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Beware of Email Tax Scam

For the past several weeks my inbox has been deluged with emails from various sources all claiming that my federal tax deposit made online at Electronic Federal Tax Payment System — or EFTPS — has been rejected by the IRS. Some indicate that my “company code” was entered incorrectly. Others claim (along with numerous misspellings and grammatical errors) that the IRS could not process the payment because it was made on a holiday. Like that would ever stop the IRS from processing a payment.

The first email arrived the day after my assistant made a federal tax deposit of payroll taxes. It makes me wonder if the scammers have access to the IRS website; do they know who is using it and when? Or was it just coincidence?

In the email I was directed to what appears to be an IRS website. I did not go there. They would have probably asked me to re-enter all of my valuable financial information. You know what’s coming next, don’t you? Yep, identity theft or at least a funneling of my funds to the scammer’s untraceable overseas account.

Please know that the IRS does not send official communications to taxpayers via e-mail. It just isn’t done that way. If you receive one of these email scams, forward the email in question to I have jammed their inbox with probably four dozen tax scam emails over the past month — all from different sources, all claiming similar problems with the processing of my tax payment. If you forward a suspicious email to the IRS, you will receive an email response from the IRS thanking you for sending the information to them, but otherwise you won’t hear the outcome.

If you are registered to make your various federal tax payments online, you will see this banner across the home page:

Remember: EFTPS values your privacy and security and will never attempt to contact you via email. If you ever receive an email that claims to be from EFTPS or from a sender you do not recognize that mentions a payment made through EFTPS, forward the e-mail to or call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.

Business entertainment deductions can be complex

Taking a client out for lunch is one of the most basic business activities there is. And it’s one that can run a business owner afoul of the IRS.

The agency is on the lookout for companies that take excessive deductions, or that try to bundle together personal and business expenses. Barbara Weltman, author of “J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes,” said this has been one of the most litigated areas in tax law.

Make sure your taxes are done the right way, so you avoid any problems with the IRS.

Increased Federal Deductions Make Long-Term Care Insurance More Affordable

Americans planning to buy long-term care insurance in 2011 may deduct a larger portion of their premiums than ever, thanks to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The new deductible limits for eligible long-term care premiums includable in the term ‘medical care’ are —

* $4,240 if you’re 70 or older
* $3,390 if you’re over 60 but not over 70
* $1,270 if you’re over 50 but not over 60
* $640 if you’re over 40 but not over 50
* $340 if you’re 40 or under.

For many Americans considering a long-term care policy, “The out-of-pocket cost may be less than one might think, thanks to Uncle Sam,” says Jonas Roeser, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Operations for LTC Financial Partners, LLC (LTCFP), one of the nation’s most experienced long-term care insurance agencies. “And a policy may be even more affordable,” he adds, “if the applicant lives in a state offering an additional deduction or rebate.”

Start thinking about 2010 taxes

Still smarting from your 2009 taxes? Start whittling the bill for next April.

A good place to begin: two federal tax credits for homeowners who want to save energy, one of which expires at the end of this year. The credits have appeal both for true green diehards and those who are staying put due to housing market doldrums.

The credits took effect in their current form in February 2009. Both offer dollar-for-dollar write-offs against taxes, not just a deduction from income. And unlike many tax benefits, there are no income limits on who can use them.

Yet experts say many people are still unaware they exist. Bill Shaw, a remodeler in Houston, says his best marketing has been done by — of all people — tax preparers. “Since January, my phone has been ringing off the hook with people whose accountants told them” about the credits, he says.

We use Mobile Marketing!

Never before has there been an opportunity to drastically increase your business with such ease and with such a low cost. If you have ever tried advertising with newspapers, magazines, radio, television, etc., you know that these mediums are expensive and ineffective. Right now you have the chance to boost sagging sales and increase the number of customers walking through your doors with SMS Marketing.

SMS text message marketing is a low cost, easy to use, effective way to generate more sales. Where else could you advertise and have a viewing rate of 97%? That means that for every 100 people you send a text message to, 97 of them will open your message. On top of that 83% of those will open your text in less than an hour. You can’t go wrong with numbers like this. This is the edge you really need to energize your business.