Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Phone Scams Continue to be Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2015 Filing Season

WASHINGTON — Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain near the top of the annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams for the 2015 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.

"If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don't pay immediately, it's a scam artist calling,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail. Taxpayers have rights, and this is not how we do business."

The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so. This year for the first time, the IRS will issue the individual Dirty Dozen scams one at a time during the next 12 business days to raise consumer awareness.

Phone scams top the list this year because it has been a persistent and pervasive problem for many taxpayers for many months. Scammers are able to alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. They often leave "urgent" callback requests. They prey on the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English. Scammers have been known to impersonate agents from IRS Criminal Investigation as well.

“These criminals try to scare and shock you into providing personal financial information on the spot while you are off guard,” Koskinen said. “Don’t be taken in and don’t engage these people over the phone.”

Monday, January 26, 2015

Premium Tax Credit Brings Changes to Your 2014 Income Tax Returns

When filing your 2014 federal income tax return, you will see some changes related to the Affordable Care Act. Millions of people who purchased their coverage through a health insurance Marketplace are eligible for premium assistance through the new premium tax credit, which individuals chose to either have paid upfront to their insurers to lower their monthly premiums, or receive when they file their taxes. When you bought your insurance, if you chose to have advance payments of the premium tax credit, the Marketplace estimated the amount based on information you provided about your expected household income and family size for the year.

If you received the benefit of advance credit payments, you must file a federal tax return and reconcile the advance credit payments with the actual premium tax credit you are eligible to claim on your return.  You will use IRS Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC) to make this comparison and to claim the credit. If your advance credit payments are in excess of the amount of the premium tax credit you are eligible for, based on your actual income, you must repay some or all of the excess when you file your return, subject to certain caps.

If you purchased your coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement from your Marketplace. You should receive this form by early February.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Health Care Law - Getting Ready to File Your Tax Return

It’s always a good idea to prepare early to file your federal income tax return.  Certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act – also known as the Health Care Law – will probably affect your federal income tax return when you file this year.

You or your tax professional should consider preparing and filing your tax return electronically.  Using tax preparation software is the easiest way to file a complete and accurate tax return.

Here are five things you should know about the health care law that will help you get ready to file your tax return.

Coverage requirements

The Affordable Care Act requires that you and each member of your family have qualifying health insurance coverage for each month of the year, qualify for an exemption from the coverage requirement, or make an individual shared responsibility payment when filing your federal income tax return.

Reporting requirements

Most taxpayers will simply check a box on their tax return to indicate that each member of their family had qualifying health coverage for the whole year. No further action is required. Qualifying health insurance coverage includes coverage under most, but not all, types of health care coverage plans. Use the chart on IRS.gov/aca to find out if your insurance counts as qualifying coverage.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Six Tips on Who Should File a 2014 Tax Return

Most people file their tax return because they have to, but even if you don’t, there are times when you should. You may be eligible for a tax refund and not know it. This year, there are a few new rules for some who must file. Here are six tax tips to help you find out if you should file a tax return:


1. General Filing Rules.  Whether you need to file a tax return depends on a few factors. In most cases, the amount of your income, your filing status and your age determine if you must file a tax return. For example, if you’re single and 28 years old you must file if your income was at least $10,150. Other rules may apply if you’re self-employed or if you’re a dependent of another person. There are also other cases when you must file. Go to IRS.gov/filing to find out if you need to file.

2. New for 2014: Premium Tax Credit.  If you bought health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2014, you may be eligible for the new Premium Tax Credit. You will need to file a return to claim the credit. If you purchased coverage from the Marketplace in 2014 and chose to have advance payments of the premium tax credit sent directly to your insurer during the year you must file a federal tax return. You will reconcile any advance payments with the allowable Premium Tax Credit. Your Marketplace will provide Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, to you by Jan. 31, 2015, containing information that will help you file your tax return.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

FREE Comedy Night Tickets Compliments of NFS


Northeast Financial Strategies Inc. (NFS) is giving away two (2) pairs of tickets to see the Boston Comedy All-Stars. The show is this Friday, January 23rd, 2015 at the Mansfield Holiday Inn. Doors open at 7:30pm with the show starting at 8:00pm. This show is sponsored by the Plainville, MA Police Association as their annual fundraiser.

Here's the kicker - the first two people to come down to our new office at Wampum Corner in Wrentham will each get a pair of tickets for FREE. All you have to do is come down...oh, and please check in on Facebook or Tweet that you were here and that you won the FREE tickets!


NFS Opens New Office in Wrentham

Northeast Financial Strategies Inc. (NFS) has opened a new office at Wampum Corner in Wrentham.

Still located in the plaza with Cafe Assisi and only feet away from their previous location, NFS has remodeled the office space once occupied by their former neighbors at Century 21, at the opposite end of the building from the Cafe.

We invite you to come down and see our new space. The remodel and move happened just in time for tax season, which opened earlier this week. If you need an appointment to get your tax return completed, just let us know when you come in and we will set one up for you.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Too Late for 2014 Tax Planning? Guess again.

2014 is done, so 2014 tax planning is done too, right? Guess again. Although it’s true that most tax planning strategies are limited after December 31st, there is still a lot you can do to make the tax-filing season cheaper and easier.

Maximize Your Retirement Contributions

If you haven’t already funded your retirement account for 2014, you still have time. Contributions to a Traditional IRA (whether deductible or not) and to a Roth IRA are available until April 15th, 2015. If you are self employed and have a Keogh or SEP-IRA, you have until October 15th, 2015, if you submit an extension of time to file your tax return. Not only will making a deductible contribution lower your tax bill, but your investment will compound tax-deferred. There are specific requirements and limits for each type of account so check with a qualified tax advisor on your specific situation.

Estimated Tax Payments

If you don’t pay enough to the IRS during the year, you may be looking at a hefty tax bill come April. It is possible that you might even owe penalties and interest on top of the tax.  You could avoid any 2014 fourth quarter penalties on underpayment of tax if you submit a payment by January 15th 2015. Try not to over pay the tax however, because the IRS does not pay you any interest on the borrowed money called your refund. It is your money so plan accordingly.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year from NFS



Here's to a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other."
-Abraham Lincoln