Randolph Law Firm, P.C.

Las Vegas Tax Law Blog

Companies: what to do if your W-2 data has been hacked

Recently, hackers have been trying a new tactic to steal people’s identities: they’re targeting company payroll departments. There have been a string of phishing emails sent to employees in a company’s human resources or payroll departments, which appear to come from a high-level executive within the firm. The email requests employees’ W-2 information. If the employee receiving such an email sends the information, then the hacker can use the social security information in the W-2s to file fraudulent tax returns for many unsuspecting victims.

It is important to beware of any requests to send sensitive information by email. If you receive such an email, contact the person who appears to have sent it to verify authenticity of the request. In the event that your information has already been compromised, here are some steps you should take immediately:

New phone scam from IRS employee impersonators

A new scam has been making the rounds recently. Hackers posing as IRS employees are trying to steal your private information. Be on the look-out to avoid getting conned.

The scam is carried out like this: a person calls pretending to be an IRS employee. They will typically provide a fake name and a phony IRS badge number. They will also hack your caller ID to make it appear as though their call is coming from the IRS. If you don’t answer the phone, they may leave a voicemail with an urgent request for you to call them back.

Beware of tax relief companies that make promises they can't keep

No one wants to pay taxes, let alone owe them to the Internal Revenue Service. The obligation to pay taxes often even survives bankruptcy, which can make you search for a way to deal with them once and for all.

You may have seen advertisements for tax relief companies that claim to have helped "thousands of people" just like you. They claim they can stop tax garnishments, property seizures and levies while relieving you of the need to make monthly payments to the IRS. They also claim to be able to reduce the amount of taxes you owe. The problem is that many of these claims are false and take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers. Don't be one of them.

FAQs: the impacts of declaring bankruptcy

Whether to declare bankruptcy--and which type of bankruptcy to declare--is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. We have previously provided some resources on the main distinctions between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Today, we will answer some frequently asked questions surrounding the bankruptcy process and its outcome.

Will declaring bankruptcy affect my credit?

How to prepare for retirement when you’re self-employed

If you’re a permanent employee, all of the benefits your employer provides may go largely unnoticed. However, if you’ve recently made the transition from being an employee to being your own boss, the safety net you once took for granted is now conspicuously absent. Your employer-sponsored healthcare is out the window, your Social Security and Medicare contributions are no longer managed for you and your 401(k) is now a thing of the past.

In our last post, we provided financial planning strategies for paying self-employment taxes. This week, we’ll discuss how a self-employed person can plan for their retirement.

I’m self employed. How much will I pay in taxes?

Independent contractors have been increasingly taking the place of permanent employees in many companies across the United States. While working independently may afford you certain freedoms not typically associated with a permanent job, it also poses additional challenges that you would have skipped by receiving a W-2. If you’re approaching the end of the year worried about how much you’ll be on the hook for in 2018, we’re here to help break it down for you.

How much should I set aside?

Understanding when and how to take itemized deductions

When you file your taxes, you’re allowed to take a tax deduction. This is an amount that you can subtract from your annual income to determine your amount of taxable income. A tax deduction, therefore, reduces the total amount you owe the IRS.

You have two options regarding your tax deduction: you can take the standard deduction, or you can choose to itemize your deductions. When you itemize, you add up all of your qualifying expenses incurred over the year and subtract this number from your income. Below is a non-exhaustive list of common expenses you can itemize:

The IRS intends to seize your home. What can you do?

For whatever reason, you ended up in a position where you owe money to the Internal Revenue Service. You may know the agency has a reputation for aggressively pursuing taxpayers who don't pay their taxes.

This leaves you in a precarious position. The IRS may have already put a federal tax lien on your house. Now, you've received a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to A Hearing. Since you may believe that your only real asset is your home, you may be afraid that you could lose it.

When small business owners fail to pay their taxes

Owning a small business is not for the faint of heart. At times, it can be a challenging, financially unstable experience. If your business is struggling and you’re faced with competing bills, it could be tempting to pay off your suppliers ahead of the IRS in order to keep your company afloat. However, postponing payment of your taxes can lead to more devastating consequences than you may realize.

When you fail to pay your taxes on time, the IRS sends you a Notice and Demand for Payment. If you receive this bill in the mail, consider it your final warning before you face any serious penalties. If you pay this bill by the deadline shown, you’re off the hook.

One simple way to reduce your risk of tax refund fraud

We’ve been talking about it a lot recently. It’s peppering the news almost daily. The Equifax breach earlier this year turned it from a problem into an outright crisis. The IRS and other government organizations have been working overtime to combat this constant threat and empower Americans to keep themselves secure. We’re talking, of course, about identity theft.

Perhaps, in the wake of the cyber-hack that brought half of all Americans to their knees, you’ve taken proactive steps to protect yourself. You’ve gone through the training. You’ve learned how to recognize phishing emails. You’re suspicious of any phone calls claiming to come from organizations you didn’t personally solicit. You know how to create strong passwords, and you use unique passwords for every online account. You’ve enabled firewall and anti-virus protections on your computer, and you’ve ensured that they update automatically.

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