases this limit to 60% of AGI.

  2. The tax rule allowing donors to deduct 80% of the cost of donations paid to obtain the right to preferred seating at college athletic events is repealed.

  3. Substantiation requirements for cash gifts were relaxed if a charity provided the requisite information to the IRS; this exception no longer applies.






 

Downtown Office:

1301 Riverplace Blvd #800, Jacksonville, FL 32207 

 

Satellite Office:   

2233 Park Ave #204, Orange Park, FL 32073

 

 (904)-278-0117

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