Author Archives: c06675329

Some Debit/ Credit Card Payments to IRS Charged Twice

We’d like to inform everyone who made payments to the IRS via debit/credit card,that your card may have been charged twice. If you made payment through Official Payments at this website https://www.officialpayments.com/fed/index.jsp, we advise you to check your statement to confirm only one charge has been applied.

Below is the notice we received from Official Payments:

Dear Official Payments Customer,

This notification is to inform you of a situation where you may have experienced a duplicate payment displayed on your bank statement for your debit or credit card. This duplicate payment issue would have occurred during the processing of your IRS tax payment on April 15, 2019 made through Official Payments.

Please note that your IRS payment was processed correctly and the duplicate card payment and service fee have been reversed.

If you do not see this reversal reflected on your statement (which could take up to 5 business days), we recommend that you take the following steps:

  1. Contact your bank or card provider.
  2. Inform them of the duplicate payment.
  3. Let them know that this duplicate payment and service fee are in the process of being refunded.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at customerservice@officialpayments.com. We will respond to all questions as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,

Customer Service
Official Payments Corporation

Thank you for reading my blog & Have a Happy Easter!

Tina

Tax Season Is Here!

Integrity in Tax & Accounting, LLC ~ Tina M. Kleckner EA, CAA

** We have moved to a new location at 213 S. Casaloma Drive, Appleton, WI 54914**

 

To Reserve an appointment,

Call us at (920) 277-2991

Email us at tinak@integrityintaxllc.com

Schedule Online at www.integrityintaxllc.com

 

  • Appointments: We are currently booking appointments Mon-Fri 10am – 8pm and Saturday 10am – 4pm.
  • Drop Offs: You can drop off/ pick up your tax information at our office with no appointment!
  • Online: We can prepare your taxes without you even having to come to our office! Simply send us an email to request access to our Secure Client Portal to tinak@integrityintaxllc.com.  We will then send you an email with a link upload your tax documents to your personal folder on our Secure Client Portal.

Attachments:   Our Client Worksheets are available for you to complete and assemble your tax information on our website under the Resources tab.  All worksheets may not apply to your situation. Use the worksheets that apply.

Added Bonus: Download Tina’s book “Taking the Medical Expense Tax Deduction for Baby Boomers and Seniors Too” at http://integrityintaxllc.com/files/Medical-Expenses-for-Baby-Boomers-and-Seniors-12-23-2017.pdf.

Why Us? We support local animal rescues & shelters throughout the NE Wisconsin area! A portion of your tax return fee is donated to pets in need. Last year, we helped Saving Paws Animal Rescue raise funds to purchase a new transport van (pictured below)!

This tax season, our donations will go to Woof Lodge & Rescue in Appleton, WI and Unforgettable Underdogs in Little Chute, WI. Thank you for helping us help others!

   

 

Identity Theft: In an effort with the IRS to prevent identity theft we will be asking for a copy of all Social Security Cards on the tax return and a copy of the primary taxpayer’s driver’s license. We have taken numerous steps to protect and safeguard your personal information by our office. If at any point there appears to be inconsistent or incomplete information/documentation, we reserve the right to withdraw from completing the tax return in which you will be notified and all documents will be returned. We do no share any client information.

Due Diligence: As required by the IRS, we must ask additional questions and possibly request further documentation for tax returns that are claiming the Child Tax Credit, Additional Child Tax Credit, Education Credits, Earned Income Tax Credit, and using filing status as Head of Household.

Our Website: Use our website at www.integrityintaxllc.com as a tool to assist you in your tax preparation. Following are just a few of the many resources we have available on our website:

  • Click on “Resources” tab for Client Worksheets and to check your refund status for Federal & State (click on Where’s My Refund)
  • Click on “Tina’s Blog” to read past blog posts! Mostly tax-related, but also doggy & community related blogs are written from time to time.
  • Click on “Newsletter” to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter!

Additional Services We Offer:

Tax Planning:  The majority of tax returns will be changing if not because of the new tax law, then for sure because of the new Forms.  We can help you determine the impact the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has on your tax return, plan for future years, develop tax-saving techniques & strategies, and most of all, reduce your concerns and fears over what this New Law means for you.

Real Estate Professionals: We work with many realtors, investors, flippers, wholesalers, and developers to maximize tax credits and deductions. You can find our monthly newsletter specifically for Real Estate Pro’s on our website, click on “Taxes for Real Estate Professionals”. The new tax law has many favorable credits and deductions for Real Estate Pro’s such as Bonus Depreciation, increased and expanded Sec. 179 Expensing, 20% Qualified Business Income Deduction, and Qualified Opportunity Zones. Ask me about a Residential Cost Segregation Study for your rental properties and availability of accelerating depreciation!

Tax Help: Whether someone has not filed taxes in one year or ten years, we can file all year’s tax returns, setup payment plans, or request settlement of tax debt. We can communicate with the IRS or State taxing authority on your behalf, thus eliminating the stress, headache, and frustration of resolving tax issues on your own.

ITIN Application & Tax Compliance of Foreign Individuals living in the US:  Foreign Individuals who are not eligible for a SSN but have a tax filing requirement must apply for an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).  Additionally, certain ITIN’s have expired at the end of the year and thus must be renewed before a tax return can be filed.  When applying or renewing an ITIN, original documents such as a passport must be submitted to the IRS.  However, we have an agreement with the IRS that enables us to verify your Foreign Status and Identity & issue a Certificate of Accuracy which is then sent to the IRS with your application rather than the original documents.  No more sending original passports, driver’s license, etc to the IRS!

Estate/Trust Tax Returns: Are you the administrator/executor of an estate or trust?  Have you experienced the loss of your spouse or parents?  We will work with your legal counsel to prepare the Final 1040, Estate or Trust Form 1041 & 706 (if applicable).

Payroll Processing: Would you like to outsource your small business payroll without the large fees?  We are your local, convenient, and trusted payroll processing partner.  We process your payroll timely, submit federal and state payroll taxes on your behalf, and prepare and file quarterly and year-end reports including issuing employee W-2’s and 1099’s.

Reviews:  We’d love to hear from you with a 5- Star Review on FaceBook or Google.   Thank you!

Thank you for choosing Integrity in Tax & Accounting, LLC for your tax & accounting needs!  We value each and every client and pride ourselves on providing quality service, superior knowledge, and year-round support to our clients!

Tax Season Starts Jan. 28; Refunds will be Processed as Scheduled!

IRS announces tax returns will be accepted starting on January 28, 2019 and tax refunds will be processed as scheduled.

Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service confirmed that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.

“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown. I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns.

You can schedule your tax appointment online by clicking here – Book An Appointment

 

A Look Into the Deep, Dark Web

As we continue on with the IRS Tax Security Awareness Week, today we are going to provide an overview of what the Dark Web is and how it is being used. The Dark Web is where the majority of personal information is being obtained, purchased, and sold. The internet has three “types” of websites known as the Surface Web, Deep Web, and Dark Web. Each type is described below.

Surface Web: Is the place that most people are used to and go majority of the time when on the internet. This is accessible via normal browsers that you’re used to such as Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. And they’re the normal websites we all go to such as Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, to name a few. It’s been part of the worldwide web since the first browser was introduced in 1990 and it’s the thing most people are familiar with. Anything you can discover through your Internet browser using any of the main search engines is what you get access to. This is where you read about the news, buy something on Amazon, or visit any of your daily sites. It’s also an area of the web that’s under constant surveillance by governments across the world.

Deep Web: These are private databases that require a specific password, encrypted browser, or a set of log-in details. Examples of website on the Deep Web is online banking, employers that have HR sites available to employees, medical facilities that now enable patients to access their information online. Therefore, all of our medical records, financial records, social media files, and plenty of other information we want to and need to keep secure is housed on the Deep Web. A good example is when you have to either generate a PIN number or have memorable information to enter across bank accounts often online. This information is stored in the Deep Web, and you have to use details like passwords and those kinds of things to allow you special access.

Dark Web: This is part of the Deep Web. But its major difference is that it has been intentionally hidden, anonymous, and is inaccessible to normal web browsers. The Dark web is only accessible via special software. The technology to create the Dark Web was initially created and is still funded by the U.S. military researchers since the mid-1990s. And the reason was, to allow spies and intelligence agencies to anonymously send and receive messages. However, you can’t hide messages if there’s nothing to hide them behind. Therefore, if more people have access to send anonymous messages, it’s harder to find — for counterintelligence agencies to discover these messages. So the government opened up the Dark Web to allow others to use it so they could send messages back and forth that they didn’t want governments or other people to know.

As a result of users now being able to access the internet anonymously, criminals and those performing illegal acts have also begun using the Dark Web. In essence, in the age of technology, the Dark Web has become the next “street corner” for illegal acts and as we will focus on cyber-thieves obtaining access to our personal information such as Name, Address, Social Security Number, Credit Card Numbers, Bank Accounts, and the many other data breaches that have become a common occurrence.

Remember the old phrase of “dumpster diving”? This is essentially now being done virtually online. At one point in time, thieves would go through dumpsters of business and people looking for trash that wasn’t shredded and contained personal information. Or the thieves would physically break-in to businesses to steal information, computers, etc. Now, this can and is being done all online in the Dark Web.

Now that we know about the Dark Web, when online, we should always be aware that there are cyber-thieves everywhere just waiting for us to slip up and provide personal information on a website that we think is safe. Therefore, we should take extra measures to protect our personal information. Some of the recommended actions are:

  1. Protect your computer by always having security software and firewall installed.
  2. Encrypt files that are stored on your computer. This is generally done by requiring a password in order to open the files.
  3. We recommend using a password that is a minimum of 12 characters.
  4. When on a website, always make sure in the URL, the “http” includes an “s”, so it should be “https”. The “s” identities the website as secure.
  5. Learn to recognize and avoid scams. As we noted yesterday, the most common method for cyber-thieves to obtain your personal information is simply by asking for it and this is happening through email.

A good tip is to treat all your personal information like we treat cash. So just as we take steps to protect our cash and not leave it laying out for anyone to take, we should use these same actions to protect our personal information.

A complete IRS webinar discussing the Dark Web is available at https://www.irsvideos.gov/Webinars/UnderstandingBasicsDarkWeb

Additional information can be found on the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/national-tax-security-awareness-week-2018

 

Tax Security Awareness Week at the IRS – Dec. 3 – 7, 2018

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service and Security Summit partners warn taxpayers to take extra steps to protect their tax and financial data from identity thieves.

The holidays offer cybercriminals a chance to steal financial account information, Social Security numbers, credit card information and other sensitive data to help them file a fraudulent tax return in 2019.

“With tax season quickly approaching, people should be extra careful during the holidays to protect their sensitive tax and financial data,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Taking a few simple steps can protect this valuable information and help prevent someone from stealing a tax refund. Taxpayers guarding their information also helps strengthen protections against identity thieves taken by the IRS, the states and the tax industry.”

Did you know? The most common method for cyber-thieves to get personal information is simply just by asking for it through email. We recommend NEVER providing personal information via email.

Below are seven steps to help with online safety and protecting your personal information:

  • Avoid unprotected Wi-Fi. Unprotected public Wi-Fi hotspots in malls or at holiday events also may allow thieves to view transactions. Do not engage in online financial transactions if using unprotected public Wi-Fi.
  • Shop at familiar online retailers. Generally, sites using the “s” designation in “https” at the start of the URL are secure. Look for the “lock” icon in the browser’s URL bar. But remember, even bad actors may obtain a security certificate so the “s” may not vouch for the site’s legitimacy. Beware of purchases at unfamiliar sites or clicks on links from pop-up ads.
  • Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails that pose as a trusted source such as those from financial institutions or the IRS. The IRS has seen an increase in these schemes this year. These emails may suggest a password is expiring or an account update is needed. The criminal’s goal is to entice users to open a link or attachment. The link may take users to a fake website that will steal usernames and passwords. An attachment may download malware that tracks keystrokes — putting personal information at risk.
  • Keep a clean machine. This applies to all devices – computers, phones and tablets. Use security software to protect against malware that may steal data and viruses that may damage files. Set it to update automatically so that it always has the latest security defenses. Make sure firewalls and browser defenses are always active. Avoid “free” security scans or pop-up advertisements for security software.
  • Use passwords that are strong, long and unique. Experts suggest a minimum of 10 characters but longer is better. Avoid using a specific word; longer phrases are better. Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Use a different password for each account. Use a password manager, if necessary.
  • Use multi-factor authentication. Some financial institutions, email providers and social media sites allow users to set accounts for multi-factor authentication. This means users may need a security code, usually sent as a text to a mobile phone, in addition to usernames and passwords.
  • Encrypt and password-protect sensitive data. If keeping financial records, tax returns or any personally identifiable information on computers, this data should be encrypted and protected by a strong password. Also, back-up important data to an external source such as an external hard drive. And, when disposing of computers, mobile phones or tablets, make sure to wipe the hard drive of all information before trashing.

Remember – While you are Holiday gift shopping online, cyber-thieves are also shopping online for your personal information!

Tomorrow’s Blog – The Dark Web

Did you know the Tues after Thanksgiving is called “Giving Tuesday”?

Yes, this day is an annual event celebrated the week after Thanksgiving to kick off the season of charitable giving.

We are proud to help our Fox Valley Community through donating to the following:

Neenah Animal Shelter   – https://www.facebook.com/events/240207573340239/

Unforgettable Underdogs  – https://www.facebook.com/donate/328094054446020/

Saving Paws Animal Rescue – https://www.facebook.com/donate/2130272100567430/10155448896016377/

Yes, the donations you gave on “Giving Tuesday” may be deductible on your tax return.

You can check the status of an organization on the IRS website at Exempt Organizations Select Check. Scroll down to the blue box that says” Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool”. Follow the online instructions.

A valid charitable contribution may be disallowed by the IRS if not adequately substantiated. Therefore we suggest retaining a copy of the canceled check, bank statement with check clearing, and letter from the charitable organization.

Gifts: Gifts made directly to needy individuals do not qualify for a charitable deduction; a charitable organization must be involved and the gifts cannot be earmarked for the benefit of a specified person. Consequently, donations to a fund set up to help a person or family cope with large medical bills or casualty losses are not deductible as charitable contributions.

Services: Charitable deduction is not allowed for contribution of services. However, any out-of-pocket unreimbursed expenses incurred while contributing your services is usually tax deductible.

As always, Thank you for reading my blog!

Tina

Community Events in Appleton this week. Enjoy!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and the official start to the Christmas Holiday Season, we have listed some upcoming events this week.

Tuesday: Appleton Christmas Parade! The largest nighttime parade in the Midwest with approximately 80,000 people attending! The Parade will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the corner of State St. and College Ave. It will head east on College Ave. to Drew St. To see the route of the parade, click here http://applications.appleton.org/parades/christmas%202017/route.html.

Before the Parade – Santa Scamper Run! Race Start: 6:40 p.m. at corner of State Street & College Avenue. The .08-mile run starts about 1/2 hour prior to the 48th Annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade and proceeds down College to Drew St., finishing at City Park.

Course Notes: Due to Jones Park being shut down because of construction of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, the event will now finish at City Park. Please keep this in mind when choosing where to park for the event. Due to the Jones park construction, the 2018 event will be 0.8 miles long. Good-Luck to all the Runners!

 

Thursday: Turkey Trot & Happy Thanksgiving! This year’s Appleton Turkey Trot starts at 8am with a 5-mile run, 2-mile walk, and dog jog.  The trot starts at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel downtown Appleton.  After, the turkey trot, we wish everybody a fun-filled day with family and friends!

 

If you are one of the estimated 54 million traveling for the Holiday ~ Very Safe Travels!

 

Saturday: Small Business Saturday ® ~ A day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for the community. Bring your Shop Appleton First passport with you on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24 to the 56 Downtown businesses and get it stamped. Passports will be available in the shops (WSL), to download on line, and in the Thanksgiving Day edition of the Post Crescent. Get 5 stamps and be entered to win over $2000 in prizes.

For a list of all the participating small businesses, click here https://appletondowntown.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018-Small-Business-Saturday-Passport-Offers.pdf

Thank you for reading our blog!  Have a Very Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!!

 

 

Don’t Forget Your RMD’s!

Before all the excitement, chaos, and family drama of the Holiday Season gets underway, be sure to double check your finances and if you are age 70 ½ years-old or more, Congratulations! You’ve hit a big milestone in your life. Although this one, may be unexpected if you didn’t prepare. Either way, the IRS will love you just the same.

We’ve put together some answers to frequently asked questions regarding Required Minimum Distributions, also known as RMD’s.

Question 1: What is an RMD?

Answer 1: After reaching age 70 ½ years-old, the IRS requires you to take distributions from your retirement accounts and IRA’s.

Question 2: Does this include Roth IRA’s?

Answer 2: No, a Roth IRA is not required to be drawn until the death of the owner of the account.

Question 3: When do I turn 70 ½?

Answer 3: Normally April 1 of the year following the later of the calendar year you either (1) reach age 70 ½ or (2) retire.

Question 4: What date do I need to take the distribution by?

Answer 4: In the year that you turn 70 ½ years-old, you have until April 1 of the following year to take your first RMD. After that, you need to take your RMD by December 31 each year.

Question 5: What if I do not take an RMD once reaching age 70 1/2

Answer 5: You may be subject to a penalty of up to 50% of the excess RMD over the actual amount distributed during a tax year.

Question 6: What if I just simply forgot to take an RMD by December 31? Can I take 2 RMD’s in the next year?

Answer 6: No, you can’t make up for a missed RMD from one year in the next year by taking two RMD’s. Rather, the IRS has the authority to waive the 50% penalty provided that you can establish the gap between the RMD and the amount actually distributed was due to reasonable error and steps are being taken to correct the missed RMD amount.

Question 7: How do I request the IRS waive the 50% penalty?

Answer 7: Complete Form 5322 and attach a statement of explanation.

An excellent article we like is “9 Things You Need To Know About Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)” at https://www.retirementliving.com/all-about-required-minimum-distributions.

Additional information is available on the IRS website at this link https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/retirement-plans-faqs-regarding-required-minimum-distributions#1.

As always, Thank you for ready my blog,

Tina

 

We Moved ~ New Sign is Up!

We outgrew our office space! Yes, if you have been by our office recently, you’d have to agree – space was a premium!

We have moved to a larger office space (not too far away) down the road on W. College Ave to S. Casaloma Drive (across from Office Max). Our new address is 213 S. Casaloma Drive.

To celebrate our larger office space, we are hosting & would love for everyone to come to one (or both) of our open houses!

Open House Dates:

Wednesday, Nov. 7 @ 4-6pm

Saturday, Nov. 10 @ 11am – 1pm

We will have plenty of fun, food, drinks, and drawings for raffle items!

We look forward to seeing you at our open houses!

Thank you for reading my blog,

Tina

 

 

 

Tax reform brings changes to real estate rehabilitation tax credit

Rehabilitation Tax Credit:

The rehabilitation tax credit offers an incentive for owners to renovate and restore old or historic buildings. Tax reform legislation passed in December 2017 changed when the credit is claimed and provides a transition rule:

  • The credit is 20 percent of the taxpayer’s qualifying costs for rehabilitating a building.
  • The credit doesn’t apply to the money spent on buying the structure.
  • The legislation now requires taxpayers take the 20 percent credit spread out over five years beginning in the year they placed the building into service.
  • The law eliminates the 10 percent rehabilitation credit for pre-1936 buildings.
  • A transition rule provides relief to owners of either a certified historic structure or a pre-1936 building by allowing owners to use the prior law if the project meets these conditions:
    • The taxpayer owned or leased the building on January 1, 2018, and the taxpayer continues to own or lease the building after that date.
    • The 24- or 60-month period selected by the taxpayer for the substantial rehabilitation test begins by June 20, 2018.

For additional information, please contact our office at info@integrityintaxllc.com or 920-277-2991.

 

Monthly Newsletter:

Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter written specifically for Real Estate Professionals by emailing info@integrityintaxllc.com to request a monthly email.

 

 

New Location:

Our office is moving this week to 213 S. Casaloma Drive, Appleton ~ it is just down the street on W. College Ave across from Office Max.