Tax Scams, Credit Card Convenience Fees, and Capital Gains Concerns
If you have received a call from somebody recently posing to be from the IRS, or if you are a business that charges credit card convenience fees, or if you have capital gain concerns, we have gathered some information for you about these topics.
Beware of Tax Scams!
Did you know that con artists posing as Internal Revenue Service representatives frequently try to scam people out of their money?
While this is a long-standing problem, the IRS has issued a new warning against thieves who may contact people on the phone or via email or a letter and try to trick them into divulging personal financial information, such as their Social Security numbers or bank account numbers, or even turning over some of their hard-earned cash.
The scams can be tough to spot. Potential victims may see a fake caller ID that identifies the call as coming from the IRS or receive mail or email that appears to have the IRS letterhead. The scammers typically try to intimidate victims into acting quickly—by, say, sending a payment to what they claim is an IRS address—by threatening arrest or some other consequence.
If you receive an IRS communication that seems suspicious or doesn’t make sense, please call our office. Whether you are facing a legitimate tax issue or a scam, we can help you sort through the details and determine how to respond. You can report incidents to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484. Remember, too, that the IRS website is www.irs.gov, so be on alert if you’re directed to another similar site that ends in .com or .net instead of .gov.
Links to IRS publications on this topic can be found on our Resources page.
Credit Card Convenience Fees are Usually Not Legal
Does your business charge it’s customers convenience fees for using a credit card? Florida statute prohibits a seller or lessor in a sales or lease transaction from charging a surcharge or convenience fee on the buyer for electing to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or other means. A violation of this provision is a second-degree misdemeanor. There are a few exceptions to this rule including payments for tuition and certain tax payments.
Instead of charging your customers convenience fees, you can offer them a discount for paying with cash or a check. As long as the discount is offered to all your customers, this is allowed under Florida Law.
Other states, such as Alabama, may permit convenience fees. Consult with your attorney on the legal implications of charging convenience fees in Florida and any other states.
Conquer your Capital Gains Concerns!
Do you take your cost basis into account when it’s time to sell an asset or investment? When you sell an asset or investment, your cost basis—or the amount you originally paid for it—is subtracted from the sales price to determine your capital gain on the sale. If your last tax return included some surprises on capital gains you incurred last year—and the related taxes—then you’re probably aware of the need to plan ahead when buying or selling assets or investments. It’s even more important in light of some recent tax law changes, including the new tax on net investment income.
The good news is that we can help.
Be sure to turn to us with questions about your overall investment strategies, as well as the tax implications of asset and investment purchases or sales. We can offer the advice you need to minimize your tax outlays and make the most of your investments.
Have Questions? We’re Here All Year!
Many clients see their CPAs at tax time, when the main focus is on completing and filing their tax return. As a result, they may not take the opportunity to ask questions about long-term tax planning or about other important financial concerns.
The good news is that we are available to you all year. We have a full-time, year-round staff of experts with extensive expertise in a broad range of financial areas. We’re ready when you are to take some time reviewing your financial situation, helping you understand your options and make the best decisions. We’re also here to help address unexpected financial concerns. So, give us a call to discuss your important financial issues whenever they arise.