All posts by Lynn Stover

Cyber Security Threats. Are you a victim?

You may (or may not) have heard about cyber threats in the news, especially those targeting tax professionals. We want to reassure you that all of us at Perry, Fitts, Boulette & Fiton CPAs have been taking every precaution to protect your personal tax information. Your trust and the security of your information are crucial to us.

The latest round of threats are fake IRS tax bills that may arrive by email, as an attachment, or by mail purportedly related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). You will NOT receive correspondence from the IRS via email. You can safely delete any such email. Never open the attachment. If you receive correspondence by mail it has many signs of being fake:

  • The CP2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address;
  • The letter says the issue is related to the Affordable Care Act  and requests information regarding 2014 coverage;
  • The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C;
  • Requests checks made out to I.R.S. and sent to the “Austin Processing Center” at a post office box.

IRS impersonation scams take many forms: threatening phone calls, phishing emails and demanding letters. Learn more at Reporting Phishing and Online Scams. The IRS does not initiate unsolicited email contact or contact by social media.

An authentic CP2000 notice is used when income reported from third-party sources such as an employer does not match the income reported on the tax return. Unlike the fake, it provides extensive instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree that additional tax is owed. A real notice requests that checks be made out to “United States Treasury.” (Source www.irs.gov)

At Perry, Fitts, Boulette & Fitton CPAs, we have formed a special security committee, updated password protocol, continue to have an on-site technology professional monitoring our systems and continue to follow safe practices in safeguarding your data. We password protect your tax return when sent by email and will also redact social security numbers for an additional layer of security. We have ongoing security training in place for our staff. We will call if you send us an attachment that we are not expecting or to let you know we are sending a safe, secure attachment to you.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us! 207-873-1603 or 207-371-8003. Your security is our priority.

About the Author: Lynn Stover is an integral part of the PFBF CPAs tax team and a valued senior tax specialist. She operates primarily from our mid-coast Bath location, meeting with clients for tax planning and preparation. She can be reached via email, lynn@pfbf.com or by the above phone numbers.

 

Maine Educational Opportunity Tax Credit. Are you receiving it?

The Maine Educational Opportunity Tax Credit seemingly, silently began in 2008. I say silently because many people still don’t know about it. The program provides a Maine income tax credit for Maine residents who received an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited Maine college. You must be working in Maine and repaying student loans. In 2016, the credit expanded to include an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a non-Maine college. It also now includes graduate degrees obtained from a Maine college after 2015. If your degree is in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (referred to as a “STEM”degree) the credit is refundable. For other degrees, the credit can reduce your tax to zero and any unused portion will carry forward for up to ten years.

In its’ simplest form, the credit works like this:

Maine resident student started college in 2008, received a bachelor’s degree in 2012 from a Maine college and begins paying student loans January of 2013. The individual makes 12 equal loan payments of $342. This amount is coincidently the “benchmark amount” which is the maximum the state allows for the credit. This individual’s credit would be $4,116 (12 x 342). If they obtained a STEM degree this credit would be refundable, meaning if their Maine income tax was zero, they would receive a refund of $4,116. If they did not obtain a STEM degree, still assuming the Maine income tax was zero, the $4,116 would apply to a future Maine income tax liability. Either way this can be a powerful credit.

However, as with any tax credit, it isn’t that simple. The student could have started college before 2008, transferred to a college outside of Maine for a period of time, worked outside of Maine for a period of time, made unequal or sporadic loan payments, all which alter the calculation, perhaps drastically. Let Perry, Fitts, Boulette & Fitton CPAs help you sort out the complexities and variations of the credit to ensure you get the maximum benefit.

About the Author: Lynn Stover  is an integral part of the PFBF CPAs tax team and a valued senior tax specialist. She operates primarily from the mid-coast Bath location, meeting with clients for tax planning and preparation. You can contact her at lynn@pfbf.com or 207-371-8003.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR NEW TAX RETURN DUE DATES AND EXTENSIONS

Here at  Perry, Fitts, Boulette & Fitton CPAs, we’re already looking forward to next tax season! While we’ll try to enjoy the beautiful Maine summer weather, we’re always thinking of taxes. We have some good news and bad news. The good news is: partnership returns will be due March 15 rather than April 15. The bad news is: partnership returns will be due March 15 rather than April 15. So, on one hand, it will be easier to prepare your 1040 by April 15 because your K-1’s will (should) be ready. But on the other hand, we’ll all have to start gathering our information earlier to meet this new deadline. Note: the due date for an S Corporation remains March 15.

If you are an employer distributing W-2s or required to issue 1099s – these forms need to be filed with IRS/SSA by January 31 (the same day they are due to the taxpayer). They used to be due to IRS/SSA by February 28.

This new legislation made other changes to due dates and extension due dates.

If you have any questions, please call us for details. Enjoy your summer and rest assured we’ll be watching the tax news for any changes that pertain to you.