TONIGHT – First Time Homebuyer Seminar

First Time Homebuyer Seminar
HarborOne U, Mansfield MA
Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Make a well-informed decision when you buy your first home. This seminar provides you the opportunity to get answers to your many questions from the professionals involved in the home buying process. Professionals include Mortgage Originator, Buyers Agent & Realtor, Real Estate Attorney, Insurance Agent, Tax Advisor and Home Inspector. A light dinner will be served.

Register today as seating is limited.

Tax Preparer Omitted Marijuana Sales from Returns

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – An Alaskan tax preparer has been charged with six counts of preparing false income tax returns for clients whose main business was selling illegal drugs.

Rebecca Renae Powell, a resident of Wasilla, Alaska (coincidentally the same home town as former Governor Sarah Palin), allegedly began preparing tax returns in 2007 for a friend who sold marijuana. Because the drug income was not reported, Powell’s friend was allegedly able to claim the Earned Income Credit for tax years 2003 through 2007, according to prosecutors.

Beginning in approximately October 2007, Powell also allegedly began preparing false individual income tax returns for a second individual who earned income by selling illegal substances, namely marijuana and heroin. To conceal the dealer’s illegal sources of income, Powell created the appearance that the income derived from the individual’s legitimate businesses instead of the sale of narcotics. In addition to preparing the false tax returns, Powell also allegedly created false invoices, bills of sale and other documents designed to substantiate the fabricated figures on the returns in case an audit or other inquiry occurred.

Each charge of preparing false tax returns carries a maximum possible sentence of three years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.

BY MICHAEL COHN, ACCOUNTING TODAY

3 Tips For Preparing Your Business For A Disaster

An unfortunate reality in the business world — if not life itself — is the threat of a disaster. There are numerous kinds of disasters a business can face, from the natural ones (like hurricane threats in Florida, earthquake threats in California or tornadoes in the Midwest) to man-made ones (like accidental fires, computer system failures, etc.). As grim as it is to think about a disaster compromising your business, smart businesses know the importance of planning ahead.

So to help you prepare your business for disaster, whether one happens or not, here are five tips that are sure to get you back up on your feet in no time.

Tip #1: Plan Ahead For Multiple Scenarios — It is never enough to prepare just one plan for a disaster; disasters come in all shapes and sizes, variety and severity. Because of this, you need to have multiple contingencies in place. The most obvious type of disaster is a natural disaster. In addition to natural disasters, there are also man-made disasters, like an electrical spark that causes a fire; a virus of unprecedented strength that sweeps through your system obliterating your computers; and the list goes on and on, so take the time to plan for the variety of disasters you might encounter — even if you think you never will.

Tip #2: Back Up Your Valuable Records — There are two ways to back up valuable records, information, data, etc.; these are electronic backups and physical hardcopies. We recommend both. As mentioned in Tip #1, a disaster can range from a hurricane that physically wipes your business off the map to some kind of severe infrastructure collapse that leaves you electronically crippled. Putting all your eggs in one basket, as they say, is unwise. Two off-site backup companies you might consider are iBackup and Carbonite (relatively inexpensive offsite resource for your computer/s).

Tip #3: Train Employees To Handle Disasters — The last thing you need in the event of an emergency is a company full of employees clueless as to what to do. This not only hinders surviving the disaster, but depending on the type of disaster, may even put your employees at risk. After you have developed a handful of disaster scenario plans (natural, infrastructural, etc.), train your employees on how they should react in such an event. You may even want to assign specific roles to employees in order to create a team structure that facilitates the process more smoothly.

Maybe your business will be lucky enough to never experience a major disaster. Maybe it will not. The reality is that there are no certainties in life, so the smart thing to do is prepare in advance. Regularly back up your valuable records and business information in both physical and electronic mediums. Additionally, train your employees on how to react in case of emergency. Remember, it is not just your business that is affected by the scenarios mentioned above, but your clients too.

Northeast Financial Strategies Wins “Best of” Poll

Wrentham financial services firm takes “best place to do your taxes” title.

With over 900 votes cast, Northeast Financial Strategies has taken the “Best place to do your taxes in the Wrentham/Foxborough” title.

The Wrentham business garnered 520 votes (55 percent of the vote), winning over Foxborough’s Sheehan Consulting, which received 409 votes.

Kennedy & Associates (11 votes) and William Woolley (one vote) were the third and fourth most popular choices, respectively.

Thanks to all those who voted, and congratulations to all the businesses involved.

Check out next week’s poll, where we’ll ask you the best place to buy sporting goods in the area.

– Mike Gleason, Editor, wrentham.patch.com

Last-Minute Tax Tips for Procrastinators

It’s April already. Are your taxes done? If your answer to the question is no, you are not alone. The Internal Revenue Service says as many as 25 percent of taxpayers file their returns the final two weeks before the filing deadline. The good news for procrastinators is that they have a few extra days to get the job done. The traditional tax return filing deadline is April 15 of each year, but April 15, 2012 is a Sunday and April 16, 2012 falls on Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia. The deadline this year is Tuesday, April 17, 2012.

If you have not completed your taxes yet, here are some stress-relieving ideas:

Don’t Procrastinate Anymore – Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. Your return takes time to prepare and your preparer may need to request certain documents from you, which will take additional time.

Don’t Panic If You Can’t Pay – If you can’t immediately pay the taxes you owe, consider some alternatives. You can apply for an IRS installment agreement, suggesting your own monthly payment amount and due date, and getting a reduced late-payment penalty rate. You also have various options for charging your balance on a credit card. There is no IRS fee for credit card payments, but the processing companies charge a convenience fee. Electronic filers with a balance due can file early and authorize the government’s financial agent to take the money directly from their checking or savings account on the April due date, with no fee.

Request an Extension of Time to File,- But Pay on Time – If the clock runs out, you can get an automatic six-month extension, bringing the filing date to October 15, 2012. The extension itself does not give you more time to pay any taxes due. You will owe interest on any amount not paid by the April deadline, plus a late-payment penalty if you have not paid at least 90 percent of your total tax by that date. Contact your tax professional for a variety of easy ways to apply for an extension.

To get an estimate of what you owe, you generally have to do a dry run of your tax return—which probably means you will have almost everything you need to file anyway. If they’re 90 percent done, it’s really in your best interest to just get it done and file.