Just sharing this CUTENESS OVERLOAD!
Payton Culhane is officially a BIG cousin and she’s taking on her loving, caring role very seriously 🙂
Name a better duo, I’ll wait.
Many people want to help worthy causes. You may decide to lend your support to one or more of your favorite nonprofit organizations. Making your gifts before year-end can give you the opportunity to claim a tax deduction for your charitable contributions on your tax return.
Give to a qualified organization
To gain a tax deduction for your contribution, it must be made to a qualified organization. Among others, qualified organizations include nonprofit groups that are religious, charitable, educational or scientific in purpose. The IRS has an Exempt Organizations Select Check tool on its website (irs.gov) that can help you search for qualified organizations. Note that you can’t deduct contributions to specific individuals or to political organizations and candidates.
Itemize your deductions
Your charitable contributions are deductible only if you itemize your deductions (not if you claim the standard deduction). Once income exceeds a specified level, itemized deductions are reduced.
Deduct the fair market value of donated property
If you donate stock or other noncash property, it usually will be valued at its fair market value for tax-deduction purposes. Donations of used clothing and household items are usually valued for less than the price you paid for them.
Pay attention if you receive a benefit
If you receive merchandise, tickets to a sporting event or other goods and services because of your contribution, you only can deduct the amount of your contribution that exceeds the value of the benefit you received.
Get a receipt
To deduct a contribution of any amount, you must maintain a bank or payroll deduction record or a written communication from the organization showing the organization’s name and both the date and amount of the contribution. For a contribution of $250 or more, you will need a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the organization containing specific information.
Look for additional details on the IRS’s website and consult your tax advisor. To discuss how you might include charitable giving in your estate strategy, please give us a call today.
The guessing game is OVER,
IT’S A BOY!
Congratulations to John & his daughter Terri on welcoming the newest (and cutest) addition to the family (and office)
Troy John Albuquerque
Born Thursday April 25, 2019
9 lbs, 8 oz, 22 in 🙂
The IRS has thwarted some identity theft attempts, but thieves are still stealing billions of dollars every year from taxpayers.
Another annual income tax deadline has come and gone. Maybe you had to pay in, but perhaps you were owed a refund. If the latter is true, did you receive it?
A lot of taxpayers didn’t because hackers swooped in and stole their sensitive tax-related information. Tax identity theft is a serious problem, despite the IRS’s efforts to stop it.
But there are steps you can take to keep from being a victim, some of which are simply a matter of common sense. For example, consider the security of any wireless network you use when you’re working on your taxes. Don’t ever do so on a public network, and make sure your home or office wireless is password protected.
You don’t have to be online to be at risk for tax identity theft. Hackers can grab your personal information in other ways. For example, do you ever carry your tax-related papers back and forth to work or some other location? Know where they are at all times; don’t ever leave them laying around where someone can copy your Social Security number and other details.
Always be aware of your surroundings. If there are other people around when you’re working on your taxes—if you’re in a coffee shop or library, for example—make sure no one is reading over your shoulder.
Phone calls can be risky. A good rule of thumb is never provide someone who calls you with any sensitive personal data – unless you can verify it was a call you were expecting, like one from your bank or a medical office. When you place a call to a legitimate number, it’s generally okay.
You’d think that a call from the IRS would be safe. In reality, the IRS doesn’t ask for personal information over the phone. They send letters through the U.S. Mail. If you ever get a phone call from someone who claims to be from the agency and is demanding some sort of payment immediately, hang up. This is a popular phone scam. You can always contact the IRS directly to see if there is some sort of issue.
Don’t make a practice of carrying your Social Security card with you. Keep it in a safe place unless you absolutely need it away from home for some reason. Also:
- File your return early to keep a hacker from getting in line for your refund in front of you.
- Reduce your refund by adjusting your withholdings at work. It’s nice to get that big payment after you file, but couldn’t you use that money throughout the year?
- Request direct deposit of your refund. That way, no one can steal your check out of your mailbox or somehow re-route a paper payment.
Be especially careful if you’re preparing your taxes on a website. Before you even begin, investigate the publisher’s security protocols to ensure that your very sensitive tax-related data will be treated with great care. Also, update any applications that will be involved, including your browser and antivirus/anti-malware tools.
The IRS will never send you an email out of the blue asking you to click a link or download an attachment or fill in fields to update personal information. In fact, it’s a good idea to avoid taking those actions anytime unless you’re expecting an email and can verify the sender’s address.
Finally, use a very strong, unique password, one you don’t use anywhere else. You’re probably tired of hearing that piece of advice, but it’s absolutely critical when you’re working with a tax preparation application.
Take Action Quickly
It’s possible to get stung by a tax identity thief even if you’re being careful. If it happens to you, you’ll need to complete and submit IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, and watch for responses from the agency. Contact your credit bureaus and financial institutions to apprise them of the situation. Tax identity thieves sometimes try to open new credit cards, for example. You should also file a report with the FTC.
Recovering from tax identity theft isn’t a quick process nor an easy one. If you have questions about it or simply want to talk to us about your year-round tax planning and preparation process, be sure to contact us.