Another Tax Scam Is Upon Us – Beware of Back Taxes Bullies

No one likes a bully. Bullies can wreck havoc on their victims. From swirlies to stealing lunch money, bullies are a big problem. The same can be said for tax bullies, except they want to steal a lot more than your lunch money. There have been several recent reports from different locations around the country that an old tax scam has resurfaced recently.

Callers, who claim to be with the IRS, are contacting taxpayers and threatening to sue them if they don’t pay their back taxes. Of course, for those who know they don’t owe any back taxes, this call can be simply a nuisance. However, for those who aren’t sure about their tax situation, these calls can be confusing and even quite scary. The callers can appear to be very legitimate and they can leave some of their victims feeling helpless.

The bottom line if you receive a call like this is that it is a scam. The IRS will not call taxpayers and threaten them, no matter how much they might owe in back taxes. They will always first send a letter to inform you of any kind of tax problem or situation. They won’t ask for personal information and they will never threaten to sue you or send you to prison.

If you receive any kind of call like this, don’t be alarmed. Instead, hang up and call the IRS to let them know, as well as your local authorities. The more people that are aware of the scam the fewer the victims the scammers will be able to get.

 

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Where Should You Call Home in Retirement?

Are you planning on retiring soon? There are a lot of things to consider and prepare for when you’re ready to call it quits and start enjoying the so-called “golden years,” especially when it comes to your financial future. One of the most important matters to take care of is how your taxes will affect your retirement. There are many different factors to consider, but one of the most important is simply where you live.

 

The Best

So what are the best states to call home after you hang up your working shoes for good? There’s a reason that Florida is the butt of many senior citizen jokes, but perhaps surprisingly, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, the Sunshine State is only the tenth most tax-friendly state to live in for retirement. Other states in the top 10 on Kiplinger’s list from nine to one include South Dakota, Louisiana, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada at number two. Taking home the top spot is Alaska.

 

The Worst

On the other end of the spectrum these 10 states scored the worst as far as being tax-friendly goes. In order from 10 to 1 they are: New York, New Jersey, Nebraska, California, Montana, Oregon, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont. So there you have it. If you’re looking for a new tax-friendly place to call home when you decide to retire then consider these lists closely.

 

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How One of the World’s Wealthiest Individuals Avoided Taxes for Years

Many people are always complaining that the wealthy don’t pay their fair share in taxes. While that is an argument that will never end, it seems that one of the world’s richest men might be guilty. That’s because he was able to avoid paying taxes for more than 40 years. How is that possible? The wealthy taxpayer in question is the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, who is reportedly one of the top ten richest people in the world. 

Although IKEA is clearly influenced by all things Swedish, the man who built the IKEA empire left his native country more than 40 years ago in the name of tax savings. IKEA is the number one furniture store in the world and in the fiscal year 2014-2015 the company reported 31.9 billion euros. However, taxes have always been a huge part of IKEA’s success. That’s exactly why Mr. Kamprad left the country he loves for Switzerland. He wanted a tax break. 

While he did pay taxes in Switzerland during those 40 years, he legally avoided what would have been a much larger bill if he had stayed in Sweden, for both his company and his personal income. Now, after all these years he has returned to his native Sweden and in 2014 he paid what amounted to about $2 million in taxes to Sweden, while his net worth is reportedly worth an estimated $43.2 billion.

 

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Small Business Stocks Can Lead to Big Gains

What’s your investment strategy? There is no end to the number of different strategies that investors have, and there are plenty of different successful ways to invest in the stock market. Likewise, Wall Street is full of stories of investors that have ended up on the side of the road, kicked to the curb after their investments went wrong.

A lot of people like to invest in large, well-known companies that have a strong track record on Wall Street. These companies provide some security in investing, especially if you’re in it over the long haul. Companies, like Apple, Nike, Disney and Amazon might be very expensive, but investors will usually end up on the positive side of the market. However, those who invest in big name companies and choose to ignore the small companies could be missing out on some great returns.

It’s true that investing in small companies is a risk and it’s not for everyone, but the long-term gains can be substantial, especially when you hit one of those small companies that unexpectedly turn big. Additionally, investing in small companies might not be as risky at one might think. According to a survey from Hiscox USA, nearly three-fourths, 72 percent, of all small businesses questioned in the survey reported growth in revenue over the last year.

So, while the gains might not be as high as they are with many larger, more established companies, chances are most of your small business investments will give you a good return. Thus small businesses do represent a solid opportunity that most investors should not be overlooking.

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Time Management Tips That Work

How valuable is your time? If you’re like most high net worth individuals it’s priceless. However, whether you’re extremely wealthy or just barely scraping by each month the fact is time management is extremely important. For those who have already achieved success they must manage their time well in order to maintain their success. On the other hand, for those still trying to achieve great wealth they must learn how to mange their time in order to be successful.

There are many opinions regarding time management and there are all kinds of strategies to get the most out of your workday. Let’s look at some of the key factors to successful time management. It’s always a good idea to start your day with the most important project you have. This is often difficult and many people are tempted to procrastinate, but by focusing on the top priority first, you can be sure you have enough time to get it done. Plus, when you finish, you won’t have that stress hanging over you anymore, which will allow you to focus on the rest of the day’s tasks.

One excellent way to help you manage your time is to keep to-do lists. With today’s smartphones you don’t even have to write them down anymore. Start with the most important items of the day, week or month and then keep track as you complete each task. Checking email is important, but unless you absolutely have to get to it, it’s better to wait till the day is almost over to review your email than to do it first thing and get distracted with dozens of email responses.

Make sure you don’t over schedule yourself so you can dedicate sufficient time to each project. In fact, if you can give yourself a little extra time for the all the what-ifs, that’s even better. But don’t give yourself too much down time, either. Lastly, make sure your workspace is set up for success. Have things where you need them and make sure your space is organized. Time management is very important and can be crucial to your success. Don’t overlook it. If you need help with time management for your business then contact GROCO. Call 1-877-CPA-2006 or click here.

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Soccer Star Will Have to Go to Trial for Alleged Tax Evasion

The ongoing tax saga of soccer star Lionel Messi will continue. That news comes after a judge in Spain ruled that the Barcelona FC star would indeed have to stand trial for tax fraud charges in association with his many endorsement deals with foreign companies. The news comes just days after a report stated that Mr. Messi would not have to go to trial, and that only his father would face the courtroom.

Not So Fast

However, the Spanish judge ruled otherwise and said that Mr. Messi and his father should both have to go to trial. Even though his lawyers argued that Mr. Messi did not have any hands-on dealings with his endorsement contracts, the judge ruled that he “couldn’t have ignored” that a large part of his revenue was coming from foreign companies. If he is convicted, the soccer star could receive a sentence for as long as 22 months.

No Jail Time Likely

However, the good news for Mr. Messi is that even if he is found guilty of the charges he will most likely not spend any time behind bars. That’s because sentences for financial crimes shorter than two years are typically suspended according to Spanish law. In addition, Mr. Messi and his father have reportedly either already paid, or have agreed to pay, the missing tax money, plus interest.

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Four Things to Consider Now for the Upcoming Tax Season

It’s November already. How can that be possible? The more important question is what are you going to do about it? Although it seems like the last tax season just ended a few months ago, the next tax season is just a few weeks away. That means you should already be preparing for your inevitable tax return. So what can you do to start getting ready?

There are many different things to start thinking about if you’re looking to get started on tax preparation right now. One of those things is to consider a Roth IRA. It might be a good idea for some taxpayers to convert their traditional Roth IRA, which is filled with pre-tax money into an after-tax Roth IRA, because those profits can be withdrawn tax-free.

Another thing that could come into play a lot this year is how taxes will affect those in same-sex marriages. Anyone who has filed previous tax returns as a single because their relationship was not recognized in their state can now go back and file amended returns. If you fall into this category then start looking into those past returns now. 

Last, but not least, another important item to consider is penalties from Obamacare. For those who did not have health insurance this year the fine has gone up considerably from last year. While it is too late to sign up for insurance for the last 10 months, you can file for a hardship exemption.

The bottom line is it’s time to get ready for taxes. Contact GROCO now for more help with your taxes for the upcoming season. We will get you ready. Click here or call 1-877-CPA-2006.

 

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IRS Wants A Lot More Than a Coke and a Smile From Coca-Cola, Co.

The Coca-Cola, Co. wants everyone to share a Coke and a smile but the IRS just wants the soft drink company to share it’s profits with the government, in the form of it’s tax bill. The IRS claims that the company has skipped out on more than $3 billion in taxes and interest due from money it earned in foreign countries. According to reports, the IRS audited Coca-Cola for the tax years 2007, 2008 and 2009. The IRS claims that the results of that audit show that the soft drink maker owes $3.3 billion in missed taxes.

So far, the IRS has not threatened Cola-Cola with any penalties. However, the agency has reportedly informed the company that it has recommended to its top lawyer that the case be litigated. For its part, Coke says that the agency’s claims have no merit. Coke is not the first American company to face these kinds of charges from the IRS, as the agency continues to fight large U.S. corporations over tax dollars for profits earned overseas. Microsoft and Amazon are also facing similar claims form the IRS.

 

A Coca-Cola spokesperson said that the company plans to fight the allegations and do whatever it takes legally to resolve this matter with the IRS. U.S. Corporations must pay the IRS as much as 35 percent of their total profits from around the world in taxes. However, they do not have to pay the tax on foreign profits until they move the money to the U.S. But, because the U.S. charges so much in corporate taxes, many companies simply choose to leave their foreign profits in the countries where they were earned.

Common Trust Fund Questions for Beginners

Are you considering a trust fund? Trust funds are a very useful tool for saving and investing money, but a lot of people aren’t totally sure how to use a trust or even how they work. Trust funds essentially hold assets, like property, a business or money, for the benefit of another person, a group of people or even an organization. There are several common questions regarding trusts, so let’s take a look at some of them.

  • How are trust funds structured – a trust fund is a specially created entity that is held in the state where it was formed. In some states you can create perpetual trust funds, which never end, while other states only allow trusts with a termination date.
  • What are the reasons to use a trust fund – there are many reasons to set up a trust, but one of the best reasons is that they can protect your assets from creditors. Another reason to use a trust is to protect your assets from untrustworthy family members. You can use a trust to save thousands or even millions of dollars from taxes by donating the trust assets to a charity.
  • When is the right time to form a trust – this is a wide-open question because every situation is unique. It depends on your reason for setting up the trust, how much you will be putting into the trust and who will be the beneficiary. It’s best to speak with a professional to determine when the right time is for you.

If you think you are ready to create a trust then come talk with us at GROCO for more ideas and information. One of the biggest factors to consider is how your trust will affect your taxes. We will help you look at all your options and make sure that your trust is set up to be as tax-friendly as possible. Just give us a call at 1-877-CPA-2006, or click here to learn more.

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Be Careful of Scams When Donating to Charities

The world is full of good Samaritans, those people who see other people suffering, and want to help or who get involved in a good cause. Donating time, talent and money to charities and other good causes is a noble endeavor. However, as with most things in life, there are always those on the other side of the equation that are looking to take advantage of any situation, even of those who want to help the less fortunate.

Recently, the IRS warned Americans about one such catastrophic event that could lead to scammers trying to take advantage of would-be good Samaritans. South Carolina is still reeling from the horrible and widespread damage from the massive flooding the state sustained from the record-setting rain that recently blasted the area. In the midst of all the terrible destruction, many people were already reaching out to donate money for relief efforts. The bad news, scammers are out in full-force as well.

That led the IRS to issue a warning against these scammers who are standing by to take advantage of the good-hearted people who donate. The IRS says that these kinds of events often bring out many people who are looking to profit from others’ misfortune. To that end, the IRS recommends checking the IRS website to make sure that your donation is actually going to a qualified charitable organization and not into a scam artist’s pocket.

Also, remember to avoid giving out personal information, only use legitimate websites and be sure to get receipts for tax deduction purposes. Do not send or give cash and be careful of any unsolicited emails or phone calls. As always, trust your gut and use your best judgment in order to avoid being scammed.

 

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