Fahrvergnugen

Every once in awhile, some knucklehead in a position of power at one of the world’s biggest businesses does something so incredibly stupid, you wonder how they can remember to put their shoes on before they head to work in the morning. Bernie Madoff did it for decades by running a classic Ponzi scheme out of his New York office. The folks who ran Enron did it for years when they lied about their earnings. And right now in West Virginia, the former CEO of Massey Energy is on trial for covering up safety violations that led to the deaths of 29 coal miners. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Volkswagen became the latest corporate villain when they came clean about selling 11 million cars with a secret feature they didn’t advertise on the window sticker. Along with leather-trimmed seats, German-engineered sport suspensions, and fancy navigation systems, buyers who chose a “Type EA 189” diesel engine also took delivery of a “defeat device,” buried deep in the car’s software, designed explicitly to cheat emissions tests. Researchers from the International Council on Clean Transportation discovered that the cars were emitting up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide than allowed.

Naturally, environmental regulators are up in arms. VW’s CEO has resigned, the company’s stock has tanked, and the carmaker is looking at up to $18 billion in fines in the United States alone. But the devices apparently did more than just cheat pollution monitors. It looks like they also cheated the IRS. Uh oh.

Here’s how it worked. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gave taxpayers credits for buying certain alternative fuel vehicles, including lean-burn vehicles running on diesel fuel. Manufacturers have to swear on a stack of bibles that their cars meet the standards to earn the credits, which naturally make them more attractive to buyers. For 2009, VW pinky-swore that their Jetta 2.0L TDI sedan and Jetta 2.0L TDI SportWagen models qualified for a $1,300 credit. 39,500 people bought those cars, making the total tax fraud $51 million.

On October 6, Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch and Ranking Member Ron Wyden sent VW a letter posing a blunt question: “Did Volkswagen make false or misleading assertions in any of the materials submitted to, or communications made to, the U.S. government regarding eligibility of Volkswagen vehicles for the lean-burn technology motor vehicle credit?” They letter also requested any marketing material alerting buyers to possible tax credits for their cars.

VW has until October 30 to reply. It’s unlikely that buyers will have to repay credits — they didn’t do anything wrong, and VW’s pockets are deeper anyway. Sure, VW will recall as many of the vehicles as they can. (Of course, some of those buyers will prefer the performance they get from the dishonest engines.) So the tax offense will probably get rolled up in whatever settlement VW winds up negotiating with the government. The company has put aside $7 billion to handle the fallout. Sure hope that’s enough!

You’d like to think the boneheads who decided to cheat the emissions tests at least worried about the civil and criminal risks they were taking. But smart money would bet they didn’t consider the tax consequences, either. While that wasn’t their biggest mistake, it’s still likely to push the ultimate cost of the scandal even higher. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan that helps you anticipate the tax costs of everything you do. So call us for your plan and avoid running off the road!

Let us help you pay as little in tax as you legally can! Not one cent more. We want to be your Virtual CFO. Call today 502-454-2755

 

 

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Yogi Berra on Taxes | Michelle Musacchio | LinkedIn

Yogi Berra on Taxes

Michelle Musacchio

Principal at Fit Money CPA

Yogi Berra on Taxes

Last month, one of the most truly American lives came to an end at age 90. Baseball legend Lawrence “Yogi” Berra was a superstar both on and off the field. As a player, he won 10 World Series rings and made the All-Star team 18 times in 19 seasons. He was American League MVP five times and won election to the Hall of Fame in 1972. Off the field, he managed and coached the New York Yankees, New York Mets, and Houston Astros.

Yogi Berra was more than just a baseball legend. Many people are surprised to learn that he served on a Navy rocket boat and stormed Omaha beach on D-Day. He endowed the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center and Yogi Berra Stadium at New Jersey’s Montclair State University. He even opened a bowling alley with former teammate Phil Rizzuto.

But when you think of Yogi, you think of Yogi-isms — those pithy one-liners that leave you simultaneously befuddled and enlightened. And as we looked over some of the quotes that inspired The Economist to name him the “Wisest Fool of the Past 50 Years,” we were struck by how many of them he could have uttered in a parallel universe as Yogi Berra, tax planner. Consider these:

  • “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Fighting the IRS can take a long time, long enough to make 16 or 18 scoreless innings fly by in comparison. If you get audited and wind up behind the count with a deficiency notice, you can appeal it within the IRS. Then, depending on the specifics, you can take it to the Tax Court, appeal a decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and even take it to the Supreme Court. The whole process can take years.
  • “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Some of your most important tax-planning calls require you to weigh uncertain future alternatives. Are you better off with a traditional 401k (where you deduct your contributions today and pay tax at unknown future rates on your withdrawals) or a Roth 401k (where you pay tax on your contributions today and avoid an unknown future rate on your withdrawals)? Choose right and save big. Choose poorly and pay for it!
  • “You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t go to yours.” Clearly Yogi was anticipating estate tax here. He would have been disappointed to learn the IRS never attends a funeral, even if they plan on stripping millions from the guest of honor!
  • “We made too many wrong mistakes.” Lots of our clients come to us after making expensive mistakes that cost them thousands. Fortunately, good tax planning can correct those mistakes and stop the bleeding. Sometimes we can even “turn back the clock” and recover past overpayments!
  • “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” This one’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Yogi must have said it after he saw how much the IRS took out of his last paycheck!

Finally, who can forget, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it”? Tax planning is full of forks in the road. Cash or accrual? C-corp or S-corp? Medical expense reimbursement plan or HSA? As Yogi says, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you may never get there.” So call us for the plan you need if you don’t want April 15 to feel like deja vu all over again!

Let us help you pay as little in tax as you legally can! Not one cent more. We want to be your Virtual CFO. Call today 502-454-2755

Yogi Berra on Taxes | Michelle Musacchio | LinkedIn

Warning from The Kentucky Secretary of State & FitMoneyCPA.com

Businesses receiving forms from group called Division of Corporate Services

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — Kentucky businesses are being warned to be on the lookout for an official-looking “2015 Annual Minutes Form” they may receive from an entity called Division of Corporate Services. Division of Corporate Services is not registered, affiliated or associated with the Secretary of State’s office.

Several Kentucky businesses have
reported receiving the form, which instructs recipients to provide information regarding shareholders, corporate directors and officers and pay a $150 fee. Similar solicitations have been sent in previous years to businesses in Kentucky and other states.

“Businesses should exercise caution before providing information or payment to any entity that makes misleading claims or requests, like Division of Corporate Service has done here,” Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said. “I encourage anyone with questions about their official business filing obligations to contact my office directly.”

Grimes recently issued a warning about a similar business scam entitled “Notice of Potential Compliance Violation” that many Kentucky entities received from Business Compliance Division. That Notice prompted businesses to pay $70 to apply for a Certificate of Existence. However, an official certificate of existence is available from the Secretary of State’s office for a fee of only $10.

If you receive one of these letters or ANY correspondence you are unfamiliar with please feel free to contact us, we are here to help year round

Let us help you pay as little in tax as you legally can! Not one cent more. We want to be your Virtual CFO. Call your Louisville CPA today 502-454-2755

Fit Money CPA Announces NEW IRS Tax Problem Representation Service for Louisville Residents!

Immediate Release Re: Fit Money CPA Announces NEW IRS Tax Problem Representation Service for Louisville Residents!

IRS Problems are a very personal type of problem and people often do not know where to turn for help. IRS Problems generally affects all aspects of your life. Many people just live with the problem for months and sometimes years, assuming that nothing can be done about it. Imagine how relieved you or someone you know who has IRS Problems would feel if you could just put him/her in the hands of a competent expert who deals with the IRS on a daily basis and who really cares about helping people. A person who would give them the peace of mind they and their family deserve so they can stop looking over their shoulder once and for all, knowing that they do not need to meet or communicate with the IRS any longer. As your representative we handle all IRS communications on your behalf.

It’s easy for good, hard-working Americans to fall behind. Providing IRS Tax help to (your local area) was a natural evolution for us at JS&B, LLC. Our compassionate team wants to help people like you. I have come across many people who have tried to handle their IRS situation themselves (or with their current CPA or person who prepared their taxes) but didn’t receive the relief they were seeking. The professionals on our staff know the “ins and outs” of the tax system and can negotiate a personalized solution for you.

My firm now handles IRS representation services which include: Preparation of Unfiled Income Tax Returns, Penalty Reduction, Offers in Compromise, Payment Plans, Financial Hardship Plans, Wage Garnishment/Bank Levy Releases, Audits and IRS Appeals.

We are committed to helping you resolve your tax problems. Tax liens and levies can derail your business and wreak havoc on your personal life. Our tax experts can help you with IRS representation, IRS liens and levies, Intent to levy notices, penalty abatements, release of bank levies, wage garnishments, innocent spouse relief, installment agreements as well as with offer in compromise arrangements.

We’ll listen to your IRS difficulties in our office in complete confidence at NO CHARGE. We’ll answer your questions, explain your options and suggest solutions and provide you with a written estimate of our fees to permanently resolve your IRS difficulties.

Sincerely,

Michelle M. Musacchio, MT, CPA

mmusacchio@fitmoneycpa.com

(502) 454-2755

http://www.fitmoneycpa.com

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P.S. If you or someone you know has an IRS Problem and needs immediate help call 502-454-2755 to schedule a Free Consultation. Call now, the IRS acts fast when they think you have their money!

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2015: A Tax Odyssey

Kepler-452b

On July 23, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, the first potentially Earth-like planet within the “habitable zone” of a star like our Sun. Kepler-452b is 1,400 light-years away, meaning the New Horizons space probe that just passed Pluto should get there in another 26 million years. (Mom, are we there yet?) It’s 60% bigger than Earth, with a “better than even chance” of having a rocky composition, and takes 385 of our days to orbit its sun. Reporters instantly dubbed the planet “Earth 2.0,” and scientists from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute have already begun targeting it for signs of intelligent life.

Ironically, at the same time, officials in Washington are searching for signs of intelligence in the tax code. (So far, they’re not doing any better than the astronomers at NASA.) So we got to wondering . . . is there any way that our search for extraterrestrial life might help us out of our current budget jam? In plainer terms, can we tax it?

Let’s start closest to home. Our own astronauts are subject to U.S. tax on all of their worldwide income, regardless of where they live. (They get an automatic two-month extension to file if they’re outside the U.S. on April 15. We’d assume “off the planet” counts.) Astronauts pay regular tax on their salaries, which range from $64,724 to $141,715 per year. So, while our astronauts might escape earth’s gravity, there’s no escaping the IRS. On the brighter side, they also get a tax-free “dwarf” per diem for their time on the space station. (Seriously. Former astronaut Clayton Anderson reported he had $172 in his account after 152 days in the International Space Station.)

Further outside Earth’s orbit, asteroid mining might lead to some nice new tax gains. Our home planet is running out of key elements like phosphorus, antimony, zinc, tin, lead, silver, and gold. So companies like Planetary Resources are working to expand Earth’s dwindling resource base by mining asteroids. While their “cost of goods sold” will be higher than for comparable land-based minerals, the profit will be taxed as ordinary income at rates up to 35%. That’s a pretty sweet deal for the IRS, considering the asteroid miners just find this stuff drifting out in space.

The real tax jackpot comes when extraterrestrials join us here on Earth. U.S. resident aliens — presumably including space aliens — are generally taxed the same way as U.S. citizens, which means their worldwide income is subject to U.S. tax. While we don’t know anything about the economy on Kepler-452b, it’s safe to assume that a civilization advanced enough to travel 1,400 light years has created high amounts of material wealth — and as sure as the sun rises in the east, our federal, state, and local governments won’t hesitate to ask for their cut. (While we’re at it, when E.T. phones home, the telephone excise tax alone has to be pretty phenomenal.)

Finally, there’s one unsettling possibility we can’t ignore. What if we do find intelligent life somewhere out there, and they don’t like us? Famed physicist Stephen Hawking suggests we’re safer notwaving too hard to attract alien attention, simply because if they can find us and reach us, they can probably destroy us, too. “If aliens ever visit us,” Hawking says, “I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the American Indians.” If that’s the case, the only tax worth collecting will be the estate tax — if there’s anyone left to collect it!

Our friends at the IRS may be yearning to boldly tax where no man has taxed before. But they can’t ever count on it, which means squeezing more and more revenue out of us here on Earth. The best way to beat them, without fleeing the planet, is a plan. So count on us to give you the “right stuff” — and remember, we’re here for your friends, family, and capsule-mates, too!

Let us help you pay as little in tax as you legally can! Not one cent more. We want to be your Virtual CFO. Call your Louisville CPA today 502-454-2755

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Fit Money CPA | Kentucky CPA | Louisville Tax Prep, Accounting, Payroll, Consulting Services

Keeping Your Finances in Top Shape

Most small business owners and individuals know that accounting, taxes and business management issues can be complex, especially if they’ve been neglected for a time. Just as it is with keeping in physical shape, keeping your finances in top shape is much easier when you have a trainer.At Fit Money CPA, we are dedicated to helping you, your family and/or your business develop a sound financial strategy that will take the pain out of tax and accounting, and help you build a strong financial future.

We offer many services and use the latest technology so that we can partner to help you take a more strategic and proactive approach to achieving your financial goals. Consider our full line of services:

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