Friday, May 29, 2015
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’
* Tax pros – have you seen the new post at THE TAX PROFESSIONAL yet? Why not? Please review and answer the questions I raise in the post. And please tell your fellow tax preparers about THE TAX PROFESSIONAL.
* And check out this week’s post at BOB’S BABBLINGS.
* Oi vey! TAXPRO TODAY REPORTS “IRS Detects Massive Data Breach in 'Get Transcript' Application” (highlight is mine) -
“The Internal Revenue Service warned of a huge data breach of its online Get Transcript application that allowed the tax returns of approximately 104,000 taxpayers to be accessed by identity thieves.”
“The IRS said it would provide free credit monitoring services for the approximately 100,000 taxpayers whose accounts were accessed. In total, the IRS has identified 200,000 total attempts to access data and will be notifying all of these taxpayers about the incident.”
* Russ Fox of TAXABLE TALK avoids actually saying “I told you so” in his post on the subject (“IRS ‘Get Transcript’ Application Hacked; 104,000 Tax Returns Illegally Accessed”).
Over a year ago Russ posted this about the “Get Transcript” application –
“This is anything but a secure system. (I have sent a request to TIGTA noting the weakness of the system and requesting that they audit it. If TIGTA audits this, it’s unlikely we will hear anything for many months–probably not until 2015.)”
In his current post Russ tells us –
“Last year TIGTA responded to my request and stated that there were no issues with “Get Transcript.” I suspect they’ve changed their mind on that.”
* William Perez tells us “What Can We Do Differently in Light of the IRS Data Breach” at ABOUT.COM.
One of the suggestions in the post concerns another problem - the ongoing telephone scam, with thieves posing as IRS agents (the highlight is his) –
“If you get a call from an IRS agent, hang up.”
To repeat what I, and my fellow bloggers, have been telling you for the past few years – the IRS will never initiate contact via the telephone.
* Before we leave this issue – the IRS has published a Q+A Page on the Get Transcript FU – click here.
* “With Apologies to Dear Amy” (Amy? What about Abby? Showing my age.) Julian Block provides a Q+A on tax issues involving joint and separately filed returns of married couples in a post titled “Tax Advice for Couples with Marital Problems – Part 1” at ACCOUNTING WEB.
* Some good advice from Daniel Goldstein at MARKET WATCH - “Don’t Pay Anybody to ‘Accelerate’ your Mortgage Payment” –
“You can shave years of payments off your mortgage just by paying your mortgage on a bi-weekly basis instead of just once a month. Just don’t let anybody offer to ‘help’ you with your bi-weekly plan for a fee, and don’t use a software program designed to ‘time’ your payments to minimize interest.”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a lawsuit against companies who use false advertising and claims to scam up to $1,200 from mortgage holders for doing something that they can do on their own for free. According to the CFPB -
“All consumers can also achieve the same interest savings promised by the (programs) on their own, simply by making an extra principal payment, in the amount of their monthly mortgage payment, annually to their mortgage lender or servicer.”