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2019 Capital One Data Breach – 10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

by Amanda Domitrowich

In March of this year, Capital One was involved in a data breach which exposed the information of over 100 million U.S. and Canada customers. The hacker found a configuration vulnerability in Capital One’s infrastructure allowing access to typical credit card application data from consumers and small businesses who had applied for credit from 2005 on. Capital One has since fixed the configuration vulnerability and is working with law enforcement. Capital One will contact you via mail if you are a victim of the breach. Capital One has offered to provide free credit monitoring and identity protection to those affected.

What to do if you suspect you are a victim:

  1.  Place a fraud alert
  2. Contact fraud departments
  3. Freeze your credit
  4. Document everything
  5. Create a recovery plan – https://www.identitytheft.gov/

Steps to take to prevent your identity and credit info from falling into the wrong hands:

  1. Know who you’re talking to. Before you reveal any personally identifying information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others.
  2. Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your credit card account and changed your billing address to cover his tracks.
  3. Guard your mail against theft. Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office—not in your own mailbox for your carrier to pick up.
  4. Add multifactor authentication for your logins and other transactions. This is a second security step which requires more than one method of authentication before you can access your account.
  5. Put passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information such as your mother’s maiden name, your birth date or your phone number.
  6. Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the internet unless you have initiated the contact and know who you’re dealing with.
  7. Keep items with personal information in a safe place. To thwart an identity thief who may pick through your trash to capture your personal information, tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications and other financial statements.
  8. Minimize the amount of identification information you carry to what you actually need. Don’t carry your social security card—memorize the number and store the card in a secure place.
  9. Monitor your credit reports.
  10. Keep passwords secure.

For more tips and information, visit the FTC’s website. 

IRS released final 199A regulations and safe harbor rules for rentals

by Cortney Chandler

The wait is over! The IRS just released the final 199A Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction regulations along with safe harbor rules for real estate rentals.  Some key take-aways to note are:

  1. These documents provide clarity on several issues regarding QBI.
  2. Safe harbor sets 250 hours of service threshold and documentation requirements.
  3. Section 754 step ups (caused by a sale of a partnership interest or death of a partner) will be treated as qualified property in the calculations.
  4. Triple net leases are excluded from the safe harbor, but may still qualify for QBI under limited circumstances.

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California to Implement Wayfair “Economic Nexus” Thresholds starting April 1st, 2019

By: Kassandra Cristobal

Beginning on April 1st of 2019, certain retailers located outside of California that are engaged in business in the state (but with no physical presence in the state) will be required to collect California state and district use tax if their sales of tangible personal property are comprised of either:

  • $100,000 of sales into the state; or
  • 200 separate sales transactions into the state

Retailers will be required to collect the taxes on any sales taking place on or after April 1st and remit them to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) through their sales and use tax return.

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How to Estimate a Company’s Obligation to Collect Sales Tax Under South Dakota v Wayfair (17-494, 06/21/2018, U.S.)

by: Tony Pimentel

Wayfair sold products to South Dakota residents, however, it did not collect sales tax as it did not have a physical presence in South Dakota.  Under the physical presence test, it did not have to do so. South Dakota could have subpoenaed the required data and collected the use tax from its citizens, but it decided it was much easier to file suit to force Wayfair to collect the tax. The Supreme Court sided with South Dakota and ordered Wayfair to collect the tax based on the enabling statute.

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Filing Status During a Divorce

 

By: Megan Doherty

Should you file-single, joint, or married filing separately-for federal income tax purposes during the pendency of your divorce/separation proceedings?  In general, your filing status depends on your marital status, and your marital status depends upon your status under state law.

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Changes to Partnership Audit Procedures – Will this Affect You or Your Business?

 


By: Amber Stevenson

The IRS has issued proposed regulations (Centralized Partnership Audit Rules, also known as “CPAR”) regarding how audit adjustments related to partnership tax returns will be assessed.  If you own an interest in a partnership or an entity taxed as a partnership, or even if you used to own an interest in one of these types of entities, this could affect you and it’s important to be aware of the changes so you aren’t surprised by a tax bill down the road.

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San Jose Business Tax Certificate – Recent Law Change

 

The City of San Jose has changed the ordinance covering owners of residential and nonresidential rental property located within the City limits. The new ordinance requires owners of one or more rental units to register with the City, obtain a Business Tax Certificate, and pay an annual fee.

The City extended the deadline to register and pay the required tax to December 15, 2017, to allow additional processing time for the increased persons that now are required to register. If the payment of the business tax is made after December 15, 2017, then interest and penalties will accrue retroactive to July 1, 2017.

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Distributions from traditional IRAs – what you need to know.

By: Diane Avila

There are three areas where knowing the ins and outs of the traditional IRA distribution rules can make a big difference in how much you and your family will keep after taxes:

  • (1) Early distributions. If you need to take money out of a traditional IRA before age 59-1/2 (e.g., for education expenses for children, to help make a down payment on a new home, or to meet necessary living expenses if you retire early), any distribution to you will be fully taxable (unless nondeductible contributions were made, in which case part of each payout will be tax-free). In addition, distributions before age 59-1/2 may be subject to a 10% penalty tax. However, there are several ways that the penalty tax (but not the regular income tax) can be avoided, including a method that is tailor-made for individuals who retire early and need to draw cash from their traditional IRAs to supplement other income.

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I have an office in my home – can I deduct commuting expenses?

By: Amanda Domitrowich

If you maintain your office in your home and your home is your principal place of business, you may be entitled to a special tax break on your commuting costs. Taxpayers can deduct daily costs of travel between their home and another work location in the same business, regardless of whether the other location is regular or temporary. Simply remember to keep adequate records, via a diary or log, of your expenses and mileage during the year and you will be eligible to deduct one or the other at the end of the year.

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Tax aspects of a parent entering a nursing home

by Kerstin Adams

Aging is a fact of life. One that some of us would rather not recognize in ourselves. Yet, it is inevitable. What may be even more difficult is seeing our parents’ age and become more dependent on us, their children, and qualified professionals. A nursing home might prove to be the best option. There are several tax aspects of a parent entering into a nursing home.

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Deducting Education Costs

By: Theresa A. Smith

Education costs are on the rise, but you will be happy to know there are education tax deductions and credits that can help offset the costs.

Work related education expenses:
A deduction is available if the education maintains or improves the skills related to your trade or business. Educational costs are also deductible if the education is required to keep your position or job. Work related educational costs are not deductible if the education is required to get into the field or qualifies you for a new trade or business. If your educational costs are deductible under these tests, you can include the transportation costs involved. If you’re away from home for deductible education, you can include the costs of travel, meals (at 50%), and lodging as well. In the case of an employee, education expenses that are deductible under these tests may be claimed as an itemized deduction, but only to the extent the expenses, along with other miscellaneous itemized deductions, exceed 2% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI).

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I Have A Nanny – Does This Affect My Taxes?

By: Amber N. Stevenson

Nanny Tax Image

In our hustle and bustle lives, working 40 or more hours a week has become the norm, leaving limited time for taking care of duties at home. This has led to an increased need for a nanny, housekeeper, gardener, or perhaps all three!  What many people don’t realize, however, is that while their responsibilities at home may be going down, their tax bill could be going up.

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