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Be Aware of Fake IRS Email Bills!

From the IRS Wire Service:follow-the-money

IRS and Security Summit Partners Warn of Fake Tax Bill Emails

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners today issued an alert to taxpayers and tax professionals to be on guard against fake emails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act.

The IRS has received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email that includes the fake CP2000 as an attachment. The issue has been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.

The CP2000 is a notice commonly mailed to taxpayers through the United States Postal Service. It is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers. The indicators are:

These notices are being sent electronically, even though the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or through social media platforms;
The CP 2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address;
The underreported issue is related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requesting information regarding 2014 coverage;
The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C.

The fraudulent CP2000 notice included a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” to the “Austin Processing Center” at a Post Office Box address. This is in addition to a “payment” link within the email itself.

IRS impersonation scams take many forms: threatening telephone calls, phishing emails and demanding letters. Learn more at Reporting Phishing and Online Scams.

Taxpayers or tax professionals who receive this scam email should forward it to phishing@irs.gov and then delete it from their email account.

Taxpayers and tax professionals generally can do a keyword search on IRS.gov for any notice they receive. Taxpayers who receive a notice or letter can view explanations and images of common correspondence on IRS.gov at Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter.

To determine if a CP2000 notice you received in the mail is real, see the Understanding Your CP2000 Notice, which includes an image of a real notice.

A CP2000 is generated by the IRS Automated Underreporter Program when income reported from third-party sources such as an employer does not match the income reported on the tax return. It provides extensive instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree that additional tax is owed.

It also requests that a check be made out to “United States Treasury” if the taxpayer agrees additional tax is owed. Or, if taxpayers are unable to pay, it provides instructions for payment options such as installment payments.

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. Learn more at Taxes. Security. Together. or Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself.

Taxpayers and tax professional should always beware of any unsolicited email purported to be from the IRS or any unknown source. They should never open an attachment or click on a link within an email sent by sources they do not know.

You Owe the IRS…Now What?

You Owe the IRS!

Now what do you Do?

Let’s Talk About Your Options!

George and Shirley came to see me to complete their tax return. They had been referred to me by another client of mine.

George and Shirley had been blessed to have great and stable jobs. Even better, Shirley won a contract to provide support services to a government contractor. As they had never run a small business, they were referred to me to help them. Unfortunately they waited until 2015 to contact me as opposed to 2014 immediately after she won the contract.

The good news was winning the contract, the bad news was they owed more taxes than they expected. I explained through tax planning we could have avoided the situation if they had contacted me prior to year end last year. With that not happening, there were several options open to them.

Their options were:

  1. Pay the balance due in fall
  2. Get a loan to pay the balance
  3. Borrow from retirement accounts
  4. Offer in Compromise
  5. Currently Not Collectible
  6. Bankruptcy
  7. Installment Agreement
  • Paying the loan in full or borrowing from a lender or from their retirement were options they either couldn’t do or were unwilling to do.
  • An Offer in Compromise allows you to offer the IRS a lower amount than is currently owed. Because of their income and assets, George and Shirley do not qualify for the Offer in Compromise.
  • Currently Not Collectible allows you to delay collection action if you can prove that you don’t have the income or assets to pay the debt. George and Shirley couldn’t quality because of their income and assets.
  • Bankruptcy was also an option but the tax debt was too new to be considered and they did not want to affect their credit.
  • The last options available were an Installment Agreement (IA). With an IA you agree to pay the IRS a set amount monthly until the debt is paid. There are three options with installment agreement; each depending on the amount due.

If you owe the IRS less than $10,000 you qualify for the Guaranteed IA. Your minimum acceptable payment is $25 a month debt is paid. Certain qualifications must be met to qualify, these include but are not limited to owing only income taxes and no other types of taxes; not able to pay taxes immediately out of savings or other means, have not had an IA in the last 5 years and able to pay the tax fully within 3 years (36 months).

If you owe more than $10,000 but less than $25,000 you may qualify for the Streamlined IA. Like the Guaranteed IA, you are not required to fill out a personal financial statement and can setup a payment plan even if you have the means to pay the tax liability in full. Additional qualifications include filing all returns on time, paid in full during the payment period.   Also, the tax liability must be paid within 5 years (60 months) or before the Collection Statute Expiration Date (CSED) which is a ten year period from the tax assessment date.

If you owe more than $25,000 you’ll work with a revenue officer who’ll require you to complete and submit personal financial statement with supporting documentation. A decision will be made based on your numbers as to how much you can pay. The IRS will compare your monthly income and your monthly allowable expenses and the difference is the amount the IRS will expect you to pay.   You’ll pay this amount until the debt is paid in full or until you reach the CSED.   The IRS may ask you to authorize an extension of the CSED in order to qualify for this payment plan.

George and Shirley owed slightly more than $25.000 so I suggested they pay an amount that brought them below $25,000 so they could qualify for the Streamlined IA. As such they were able to negotiable a monthly payment that they could live with!

Additionally I immediately began reviewing their personal finances and business income for changes we could make now so they wouldn’t owe in the future.   This was ultimately a good outcome for them. What about you?

If you find yourself owing the IRS and want an open and honest discussion about your options, schedule an appointment at THIS LINK and come to see me. Don’t put it off…it will only get worse.

Let’s beat the IRS together….Legally.


6 Steps Small Businesses Can Take to Reduce Their Taxes!

A few days ago I published an article about 5 steps you could take to reduce your taxes.   A couple of clients said that article was aimed at individuals, so how about an article for the small business owner.   So I agreed and here we go…..

  1. Establish and maintain a good bookkeeping system or hire a bookkeeper.  Far and above anything else, good bookkeeping will reduce your tax liability.    Being able to identify and properly record all of business income and expenses will reduce your tax liability and give you peace of mind if you are ever audited.
  2. Make sure you select the right operating entity for your business – LLC, Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, S Corp or C Corp.   Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.   Choose wisely.
  3. Hire your family…especially college age children.   (See the next 2 steps)
  4. Establish an Educational Assistance Plan (EAP).   You can help outset the cost of college by establishing an EAP for your employees (see Step 3).  The EAP could reimburse them for cost of classes, books etc and you get to write it off as a legitimate business expense.
  5. Establish a Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP).   The MERP allows your employees to be reimbursement for medical expenses that they ordinarily could not write. (Limitations apply depending upon operating entity and dollar amounts reimbursed).
  6. Establish a Retirement Plan.   Self-Employed Pension Plans (SEP), 401(k), Roth 401(k) are all available to you as a business owner.  Again certain limitations apply.

Talk with me or your accountant about these 6 steps and see how many you can apply as soon as possible to reduce any future tax liability.

As usual, if I can help, please feel free to email me or give me a call.








Year End Marketing! Time to Get It in Gear!

Year End Marketing! Time to Get It In Gear!

Get Your Marketing In Gear for the Last Third of the Year. You see, who’s gonna buy if you don’t tell them what and why.  So work to get your customers in line cause its your time to shine!

Here are 18 Opportunities to Market Your Business Between Now and the New Year!

  • September Birthdays
  • Labor Day
  • Back to School
  • End of Summer
  • Beginning of Fall
  • October Birthdays
  • Columbus Day (Discover Your ?)
  • Halloween (Have a Scary Good  ?)
  • November Birthdays
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday (Day after Thanksgiving Sales)
  • December Birthdays
  • End of Fall
  • Beginning of Winter
  • Christmas
  • New Year’s
  • Holiday Season (Thanksgiving through New Year Year’s)

What's HotIf you need help developing marketing ideas or products around some these ideas, give me a call at 240-356-5050.   If I can’t personally help you, then I have several product specialists, website designers and printing specialists who can.

Here’s to your financial health!

Need to Save? 22 Ideas to Help You!

Need to Save Money?  Here How!

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, as of December 1, 2012, the Personal Savings Rate in the United States was 6.5%.    This is based on savings as a percentage of Disposable Personal Income or DPI.

DPI is defined as the total amount of money available for an individual or population to spend or save after taxes have been paid.

As we struggle with the economy and the sequestration furloughs,  and look for ways to increase our savings or just maintain what we have, here are a few ideas for you to put into place.

  1. Each night when you come home, empty your pockets and put any change into a jar to save.  You’ll be surprised how quickly it can add up.
  2. Quit smoking and save on average about $6 per pack.  If you smoke 2 packs a week, that’s $624 up in smoke.
  3. Put that lottery ticket money you spend each day into a savings account instead of funding the state.  They tax you enough as it is.
  4. Take your lunch to work.  $10 a day is $50 a week or $2600 a year you could be saving.
  5. Consider a second job or part-time business opportunity.  Use it exclusively for savings goal or paying off debt.
  6. Transfer balances from high interest rate credit cards to lower rate cards.
  7. Instead of paying extra to pay down a lower interest mortgage, instead use the additional to pay 12% to 24% credit card balances.
  8. Save for your purchases instead of using credit cards
  9. Tithing is a great way of budgeting – it forces you to live on the 90%.
  10. Pay Yourself 2nd.   Start off saving at least 5% of your gross income and build from there.
  11. Current practice calls for creating an emergency savings fund equal to 3 to 6 months of your living expenses.
  12. Consider a whole life insurance policy as an alternate savings vehicle.
  13. Comparison shop for your credit cards, home owners insurance, life, auto insurance and home telephone and cellphone services.
  14. Take advantage of payroll deduction plans for retirement and savings accounts.  Payroll deduction is a painless way to save.
  15. Begin putting together a cash flow plan for your family (budget)
  16. Make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment to review the family finances with your spouse.
  17. If you regularly get a tax refund, it means the IRS is getting an interest free loan from you.
  18. Save Your Tax Refund or use it to help pay off any outstanding debts.
  19. Clip those newspaper and sales paper coupons and use them before they expire.  Buy only if you need to not because something’s on sale.
  20. Use Groupon, Living Social and other social media sites as savings resources, too.
  21. Work to improve your credit scores – the higher your scores, the lower your loan interest rates.
  22. Save your next pay increase.

Lastly, be willing to make the hard financial choices and stay the course.  Being debt free and under financial control will relieve much stress and tension from you and your family’s lives.

Need a good “cashflow tool”?  Click here and take a look at the video.  It’ll be worth your time and effort.

If I can help you with these and other financial issues, including tax planning and preparation, business consulting or incorporation services, please feel free to give me a call or visit my website at www.flemingfinancialsolutions.com and schedule an appointment.

4 I’s and Can’t C!

Hello, this is James Fleming, Fleming Financial Solutions with a message that hopefully doesn’t bring back painful memories for anybody…else!)

As I was growing up and going to elementary school and junior high, there were not a lot of kids who wore eyeglasses. At least that’s the way it seemed to me because I felt I was the only one or one of few being picked on.

In school, being different in any way brought on unwanted or undeserved attention. There were attempts to take my eyeglasses; there were requests to try the glasses on, there was name calling (and some fighting).

Probably the worse though was a phrase that stuck with me a long time…4 eyes and can’t see! That one really bothered me for some reason. It meant that even with my own eyes and a pair of glasses, I still couldn’t see. Boy that bothered me!

Well, fast forward a few years and as a business owner and marketer, that phrase – 4 eyes and can’t C – has taken on a new meaning.

The four (4) i’s are –

Invisible – incapable of being seen.

Intangible – not touchable or touching

Immaterial – of no substantial consequence: unimportant

Inconsequential – lacking weight, position, or influence

If your business is suffering from these 4 I’s then you definitely can’t C – can’t get a customer or client.

Let’s see if we can make this clearer.

  • Invisible – are you not being seen? Are you present in your community, industry or market? When was the last time you attended a networking meeting or community event. If you haven’t recently, then its quite possible you are invisible.
  • Intangible – who have you touched or been touched by lately. Are you reaching out and making contacts with both current and potential clients; with potential joint venture and business partners. If you haven’t recently, then its quite possible you are intangible.
  • Immaterial – are you a positive influence or any influence in the market place? Are you important – a thought leader. Do people seek you out for your opinion? If not, then its quite possible you’ve become immaterial.
  • Inconsequential – are you helping clients and prospects? are you educating the market and provding solutions? Are you being a positive force for change in people’s lives. If not, then its quite possible you’ve become inconsequential.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, then you definitely can’t C. You can’t get a customer or client. You’re not earning any money for your family, your employees or your business. If you are going to survive in business, you’ve got to turn this around – NOW!

So get out there in the market place and be visible – go meet some people; be tangible – go touch some people where they live; be material – let it be known that you have an opinion or voice that’s worth listening to and lastly, be consequential – make a difference in people’s lives, be a problem solver. Do all this and you’ll not only get customers and clients, you’ll get another C – that’s Confidence!

This is James Fleming, Fleming Financial Solutions. If I can be of service to you, please feel free to give me a call at 240-356-5050 or email me at james@flemingfinancialsolutions.com.

I look forward to hearing from you.

IRS Delays Open of Filing Season!

Though we got past the tax portion of the Fiscal Cliff, it wasn’t without problems. The IRS announced that it won’t begin accepting tax returns for most filers until January 30, 2013 and for some select filers until February or March. See the letter from the IRS below –


30th Anniversary Offer – Celebrate With Me!

It’s my 30th Anniversary in Business and I want to share it with you!

It’s hard to believe but I have been involved in some form of business ownership since 1982.

I began with one bookkeeping client on a Digital VAX machine running one of the first computerized accounting packages. That evolved into tax preparation. I later added life and health insurance and basic financial planning. I’ve dabbled in mortgage loan origination and helped many companies with their sales and marketing. Its been a fun ride and I still have some hair left after wearing some many different hats.

So, as I said, I’m celebrating my 30th Anniversary and didn’t want to do it alone. I’ve decided to make some special offers to you to celebrate with me and to give you a “jumpstart” for the new year.

Here’s what I’ve got –

Business Plan If you need a business plan, you can save $450 by celebrating with me. I’ll create your complete business plan including SWOT analysis and financials and consultations with me and other resources as needed. The usual fee for this is $1,500 – your invest is $1,050.

Call re:  Payment plan for this offer!

CLICK HERE for Business Plan

Incorporation Services -You’ve been putting off properly setting up your business. Well, now is the time to do it right. Whether you need an LLC, Partnership, S Corporation or C Corporation, lets get it done for the new year.

I’ll create the necessary Articles, get your Sales and Use Tax number (if needed), your Federal Employer ID Number and provide at least one hour of consulting to be sure we get it right. Oh, and also I’ll be your resident agent (in Maryland) and get you a corporate seal to boot and get you done in 2 weeks. (Try that with my competitors and see what happens!)

You’ll save $150 off of the usual $500 fee – Your investment only $350.00. (Investment does not include the state filing fees)

CLICK HERE for Incorporation Services

501(c)3 Application Assistance– You’ve always wanted to be a servant and help those in need. You have a passion to help but didn’t have a vehicle to do so. You thought that setting up a 501(c)3 organization was both confusing and expensive.

Well, now is the time to act.

I will walk you through every bit of the 1023 application to make the process easy. I’ll help you with the Narrative, the Financials, Conflict of Interest and any other sections that might be a stumbling block.

You would normally invest $600 for this service; celebrate my anniversary and you’ll save $180. Your invest – $420 (Does not include state incorporation fees or the IRS application fee)

CLICK HERE for 501(c)3 Assistance

Incorporation and 501(c)3 Combination – If you need to complete both the incorporation and the 501(c)3 application process, click below to get the combination offering

CLICK HERE for Combination Services

Deadline has been extended to January 5, 2013. (Services can be provided throughout 2013 as needed)

So act now! Celebrate my anniversary and celebrate your dreams.

P.S. – Offer is not available for projects already started!

Why Sales People Fail!

Why Do Sales People Fail?

I was once asked this question while during a training on “How to condition your mind to Master Sales” ‘……. Why sales people fail”? I was able to answer this question in a few little words  – “Lack of Persistence”.

A good definition of persistence is found on dictionary.com

1) Persistence is refusing to give up or let go,
2) To hold firm and steady to a purpose, state or understanding.

To be persistent is the core ingredient to success; the lack of persistence is the only ingredient needed to fail.

We as adults are challenged daily to hold firm on our direction to never give up. In the midst of difficulty, it is easier for us to find excuses to fail rather then the determination to succeed.

As children we do not recognize Lack of Persistence. In trials of difficulties,  we find reasons to push forward, to not let go, to never accept No!

I often ask sales people to convert their thinking back to when they were a child. Can you think of 3 examples of when as a child you demonstrated the will to persist?

1)_____________________, 2)______________________, 3)______________________

I can remember my 3 examples….

1) When I first learn how to ride a bike,
2) When I learned how to walk
3) Getting what I wanted for Christmas.

Each one of these examples is a statement of refusing to  give up or to let go. We do not recognize as children words like, Impossible, Improvable, not able, or I can not do it. Why is this? The answer is simple. To persist, to succeed is a natural part of who we are and how we are built from the grace of God. We are contaminated with failure as we grow into adulthood which brings on excuses for lack of persistence in our daily lives.

To succeed as a sales person, all we need is to condition our minds to convert back to who we were as children. Unchain yourself from the word “No”, don’t be afraid to stumble and fall, just brush yourself off and start over again.

Last but not least when you find that your day was not as productive as it could have been, remember the 5 Ps in sales “Proper Planning Prevent Poor Performance”.

So stay on your course, never give up and hold firm on your Goal. And with that I want you to “Persist until you succeed”

By Micheal McGee Director of Sales, Training and Development For Mountain Climbers Sales and Consulting Firm www.mcsalesconsulting.com

Author of the book “The Re-Birth of the Blackman….Re-Building a Generation”.

5 Tools You Need to Start Your Business or Ministry!

4 Rs and 1 F

I was inspired by Pastor Carolyn Streeter,  New Covenant International Ministries, message on Financial Blessings, so I wrote this article to help you as you consider starting or expanding your own business or ministry.

Exodus 4:2 – “And the LORD said unto him, What [is] that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.”

Resume – Yours and Others
What are the giftings, passions and strong desires that you have that can be used to help others in need? What’s in your hands? What job skills or education do you have that could be valuable to some one else? Who do you know who has complimentary skills, ie you’re a tech person and the other is a good sales person?

Proverbs 15:22 – “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established”

Research – Who is your market and what do they need?
What are the needs of the community you serve or want to serve? Is anyone providing these services now? If no, why not? If yes, how well are they doing well and is there room for someone else to help? (McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s all serve the same need just differently). How would or could you reach this community effectively and profitably?

Ephesians 3:20“Now unto HE that is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh within us!”

Resources – What will you need to make this happen?
Do you have the necessary skills, knowledge or personnel to make this a viable business or ministry? Can you get the resources you need if you don’t have them now and how would you get the resources? Can you create an on-going monthly recurring income from the services you provide?

Luke 14:28“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”

Realism – Can you realistically create the business or ministry?
First of all, the answer to this is yes…but will you? Do you have the character, passion and motivation to stay with the plan through the peaks and valleys? There will be financial, people and family pressures that may make you want to throw up your hands.

Hebrews 11:33 – “…….Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,…….”

Faith – This is where it all begins and ends.
After you’ve finished the 4 Rs,  you realize that without faith, you will accomplish nothing.  So let faith be your beginning and ending in any venture that you take up.

Feel free to comment and share.

If you’d like to contact me regarding this or other tax planning or business ideas, please give me a call at  240-356-5050.

To Your Financial Health.