IRS Scammers Net $14 Million From 3,000 Victims

By Michael Cohn
January 21, 2015

The pervasive IRS impersonation phone scam has claimed nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively paid over $14 million, according to a new warning from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

As the 2015 tax filing season begins, TIGTA reminded taxpayers to beware of phone calls from individuals claiming to represent the IRS while intended to defraud them.

“It is critical that all taxpayers continue to be wary lof unsolicited telephone calls from individuals claiming to be IRS employees,” said ITGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement. “This scam, which is international in nature, has proven to be the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen. The callers are aggressive, they are relentless, and they are ruthless. Once they have your attention, they will say anything to con you out of your hard-earned cash.”Continue reading

8 Biggest Credit Card Scams on Record

by Rebecca Black |

Financial scams can have far-reaching effects on businesses, industries, and societies, especially fraudulent activities that create entire meltdowns. Consumers have always put great faith in their plastic cards, which is apparent in statistics that claim credit card use has seen historical highs despite recession lows. The age of information has made credit card fraud a prime target, and consumers should be especially cautious with their credit card information. Luckily we can learn from past cases of fraud and credit card scams, on any scale or magnitude. Here are some of the biggest credit card scams on record thus far.Continue reading

Enhanced Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for Hiring Qualified Veterans

Under pre-Act law, the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) allows employers who hire members of certain targeted groups, including qualified veterans, to get a credit against income tax of a percentage of qualifying first-year wages up to $6,000 per employee ($12,000 for certain qualified veterans; and $3,000 for qualified summer youth employees). Generally, the percentage of qualifying wages is 40% of first-year wages, for a maximum WOTC of $2,400 (.4 × $6,000), or $4,800 for certain qualifying veterans (.4 × $12,000); it’s 25% for employees who have completed at least 120, but less than 400, hours of service for the employer. Different rules apply for recipients of long-term family assistance.Continue reading

The Case for Comprehensive Tax Reform

Please contact mary‐beth.fisher at with any questions, comments or corrections.

Worth Noting

  • The highest average tax rate of 23.3% is paid by the top 1% of earners. This group accounts for 38% of all income taxes paid. And no, they do not earn 38% of the income, but proportionally the much smaller 20% of AGI.
  • The top 5% of earners (minimum AGI of $159,619) take home 34.7% of total AGI and pay 58.7% of all income taxes. The average tax rate for this group is 20.7%.
  • The bottom half of earners in the country (AGI < $33,048) take home 12.8% of total AGI but pay only 2.7%of the total income taxes collected, as their average income tax rate is 2.6%. A popular justification for this is that the payroll tax (FICA taxes for Social Security and Medicare) are effectively “flat taxes” and have a greater impact on their total federal tax burden. That’s accurate, but the bottom 50% of earners, generally speaking, recover more in benefits than they pay into these systems, resulting in a further net transfer of wealth.
  • The average income tax rate is 12.2% for all taxpayers. This would roughly be the equivalent “flat tax” rate paidby all taxpayers on each dollar of adjusted gross income if there were no exemptions, deductions, etc allowed.

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Tax Policy Reform

Top 10% earn only 46% of Adj Gross Inc in the US but pay 70% of the Federal taxes. AGI income split point for top 10% is $114K.

Also note that the Bottom 75% (<$67K) of all earners pay only 14% of all Inc Taxes! The bottom 50% pay 3% of all Inc Taxes.

Yes, them rich folks are really getting a free ride.

Apparent there is a very brief (3 page) overview of income and payroll taxes – who pays, how much, the effective tax rates – and why (I think) this clarifies the need to significant tax reform.

This document is still in development (though can be forwarded to clients, but please be aware as the disclaimer states, this represents my opinions alone, not those of BNP Paribas) and I hope to include more information over time, incorporate a broader context, and correct any mistakes.Continue reading

Alert: Colorado Tax Amnesty Bill is Enacted

Governor Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 184 on June 3, 2011 which provides for “tax amnesty” to Colorado individuals and businesses who owe back taxes for taxes otherwise due on or before December 31, 2010.

Under this new law, taxpayers may have all penalties waived and the interest on the past due balance of applicable taxes reduced by half. There will be a window from October 1, 2011 through November 15, 2011 for payment of such back taxes in full to qualify for the elimination of penalties and reduction of interest. Time is of the essence in getting any delinquent tax filings made as the amnesty program does not apply to some taxpayers who receive a notice of assessment from the Department of Revenue before actually filing the applicable tax returns.Continue reading

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday.
1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED”.

3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the “For” line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.Continue reading

Find Out About A New Credit Card Scam

WARNING…New Credit Card Scam.

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you’ll be better prepared to protect yourself. One of our employees was called on Wednesday from “VISA”, and I was called on Thursday from “MasterCard”.

The scam works like this:

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