Tag Archives: taxes

Tax Season Tips to Avoid Scammers and Robocalls

Photo Courtesy: (c) Carlos David / stock.Adobe.com

By Statepoint

It’s tax season. The time of year when phone scammers get particularly aggressive trying to trick you out of your hard-earned money. And scam calls and robocalls are a growing problem for everyone. Here are a few tricks to help you dodge scammers and give you peace of mind.

Know the Signs

Scam call technology is always changing, so it’s important to stay vigilant against scammers’ attempts to get you to answer your phone. Every year, they make millions off innocent victims with new techniques. Their latest method, known as number-spoofing technology, could fool even the savviest consumers into answering the phone. Number-spoofing makes a scammer’s number appear as either a familiar number with a local area code or even come up on Caller ID as the “IRS.” If you don’t answer, they may also leave “urgent” callback voicemails via robocalls. Recognizing these tactics can help you stay safe. If you suspect a call (or a voicemail) is a scam, hang up. If you want to be sure, don’t call back the number provided but instead, look up your local IRS Customer Service number on the Internet and call the IRS directly.

Use Protection Tools

Check out what technology your wireless company offers that can protect you from scam and spoof calls. For example, T-Mobile offers free scam and spoofing protection for customers with Scam ID and Scam Block. These tools are made available to all postpaid customers and live on the T-Mobile network, so no app is required. As soon as a call reaches the network, it’s analyzed and if it’s scam, the incoming call is tagged as Scam Likely. If customers want to stop scam calls completely, they can turn on Scam Block. With these tools in place, in the last two years, T-Mobile has alerted customers to over 10 billion Scam Likely calls. And in 2019, T-Mobile reports warning customers of 225 million Scam Likely calls each week. Others wireless providers usually also offer customers app solutions to help identify scam calls for a small monthly fee. Check with your provider to see what is available.

New standards from the Federal Communications Commission, called STIR/SHAKEN, are also helping protect consumers. T-Mobile’s implementation of STIR/SHAKEN, Caller Verified, lets you know when a call made on the T-Mobile network is authentic and not intercepted by scammers and spammers. Once other wireless providers implement STIR/SHAKEN, Caller Verified will work on calls made across networks.

Know Your Rights

While scam-blocking technology can help you filter out scam and spoof calls, it’s also important to know your rights. Many of these calls use intimidation tactics to scare consumers into divulging sensitive information over the phone. The IRS website notes that they will always make attempts to reach you via postal mail first and they will never ask you for a specific form of payment. You should know that you always have the right to formally contest the amount owed, and the IRS will not make threats against you or your family regarding arrest or deportation. If you have any elderly or susceptible family members, talk to them about how to avoid such scams and consider setting them up with the latest technology to help them stay safe.

This tax season, be wary about the calls that you receive. With up-to-date information and new technology, you can protect your pocketbook from scammers.

Tips for a Smooth Tax Season

Photo by: Sarah Pflug

By Statepoint

Though Tax Day happens every year, it still seems to take many Americans by surprise. This year, don’t miss the deadline or let this crucial to-do loom large over your head.

To have a smooth tax season, consider the following:

• Getting Started Early: If you can, get a head start on your taxes. Filing early is a good tactic for anyone, but particularly those with evolving or complex financial circumstances Not only will doing so help you prevent the anxiety that comes with procrastination, you’ll receive your refund early — if you’re due one — or give yourself time to prepare to pay any owed taxes.

• Relying on Old Tricks: When it comes to tax preparation, sometimes, using old-school methods is the best way to go. Whether you are just getting started on crunching those numbers or you’re finalizing all the information, a printing calculator like Casio’s HR-170RC includes features that can aid in tax preparation and submission. This model also has some newer tools, like a built-in tax feature that lets you store a frequently-used rate and pull it up at-will, slicing your calculation times by an impressive margin. Other functions include: a reprint key, a check function to scroll up to 150 steps of previous calculations, a grand total function for quick correction of mis-entries, currency exchange calculations and cost/sell/margin calculations.

• Doing Research: The list of what is tax deductible is more extensive than you might realize, so do your research. Keeping good records throughout the year of your expenditures can help you take advantage of these opportunities.

• Having a Refund Plan: Don’t just let your checking account absorb your tax refund only to spend it on an impulse buy. Whether you invest the money in your retirement, sock it safely away for a rainy day or put it towards the purchase of a big-ticket item, such as the down payment of a house, having a plan for your tax refund can help you make the most of the money.

This year, have a fuss-free tax season. With a little planning, you can file your taxes efficiently, without headache and at the greatest benefit to your finances.

Tax Time

Pastor Dennis Morales of Calvary Chapel Eastvale

By Pastor Dennis Morales

“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth…” Luke 2:1-5

I ran across a quote that read “IRS auditor to taxpayer, as nurse prepares a syringe: “She is going to numb the area around your wallet.”  In most cases, when we hear the word tax, our minds do go to our wallets.   It was no accident that Dr. Luke mentioned the name of Caesar Augustus. This man signed a tax bill that the whole world (of that day) be taxed. He needed money to raise an army to control his vast empire and to live in luxury himself. 

It was prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem of the house and lineage of King David (Micah 5:2) 700 years before.  Mary and Joseph resided in Nazareth.  At the very time for Mary to give birth, all were summoned to the house of their ancestry for the census (Luke 2:1-5).  All who were of the lineage of David were to visit Bethlehem.  Both Mary and Joseph are of the lineage of David, so both had to go to Bethlehem.

Precisely according to Bible prophecy, and God’s sovereignty, Mary gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem (Matthew 1:21-23, Isaiah 7:14 prophesied 800 years before). Such an event rooted deeply in prophesy and is proven that man could not orchestrate something of this magnitude. 

Joy came to the world in miraculous fashion.  This was a taxation time in history where we look back at the and its forever linked to our hearts, not our wallet.  God orchestrated when the Messiah, Jesus, was to be born into this world to save mankind from sin and instill hope forever into all who believe.  He did this for you.   

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets at Clara Barton Elementary in Eastvale.  Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10:30am.  Wednesdays at 7pm.   Celebrate Christmas with us on December 23.

A Tax in California Has Actually Been Lowered?

By City of Eastvale

A Project of Taxpayer Advocate Diane L. Harkey

Did you resolve to pay lower taxes in 2017? Effective Jan. 1, 2017, the sales and use tax rate dropped in California one-quarter of 1 percent, from 7.50 percent to 7.25 percent. The lower tax rate is good news for consumers and the result of the partial expiration of Proposition 30, a 2012 initiative that sought higher income and sales taxes.

Shoppers in some cities may pay more than 7.25 percent because of local sales taxes higher than the state rate. To find your rate, visit this page.

You can look up sales and use tax rates by city here.

If you bought something before Jan. 1 and need to return it, the store must provide you with a refund for the old tax rate. And if you bought something before Jan. 1 that wasn’t delivered until after the New Year, the old tax rate remains applicable. Retailers should adjust their operations to charge the current 7.25 percent sales tax starting January 1, 2017,  unless a higher sales tax is present in their area.

A retailer who continues to charge and collect the higher statewide sales and use tax after January 1, 2017, must either refund the excess tax collected to their customer or pay the excess tax to the Board of Equalization (BOE). If the excess tax collected has been paid to the BOE, the retailer may request a refund on behalf of their customer by completing form BOE-101, Claim for Refund or Credit.

For merchandise delivered after January 1, 2017, the applicable sales and use tax rate is the rate that is in effect at the time the sale occurs. Generally, the sale occurs when the merchandise is delivered to the customer, unless the sales contract specifically states that title to the merchandise passes to the customer prior to delivery.

With returned merchandise, the customer should be refunded the amount of tax at the rate that was charged and collected from the customer at the time of the original sale.

If you have other ideas on how we can lower taxes or make business easier in California, please email me directly at diane.harkey@boe.ca.gov. As your taxpayer advocate it is my number one priority to serve you and make California a golden state!


California’s Hidden Gas Tax Coming 2015



California – Apparently there is a hidden Gas Tax coming our way, as soon as Jan. 1, 2015, and efforts to change the effect this will have on Californians by Senate Republican Leader, Bob Huff – and others – have been ignored.

“I am very much opposed to California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) decision to bring gas, diesel and natural gas under the cap-and-trade provision of AB 32. The gasoline and diesel fuel hikes coming in January 2015 will hurt everyone, especially lower income families, widening the income inequality gap and making life much harder for those who can least afford it. Currently, one in four Californians live in poverty – the highest rate in the nation – and families are still struggling to recover from the great recession,” said Senator Huff (representing California’s 29th District) in his October 2014 “Huff Headlines” newsletter.

On August 22, Senate Republicans sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro-Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), urging their support for any of three options to prevent or delay a significant cost increase on gasoline, diesel and natural gas in California by as much as 76 cents a gallon on Jan. 1, 2015.

According to Huff, suggested options were ignored. Senate Bill 1079 by Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) would have exempted gasoline, diesel, and natural gas from the state’s cap-and-trade program, thereby stopping the hidden gas tax. SB 1079 was not allowed a hearing by the Democratic majority.

A second option was to support AB 69 by Assembly member, Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno), which was amended to delay putting fuels under the cap-and-trade program until Jan. 1, 2018, with bipartisan support. It died in the Senate Rules Committee.

The 3rd option was for Gov. Brown to exercise his executive authority to direct CARB to exclude the fuels from the cap-and-trade program. Usually a tax is associated with some spending plan, and one can only assume (according to Huff) that the governor may want to spend the new taxes on his “high speed train to nowhere.”

Every citizen against the gas hikes must let their views be known now. Contact the governor by letter or phone, as follows: Governor Jerry Brown, c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA, 95814; Phone (916) 445-2841; or Fax (916) 558-3160.