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SoeFin

Welcome to the Team

Welcome to our new intern, Eric Nguyen! With a fine finance educational background, Eric will be assisting in the SoeFin mission to provide excellent service to all our clients.

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SoeFin Taxes

Seminar: Tax Planning For the Self-Employed

Thanks to all you awesome folks who attended! Extra special thanks to the folks at Futures Explored for hosting 🙂

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General

Latest Covid Assistance Dollars Means Scammers Are Working Overtime

Now that Congress has passed a last-minute Covid-19 relief bill, folks will start receiving assistance funds. And that means scammers are primed and ready to take as much of those funds as they can. Here’s an excellent article by Megan Leonhardt at CNBC that outlines the most common scammer tactics:


5 common stimulus check scams experts are warning consumers to watch for

by Megan Leonhardt @MEGAN_LEONHARDT

Americans lost over $211 million to Covid-19 scams and stimulus payment fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Since January, the agency has received over 275,600 complaints. 

While fraud activity is down from the highs recorded earlier in the year, it will likely pick back up now that President Donald Trump has signed the $900 billion pandemic relief package, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. 

That’s because the legislation includes provisions for a second round of stimulus payments, up to $600 per individual, including dependent children under age 17, if you’re an individual who earned less than $75,000 ($150,000 for those married filing jointly) in 2019. Stimulus payments start to phase out if you earned more than that, stopping completely for those with adjusted gross incomes of $87,000 or more ($174,000 for married couples). 

The IRS is expected to initiate direct deposits of stimulus payments before Thursday and send out paper checks and debit cards by Jan. 15. And while Trump signed the relief package slightly later than expected, a senior official told CNBC on Monday that the payments will go out on the same timeline. 

Yet the lingering uncertainty surrounding the second round of stimulus payments creates the “the perfect storm for fraudsters trying to make a dishonest dollar,” says Ashley Moody, Florida’s attorney general. On Monday, Moody’s office put out a notice cautioning the public about the increased potential for scams. 

“Scammers are always looking for new opportunities, like the passage of another round of federal stimulus, to rip off consumers,” Moody says. 

Here are five common red flags that experts say could signal a stimulus check scam. 

1. Unsolicited calls or emails

Spoofing technology has made it easier than ever for scammers to impersonate anyone, including government agencies. In order to protect yourself, most experts recommend that consumers avoid picking up any calls from unfamiliar phone numbers — let them roll into voicemail for further scrutiny.

“I’d be very wary of any inbound emails or phone calls that are supposedly from the IRS, Treasury Department, a state unemployment benefits agency, etc.,” says Ted Rossman, a credit industry analyst with CreditCards.com. If you do get a call or message that you think is from a government agency, initiate a separate means of communication, Rossman says. For instance, call the agency back at a number you trust or is listed on their official site, rather than replying directly to a call or email. 

If you do answer a call, and it’s about your stimulus payment, keep in mind that U.S. government agencies won’t ask you to pay anything up front to receive your funds. “Anyone who does is a scammer,” writes Jennifer Leach, associate director for the FTC’s division of consumer and business education. 

Additionally, government agencies “won’t call, text, email, or contact you on social media to ask for your Social Security, bank account or credit card number,” Leach says. Again, if you receive messages asking for this information, it’s likely a scam.

Read the full article here:

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/29/stimulus-check-scams-here-are-red-flags-to-watch-for.html

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Budgeting Covid Financial Literacy Retirement

Pandemic Economic Pain Hits Women Harder

Too many Americans are struggling with the economic impact of Covid-19. This on top of the pre-existing social conditions that negatively impact women, is making things even grimmer for their retirement, as is explored in this New York Times article.


Unequal job losses now will translate into smaller nest eggs and Social Security benefits down the road.

By Mark Miller

During the first months of the pandemic, Leah Tyrrell found that she could pull off a balancing act: working in sales for a San Diego clothing maker and caring for her three young daughters at home. Her hours had been reduced, and working remotely in the morning left her time to be with the children the rest of the day.

“At the time, I thought I could tackle it,” Ms. Tyrrell said.That changed in Augustwhen her employer started asking people to return full time. Her company was flexible, but something had to give — and since her husband was bringing home a bigger paycheck, she quit work to help her girls, ages 9, 8 and 5, with online school.

“It was a very tough decision, but we just decided that, especially having a third child in kindergarten on the computer, I would need to sit and guide her through what the teacher was talking about,” she said.

Retirement is still on the distant horizon for Ms. Tyrrell, 43, but she hopes the long-term damage to her nest egg will be minimal. She participated in her company 401(k) plan, which had a matching contribution, and aims to resume saving when she goes back to work after the pandemic recedes.

“When I do go back, I hope it will be with a company that provides a match, but I’ll definitely lose at least a year of any kind of savings,” she said.

The hit to her retirement resources — and to those of other women in her shoes — could be considerably deeper.

Policy experts have long acknowledged a gender gap in retirement security. Women tend to earn less than men, and they are more likely to take time off from work to care for children or elderly parents. Even brief career interruptions diminish wage growth, retirement savings and Social Security benefits, which are determined by wage history. Women also tend to outlive men, needing to stretch resources over more years. In particular, they face higher health care expenses in retirement. 

Read the full article here:

www.nytimes.com/2020/12/11/business/women-retirement-covid-social-security.html

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General

2020 Annual Strategic Planning Meeting

Our first Annual Strategic Planning meeting is in the books!

The team took off for 3 days and met in the beautiful Gold Hills country in the Sierra foothills. It was a LOT of hard work, but 100% worth it. Afterwards, we relaxed and took in some of the beautiful countryside.

It’s going to be a great year!

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General

Covid-19 Vaccine Approved

The FDA has approved a covid vaccine for emergency use. Please continue to socially distance, wash hands often, and wear masks around others. This pandemic is no joke.

FDA NEWS RELEASE

FDA Takes Key Action in Fight Against COVID-19 By Issuing Emergency Use Authorization for First COVID-19 Vaccine

Action Follows Thorough Evaluation of Available Safety, Effectiveness, and Manufacturing Quality Information by FDA Career Scientists, Input from Independent Experts

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorization (EUA) for a vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 16 years of age and older. The emergency use authorization allows the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S.

“The FDA’s authorization for emergency use of the first COVID-19 vaccine is a significant milestone in battling this devastating pandemic that has affected so many families in the United States and around the world,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “Today’s action follows an open and transparent review process that included input from independent scientific and public health experts and a thorough evaluation by the agency’s career scientists to ensure this vaccine met FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization. The tireless work to develop a new vaccine to prevent this novel, serious, and life-threatening disease in an expedited timeframe after its emergence is a true testament to scientific innovation and public-private collaboration worldwide.” 

[…more..]

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Read the full FDA statement here: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-takes-key-action-fight-against-covid-19-issuing-emergency-use-authorization-first-covid-19

Categories
Identity Theft Security

Protect Yourself From Phishing Identity Theft Scams

Identity theft via phishing has grown steadily in the last few years, and has now exploded due to the pandemic restrictions and the rise of online interactions.

Phishing was previously defined as: “the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers”.

However, phishing scams have become far more sophisticated than simple emails, and now are deployed more along the lines of clever social engineering and complex subterfuge. Phishing attempts can involve not just email, but phone calls, texts, social media interaction, or any combination of those.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to protect yourself from phishing, and the security experts at Kaspersky Labs have put together a thorough primer to help you out. Stay alert, and stay safe!


Phishing Prevention Tips

by Kaspersky Labs

Phishing prevention has become essential as more criminals turn towards online scams to steal your personal information. We’ve learned to dodge spam emails, but phishing emails can look deceivingly credible. Some are even personalized specifically for you. Since you will likely be exposed to a phishing attack eventually, you’ll need to know the red flags. Because scams are nothing new on the web, but phishing is harder to spot than you might think.

Across the web, phishing attacks have baited unsuspecting victims into handing over bank info, social security numbers, and more. Plus, cybercriminals have become even savvier with their disguises. Sometimes these scams hide behind voices you know and trust, like your coworkers, your bank, or even your government. If you so much as click a link, you could be the scammer’s next victim.

As we dive into how to prevent phishing, we’ll answer some important questions:

  • What is phishing?
  • Am I at risk of being a phishing target?
  • What types of phishing scams exist?
  • How do I spot a phishing scam?
  • What is phishing email?
  • What do I do once I’ve identified a phishing email?
  • What should I do to avoid being a victim of phishing?

What is Phishing?

Phishing persuades you to take an action which gives a scammer access to your device, accounts, or personal information. By pretending to be a person or organization you trust, they can more easily infect you with malware or steal your credit card information.

In other words, these social engineering schemes “bait” you with trust to get your valuable information. This could be anything from a social media login, to your entire identity via your social security number.

These schemes may urge you to open an attachment, follow a link, fill out a form, or reply with personal info. By that logic, you must be on guard at all times which can be exhausting.

The most common scenario is as follows: …[more]

Read the full article here:

https://usa.kaspersky.com/resource-center/preemptive-safety/phishing-prevention-tips

Categories
SoeFin

Welcome to the Team

We’re pleased to welcome aboard our new intern, Jessica DaSilva!

Jessica started off her academic career at Sacramento City College, studying accounting and computer science with a double-major in Business and Mathematics and earning her Associates degree in Business Administration.

Currently a third-year student at Sacramento State University, Jessica is studying to earn her Bachelors in Financial Planning, and she plans to earn at least two prestigious professional certifications that complement her undergraduate education and her future career: the Certified Financial Planner® and Enrolled Agent credentials.

Jessica’s purpose in working in the field of Financial Planning is to learn how to better educate others and help them to improve their long-term financial wellbeing, an invaluable modern asset.

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Covid General SoeFin

Meet with us safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

Video Meetings Are Now Standard!

Until more definitive science is known about his terrible COVID-19 pandemic, Soesbe Financial is meeting with clients remotely only. We are pleased to offer secure video conferencing via our robust business video application; all clients need is a computer with a webcam and internet access.

Once restrictions are eased, we will offer in-person meetings once again, in addition to our now-standard video meetings. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please call us directly at 916-587-5100.

Categories
Covid Taxes

State By State Guide To Tax Deadlines For Filing & Payments During COVID-19

Forbes has put together an excellent guide to state-by-state tax filing and payment deadlines. We encourage all our Soesbe Financial clients, as well as the general taxpaying population, to file their taxes sooner rather than later, to ensure that any refunds you are owed can be disbursed in a timely manner.


Your Guide To State Tax Deadlines For Filing Returns & Making Estimated Payments During COVID-19

by Kelly Phillips Erb Senior Contributor Taxes

(Updated: June 12, 2020)

On March 20, 2020, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin extended the tax filing and payment deadline for federal income tax to July 15, 2020. This relief includes estimated payments for the first and second quarters. You can find more information and guidance here.

Some states have also extended filing and payment deadlines – but not all of them are extended to July 15, 2020. Additionally, not all state filing extensions apply to estimated payments (you’ll see the information about estimated payments in bold below). Here’s what we know so far:

Alabama: For taxpayers affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), the due date for filing state income tax, FIET, and BPT returns and making state income tax, FIET, and BPT payments due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, is postponed to July 15, 2020. Extension payments and Estimate payments due on April 15, 2020, have been postponed to July 15, 2020. However, the Order does not include estimated payments due after April 15, 2020. For example, a calendar year taxpayer’s second-quarter payment is still due June 15, 2020.

Alaska: Alaska does not have a personal income tax.

Arizona: The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) announced it has moved the deadline for filing and paying state income taxes from April 15 to July 15, 2020. This includes individual, corporate, and fiduciary tax returns. Taxpayers who need more time beyond the July 15 deadline to file state income taxes should consider filing for an extension. Arizona’s delay in filing and paying state income taxes does not include an extension to pay estimated tax payments.

Arkansas: Governor Hutchinson announced the state deadline to file and pay individual income taxes has been extended to July 15, matching the federal extension. Arkansas did not extend the 2020 estimated tax payments. 

California: FTB has postponed until July 15, the filing and payment deadlines for all individuals and business entities for 2019 tax returns, 2019 tax return payments, 2020 LLC taxes and fees, and 2020 Non-wage withholding payments. California has also extended 2020 1st and 2nd quarter estimate payments to July 15.

Colorado: The income tax payment deadline has been extended for all Colorado taxpayers to July 15, 2020. All income tax returns that were required to be filed by April 15, 2020, are granted a six-month extension and are due on or before October 15, 2020. EO D 2020 010 grants an extension of time to pay until July 15, 2020, for any estimated payment due between April 15, 2020, and June 15, 2020, without penalty.

Read the full article here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2020/06/10/your-guide-to-state-tax-deadlines-for-filing-returns–making-estimated-payments-during-covid-19/#2c324e2c33c9