To those of us who fear IRS and the possibility of a tax audit, it sounded like good news. In March, the IRTS commissioner, John A Koskinen, told his employees that because of budget cuts, the agency had to do less with less.  The outcome is not what it seems. Those who do get caught in the IRS net may be in for a terrible time and lose some of the rights set out in last year' taxpayer bill of rights.

Examiners for the IRS are giving taxpayers and their accountants much less time to respond to certain audit letters. There is not way to know how many audits are being done more quickly. My company represents taxpayers who are facing audits, and since last fall we have found that many of them have been hit with the speeded up timetable.. An initial request for an appointment is followed quickly - in some instances, on the same day- with a follow up letter that states that the requested information has not been received.  The second letter threatens the loss of the right to appeal within the IRS forcing the recipient to go into the court system to resolve the case The letter are in a language that is mystifying for the average citizen.  If you do not provide the information requested on the enclosed Form 4564 or contact me ti confirm you have no additional information to provide by the response due date, we will close your examination based on the information based on the information ew have now. If you do not agree, you will not be able to appeal within the IRS  If  the letters are not taken seriously and dealt with within the prescribed time frame of 15 to 25 days, the consequences may be dire. that is far less than he 45 to 75 days that taxpayers used to have before they received a notice of deficiency.. Once the notice is issued  the audit case is in the jurisdiction of the United States Tax Court

In other words, I could return home from a vacation or stay in the hospital to dind not only that I am being audited, but that my audit has already been closed and sent to the notice of deficiency unit. At this point I will have two choices: I can either pay the bill or file a petition with the tax court. I will soon find out that it too late to hire an enrolled agent or accountant to help defend me against the IRS Once the case is in the  court system, my representative has to be a lawyer or tax court practitioner. These changes mean a much longer audit process for the tax payer and more work for every one.

​Taxpayer rights will be eroded as long as Congrss keeps adding duties reducing staff and cutting funding


The IRS sent letters to taxpayers this summer who were issued a Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Market Statement, showing that advance payments of the premium tax credit were paid on the taxpayer's behalf in 2014. At the time, the IRS had no record that the taxpayer filed a 2014 tax return.

Here are nine facts about the letters and actions you should take

  1. IRS letter 5591,5591A,or 5596 remind you of the importance of filing your 2014 federal tax return along with Form 8962, Premium  Tax Credit
  2. You must file a tax return to reconcile any advance credit payments you received in 2014 and to maintain your eligibility for future premium assistance
  3. If you do not file,  you will not be eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2016
  4. Even if you do not usually file or if you requested an extension to Oct 15, you should file as soon as possible.
  5. Until you file a 2014 tax return to resolve the issue with your Marketplace, you will not be eligible to get advance payments of the premium tax credit to help pay your health coverage premiums in 2016 from the Marketplace
  6. You should have received a Form 1095-A Health Insurance Marketplace Statement earlier this year if you or a family member purchased health insurance coverage through the Marketplace in 2014. This form provides the information you need  to complete Form 8962. You must attach Form 89+62 to the income tax return you file
  7. Contact your Marketplace if you have questions about your Form 1095-A
  8. If you have recently filed your 2014 tax return with Form 8962, you do not need to file another tax return or call the IRS about these letters. In general if you filed your tax return electronically it takes three weeks before it is processed and your information is available. If you mailed your tax return it takes about six weeks.
  9. You should follow the instructions on any additional IRS you receive to help the IRS verify information to process your return

In addition to these letter from the IRS, your health insurance company may contact you to remind you to file your 2014 federal tax return along with Form 8962. In some cases, they may contact you even if you did not receive advance credit payments in 2014 If you are not otherwise required to file a tax return, you do not have to file a return if you or anyone on your return did not receive advance credit payments in 2014


Facebook's new ad service to charge only after full scroll from top to bottom of the ad. The new service called "100 percent in view impressions" will include tax, photo, link and video ads, the company said in a blog post on thursday Facebook also said it was partnering with Moat, an ad analytics company which would verify video ad metrics on to give advertisers details on the performance of their video campaigns.


Microsoft Corp on Monday invited members of the media to an Oct ^ briefing on devices running Windows 10. Microsoft is expected to announce a flagship Windows phone that is has promised before the end of the year. The launch carries high stakes for CEO Satya Nadella, as the company has struggled to compete in the mobile market.

A new function in Windows 10 dubbed Continuum, allows users to shift from device to device while running a single application. 

The invitation follows Apple's event last week rolling out new iPhones  It is also possible that Microsoft will unveil details about a new Surface. Sales of the tablet-laptop hybrid have quietly risen since the first shaky rollout years ago led to a $900 million write down


Victims of identity theft get a bit of good news from the Service. Free credit monitoring and other protection services are not taxable to them. Businesses and government agencies, including the IRS often offer these service at not cost to customers and employees whose personal data may ave been breached because of a computer hack or other incident Tax Pros asked IRS to issue guidance that the value of these free credit protection services is not taxable to the recipient and need not be reported on 1099s or w-2s and the agency responded favorably

The Service will eliminate automatic extensions for filing W-2s. Currently, employers are able to get one automatic 30 day extension of the March 31 due dtae to file W-2s with IRS and can also request an extra 30 days Beginning with W-2s filed in 2017. IRS will grant only one 30-day extension in a limited set of circumstance, such as a natural disaster, or fire that destroyed the taxpayer's books and records. These rules will also eventually apply to certain information returns, including 1099s 1098s and the new health care returns for reporting employee medical coverage. IRS believes this willhelp its efforts to tackle stolen- identity refund fraud. 

The Service is in more hot water with lawmakers now that it is announced that the cyber attack affected more taxpayers than first reported. This past May the agency said the tax information o 100,000 or so filers was stolen, it now says 220,000 additional folks may have been victimized by this breach 


Global concerns may shrink Wall's third quarter estimates. Slowing growth in emerging markets and currency fluctuations in anticipation of a US interest rate hike may push third quarter revenue and earning estimates lower this month. Wall St expects a 3.4 percent decline in earnings for the S&P 500 for the quarter. Estimates have already fallen for 9 out of 10 benchmark index's sectors  so far this year according to analysts.

Analysts will likely be pulling in their reins going into the quartely reports and the pre-announcement season. This could happen fairly quickly The dollar index, measuring the green back against a basket of major currencies, has risen .8 percent so far this quarter after falling 2.9% last quarter.  The currency's strength hurts the competitiveness of US exports against local products overseas and imports here, resulting in shrinking revenue and earnings for US multinationals. In addition, demand is likely slower in many overseas markets with slowing growth in China and recessions in Brazil and Russia hurting both revenue and earnings.

US telecommunications which is mostly insulated from global markets, is the only S&P sector that has shown improving estimates for both third-quarter earnings and revenue With crude oil prices falling sharply, the energy sector is faring the worst., with current expectations for a 62% earnings decline and a 33% revenue drop Analysts expect the materials sector to report a 11.8% earning decline due to falling commodities prices and 10.4% revenue drop The see earnings for industrials which have big overseas exposure falling 4.9% and revenue falling 5%

Many investors hope the equity market becomes less volatile after August's sharp swings. Earnings weakness could make jittery market participants question valuations all over again


The movement to boycott Israeli products and companies is gaining steam. A slew of prominent firms, foundations and other organizations now say that they will no longer buy from or inbst in businesses operating in Israel. Their goal: Force Jerusalem to end its occupation of the West Bank and other contested policies. The economic hit to Israel could be substantial, losses of up to $10 billion per year in spending in the worst case Any real pain would not be felt for years. 

A sweeping Asia-Pacific trade pact will be in place by the end of the year.  Expect the Senate to clear the way next week, giving the president power to negotiate the deal and leaving Congress to vote up or down but not change it.

The House approved the so called fast track bill despite very little support from Democrats who stood up to their president and blocked earlier attempts  The outcome will widen the split between President Obama and liberals. 

Passage of the trade bills will mark a significant defeat for labor unions, which had been big backers of Obama's agenda and his two successful campaigns. Defeat would have left many Asian allies doubting the US commitment to both economic vitality and security of a region now dominated by China 




Apple launched a broadside Wednesday against wireless phone companies, saying it will for the first time finance iPhone sales directly to customers without requiring them to be tied to any particular carriers. The offer revealed along with a new line of products, marks a sharp turn in the relationship between Apple, which needs to sell tens of millions of new phones each year, and such wireless giants as AT&T and Verizon  which rely on the iPhone to attract customers to their cellar plans

Apple will offer a monthly fee of $32.41 over 24 months for its cheapest iPhone model under the new program, announced wednesday ath the latest iPhone launch. The deal allows customers to getg a new device each year, as well as select their carrier with each upgrade


Coming soon: Super think flexible batteries to power a a range of electronics. A foldable, origami-design lets makers print batteries in thin layers that bend or stretch , ideal for integrating into watchbands, clothing fabric etc That will allow more battery life for gear such as smart watches and fitness trackers. which run out of charge quickly, often in only a day in the case of smart watches. the cost of making flexible batteries is high now, but it will fall as production rises. Makers of health care devices stand to gain the most from the new batteries. Small wearable health monitors will be much more useful then they can last longer.

Also poised for big growth: Augmented reality eyewear, goggles or glasses that overlay digital images onto what the wearer is viewing. For instance, a mechanic working on an engine might call up a schematic to help with a repair. The industries that figure to be early adopter: Health care, oil and gas, architecture and engineering. Many firms are readying augmented reality devices . Giants such as Microsoft are joining smaller eyewear vendors such as Atheer Labs, Magic Leap and NGrain. The cheapest goggles run about $1,000 now but les sexpensive versions are coming



Africa's economic future is brightening, now that the Ebola scare is receding and the global economy is revving up a bit . As a whole, Africa's economy will see growth rise 4.5% this year and a brisk 5% in 2016, from a 3.9% rate in 2014. Ethiopia and Uganda will set the pace in East Africa, while Nigeria will lead in the west. Other standouts include Egypt, Tunisia, Rwanda, Mauritius and Ivory Coast

Industries showing the biggest potential for expansion: Agriculture Farming accounts fro about 25% of Africa's GDP, with plenty of room to grow. Africa is home to most of the world's remaining virgin farmland, and farm yields could double or triple with the right investment. Corn, cocoa and coffee are already substantial export crops.

Infrastructure Spending on ports, roads, housing and wider electric service figures to fuel growth as investors rush to cash in on filling such basic needs Services An expanding middle class in many parts of the African continent will increase demand for a variety of services from tech and telecom to banking 

Europe is looking to rev up its digital economy. European Union officials are working on a plan to reduce the red tape that inhibits European Internet start ups and holds back e-commerce across the EU's 28 different online markets. Currently, just 15% of Europeans shop online at firms based n EU nations other than their own. Officials think more web commerce also bodes well for American Internet Firms which see more demand for online services as Europe's digital business grows.

One of the few groups that stand to gain from the chaos in Iraq: The Kurds, who are proving their mettle as fighters in the war against Islamic State militants, unlike the regular Iraqi military. The Kurdistan Regional Government in the north has held its own against ISIS with little help from Bagdad and is staking out borders for what could be a future independent Kurdistan, one with some very rich oil fields. Expect calls for a full fledged Kurdish state to get londer. Arming the Kurds is an increasingly popular idea in Congress, where faith in a unified Iraq is slipping






Coca-Cola ws notified by the IRS that it owes $3.3 billion more in federal taxes. as well as interest, for 2007 to 2009.

The Atlanta - based company said in a regulatory filing  that it believes the  assessment's from the Internal Revenue Service are without merit and plans to pursue  all administrative  and judicial remedies necessary to resolve the matter. The company says the disagreement if over how much it should report as taxable income in the US in relation with licensing that allows it foreign affiliates to sell products overseas. It is a tax issue that comes up frequently for multinational companies said Robert Willens. president of tax accounting consultancy in New York. He said companies tend to charge their foreign subsidiaries low licensing fees as a way to shift reportable income from the US, where corporate taxes are higher


The American Jobs Creation Act created a 9% federal income tax deduction for so called domestic production activities. The write off phased in between 2005 & 2010, was 3% for tax years 2005 & 2006, 6% for years 2007,2008,2009 and the full 9% for years beginning in 2010 and beyond. Now this it is fully phased in , the deduction is virtually equivalent to a 3% federal income tax rate cut for qualifying domestic production activities. The deduction is not limited to C Corporations, even though the write off is often described in the media as a corporate tax goodie. In fact, this new break is available to S Corps, partnerships, LLCs and sole proprietorships

General Electric Co mad good on months of threats by announcing Tuesday plans to begin moving US jobs abroad, marking an escalation in the battle between US corporations and congressional Republicans over the now dormant US Export Bank The company's announcement that it would transfer 500 jobs, while a tiny fraction of GE's 136,000 US workers, advances a long running drama over the bank that has divided Republicans ans sent tremors of unease through the corporate sector

For months companies have warned they faced the loss of overseas contracts after congressional Republicans who have singled  the agency out as an example of corporate welfare and allowed the bank's charter to lapse in July.

GE said tuesday it would transfer the 500 jobs mainly to Europe over the nest year to field competitive bids for turbines and other industrial equipment with financing from foreign export credit agencies. The job losses will come from facilities in Texas, South Carolina, New York and Maine

Sen Bernie, whose liberal call to actin has propelled his long-shot presidential campaign, is proposing an array of new programs that would amount to the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history

In all, he backs at least $18 trillion  in new spending over a decade, according to a bally by the Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats  pause. Mr Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class. His agenda includes an estimated $15 trillion for a government run health-care program that covers every American plus large sums to rebuild roads and bridges, expand Social Security and make tuition free at public colleges. To pay for it Mr Sanders has so far detailed tax increases that could bring in as much as $6.5 trillion over 10 years. A campaign aide said additional tax proposals woud be offered to offset the cost of some and possible all of health program



Apple Inc said its latest iPhones are on pace to exceed last year's first weekend sales of 10 million units, citing exceptionally strong initial orders. Buyers were able to begin ordering the new phones - the iPhone 6 Plus on saturday. The phones will start shipping Sept 25. Apple is on pace to surpass the initial weekend sales from last year when it released the first set pf large screen iPhones. One major boost to this year's figures is China. Apple's second biggest market, which was included among the countries where customers can place advance orders. Last year Apple did not begin selling its latest iPhones in China until October, a month after the phones were generally available.


No large scale recovery for oil prices next year. After tumbling this year, US benchmark crude will remain relatively inexpensive because of strong output that will more than keep pace with global demand.  Prices are certain to stay volatile, but look for the average price for 2016 to end up[ between $45 and $55 per barrel That  is up only slightly from the roughly $44 per barrel that US crude fetches today and a far cry from the $100 or so per barrel that oil has traded at in recent years Cheap oil means motor fuel prices will stay fairly low. For 20165 as a whole, regular unleaded gasoline will average about $2.40 per gallon nationwide. For diesel, figure on a national average of about $2.50 per gallon once 2016 is over and done with. Prices of both will be cheapest early in 2016 before climbing a bit in early spring. Both gas and diesel averaged well over $3 per gallon during the past several years.

Natural gas an increase of 3% over 2015 and eletricity a 2% rise.

Low energy prices spell more moderate hikes in shipping rates next year. Trucking up 1% to 2% as less expensive diesel fuel helps carriers to off set the higher compensation they will be shelling out to lure and keep good drivers.

Rail rates around 2% in light of waning demand for railcars to carry coal and natural gas. US demand for coal is down and more  gas is routed via pipelines. Ocean shipping flat, China's slowdown is tamping down demand for ships on  the Pacific Ocean, but with a silver lining Less congestion at West Coast ports. Airfares will edge up just 1.5% thanks to low fuel prices and fees for checking bags, upgrading seats, changing flights, etc will stay largely as.

Budget for another 5% increase in hotel costs. Best bets for getting a deal are with midscale poroerites such as Marriott Courtyard and Hilton Garden Inn. Car rental rates up 2% on average, Restaurant meals about 3% more. Modest increases are on tap for office, warehouse and retail space. Up about 2.5% for offices, on average, though you will pay more in tight markets, for retail and warehouse space, figure on an increase of 3% to 2.5% for each.


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The number of credit cards held by Americans is on the rise.  For banks, issuing more cards and raising account limits are helping to offset pressure from low interest rates and the rising costs of complying with government regulations. the number of cars rose to 314 million in the first quarter of 2015 and will grow.  Having more cards does not mean folks are running up debt more quickly. Outstanding balances as a share of disposable income remain near historic lows, suggesting Americans are better able to pay debts and less willing to carry balances. Banks are approving more subprime cards for people with credit scores under 640 but the overall credit picture suggests improving personal finances. The number of credit scores about 800 is up while the number of scores under 550 is falling.

In Apple's financing deal, consumers would be agree to pay $32 a month for a 16GB version of the latest iPhone. That includes a warranty and the night to upgrade to the latest handset in a year. But the biggest impact is on Apple's surging finances because consumers sign up for a payment plan much like they would do with a car lease. Most important Apple continues to get consumers to pay $650 for a smart phone in an era in which smartphone prices are falling

If Apple is successful in convincing consumers to sign up for iPhone payments, the impact could be huge, analysts say. UBS estimates that Apple's stock would be worth $200 a share, or about 70% more than it is today - if based as a recurring revenue stream.  Investors love predictable cash flow and are willing to pay higher multiples for predictability 

If the financing plan provides the power to push Apple's stock to $200 a share, it would give Apple a market value of $1.1 trillion. Apple would finally become the first $ 1 trillion company as bulls have said ti can be. The iPnoe Upgrade could be a big deal

Once your company's profit's begin growing and the business stabilizes, you might consider owning the quarters rather than renting. To evaluate the comparative costs of dong so, consider a reasonable length of time, such as 10 years. Include in the calculations the purchase price of a quality building at the desired location. The cost of the building can be depreciated  but not the cost of the land. Add together the cost of financing 100% of the purchase price at the prevailing interest rate, maintenance costs, straight line depreciation and property taxes. The total of these items is the "rent equivalent" Compare this cost figure with projected rental costs and factor in expected rent increases ( 4%). Do not overlook the company's future expansion needs. Whether you buy or rent you must be able to expand or contract space as needed. If you plan to own your space you may consider buidng a larger building and renting out part of the space on a short term basis

Internet rules a solution that will not work for a problem that does not exist. FCC Commissioner Ajit Varadaraj Pai said movile content such as music that some service providers exempt from data limits could be in violation of the  agency's new internet conduct standard.  T-Mobile's music freedom program is an example This program exempts certain programs like Spotify and Pandora from those data caps, so if you listen to a bunch of songs when you are walking around that content does not count against your data cap 

​So generally speaking, free content seems to be a good thing for most wireless consumers but the agency expliciitly said that could be considered a net neutrality violation under the Internet Conduct standard. That simply raises the question, how far will this Internet Conduct Standard go? What kinds of business practices that innovative new competitors might want to introduce might be frowned upon by the FCC

The agency passed the net neutrality rules in February of this year. The FCC has established an enforcement advisory process  where companies have the opportunity to ask the agency for permission to create new programs. Companies can come in and ask may I do this type of business practice? Even then the agency said "well if we give you advice you cannot necessarily rely on it" So the question is where do we go from here?