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So You Filed Your Taxes. Now What?

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Friday, May 6, 2016


After filing your taxes there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for next year’s filing, protect yourself from scammers and even ease worry about a potential audit. This may include storing documents where you can easily find them, protecting your personal financial information from thieves and being ready should you be selected for an audit. 

•    Hold on to your tax documents. Save copies of your return as well as all of the receipts and other documents you use to prepare your taxes. Keep the documents in a safe and accessible location. You may be asked to produce documents to back up your return. Having all of the information organized and accessible will make it easier for you to validate your return should the IRS come calling. It is a good rule of thumb to retain your tax records for six (6) years. While you may not need all of your tax documents for that long, it is better to have them available should you need them.

•    Keep your documents safe. Whether you file online or use a professional you must keep your personal information safe. Tax returns are a goldmine for identity thieves. Never store sensitive information on public computers or transmit financial information through unsecured WiFi. 

•    Watch for signs of identity theft. Your tax information may be at risk of falling into the wrong hand at no fault of your own. Scammers have been targeting human resources and payroll professionals. Scammers have requested W-2s by email using spoofing to pose as company executives. Click here to learn more about this scam. If you believe you may be the victim of identity theft and you have an IDShield membership call (800) 806-3991. If you do not have an IDShield membership visit to learn more.

•    Beware of phony audit or IRS correspondence. If you receive a phone call at home or work from someone claiming to be an IRS official collecting a debt do not make a payment or provide them with your personal information. Scammers pose as IRS officials and use severe threats to convince victims to make immediate payment or to provider personal financial information. The IRS will not contact you by phone, email or in person for an audit or to collect back taxes. Legitimate communication from the IRS will come via postal mail. Do not respond to, open or click on any links in emails claiming to be from the IRS. If you believe you may owe back taxes you should contact the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 or the Canada Revenue Agency at 800-959-8281.

•    Be ready if you are audited. Only a small percentage of tax payers will ever face an audit, but the threat alone is enough to make many worry. Often, you will simply be asked to clarify a particular portion of your return rather than face a full audit. If you are audited, your LegalShield family plan offers audit legal services starting with your tax return due on April 15th of your first membership year. This includes an attorney at your initial audit meeting and if necessary an attorney to represent you further at the preferred member rate. If you receive notice of an audit, call your LegalShield provider law firm right away.

•    Improve the process for next year. If getting your documents together to file and figuring out deductions was difficult this year, learn from those challenges. Is there a better way to track expenses or file receipts? Figure out how to improve the process so you don’t face the same headaches next year.



Tags:  bookkeeping  identity protection  identity theft  IRS  legal competency  tax planning  tax strategy  taxes 

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Steps to Reduce Fraud in Your Small Business

Posted By Lance Martin, Ledger Solutions LLC, Friday, September 4, 2015

Fraud can cost a business more than money.  It can damage relationships with customers and vendors and at its worst it can lead to bankruptcy.  While there is no fool proof method for eliminating fraud completely there are some things a small business can do to help reduce the risk of fraud.

Employee Background Checks

Before hiring any new employee (especially employees that have access to cash and bank accounts) you should perform a background check.  A credit check is also recommended for employees that will handle the accounting functions of a business.  Employees that can’t handle their own personal finances won’t be good at handling the finances of your business so be careful in who you hire.

Have Someone Oversee or Review Their Work

Accountants and bookkeepers of small businesses should not have independence in their position.  Ideally, you will want to limit their roles when they have access to cash and/or check stock.  The person making the deposits should not be the one reconciling the bank account. The person entering the bills and cutting the checks should not be the one signing the checks. Business owners with a few employees who don’t have the time or expertise to oversee the accounting functions should hire an independent accountant to review their work and to reconcile the bank accounts.  When an employee is held accountable and knows someone is checking their work they will think twice about taking advantage of you.

Implement Best Practices

Deposits should be made daily and reconciled to customer invoices or daily sales receipts. Check stock should be locked in a safe place with limited access.  Never use a signature stamp on checks and never sign blank checks for use when you’re out of the office.  Always get a Form W-9 from your vendors before paying them.  Review invoices for accuracy and review your vendor list on a regular basis for new vendors.  Double check phone numbers and addresses of new customers and vendors.  Conduct an internet search to see if a new business customer or vendor is registered to do business in your state.

Do you need someone to review your accounting functions and to help with best practices? Ledger Solutions of Tucson is an accounting firm that specializes in accounting and bookkeeping for small businesses like yours. You can reach us by phone at (520) 618-5390 or by requesting information through our website.

Tags:  accountants  BOOKKEEPING  business owners  Small Business 

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