FTC Stops India-Based IRS and other Scams

FTC Settlement Puts a Stop to Money Mule Who Profited from India-Based IRS and Other Scams

Reprint from FTC Email Subscription and Website

ftc-bannerA Florida man charged with helping telemarketers in India defraud cash-strapped American consumers will be banned from aiding any telemarketers in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The proposed settlement resolves an FTC complaint against Joel S. Treuhaft and his company, PHLG Enterprises, LLC, who collected more than $1.5 million from about 3,000 consumers in a scheme that helped Indian call centers collect money from victims of IRS tax scams, government grant scams and advance-fee loan scams, among others.

“The scammers behind these call centers relied on PHLG and its runners to get consumers’ money,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Stopping companies that assist and facilitate fraud remains a top FTC priority.”

According to the FTC, telemarketers at Indian call centers conned consumers into paying hundreds or thousands of dollars each for taxes they did not owe, or fees for services they did not receive. They often pretended to be affiliated with government agencies, telling people they owed money to the IRS, or that they would get a government grant after they paid a fee. The consumers paid via Western Union or MoneyGram cash money transfers, making it difficult for them to trace their payments or obtain refunds. The defendants paid “runners” to collect the money at retail stores that offer money transfer services.

According to the complaint, Indian call center coordinators managed the collection process via text messaging. They assigned a runner to each transaction and provided the consumer’s name and location, the payment amount, and the transaction number, which the runners then used to obtain the money from the stores.

The FTC alleges that Treuhaft told the runners to pick up payments as soon as possible, so that consumers would not have time to cancel or reverse the money transfer. Some runners lied to store employees to retrieve a consumer’s money, including saying they were the consumer’s friends or relatives. The runners went to various stores every day, for eight to 10 hours per day, to collect consumers’ money. The defendants and their runners kept a portion of the money and delivered the rest to the India-based scammers through a complex series of transactions designed to avoid detection by law enforcement.

The defendants are charged with violating the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. The stipulated order obtained by the FTC bans Treuhaft and PHLG from aiding or facilitating any telemarketing, including the use of money transfers, cash reload mechanisms, gift cards, or other payment methods as payment for goods or services sold via telemarketing. It imposes a $1.5 million judgment that will be suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay. The full judgment will become due immediately if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and stipulated final order/injunction was 3-0. The FTC filed the complaint and final injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated final injunctions/orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).

If you have a compliant, know of a scam, or are a victim of a scam notify the FTC at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#&panel1-1.

Related Cases PHLG Enterprises LLC

This is a free service provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

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Posted in Abuse, Charges Filed, Complaint, fraud, FTC, India Telemarketing Scam, IRS, Scam, Tax, tax tips, Telemarketing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too busy? File your W-2s, 1099s and SSA filings the easy way. Use Greatland Yearli.

Yes, I am a procrastinator and yes, I hate to re-create the wheel.  So, I use Greatland Yearli every year as the process is super easy and accurate.  Just enter your company and employee information.  Greatland will save your information from year to year.  Each year all you need to do is go back into the site, update anything new or new persons paid, enter the current year amounts and let Greatland file and send.  No worry about purchasing annual forms that cannot be used in later years, printer issues or mailing. Let them do that. Yeah!

Use the code below and receive 15% off

https://refer.greatland.com/s/z2r4i

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Here is an excerpt from recent article about Greatland in the News.
“Every tax year brings a variety of changes, whether forms are updated or regulations have changed. This year marks a particularly important year for filers, as the deadline for submitting Form W-2 to the SSA and Form 1099-MISC to the IRS has changed significantly.
Beginning in 2017, for the 2016 reporting year, filers must send W-2 and 1099-MISC recipient copies and submit to the SSA/IRS by January 31, regardless of method (paper or e-file). In many cases, this is months earlier, increasing workload and stress for filers.
To further complicate matters, the new filing deadline, as it relates to Form 1099-MISC, only impacts filers reporting nonemployee compensation payments in box 7. Although the overwhelming majority of 1099-MISC filers will report information in box 7, there is bound to be some confusion. Greatland, with more than 40 years of IRS and SSA compliance experience, is trying to help businesses quell the confusion.
Greatland Corporation, one of the country’s leading providers of W-2 and 1099 products for businesses, is stressing the importance of understanding the new deadlines and the impact these will have on filers. Historically, filers were required to provide W-2 and 1099-MISC forms to recipients by January 31; however, they were not required to submit the forms to the SSA/IRS until February 28 (paper) or March 31 (e-file).
With three months of work being condensed into 30 days, this change adds an extensive amount of work for filers in January. This schedule means businesses will face a huge time crunch when planning for wage, income, and ACA reporting for the 2016 year.
In the past, some businesses would file W-2 and 1099-MISC recipient copies first and wait to find out if any changes were needed prior to filing to the SSA/IRS, which lessened the risk for possible corrections. Due to the earlier deadline in 2017, businesses may need to abandon this strategy and consider filing to recipients and the SSA/IRS concurrently.
To further complicate January’s filing deadlines, the IRS recently eliminated the automatic 30-day extension of time to file W-2 forms. Previously, filers could obtain an automatic 30-day extension by submitting Form 8809 to the IRS on or before January 31. Filers could also request an additional 30-day extension, pushing their e-file deadline to the end of May. These automatic extensions will no longer be available when filing W-2 forms for tax year 2016.
“At Greatland, we believe it is extremely important to explain the new early deadlines and the effect they will have on filers in 2017,” said Bob Nault, Greatland’s CEO. “We don’t expect most businesses to understand the intricacies surrounding reporting, which is why we are proactively informing our customers of these changes and have a knowledgeable team ready to help. In the 40+ years Greatland has been helping businesses with W-2 & 1099 reporting, I would rank this as one of the most significant changes.”
Source: http://yearli.greatland.com/Content/news-filing-deadline
Posted in 1099 Reporting, accounting software, Tax Deadlines, tax tips, W-2 Reporting | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last minute charitable giving = tax deduction.

It’s that time again when you either miss out on a charitable gift gifting deduction on your tax return because you have been too busy to get your act together all year and at year’s end, or you do get your act together and pack up some boxes with gently used clothes and household goods you noamazon_boxes_1_-585dacd1259f2 longer need and drive down to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill to drop them off.

This year, GIVEBACKBOX.com makes the process easier.

“Give Back Box® provides vendor services to retailers and charities, allowing each and every cardboard box a second life to help people in need. So it is also a ‘green’ solution! Reuse your online shipping boxes in which you received your purchases, or any other cardboard box you may have, to donate your unwanted household items: such as gently used clothing, shoes etc., to make a major difference in the life of another person.”

So, hurry up before the year ends, gather up your boxes from all of you holiday purchases, fill them with things you no longer use or wear that are still in good condition that Goodwill can resell in their shops, and take them to the post office or attach the pre-paid shipping label provided at givebackbox.com to the box and ship as usual through UPS or USPS.  Give Back Box will mail them to your local Salvation Army for Goodwill free of charge.

Remember to keep an itemized list of the items and their approximate value, if you plan to claim a deduction for the donations. Goodwill has a handy valuation guide at http://www.goodwill.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Donation_Valuation_Guide.pdf.15380801_1199143346840190_4211291101243875420_n

No more excuses. Although, I do like the traditional last minute drive and recently discovered a newly opened Salvation Army a mile from my house so I will go the traditional way, if I get my act together.

Boxing Day USA: Amazon Boxes with Donations Can Be Shipped to Goodwill for Free

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Posted in charitable gift giving, save time, Tax deductions, Tax Planning, tax tips | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

More Exciting Excel Training from Excel University…

Hi!

Online Excel TrainingJeff over at Excel University has created a free 3-part video series as part of the release of his next course. The Fast Way Excel Video Series demonstrates a few traditional ways that Excel users accomplish certain tasks, and then shows the fast way.

The first video is ready now, using the link below. The page also includes a place to enter your email address in case you’d like to receive the next two in the series.

Fast Way Excel Video Series

I hope you take a moment to check it out, and, I hope it helps you get your work done faster!

Thanks.

 

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Excel University

 

Posted in CPE, Excel, Training, Video | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Finally, a year end that we can tax plan, again!

For an accountant, the end of the year used to be a fun time to plan and develop a plan for the future to optimize financial decisions at year’s end to ensure the tax payer would not get burned by the tax code.  For years now, tax planning has been abysmal, decisions as to what the tax code would be were not made by governing officers until the last day of the year and the future was unknown.  Most businesses put financial decisions and purchases on hold not knowing of the future, therefore, unable to plan efficiently and effectively.

That has all changed now. We can finally plan, again. The new administration promises to get the best people to simplify the tax Donald Trumpcode and reduce taxes across the board.   Although, we do not know what the tax code will look like, we do know it will become more simplified and that tax rates will be lower.  So most likely, it will be beneficial to taxpayer to defer income to next year. Small businesses can breath again and start investing in growing their businesses.

Here are some Year-End Tax Tips from Accounting Today to get you planning for this year’s end. These steps may help you to have a better tax return in 2017.

www.accountingtoday.com/news/tax-practice/year-end-tax-tips

 

 

Posted in accounting, Individual Tax, Tax, Tax Deadlines, Tax Planning, tax tips, Trump, Trust | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Get your required minimum distribution (RMD) before it’s too late

Have you taken the required minimum distribution (RMD) from your individual retirement arrangement or workplace pension plan?

That’s an important question, because failure to take your RMD on time could result in a stiff penalty of 50% of the amount you should have withdrawn (plus the income tax on the distribution).

In general, those who are over age 70½ must take at least a minimum payment from their retirement account each year by December 31. (A bonus for first-timers: You have until April 1 of the year following the one in which you turn 70½ to take the RMD.)

One exception to the rule is if you have a Roth IRA, which is not subject to an RMD during the account owner’s lifetime. Each taxpayer’s RMD is based on the amount in their retirement accounts and their life expectancy. You can always take more than your RMD, but your withdrawals are included in your taxable income.

Whether you’re planning for retirement or already enjoying it, it is important to determine or update what your RMD will be, decide how much income you will need each year and plan ways to minimize your tax bite.

 

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Posted in accounting software, IRA, Ira Distribution, Retirement planning, RMD, Seniors, Tax, tax tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plan now to save on taxes later

Even though tax filing time is far away, the fall is the perfect time to start your planning so you can take advantage of all opportunities to minimize your tax bill. That begins with ensuring you’ve taken all the deductions that can help reduce your taxable income.

Have you –

  • maxed out retirement plan contributions, for example?
  • Set aside money for 529 college savings plans or health savings accounts?
  • Considered which charitable donations you want to make before year’s end?

Those are just a few of options that might help cut your taxes.

At the same time, since tax rates for high-income taxpayers have risen in recent years, it’s also smart to investigate ways to lower the income you report this year and to avoid generating passive income.

With only a few months left in the year, now is the time to seek advice on steps you can take now that will pay off on April 15.

Posted in Tax, Tax Planning, tax tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

10 tips that separate the invaluable star professional from the mediocre employer

It’s the little things that matter…

1.)  Develop good happy habits to do your work thoroughly, accurately and efficiently.

Always proof work – there is no exception to this rule. No one ever does things perfectly all the time but someone that always proofs appears to do things perfectly all the time.

p1ad6ks78s3u0105k1qk31kdrh0l6Formatting should always be checked when pdf printed- no spelling or grammar errors – no math errors. The result of not doing this is if its wrong your work is junk and has zero value. Actually negative value as you were paid to do something and you did something else.

It is NOT your supervisors job to proof your work. It would be easier for her to just do it, so if you assume that is her job, stop thinking that way, it is not. It is her job to evaluate you. If you give her flawed work she has to correct she cannot give you a good evaluation.

Always….physically look at the work product you are about to turn in. Then take one last look and ask yourself, “what will my supervisor dislike about this and fix it before handing it in?” You know what pleases them and what doesn’t, they’ve said it before, don’t make them repeat themselves. This process needs to become a habit.

…Don’t waste time. Develop good habits and always follow them.  Then you will be trusted and valued by management. More opportunities will come your way as you can be trusted to do little things then bigger things will come. 

2.) Know the purpose of what you are doing.

This will result in more efficient work and alleviate unnecessary off-focused work. Strangely, as obvious as you would think that an employee should know the answer to this, often times, employees do not bother to learn the purpose of what they are doing, they just go through the motions.

3.). Ask questions if you do not understand your assignment.

Do you know and understand the purpose of your assignment? If you do not understand the purpose you do not understand the assignment and will probably do it wrong. Be sure and learn the purpose.

4.) Keep communicating your progress to your supervisor.

If not, you may be wasting time (money) in the wrong direction and your hard work will be worthless. You will also gain more knowledge and insight to align your goals with the organizational goals as a whole which always results in improved work product or team engagement.

5.) Know what value you personally contribute to the organization.

Find more ways to add value. Why should an organization provide you with opportunities instead of someone else?

6.) Keep learning and educating yourself.

Be a self learner. What industry are you in? Learn everything you can about everything you may encounter. No one can or will do this for you. More relevant knowledge sets you apart from the rest and will personally be valuable to you for the rest of your life.

No one can hold you back but yourself. Stars make themselves stars. It isn’t a passive process that happens from putting in hours.

Technology is advancing so fast just get in! If you learn what is current you are ahead of anyone that learned it in the past. If you stop learning you become a dinosaur fast.

If you are young and in an organization and are not teaching those older than you about new technologies then you are missing out on great opportunities. All companies depend on the younger hires to bring in fresh ideas and technologies. Those 40 and over never had the internet or smart phones when they were growing up. Use your advantages to help advance your organization into the technological future. And if you are in the 40 and over group keep learning and don’t get left behind. Ask questions and learn from all generations.

7.) Do you save your supervisor time or waste it? (Save it!)

Think about this one hard. Put yourself in their shoes. Do you anticipate their needs and make their life simpler or do you create more work for them? Believe it or not, you were hired to save your supervisor time and make their lives simpler so they can make better decisions and have time to manage the office. If you are not helping them and are fighting them… you are not needed.

8.) Do you respect your supervisor’s time and wisely make his or her time useful? (Respect it!)

You should pick your supervisor’s brain and learn something new from them each time there is spare time.  They too learned from someone once and will want to give back the favor. Each time you avoid learning time from them you lose a valuable opportunity to improve your skills.  They are your mentor, let them mentor you.

9.) Be assertive.

Guide your path, do not be a victim of your own lack of initiative. Keep being assertive and never find excuses for not being able to progress.

Mediocre employees have no goals other than a paycheck and an excuse for everything. Stars achieve their goals and more. Small businesses thrive with stars.

10.) Always smile and be happy and never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Your attitude is contagious. If you work in a toxic environment you’ve helped create it. Like a bag of apples, one will spoil the batch. Do not be that one.

Spread cheer and happiness… If you display you love what you do, the clients/ customers/ patients will feel it, your co-workers will feel it and the environment will be as the owners expect it. A place where the best people have been selected in order to provide the best care and service to the business’ clientele.

Posted in Career Development, Managing teams, Planning, save time, Team building, Training | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Alert to taxpayers – IRS warns of fake emails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act

Issue Number: IR-2016-123

Inside This Issue

IRS and Security Summit Partners Warn of Fake Tax Bill Emailsscam

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners today issued an alert to taxpayers and tax professionals to be on guard against fake emails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act.

The IRS has received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email that includes the fake CP2000 as an attachment. The issue has been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.

The CP2000 is a notice commonly mailed to taxpayers through the United States Postal Service. It is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers. The indicators are:

These notices are being sent electronically, even though the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or through social media platforms;
The CP 2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address;
The underreported issue is related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requesting information regarding 2014 coverage;
The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C.
The fraudulent CP2000 notice included a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” to the “Austin Processing Center” at a Post Office Box address. This is in addition to a “payment” link within the email itself.

IRS impersonation scams take many forms: threatening telephone calls, phishing emails and demanding letters. Learn more at Reporting Phishing and Online Scams.

Taxpayers or tax professionals who receive this scam email should forward it to phishing@irs.gov and then delete it from their email account.

Taxpayers and tax professionals generally can do a keyword search on IRS.gov for any notice they receive. Taxpayers who receive a notice or letter can view explanations and images of common correspondence on IRS.gov at Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter.

To determine if a CP2000 notice you received in the mail is real, see the Understanding Your CP2000 Notice, which includes an image of a real notice.

A CP2000 is generated by the IRS Automated Underreporter Program when income reported from third-party sources such as an employer does not match the income reported on the tax return. It provides extensive instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree that additional tax is owed.

It also requests that a check be made out to “United States Treasury” if the taxpayer agrees additional tax is owed. Or, if taxpayers are unable to pay, it provides instructions for payment options such as installment payments.

The IRS and its Security Summit partners – the state tax agencies and the private-sector tax industry – are conducting a campaign to raise awareness among taxpayer and tax professionals about increasing their security and becoming familiar with various tax-related scams. Learn more at Taxes. Security. Together. or Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself.

Taxpayers and tax professional should always beware of any unsolicited email purported to be from the IRS or any unknown source. They should never open an attachment or click on a link within an email sent by sources they do not know.

Posted in ACA Reporting, accounting software, IRS, Scam, Tax, tax tips | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m currently researching some exciting automated technology accounting apps that integrate with Quickbooks Online (QBO) – Favorite to date: Hubdoc

My new favorite app is called Hubdoc.  I’m currently learning it, using it and already saving time with it. Hubdoc gets your key financial docs in one place, automatically. Say goodbye to chasing documents & data entry. Say hello to increased productivity & automation. -Goodbye data entry!

Hubdoc Certified Advanced Partner

Posted in accounting software, Banking, Bills, Bookkeeping, High Net Worth Individuals, Hubdoc, Planning, Practice Management, Small business, Smartphone | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment