W. Edward Newton Jr., CPA, CFP (R) | 13850 Ballantyne Corporate Place, Suite 500 | Charlotte, NC 28277 | 704-552-8689

 

How to Prepare for Hurricanes + Hurricane Matthew Unified Response Efforts Underway + Beware of Fake IRS Tax Bill Notices



IRS on How to Prepare for Hurricanes, Floods and Other Natural Disasters
 

The Internal Revenue Service today offered advice to taxpayers who may be affected by storms or other natural disasters.  The IRS also reminded taxpayers that the agency is here to help including offering a special toll-free number to taxpayers in federally-declared disaster areas, staffed with IRS specialists trained to handle disaster-related issues.


Don't Forget to Update Emergency Plans

Because a disaster can strike any time, be sure to review emergency plans annually. Personal and business situations change over time as do preparedness needs. When employers hire new employees or when a company or organization changes functions, plans should be updated accordingly and employees should be informed of the changes. Make plans ahead of time and be sure to practice them.

Create Electronic Copies of Key Documents

Taxpayers can help themselves by keeping a duplicate set of key documents including bank statements, tax returns, identifications and insurance policies in a safe place such as a waterproof container and away from the original set.

Doing so is easier now that many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically, and much financial information is available on the Internet. Even if the original documents are only provided on paper, these can be scanned into an electronic format. This way, taxpayers can download them to a storage device such as an external hard drive or USB flash drive, or burn them to a CD or DVD.

Document Valuables

It's a good idea to photograph or videotape the contents of any home, especially items of higher value. Documenting these items ahead of time will make it easier to quickly claim any available insurance and tax benefits after the disaster strikes. The IRS has a disaster loss workbook, Publication 584, which can help taxpayers compile a room-by-room list of belongings.

Photographs can help an individual prove the fair market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Ideally, photos should be stored with a friend or family member who lives outside the area.

Check on Fiduciary Bonds

Employers who use payroll service providers should ask the provider if it has a fiduciary bond in place. The bond could protect the employer in the event of default by the payroll service provider.

IRS Ready to Help

In the case of a federally declared disaster, an affected taxpayer can call 1-866-562-5227 to speak with an IRS specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues.
 



 Hurricane Matthew Unified Response Efforts Underway

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners continue to mobilize resources and personnel to support state, local and tribal efforts in the southeast U.S. as the possibility of dangerous conditions and flooding continues in some areas.

At the direction of President Obama, FEMA is leading the federal government's effort to provide assistance and support in preparation and response to Hurricane Matthew. The President declared emergencies in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, making federal assistance available to mobilize equipment and resources necessary to prepare for and respond to Hurricane Matthew in the anticipated impacted areas. These pre-disaster emergency declarations make available direct federal assistance to save lives and protect property.

More than 680 FEMA staff are deployed to impacted states in support of response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Matthew and thousands more remain on alert to support recovery efforts, as needed. This includes six Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) deployed to help federal, state, local and tribal partners gather detailed information on the affected communities during the critical days and weeks following this storm. DSAT teams address immediate and emerging needs of disaster survivors including: on-the-spot needs assessments, requests for disability related accommodations and access to partners offering survivor services.

Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) are positioned in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. IMAT teams support preparation and anticipated response activities, and ensure that there are no unmet needs. Additionally, FEMA has ten Urban Search & Rescue teams on the ground to support any search and rescue efforts. Two teams are in Florida, four teams are in South Carolina, three teams are in Georgia, and one team is in North Carolina.

FEMA has made available more than 1,427,000 meals, more than 958,000 liters of water, and more than 48,000 blankets for state, tribal, and local officials to distribute to individuals. These points of distribution are centralized locations established by state or local officials where supplies are delivered.

A breakdown by state:

North Carolina: More than 570,000 meals; 26,000 blankets;

South Carolina: More than 250,000 meals; 4,500 blankets.

Georgia: More than 535,000 meals, 617,000 liters of water; 17,000 blankets; and,

Florida: More than 71,000 meals; 341,000 liters of water;

The National Business Emergency Operations Center is activated in the NRCC and is coordinating with potentially affected states to work with private sector companies, preparing for landfall and coordinating on evacuation orders, potential transportation impacts, and access/re-entry permits ahead of the storm.
 



      Beware of Fake IRS Tax Bill Notices

The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners are warning taxpayers and tax professionals of fake IRS tax bills related to the Affordable Care Act.

The IRS has received numerous reports of scammers sending a fraudulent version of a notice- labeled CP2000 - for tax year 2015. The issue has been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.

This scam may arrive by email, as an attachment, or by mail. It has many signs of being a fake:

- The CP2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address;
 

- The letter says the issue is related to the Affordable Care Act and requests information regarding 2014 coverage;
 

- The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C;
 

- Requests checks made out to I.R.S. and sent to the “Austin Processing Center” at a post office box.
 

IRS impersonation scams take many forms: threatening phone calls, phishing emails and demanding letters. The IRS does not initiate unsolicited email contact or contact by social media.

An authentic CP2000 notice is used when income reported from third-party sources such as an employer does not match the income reported on the tax return. Unlike the fake, it provides extensive instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree that additional tax is owed. A real notice requests that checks be made out to “United States Treasury.”

The IRS and its Security Summit partners -- the state tax agencies and the private-sector tax industry -- are conducting a campaign to raise awareness among taxpayer and tax professionals about increasing their security and becoming familiar with various tax-related scams.

Don't hesitate to call us if you need help or want to get started on tax planning for the remainder of 2016 or for 2017 already!  If you have comments or questions on the information in these articles, as usual feel free to call our offices.


 

 

 


 

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Regards, W. Edward Newton Jr., CPA

Certified Public Accountant

 

 

 

 

W. Edward Newton Jr., CPA | Certified Public Accountant

13850 Ballantyne Corporate Place, Suite 500 Charlotte, North Carolina 28277
Phone: (704) 552-8689  |  Email: ed@newtonassociatescpa.com