Category: NEWS

December 9th, 2016 by Oscar
Cada día, las personas se convierten en víctimas de estafas de pesca de información o phishing a través de correos electrónicos, textos o por teléfono, cuando equivocadamente proveen datos importantes. A su vez, los delincuentes cibernéticos intentan usar esos datos para presentar declaraciones de impuestos fraudulentas o cometer otros delitos.uien hace negocios, acerca de un premio, cualquier cosa para persuadirlo a que usted abra el correo electrónico o texto.
Una buena regla general: no provea información personal como resultado de un correo electrónico no solicitado. Aquí hay algunos consejos básicos para reconocer y evitar un correo electrónico fraudulento:
Contiene un enlace. A menudo, los estafadores se hacen pasar por empleados del IRS, instituciones financieras, compañías de tarjetas de crédito, hasta compañías de impuestos o proveedores de software. Pueden decir que necesitan actualizar su cuenta o pedirle que cambie una contraseña. El correo electrónico ofrece un enlace a una página web falsa que puede lucir similar a la página oficial. No pulse en el enlace. En caso de duda, vaya directamente a la página legítima para tener acceso a su cuenta.
Contiene un archivo adjunto. Otra opción para los estafadores es incluir un archivo adjunto al correo electrónico. Este archivo puede estar infectado con malware que puede descargar software malicioso en su computadora sin su conocimiento. Si es spyware, los criminales pueden verificar sus pulsaciones del teclado para obtener información acerca de sus contraseñas, número de seguro social, tarjetas de crédito u otros datos confidenciales. No abra archivos de fuentes desconocidas.
Viene de una agencia de gobierno. Los estafadores intentan asustar a las personas para que abran los enlaces de correo electrónico, haciéndose pasar por agencias de gobierno. Frecuentemente, los ladrones tratan de imitar al IRS y a otras agencias gubernamentales.
Es un correo electrónico “extraño” de un amigo. Los estafadores también piratean cuentas de correos electrónicos y tratan de aprovecharse de las direcciones de correos electrónicos robadas. Usted puede recibir un correo electrónico de un “amigo” que no parece correcto. Puede que le falte el asunto en la línea de asunto o que contenga peticiones o lenguaje extraño en el contenido subyacente. Si parece extraño, ignórelo y no pulse en los enlaces. 
Vea el URL. Quien le envía el correo electrónico puede tratar de engañarlo con el URL. Por ejemplo, en lugar de www.irs.gov, puede ser uno parecido pero falso como www.irs.gov.nombremalicioso.com. Coloque el cursor sobre el texto para ver un mensaje emergente (pop-up) del URL auténtico.
Use características de seguridad. Generalmente, su proveedor de correo electrónico y navegador tendrá características anti-spam y phishing. Asegúrese de usar todas las características del software de seguridad.
Abrir un correo electrónico fraudulento y pulsar en el enlace o anexos es una de las formas más comunes en que los ladrones no sólo roban su identidad o información personal, sino también entran en las redes de las computadoras y causan otros problemas.
Aprender a reconocer y evitar correos electrónicos de tipo phishing – y compartir ese conocimiento con su familia – es fundamental para combatir la pérdida de datos y robo de identidad. Las empresas deben educar a todos los empleados acerca de estos peligros.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, NEWS, NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, SMALL BUSINESSES

December 9th, 2016 by Oscar

Los usuarios de computadoras deben fortalecer sus contraseñas, como parte del esfuerzo contra el robo de datos. La contraseña sirve como la primera línea de defensa para detener a los hackers y ladrones de identidad de tener acceso a su computadora, teléfono móvil, cuentas en línea y otros dispositivos con acceso a Internet.

Estos son algunos de los pasos básicos para mejorar y fortalecer las contraseñas:

  1. Añada la protección de contraseñas a todos los dispositivos. Debe utilizar una contraseña para proteger cualquier dispositivo que le ofrece la opción. No sólo proteja su computadora, tableta o teléfono móvil, sino también su red inalámbrica. La contraseña es su primera línea de defensa.
  2. Cambie todas las contraseñas programadas por el fabricante. Si su dispositivo viene con contraseñas ya programadas por el fabricante, cámbielas inmediatamente.
  3. No utilice contraseñas simples. Una contraseña debe tener un mínimo de ocho dígitos, pero de 10 a 12 es aún mejor. Debe ser una combinación de letras mayúsculas y minúsculas, números y caracteres especiales. No utilice su nombre o fecha de nacimiento.
  4. No repita las contraseñas. Hoy en día, la gente suele tener varias cuentas protegidas por la misma contraseña. No la repita. Si un ladrón roba su contraseña, inmediatamente tendrá acceso a otras cuentas importantes. Utilice contraseñas diferentes, sobre todo en las cuentas financieras o cuentas tributarias importantes.
  5. Utilice las opciones de doble autenticación. Muchos medios de comunicación social e instituciones financieras ahora le dan la opción de establecer un proceso de doble autenticación, o autenticación de dos pasos. Este proceso involucra el envío de un código de seguridad a su teléfono móvil registrado. Esto significa, que si un ladrón roba su nombre de usuario y contraseña, no tendrá acceso a sus cuentas.
  6. Considere utilizar un administrador de contraseñas. Una opción para mantener un registro de sus contraseñas en varias cuentas y obtener ayuda para crear contraseñas seguras, es utilizar un administrador de contraseñas. Algunas compañías acreditadas ofrecen versiones gratis o de bajo costo de sus productos. Vea si un administrador de contraseñas es una buena opción para usted.

 

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, NEWS, NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, SMALL BUSINESSES

December 7th, 2016 by Oscar

Al acercarse la temporada de impuestos, el Servicio de Impuestos Internos (IRS) tiene información para los contribuyentes que se preguntan cuánto tiempo deben guardar las declaraciones de impuestos y otros documentos.

Generalmente, el IRS recomienda guardar copias de declaraciones de impuestos y documentos de apoyo por lo menos tres años. Algunos documentos deben guardarse hasta siete años en caso de que el contribuyente tenga que presentar una declaración enmendada o si surgen dudas. Guarde archivos referentes a bienes raíces hasta siete años después de deshacerse de la propiedad.

Las declaraciones de información de cuidado de salud deben guardarse con otros archivos tributarios. Los contribuyentes no tienen que enviar estos formularios al IRS como prueba de la cobertura de salud. Los archivos que los contribuyentes deben guardar incluyen archivos de cualquier cobertura proporcionada por el empleador, primas pagadas, pagos por adelantado del crédito tributario de prima recibido, y tipo de cobertura. Los contribuyentes deben guardar éstos – así como guardan otros archivos de impuestos – por tres años después de presentar su declaración de impuestos.

Ya sea si lo almacenan en papel o electrónicamente, el IRS exhorta a los contribuyentes a mantener los archivos de impuestos seguros, especialmente cualquier documento con números de seguro social. El IRS también sugiere escanear aquellos archivos tributarios y financieros en papel a un formato que pueda codificarse y almacenarse de manera segura en un dispositivo flash, CD o DVD, con fotos o videos de objetos de valor.

Ahora es un buen momento para establecer un sistema para guardar archivos seguros y fáciles de encontrar para la declaración del próximo año, o para solicitar un préstamo hipotecario o ayuda financiera de impuestos. Los archivos tributarios deben respaldar los ingresos, las deducciones y los créditos reclamados en la declaración de impuestos. Los contribuyentes deben guardar estos archivos por si el IRS les pregunta acerca de la declaración de impuestos o en caso de que presenten una declaración enmendada.

Es aún más importante para los contribuyentes tener una copia de la declaración de impuestos del año pasado, ya que el IRS realiza cambios para autenticar y proteger la identidad del contribuyente. A partir del 2017, algunos contribuyentes que presentan electrónicamente necesitarán ingresar ya sea el monto del ingreso bruto ajustado (AGI, por sus siglas en inglés) del año anterior o el PIN auto-asignado del año anterior y su fecha de nacimiento. Si presentan una declaración conjunta, las identidades de ambos contribuyentes deben validarse con esta información. El AGI está claramente señalado en la declaración de impuestos.

Los contribuyentes que necesitan información tributaria pueden solicitar una transcripción gratis de los últimos tres años tributarios. La herramienta ‘Ordenar Transcripción’ en IRS.gov es la manera más rápida de obtener una transcripción.

Si los contribuyentes guardan declaraciones de impuestos y recibos en una caja de zapatos en la parte posterior del armario, deberían reconsiderar ese enfoque. Mantenga bien almacenados los documentos financieros y archivos de salud, ya sea en papel o electrónicamente. Cuando estos documentos ya no sean necesarios para efectos tributarios, asegúrese de destruirlos correctamente para evitar que la información sea usada por ladrones de identidad.

Al deshacerse de una computadora, tableta, teléfono móvil o disco duro de respaldo, recuerde limpiar las unidades para eliminar cualquier archivo y datos personales antes de desecharlo o venderlo. Esto puede requerir un software especial de disco de utilidad.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, NEWS, NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, SMALL BUSINESSES

December 6th, 2016 by Oscar

 

It’s called “phishing” because thieves attempt to lure you into the scam mainly through impersonations. The scam may claim to be from a friend, a company with whom you do business, a prize award – anything to get you to open the email or text.

A good general rule: Don’t give out personal information based on an unsolicited email request.

Here are a few basic tips to recognize and avoid a phishing email:

  • It contains a link. Scammers often pose as the IRS, financial institutions, credit card companies or even tax companies or software providers. They may claim they need you to update your account or ask you to change a password. The email offers a link to a spoofing site that may look similar to the legitimate official website. Do not click on the link. If in doubt, go directly to the legitimate website and access your account.
  • It contains an attachment. Another option for scammers is to include an attachment to the email. This attachment may be infected with malware that can download malicious software onto your computer without your knowledge. If it’s spyware, it can track your keystrokes to obtain information about your passwords, Social Security number, credit cards or other sensitive data. Do not open attachments from sources unknown to you.
  • It’s from a government agency. Scammers attempt to frighten people into opening email links by posing as government agencies. Thieves often try to imitate the IRS and other government agencies.
  • It’s an “off” email from a friend. Scammers also hack email accounts and try to leverage the stolen email addresses. You may receive an email from a “friend” that just doesn’t seem right. It may be missing a subject for the subject line or contain odd requests or language. If it seems off, avoid it and do not click on any links.
  • It has a lookalike URL. The questionable email may try to trick you with the URL. For example, instead of www.irs.gov, it may be a false lookalike such as www.irs.gov.maliciousname.com. You can place your cursor over the text to view a pop-up of the real URL.
  • Use security features. Your browser and email provider generally will have anti-spam and phishing features. Make sure you use all of your security software features.

Opening a phishing email and clicking on the link or attachment is one of the most common ways thieves are able not just steal your identity or personal information but also to enter into computer networks and create other mischief.

Learning to recognize and avoid phishing emails – and sharing that knowledge with your family members – is critical to combating identity theft and data loss. Businesses should educate employees about the dangers.

 

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, NEWS, NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, SMALL BUSINESSES

November 29th, 2016 by Oscar

How do you protect your computer from hackers and identity thieves? You need security software and to keep it turned on. You also need security on all of your digital devices, including laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

Tens of thousands of new malware programs launch each day, making the use of security software essential to safe internet use. These malware programs can disable your computer, install viruses that give cybercriminals control, steal your data, track your keystrokes to give criminals your passwords and many other malicious acts.

Here are a few basic steps to help protect your computer:

  1. Use pre-installed security software. Many computers come pre-installed with firewall and anti-virus protections. A good broad-based anti-malware program should be able to protect you from viruses, Trojans, spyware and adware.
  2. Turn on automatic updates. Set your security software to update automatically so it can be upgraded as threats emerge. Also, make sure your security software is on at all times.
  3. Investigate your security software options. Search out trusted sources to learn more about security software options. This will help you decide if you should invest in security software that gives you even stronger protections and options.
  4. Consider encryption software. If you retain important financial documents, such as prior-year tax returns, on your computer, consider investing in encryption software to prevent unauthorized access by hackers or identity thieves.
  5. Protect your children. If your children also use the same device, make sure it has parental control options to protect your children from malicious websites. Educate your children about the threats of opening suspicious web pages, emails or documents.
  6. Set password protections for all devices. Whether it’s your computer, tablet or mobile phone, always set a password requirement for accessing the device. If it is lost or stolen, your device is still protected from access.
  7. Protect your wireless network. Set password and encryption protections for your wireless network. If your home or business Wi-Fi is unsecured it also allows any computer within range to access your wireless and steal information from your computer.
  8. Never download “security” software from a pop-up ad. A pervasive ploy is a pop-up ad that indicates it has detected a virus on your computer. It urges you to download a security software package. Don’t fall for it. It most likely will install some type of malware. Reputable security software companies do not advertise in this manner.
  9. Avoid downloads from suspicious sources. Never open a PDF document or picture attached in an email from an unknown source. It may contain malware.

Posted in NEWS

November 16th, 2016 by Oscar

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry urge you to join their effort to combat identity theft by doing more to protect personal and financial data from online threats.

Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference. That’s why for the second year in a row, we have embarked on a public awareness campaign called “Taxes. Security. Together.” And, we’ve launched a series of security awareness tips that can help protect you from cybercriminals. This is all part of the Security Summit effort, a joint effort between the IRS, the states and the private-sector tax industry.

Here’s an overview of basic steps to help protect your data:

1. Use security software. Security software can protect your computer – and your data – from numerous threats posed by malicious programs, also known as malware. Many computers come with security software already installed. Make sure to turn it on. Set it for automatic updates to allow for protection against emerging anti-malware threats. Also, make sure you add security to all your digital devices, including your laptop, tablet and mobile phone.

2. Use encryption software to protect sensitive data. If you keep sensitive financial data such as prior-year tax returns or important records on your hard drive, consider investing in encryption software to safeguard documents with password protection.

3. Use strong passwords. Use strong passwords of 10 or more digits that include letters, numbers and special characters. Do not use the same password for all your accounts, especially your financial accounts. Change your passwords every few months. Create passwords not only for your online accounts but also for access to your computer for an added layer of protection.

4. Avoid phishing emails. Never reply to emails, texts or pop-up messages asking for your personal, tax or financial information. A favorite tactic of cybercriminals is to pose as businesses, credit card companies or even the IRS and ask to update your account or divulge your Social Security number. Reputable companies never ask for sensitive data over unsecured channels.

5. Back up your data. Periodically back up all the data on your computer via your protected cloud storage or a separate disk. If your data gets stolen or you suffer a disk failure, recovery is easy if you have routinely backed up your information.

6. Protect your wireless network. If you use a residential wireless network connection, make sure you have a strong password protection for it. And, if you use public Wi-Fi, never share sensitive data. If a public Wi-Fi hotspot does not require a password, it probably is not secure.

Posted in NEWS

October 11th, 2016 by Oscar

If you are a farmer or rancher forced to sell your livestock because of the drought that affects much of the nation, special IRS tax relief may help you. The IRS has extended the time to replace livestock that their owners were forced to sell due to drought. If you’re eligible, this may help you defer tax on any gains you got from the forced sales. The relief applies to all or part of 37 states and Puerto Rico affected by the drought.

Here are several points you should know about this relief:

  • Defer Tax on Drought Sales.  If the drought caused you to sell more livestock than usual, you may be able to defer tax on the extra gains from those sales.
  • Replacement Period.  You generally must replace the livestock within a four-year period to postpone the tax. The IRS can extend that period if the drought continues.
  • IRS Grants More Time.  The IRS has added one more year to the replacement period for eligible farmers and ranchers. The one-year extension of time generally applies to certain sales due to drought.
  • Livestock Sales that Apply.  If you are eligible, your gains on sales of livestock that you held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes apply.
  • Livestock Sales that Do Not Apply.  Sales of other livestock, such as those you raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes and poultry, are not eligible.
  • Areas Eligible for Relief.  The IRS relief applies to any farm in areas suffering exceptional, extreme or severe drought conditions during any weekly period between Sept. 1, 2015, and Aug. 31, 2016. The National Drought Mitigation Center has listed all or parts of 37 states and Puerto Rico that qualify for relief. Any county that borders a county on the NDMC’s list also qualifies.
  • 2012 Drought Sales. This extension immediately impacts drought sales that occurred during 2012.
  • Prior Drought Sales.  However, the IRS has granted previous extensions that affect some of these localities. This means that some drought sales before 2012 are also affected. The IRS will grant additional extensions if severe drought conditions persist.

Posted in NEWS

July 21st, 2016 by Oscar

For purposes of the Affordable Care Act, an employer’s size is determined by the number of its employees. Employer benefits, opportunities and requirements are dependent upon the employer’s size and the applicable rules. If an employer has at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on average during the prior year, the employer is an ALE for the current calendar year.  However, there is an exception for seasonal workers.

If you have at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on average during the prior year, your organization is an ALE. Here’s the exception: If your workforce exceeds 50 full-time employees for 120 days or fewer during a calendar year, and the employees in excess of 50 during that period were seasonal workers, your organization is not considered an ALE. For this purpose, a seasonal worker is an employee who performs labor or services on a seasonal basis.

The terms seasonal worker and seasonal employee are both used in the employer shared responsibility provisions, but in two different contexts. Only the term seasonal worker is relevant for determining whether an employer is an applicable large employer subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions.

Posted in NEWS

June 2nd, 2016 by Oscar

If you are a small employer, there is a tax credit that can put money in your pocket. The small business health care tax credit benefits employers that offer coverage through the small business health options program, also known as the SHOP marketplace; have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees; pay an average wage of less than $50,000 a year and pay at least half of employee health insurance premiums

Here are five facts about this credit:

  1. The maximum credit is 50 percent of premiums paid for small business employers and 35 percent of premiums paid for small tax-exempt employers.
  2. To be eligible for the credit, you must pay premiums on behalf of employees enrolled in a qualified health plan offered through a Small Business Health Options Program Marketplace, or qualify for an exception to this requirement.
  3. The credit is available to eligible employers for two consecutive taxable years beginning in 2014 or later. You may be able to amend prior year tax returns to claim the credit for tax years 2010 through 2013 in addition to claiming this credit for those two consecutive years.
  4. You can carry the credit back or forward to other tax years if you do not owe tax during the year.
  5. You may get both a credit and a deduction for employee premium payments. Since the amount of your health insurance premium payments will be more than the total credit, if you are eligible, you can still claim a business expense deduction for the premiums in excess of the credit.

Posted in NEWS

May 5th, 2016 by Oscar

Business Structure. One of the first things you need to decide is the type of structure for your business. The most common types are sole proprietor, partnership or corporation. You may have employees or rent space to someone who is self-employed.

Report Tip Income. All tips you receive are taxable income. If you have employees who receive $20 or more in cash tips in any one month, they must report them to you. You must withhold federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes on the reported tips.

Business Expenses. You can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses that you pay to run your business. An ordinary expense is a common and accepted cost for that type of business. A necessary expense is a cost that is proper for that business. For example, cosmetologists are often required to get a license or pay for a permit or certification.

Estimated Tax. If you are self-employed you may need to make estimated tax payments each year. If you do not pay enough tax during the year, you may owe a penalty. Use Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals to figure the tax.

Depreciation of Assets. You can deduct the cost of some assets over a number of years. For example, if you buy equipment and furniture, you should depreciate the cost of those items since you will normally use them for more than one year.

Keeping Records. Everyone in business must keep records. You must have good records to support the income, expenses and credits that you report. Good records can help you keep track of your business. They can also increase the likelihood of business success.

Posted in NEWS