Your phone is ringing. Should you answer it?

I would hazard a guess that for many of us, answering the phone has become an exercise in frustration.  If you are like me, regardless of the efforts I have taken to place my number on the DoNotCall registry and to use my caller id to prescreen before answering, I am still bombarded with scam calls each and every day.  What makes it worse is that the robo-callers and scammers are now using a technique called “spoofing” where they can disguise their identity on caller id and make it appear that a legitimate business is calling.  This spoofing technique has resulted in innocent individuals picking up the phone believing that the IRS or Social Security is calling and ultimately being strong-armed into releasing personal information to the callers.  A recent article by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) discusses this issue and provides the following tips to avoid becoming the victim of a call scam: Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. If the caller is not who you were expecting, hang up immediately. Never give out personal information such Read on! →

The 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and you!

As we begin the new year, there are many changes afoot which will impact clients in a variety of ways.  The passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act introduces many changes to personal income taxation beginning with the 2018 tax return filing.  The following contains a few of the highlights which will impact your overall taxation going forward.     2017 Individual Income Tax Rates 2018 Individual Income Tax Rates Married Filing Jointly and Surviving Spouses: Married Filing Jointly and Surviving Spouses: 10% (Taxable income not over $18,650) 10% (Taxable income not over $19,050) 15% (Over $18,650 but not over $75,900) 12% (Over $19,050 but not over $77,400) 25% (Over $75,900 but not over $153,100) 22% (Over $77,400 but not over $165,000) 28% (Over $153,100 but not over $233,350) 24% (Over 165,000 but not over $315,000) 33% (Over $233,350 but not over $416,700) 32% (Over 315,000 but not over $400,000) 35% (Over $416,700 but not over 470,700) 35% (Over $400,000 but not over 600,000) 39.6% (over $470,700) 37% (over $600,000) Single Individuals: Single Individuals: 10% (Taxable income not Read on! →

Protecting your “most” important number!

  What is the most important number you possess which is with you from birth to death?  Your Social Security number! Newborns receive their unique number within a few weeks of their birth, where it is used throughout their lives to be claimed as a dependent on their parent’s tax return, apply for that first job, to identify them for credit purposes and eventually to allow them to file for benefits based on their lifetime earnings.  Because of the importance of this number throughout your life, it is equally important to protect and review the information tied to it throughout your life. How do you protect your Social Security number (SS#)? Don’t carry your card in your wallet. If your wallet is lost or stolen, thieves will likely have not only your SS#, but will probably get your driver’s license and other information.  This can quickly lead to identity theft. Don’t give out your SS# to retailers, phone callers, or others. The practice of using your SS# as your user id for logons has been largely halted and should be Read on! →