IRS Warns of New Phishing Scams

There has been an outbreak of two new variations on phishing scams targeting taxpayers. In one, scammers use phone calls to try to convince you that your SSN is at risk of being “deactivated” and may state that this is due to overdue taxes or just generic “illegal activity.” In another, scammers are sending letters in the mail warning of delinquent taxes owed to non-existent agencies, such as the “Bureau for Tax Enforcement.” In each, scam artists are attempting to get you to provide your SSN, bank account numbers, and other personal information. If you receive any suspicious notifications, you should NOT engage in any communication with the sender.

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Carley Cryer
The SECURE Act: Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement

The SECURE Act may bring significant changes to regulations over retirement savings plans. By making it easier for companies, especially small businesses, to offer retirement plans, participants will be able to ensure a steady income beyond their working years.

With an overwhelmingly strong approval from the House of Representatives last Thursday, many are hopeful that changes are on the horizon.

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Carley Cryer
An Overview of Required 401(k) Disclosures

As a plan sponsor, it’s your fiduciary responsibility to keep participants (existing and eligible), terminated employees with balances, and beneficiaries of deceased participants informed about your plan through disclosures outlined by the IRS and DOL. Make sure that your notices are on track by referring to this chart.

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Carley Cryer
EBR 0.5% Sales Tax Increase Effective April 1st

The East Baton Rouge Parish Finance Department is alerting businesses that the sales and use tax rate within the parish will increase by 0.5% parish-wide. This will be effective for taxable sales or purchases occurring on or after April 1, 2019. The increase is due to last year’s vote that approved the MoveBR transportation plan. The new tax increases combined state and parish rates to 10.45% in the Baker and Central areas and to 9.95% elsewhere.

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Carley Cryer
IRS Announcements | January 2019

The underpayment penalty waiver threshold is lowered from 90% to 85% of 2018 tax liability to help those who have under-withheld because of the tax reform law. It will also apply to individuals making quarterly estimates, but not to corporations.

The standard mileage rate has been increased to 58 cents/mile for 2019 along with adjustments to the charitable and medical mileage rates.

The agency announced tax season will begin January 28 with the released update to its contingency plans for government shutdowns and the expected impacts of a continuing shutdown on the tax filing season.

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New Partnership Centralized Audit Regime

The 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) repealed the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) partnership audit procedures. These new rules are effective for returns filed for tax years beginning after 2017. Under the old rules, after an IRS audit of a partnership return, any adjustments to partnership tax items would then flow through to the partnership's partners, and the IRS would assess deficiencies against and collect them from the applicable partners.  Under the new approach, adjustments to a partnership's items of income, gain, loss, deductions, and credits will be made at the partnership level.  Any additional tax, penalty, or other amount related to the tax will also be determined and collected at the partnership level unless the partnership elects the alternative process known as a push-out election.

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Carley Cryer