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Payments to Employees Affected by the Local Fires

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During these tragic times businesses may want to help employees affected by the local fires.  The purpose of the following information is to highlight some tax efficient opportunities to help employees affected by the local fires which were declared a qualified disaster by President Trump.  IRC section 139 allow employers to provide qualified disaster relief payments to employees that have incurred unreimbursed expenses due to a qualified disaster (such as the local fires) and have those payments excluded from the employees gross income and included as deductible expense for the business making the payment.   For the payments to be considered qualified disaster relief payments, they should be for either items i. or ii. below, but only to the extent not already covered by insurance.

  1. Reasonable and necessary personal, family, living, or funeral expenses incurred as a result of a disaster. This would include expenses related to loss of use.
  2. Reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for the repair or rehabilitation of a personal residence or repair or replacement of its contents to the extent that the need for such repair, rehabilitation, or replacement is attributable to a qualified disaster.

Other items to point out:

To maximize the tax benefit of these payments, take steps to ensure that payments to employees are for expenses that not covered by insurance.  For example, reimburse deductibles and expenses specifically excluded from insurance coverage first.  Then consider other items that may require further correspondence with insurance adjusters.

Due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding a qualified disaster, it is anticipated that individuals will not be required to account for actual expenses provided they are reasonable and commensurate with the expenses incurred.  As such, use your own judgment […]

By |October 19th, 2017|business, Community, disaster, relief, tax|0 Comments

Tax Relief for Victims of California Wildfires

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As the local fires near containment and our community looks to band together in the rebuilding process, we wanted to send out a brief update the IRS released today providing an overview of the tax relief and extensions they are offering. We will continue to put out pertinent information as it becomes available. Over the next 24 hours, we will also provide a detailed guide related to tax relief for victims of the fires. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email your Linkenheimer CPA.

The IRS has provided tax relief for the victims of wildfires affecting parts of California. Currently, the IRS is providing relief to seven California counties: Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma, and Yuba. The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occur starting on 10/8/17. Affected individuals and businesses now have until 1/31/18 to file returns and pay any taxes that are originally due during the relief period. This includes quarterly estimated tax payments, extended 2016 income tax returns, and quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. The IRS noted that tax payments related to 2016 individual tax returns were originally due on 4/18/17, and therefore, not eligible for this relief. The relief is automatically available to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Therefore, the taxpayer does not need to contact the IRS to get this relief. Firefighters and aid workers assisting in the relief efforts that are affiliated with a recognized organization and live outside the disaster area also may qualify for the relief by contacting the IRS.

By |October 18th, 2017|Community, disaster, irs, relief|0 Comments

Fire Recovery Business Resources and Comprehensive List of Links for Those Needing Help

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With the fires still burning and information scattered in various spots, we wanted to try and provide our clients, friends and family a comprehensive list of resources that can be shared and referenced easily. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you affected by this horrible disaster. We will continue to post new info as we get it and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Stay Safe.

Staying up to date or needing help:

For life-threatening emergencies, dial 911.

The County of Sonoma has county-wide information including shelters, evacuation areas and clinics.

The City of Santa Rosa has information specific to the Santa Rosa area including shelters and evacuation areas.

Please refer to local media such as KSRO.com (1350-AM or 103.5-FM), KZST.com (101.1-FM) or PressDemocrat.com.

Nixle keeps you up-to-date with relevant information from your local public safety departments. Sonoma County Sheriffs Office updates. Santa Rosa Police Department updates. To receive text updates and alerts, text your ZIP code to 888-777.

Cal Fire Updates

California Office of Emergency Services

Sonoma County Fire Info is an aggregator of information that includes a number of resources.

Missing persons or check in as safe:

Check in or search registrants at the Red Cross’ Safe & Well site.

Check in on Facebook on the crisis response page.

File a missing persons report by calling 707-565-3856.

Fire Recovery Business Resources

If you […]

By |October 13th, 2017|Community, disaster, relief|0 Comments

IRS Gives Tax Relief to Victims of California Wildfires; Extension Filers Have Until Jan. 31 to File

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The following information is from the IRS:

Victims of wildfires ravaging parts of California now have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

This includes an additional filing extension for taxpayers with valid extensions that run out this coming Monday, Oct. 16.

Currently, the IRS is providing relief to seven California counties: Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma and Yuba. Individuals and businesses in these localities, as well as firefighters and relief workers who live elsewhere, qualify for the extension. The agency will continue to closely monitor this disaster and may provide other relief to these and other affected localities.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Oct. 8, 2017. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file returns and pay any taxes originally due during this period.

This includes the Jan. 16, 2018 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments. For individual tax filers, it also includes 2016 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until Oct. 16, 2017. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2016 returns were originally due on April 18, 2017, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected, including the Oct. 31 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. Calendar-year tax-exempt organizations whose 2016 extensions run out on Nov. 15, 2017 also qualify for the extra time.

In addition, the IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due after Oct. 8 and before Oct. 23, if […]

By |October 13th, 2017|Community, disaster, irs, relief|0 Comments

Resources for Evacuees and Those Affected by the Fires

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FREE FOOD / WATER:
• Amy’s Drive Thru in Rohnert Park: offering free meals to those evacuated. If you choose to pay for a evacuees meal, 100% of that money will be donated to help in the aids effort. (10/10/17 3:30pm)
• Nopalito (10/10/17): offering free burritos from 11-3 (1905 Bodega Ave)
• McGuires is offering free food
• Mystic Theatre/McNears (10/10/17): Serving Breakfast 9-11, Serving Lunch-soup and sandwiches from 12-3, Serving Dinner from 5-8. They can deliver or make meals to go. Contact them directly at 707-765-2121
• Sauced BBQ Restaurant (10/10/17): Serving free food from 9-4, offering place to rest and view TV
• Sweet Zone (10/10/17): Offering free Gelato
• Quinua Restaurant (10/10/17): Offering free lunch
• Lagunitas, Tap Room (10/10/17): Giving away free water- bring containers and they will fill them
• Amy’s in RP is offering FREE food today- limited menu. All money donated there will be given to families in need.
• The Drawing Board (10/10/17): Offering food delivery to those in need, plus a special menu for firefighters and victims.

FREE WIFI / COMPUTERS:
• Comcast (10/10/17) FREE Internet/Comcast/Xfinity: Removed restrictions and opened their WiFi hotspots for all to use through Fri. 10/13 Log in as “Guest”.
• Copperfield’s Books Petaluma: Free wifi, allows dogs, water, stickers & crayons for children
• Mystic Theatre/McNears/The Roaring Donkey (10/10/17): Offering laptops for fire victims to use if they need to get a hold of their financial institutions or family. Ask for Sierra Bradley.
• Roaring Donkey has laptops set up and wifi and chargers for people, as needed.

FREE HEALTH / WELLNESS:
• Petaluma Swim Center (10/10/17): Offering showers 8:30-10:30 am and 3:00-5:30 pm today. (Soap, Shampoo and Towels provided)
• Synergy Health Club (10/10/17): Offering free showers plus […]

By |October 13th, 2017|disaster, relief|0 Comments

Tax And Disaster Info For Those Affected By The Fires

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Linkenheimer has been an active part of our Sonoma County community for over 85 years. And like most of you, we have all been profoundly affected by these horrific fires that have swept through our community and continue to affect those that live here. We have lost houses and entire neighborhoods, friends and families have been displaced and like many of you, we are still reeling from the ongoing damage the fires have created. We want to express our utmost condolences to all of our friends, families and clients who have lost something in this disaster. And we want you to know, we will be working side by side with you all during this difficult time to rebuild our community. With power, utilities and cell phone coverage being scarce, we want to try and provide as much information as we can in one post, so that it can be shared effectively with those desperately in need of information and reassurance.

As some of you know, the October 15th tax deadline is near. We have spoken with the IRS regarding extension relief for our clients. Due to our office being located in a disaster area we will be getting some additional time from the IRS to file – not sure yet as to the length, but we’d anticipate another month.  As of now, FEMA has declared the fires as disaster areas, but the IRS will likely not have them declared as Federal tax disaster areas for a week or so.  Apparently it can take awhile (Hurricane Nate has still not been updated in their system either, which happened last week), but given that FEMA has made […]

By |October 11th, 2017|Community, disaster, irs, relief|0 Comments

Equifax Data Breach- What You Should Know

The Equifax data breach, which is estimated to have impacted 143 million Americans – nearly half the US population – is considered one of largest data breaches in history. So there is a good chance you or someone you know will be impacted by it. While hackers and scammers have been targeting innocent consumers for decades, this data breach will only complicate matters. But there are steps you can take which should allow you to rest a little easier.

  1. First, you need to determine if any of your information was exposed or has been manipulated. You can do this by entering your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number at Equifax’s website. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by the data breach. Side note- people have reported that one day it will tell them they aren’t affected, but when they try again later they are, so it would be worthwhile to try it a few times to make sure they provide consistent info.
  2. Whether or not you were exposed, Equifax has set up a free one-year monitoring service called “TrustID Premier” which you can sign up for. TrustID Premier provides: three – bureau credit file monitoring and automated alerts of key changes to your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit files, a copy of your Equifax credit report, allows you to prevent access to your Equifax credit report by 3rd parties with certain exceptions, searches suspicious web sites for your Social Security number, and provides up to $1 million in ID theft insurance.  You’ll need to sign up by November 1, 2017 to get this free service.
  3. In addition to the above, you can […]
By |October 6th, 2017|fraud, irs|0 Comments

Beware of Fake Charity Scams Relating to Hurricane Harvey

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WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today issued a warning about possible fake charity scams emerging due to Hurricane Harvey and encouraged taxpayers to seek out recognized charitable groups for their donations.

While there has been an enormous wave of support across the country for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, people should be aware of criminals who look to take advantage of this generosity by impersonating charities to get money or private information from well-meaning taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person solicitations.

Criminals often send emails that steer recipients to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes. These sites frequently mimic the sites of, or use names similar to, legitimate charities, or claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities in order to persuade people to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources.

IRS.gov has the tools people need to quickly and easily check the status of charitable organizations.

The IRS cautions people wishing to make disaster-related charitable donations to avoid scam artists by following these tips:

  • Be sure to donate to recognized charities.
  • Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. The IRS website at IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, through which people may find qualified charities; donations to these charities may be tax-deductible.
  • Don’t give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — […]
By |August 31st, 2017|irs|0 Comments

Tips for Tax Payers Traveling for Charity

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During the summer, some taxpayers may travel because of their involvement with a qualified charity. These traveling taxpayers may be able to lower their taxes.

Here are some tax tips for taxpayers to use when deducting charity-related travel expenses:

  • Qualified Charities.  For a taxpayer to deduct costs, they must volunteer for a qualified charity. Most groups must apply to the IRS to become qualified. Churches and governments are generally qualified, and do not need to apply to the IRS. A taxpayer should ask the group about its status before they donate. Taxpayers can also use the Select Check tool on IRS.gov to check a group’s status.
  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses.  A taxpayer may be able to deduct some of their costs including travel. These out-of-pocket expenses must be necessary while the taxpayer is away from home. All costs must be:
    • Unreimbursed,
    • Directly connected with the services,
    • Expenses the taxpayer had only because of the services the taxpayer gave, and
    • Not personal, living or family expenses.
  • Genuine and Substantial Duty.  The charity work the taxpayer is involved with has to be real and substantial throughout the trip. The taxpayer can’t deduct expenses if they only have nominal duties or do not have any duties for significant parts of the trip.
  • Value of Time or Service.  A taxpayer can’t deduct the value of their time or services that they give to charity. This includes income lost while the taxpayer serves as an unpaid volunteer for a qualified charity.
  • Travel Expenses a Taxpayer Can Deduct.  The types of expenses a taxpayer may be able to deduct include:
    • Air, rail and bus transportation,
    • Car expenses,
    • Lodging costs,
    • Cost of meals, and
    • Taxi or other transportation costs between the airport or station and their hotel.
  • Travel Expenses a […]
By |July 28th, 2017|charity, deduction, tax|0 Comments

Congratulations to Carli Ortiz for AICPA Standing Ovation Award

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Congratulation to Linkenheimer Partner Carli Ortiz for being honored as 1 of 16 CPAs under 40 for their contributions to personal financial planning. See the ACIPA press release below for more info:

LAS VEGAS (June 13, 2017) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) today honored 16 CPAs under the age of 40 for their contributions to personal financial planning with the second annual Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Standing Ovation. The recipients were honored at the AICPA’s Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference in Las Vegas, part of AICPA ENGAGE.

“The AICPA is pleased to recognize each of these honorees for their contributions to personal financial planning,” said Andrea Millar, CPA/PFS, AICPA’s Director of Personal Financial Planning. “Each of these young PFS credential holders has gone beyond providing excellent client services to earn this honor. Their work underscores the contribution CPAs are able to make in the field of financial planning at an early age.”

Some examples of the contributions this group of CPAs has made to the profession include streamlining processes to provide a better client experience, developing software to help manage the practice, providing financial literacy workshops in their communities and volunteering financial planning services in their local areas.

Personal financial planning is a growing field, which affords CPA financial planners a wealth of opportunity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of personal financial advisors to grow 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The job outlook is driven by an aging population with higher life expectancies.

Recipients of the second annual Standing Ovation recognition in personal financial planning are noted on the PFP Section website and during a general session at the Advanced […]

By |July 11th, 2017|award, planning|0 Comments