2020/2021 Friedman & Perry, CPA's Letters, Updates and Questionnaire
To print additional copies of our engagement letter or organizer questionnaire or to view our 2020 year end client letters, tax planning tips, updates, or information letters, click below.
Ongoing Friedman & Perry, CPA's Guides and Information Sheets
Below are some of our own handy charts and guides we have available.
IRS and FTB Quick Links
General News and Tax Information
Our website is filled with useful tax tips and guides. Below are the items that Friedman & Perry, CPA's thinks are the most relevant and important to our clients. Click below to find more information on:
The IRS (and Friedman & Perry, CPA's!) is encouraging taxpayers to sign up for EFTPS
Effective January 2011, the IRS has eliminated Federal Payroll Tax deposit coupons. All payroll tax remittances must be paid by the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).
Even if you do not make payroll tax deposits, we encourage you to sign up for EFTPS to make your quarterly or annual income tax payments. The benefits of EFTPS include:
- More secure
- Less chance of lost checks (a perfect example is when 30,000 tax payment checks were lost in the San Francisco mail in 2005)
- EFTPS debits the requested payment from your account with no fees and on the date you request
Registration can be completed by visiting www.eftps.gov . Please note that it takes approximately 7 days to receive your PIN in the mail. Do not wait until April to sign up for EFTPS!
Many California taxpayers are now required to pay their taxes electronically. Does this mean you?
On September 30, 2008, a new E-pay requirement was enacted that requires individuals to remit ALL future payments electronically once they meet one or both of the following criteria:
- Make an estimated tax payment, extension payment, or balance due payment (by check or electronically) over $20,000 for a taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2009.
- File an original return with a tax liability over $80,000 for a taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2009.
Once you make a payment or file a return meeting one of these requirements, you must make all future payments electronically regardless of the amount (even $1.00!), type, or tax year. Failure to file electronically once you meet the e-pay threshold could result in penalties up to 1 percent of the amount paid.
"Electronic" payment means one of the following methods:
California is cracking down on your "no-sales-tax" purchases!
Many of you have received notices or heard about the California State Board of Equaliization's new filing requirements for collecting use tax. If you purchased an item that is not otherwise exempt from California sales tax (i.e. certain food items) and intend to use the item in California, but did not pay California sales tax on the original purchase, you owe use tax! "Qualified purchasers" (as defined in the following letter) are now required to file a use tax return and pay any additional tax owed. For individuals that do not meet the criteria of a qualified purchaser, you are still required to report and pay any use tax on your California individual income tax return, Form 540. Our organizer questionnaire includes a question on your use tax purchases. We highly recommend keeping track of your purchases throughout the year that you did not pay sales tax on; examples include Ebay and Amazon.com purchases. On our questionnaire, please indicate the total amount of these purchases and our software will automatically calculate any additional tax owed.
Please read our Use Tax Letter to determine if you meet the criteria of a qualified purchaser and for detailed instructions on how to file and pay your use taxes.
Don't forget that your DMV registration is partially deductible!
This is one of the most commonly overlooked items in our annual tax organizer. However, it's also one of the most widespread deductions. If you can't dig out your registration detail, the DMV has a handy web page that allows you to obtain the deductible portion of your vehicle license fees (VLF's). You will need your license plate number and the last five digits of your VIN. Click here to be directly connected.
Energy Credit Information
Advertisements frequently provide misleading or incorrect information regarding new tax credits. Energy credits tend to be one of the most commonly misinterpreted areas of tax incentives. Below are three links that provide useful information for current federal and state energy tax credits. As always, we recommend calling us first if you are unsure whether a particular energy improvement (residential or business) will provide any tax benefit.
- Energy Star
Not everything that is labeled "Energy Star" qualifies for a credit, however, this website provides a handy chart of residential energy credits, with more specific links to detailed specifications and how to recognize compliance.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
A comprehensive list of state, local, and utility energy incentives.
- Cooler Planet
Useful information regarding installation of solar panels, including a cost calculator that integrates tax credits and local incentives.
College Savings Plans and Financial Aid Information
The websites below include various information regarding your college finance concerns.
- College Savings Plans Network (CSPN)
Provides descriptions of all state college savings plans and includes links to state plan Websites.
- Federal Student Aid
Information on Federal Student Aid, including student aid from other government agencies, and links to state education agencies.
Includes information on aid programs, scholarships, grants, student loans and military aid. Also includes a guide to all state 529 plans and prepaid tuition plans for private universities.
Information on 529 plans listed by state, including plan summaries, fees and expenses, purchase information, and state tax information.
Save 30% on Quickbooks Checks and Supplies
As Quickbooks ProAdvisor's, we are offered discounts for Quickbooks checks and supplies that we can pass on to our clients. In order to take advantage of this 30% off discount, order online at www.intuitmarket.com/C39739 or call 1-800-433-8810 and mention special offer code C39739.
IRS Warns of Bogus E-mail, Telephone and Snail-mail Scams
The Internal Revenue Service has alerted taxpayers about the following scams:
- Fraudulent e-mails that appear to be from the IRS. The e-mails direct the consumer to a Web link that requests personal and financial information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers. The practice of tricking victims into revealing private personal and financial information over the Internet is known as phishing for information.
- Telephone calls threatening that the IRS is going to sue or levy your assets. The intent is to trick you into paying balances due that you do not actually owe.
- Phony balance due notices (called CP2000's) being sent via snail-mail. Some fraud indicators include the payment being made out to the I.R.S. and that payment should be mailed to an Austin Processing Center. They are often small balances due in hopes of the taxpayer just paying the amount without questioning.
The IRS also reiterated that it does not:
- Contact via e-mail or phone for any reason;
- Require taxpayers to complete a special form, or provide detailed financial information to obtain a refund;
- Have an Antifraud Commission or the authority to freeze a taxpayers credit card or bank account because of potential theft or fraud perpetrated against the taxpayer; and,
- Handle lottery distributions.
For additional information, including where to report the fraud if you choose, click here.
As a reminder, we strongly recommend contacting our office first to determine if a notice you receive from any government agency is legitimate.
Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) Scam Alert
Taxpayers are now encountering a new e-mail scam that uses the Treasury Department's Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) as a hook to lure individuals into disclosing their personal information, IRS warned on July 19. The EFTPS allows businesses and individuals to pay all their federal taxes online or by phone. The latest e-mail scam looks like a page from the agency Web site, is replete with grammatical errors and typos, and claims to be from the IRS Antifraud Commission (sic), a fictitious group. The e-mail claims someone has enrolled the taxpayer's credit card in EFTPS and has tried to pay taxes with it. The e-mail also warns of fraud attempts involving the taxpayer's bank account. Finally, it claims money was lost and remaining founds (sic) are blocked, and directs recipients to click on a link that asks them to provide personal information in order to recover their funds. Taxpayers are urged to send any information about suspicious e-mails they receive to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Your Vehicle's Gross Vehicle Weight
Do you know what the gross vehicle weight (GVW) is for your business vehicle? If not, this information can be found in either of two places. The actual GVW of your vehicle can be found on the metal plate on the inside of the driver's side door. Or you can find the GVW of your car's make and model by going to www.intellichoice.com . After choosing either "Research New Cars" or "Research Used Cars" (depending on the vehicle year), follow the series of links until you arrive at your vehicle's specifications.
Health Savings Accounts
Because no two individuals have the same medical expense costs for either health insurance premiums or for actual medical expenses, the advantages and disadvantages of a health savings account plan compared to a traditional medical insurance plan must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. To help you nagivate through these choices, here are two informative links regarding health savings accounts: www.hsabank.com or www.hsainsider.com .
Social Security Website Benefit Calculator
The Social Security Administration has launched a new Internet service which offers three increasingly detailed levels of benefit estimates. The simplest, "quick calculator," asks only for a person's age and current-year earnings. The most sophisticated requires the user to download software onto a home computer and allows him or her to try out various retirement scenarios. This new benefit calculator can be found at the Social Security's website at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2