Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The August KOS Bottom Line Bulletin is Available

Check out the KOS "Bottom Line Bulletin" Newsletter!  This month we are featuring an article by Partner, Geoff Harlow, titled "Illinois Tax Changes Included in Budget Legislation", and also an article by Lais Gruman Castello, from our Accounting Services Staff, titled "Managing Your Finances the Easy Way".  Our newsletter also includes articles about safeguarding your computer network, and understanding the main tax rules related to gambling activities.  There is also lots of news about current happenings at KOS!

You can view our newsletter on our website at http://www.koscpa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/August-2017-Newsletter.pdf


Monday, July 24, 2017

KOS Is Hiring!


Help us spread the word! We are actively seeking exceptional candidates for the following positions:
  • Tax Interns to work next busy season; February to April 15, 2018
  • Temporary Front Desk Receptionist; August 28th to October 16, 2017
KOS will be on-campus during the month of September for interviews and attending career fairs at the following schools: University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Northern Illinois University(NIU), DePaul, Illinois State University(ISU), and College of Lake County(CLC).
Tell your friends, networks and college age kids to spread the word and check out KOS for a career in accounting. Visit www.koscpa.com/careers for more information and apply online!




Friday, July 14, 2017

Geoff Harlow Quoted in Chicago Tribune


In the July 13, 2017, Chicago Tribune article, "Illinois income tax hike: 6 tips to manage or minimize how much you'll pay", by Gail MarksJarvis, KOS Partner Geoff Harlow offers tips on making sure employers apply the tax adjustment to your withholding.


Geoff is a frequent contributor for several news sources providing insight and guidance on various tax and accounting issues.


To read the full article, click on the link below:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/ct-illinois-income-tax-hike-marksjarvis-column-0716-biz-20170713-column.html



Friday, July 7, 2017

The July KOS Bottom Line Bulletin Is Here!

The July KOS Bottom Line Bulletin is Here!




This month's issue includes information on Charitable Deductions for Volunteers, Tax Angles for Self-Employed Individuals, Recent IRS Alert on Phone Scams, and so much more.


You can view our newsletter on our website at
http://www.koscpa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/July-2017-Newsletter.pdf








Friday, June 16, 2017

IRS Warns of New Phone Scam Involving Bogus Certified Letters; Reminds People to Remain Vigilant Against Scams, Schemes this Summer


IR-2017-107, June 15, 2017


The Internal Revenue Service today warned people to beware of a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), where fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. This scam is being reported across the country, so taxpayers should be alert to the details.

In the latest twist, the scammer claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters purportedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens arrest if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that the card is linked to the EFTPS system when, in fact, it is entirely controlled by the scammer. The victim is also warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney or their local IRS office until after the tax payment is made.

“This is a new twist to an old scam,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off. People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call.”

EFTPS is an automated system for paying federal taxes electronically using the Internet or by phone using the EFTPS Voice Response System. EFTPS is offered free by the U.S. Department of Treasury and does not require the purchase of a prepaid debit card. Since EFTPS is an automated system, taxpayers won’t receive a call from the IRS. In addition, taxpayers have several options for paying a real tax bill and are not required to use a specific one.
Tell Tale Signs of a Scam

The IRS (and its authorized private collection agencies) will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.

For anyone who owes tax or thinks they do:

  • View your tax account information online at IRS.gov to see the actual amount you owe. You can then also review your payment options.
  • Call the number on the billing notice, or
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help.

The IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. For more information, visit the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on IRS.gov. Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube videos.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Smart Financial Gifts for College Grads

Graduation season is here, which means you have gifts to consider.  Although there are plenty of options, here are three invaluable suggestions that can help college grads achieve financial success.

Contribute to a retirement account

You can fund the college grad’s Roth individual retirement account (Roth IRA) – which is a great way to help a graduate build a nest egg.  There is no minimum age or balance requirement to open a Roth IRA.  As long as he or she earns from a job, you can fund the Roth IRA up to the legal total contribution limit of $5,500 (for 2017) or the amount of his or her earnings, whichever is less. Your gift will be made with after tax dollars and will grow tax free. After the account has been open for a minimum of five years and your grad reaches age 59 1/2, the earnings can be withdrawn tax free.
Give shares of stock
If you gift shares of stock you own, you can help your graduate build an interest in the stock market and he or she can develop investment management skills.  On the date the stock ownership transfers, your cost basis will also transfer to the graduate and a new holding period will begin.  When the appreciated stock is sold, any capital gains will be taxed at his or her rate – and recent graduates will typically be in a lower tax bracket.

Pay for a session with a financial advisor

This gift can be very useful to a college graduate trying to understand budgeting, student loan payments, 401(k) plan contributions, housing, and credit card management.  A session with a financial advisor can help a recent grad navigate his or her financial world and establish good financial habits that last a lifetime. 
Although these ideas are general in nature, it is always a good idea to understand the tax implications that apply to your unique situation.  Remember to discuss your plans with a tax advisor before you give a gift.  Call 847-580-4100 to talk to a KOS Tax Professional today!

Best of luck and congratulations to you and your graduate!

Friday, June 2, 2017

The June KOS Bottom Line Bulletin is Available!

If you haven't already, check out the June KOS "Bottom Line Bulletin" Newsletter!  This month it features articles on Midyear Financial Strategies, and Reasons to Keep in Touch with Your KOS Advisor Throughout the Year.  The newsletter is also filled with pertinent tax and financial information for individuals and businesses, and offers highlights about our firm.

 You can view our newsletter on our website at  http://www.koscpa.com/newsletters/bottom-line-bulletin-june-2017/attachment/june-2017-newsletter/ 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Opportunity Available for a Professional Bookkeeper to Join Our Team

Help us spread the word! KOS has an opportunity available for a Professional Bookkeeper to provide outstanding service to our clients. In this hands-on position, the Bookkeeper will work directly with a variety of partners and their clients. Employees who have come to KOS find the culture, opportunity and life work integration to be just what they are looking for. Check out our careers site to learn more about our firm, this position, what makes our fun culture different and apply today! www.koscpa.com/careers/

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Geoff Harlow on WGN-9 News April 10, 2017

Congratulations to KOS Partner, Geoff Harlow, who was on the WGN-9 newscast on Monday, April 10th giving tax return filing tips.

Geoff discussed how to get the most out of your refund this year by reviewing some commonly overlooked tax deductions. 
 
To view the video and gain helpful insight please click on the following link:

As always, if you have any questions or need additional advice, please contact a KOS Tax Advisor.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Congratulations to Larry Krupp on His Tax Update Presentation

On February 16, 2017, Larry Krupp, KOS Tax Director, provided an income tax update presentation at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. He interpreted and explained the latest version of the tax code & discussed changes and concerns that can affect businesses & personal finances.
Congratulations to Larry for a job well done!


KOS Partner Geoff Harlow Quoted in Forbes - February 21, 2017

If you are in the process of planning where you will enjoy your golden years, you will want to know how different state tax laws can impact you during your retirement. 

KOS Partner Geoff Harlow offers some sound tax advice in the Forbes online article, "How To Find Your Own Retirement Tax Haven" by Ashlea Ebeling.

To read the article and gain helpful insight please click on the following link
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2017/02/21/how-to-find-your-own-retiree-tax-haven/#12433804ef9b





As always, if you have any questions or need additional retirement planning advice, please contact your KOS Advisor.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Geoffrey Harlow Quoted in a Forbes Online Article


Geoffrey Harlow, KOS Partner, was quoted today in a Forbes online article.  The article is titled, "The Side Gig Retirement Tax Time Play", by Ashlea Ebeling.  Geoff is a frequent contributor for several news sources supplying insight and guidance on various tax and accounting issues.

 
Please click the link below to view the full article.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2017/02/14/the-side-gig-retirement-tax-time-play/#1ae27d282646


As always, please visit www.koscpa.com to learn more about our firm and the services we offer.



 



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

IRS Reminds Taxpayers of Common Scams

As the 2017 tax filing season unfolds, the IRS is reminding taxpayers about phishing and phone scams. Scammers have been contacting taxpayers via live and automated phone call, email, fax, regular mail, and text message.

Here is a list of some of the most prevalent scams to watch out for:

  • Students and their parents are contacted and demand is made for a fictitious tax such as the "Federal Student Tax".
  • Fraudulent IRS bills for the tax year 2015 related to the Affordable Care Act are sent out via email or letter.
  • Demand is made for payment to settle a "tax bill".
  • Requests are made for "verification of tax return information" in order to process your return.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS:
  • DO NOT give out any information. .
  • Report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use their use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 Standard Mileage Rates for Automobile Use

In December, the Internal Revenue Service issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
With gas prices dropping in 2016 and vehicle prices holding steady, the optional mileage rates for business, medical and moving expenses for 2017 dropped to their lowest levels in six years.
As of January 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
·         53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (down from 54 cents for 2016);
·         17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (down from 19 cents for 2016);
·         14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (permanently set by statute).
The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.
Proper use of the business standard mileage rate is optional and takes place the of deducting all actual costs of the automobile allocable to business use (such as depreciation, maintenance and repairs, tires, gasoline, oil, insurance, and license and registration fees).
The business standard mileage rate may NOT be used for an automobile after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that automobile.  In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles being used simultaneously.
For more details and other requirements, visit www.irs.gov, Rev. Proc. 2010-51. 
Source: IR-2016-169, Notice 2016-79