Feb
03
2017

Dangerous W-2 Phishing Scam Evolving; Targeting Schools, Restaurants, Hospitals, Tribal Groups and Others

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry issued an urgent alert today to all employers that the Form W-2 email phishing scam has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits.

In a related development, the W-2 scammers are coupling their efforts to steal employee W-2 information with an older scheme on wire transfers that is victimizing some organizations twice. “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme,’’ said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

When employers report W-2 thefts immediately to the IRS, the agency can take steps to help protect employees from tax-related identity theft. The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, working together as the Security Summit, have enacted numerous safeguards in 2016 and 2017 to identify fraudulent returns filed through scams like this. As the Summit partners make progress, cybercriminals need more data to mimic real tax returns.

Here’s how the scam works: Cybercriminals use various spoofing techniques to disguise an email to make it appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments, requesting a list of all employees and their Forms W-2. This scam is sometimes referred to as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES).

The Security Summit partners urge all employers to be vigilant. The W-2 scam, which first appeared last year, is circulating earlier in the tax season and to a broader cross-section of organizations, including school districts, tribal casinos, chain restaurants, temporary staffing agencies, healthcare and shipping and freight. Those businesses that received the scam email last year also are reportedly receiving it again this year.

Security Summit partners warned of this scam’s reappearance last week but have seen an upswing in reports in recent days.  (more…)

Written by in: General
Jan
31
2017

IRS Releases Updated Form 990-EZ; New Options to Help Exempt Organizations Avoid Errors, File a More Accurate Return

WASHINGTON — The IRS announced today the release of an updated Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, that will help tax-exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filing their annual return.

The updated Form 990-EZ includes 29 “help” icons describing key information needed to complete many of the fields within the form. The icons also provide links to additional helpful information available on IRS.gov. These “pop-up” boxes share information to help small and mid-size exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filling out the form and filing their return.

(more…)

Written by in: Form 990
Jan
05
2017

Bryan Cave’s Private Client Services Group Welcomes David Adler

Bryan Cave’s Private Client Services Group welcomes a new partner in our London office:

David Adler has joined us in the London office, and will be a member of the Private Client Group. David is a U.S. tax lawyer who advises international entities, individuals and intermediaries on planning that has a U.S. component. Along with core U.S. federal income, estate and gift tax advice, he provides a U.S. perspective on issues of wealth preservation and transfer, as well as on corporate governance and family succession for privately held businesses. He is also a highly experienced adviser on issues arising under the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the OECD Common Reporting Standard. David is joining us from the London office of another large firm.

Written by in: General
Jan
05
2017

Doug Stanley of Bryan Cave to Give Estate Planning Presentation to Artists at the Regional Arts Commission

On February 13, 2016, Doug Stanley, partner in the Private Client Services group at Bryan Cave, and Justin Flach of The Commerce Trust Company (an alumnus of the Bryan Cave Private Client Services group), will present “Creating A Living Legacy”, addressing estate planning basics to a group of artists.  The presentation is hosted by the Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts and will be held at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar, St. Louis, Missouri.

Written by in: Events
Jan
03
2017

EO Update: e-News for Charities & Nonprofits

1.  Form 990-N e-Postcard page unavailable 12/26/16 to 1/6/17

The Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations — Form 990-N (e-Postcard) page will be down from December 26, 2016 at 11:59 a.m. until January 6, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST due to an annual planned maintenance. We apologize for this inconvenience.

2.  Tax Preparedness Series: Remember donations may cut tax bills

As tax filing season approaches, the IRS reminds taxpayers who give money or goods to a charity by December 31, 2016 that they may be able to claim a deduction on their 2016 federal income tax return and reduce their taxes.

3.  Helpful tax tips

Review these helpful tax tips.

Written by in: General
Jan
03
2017

Select Nonprofit Accounting Issues and Updates

When: Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: # 202 J.C. Penney Conference Center on the UM-St. Louis North Campus
Fee: $ 25

Program Description: Changes are coming for nonprofit financial statements. This class will cover some specific, technical topics that nonprofits need to know as they prepare for future changes in their financial management and reporting. Topics include:

  • Changes to net asset classifications
  • Disclosure of allocation methods
  • Functional expense information
  • Reporting of investment returns
  • Reporting of leases
  • And more…

Some of these are fairly technical topics that nonprofits should start hearing about and planning for now so they can address them more proactively, prior to audit time.

Instructor Linda Howdeshell founded her firm to serve nonprofits in May 2015 after almost 30 years of working with nonprofits. Linda works with clients to improve efficiency of systems and internal controls. She serves on the Not-for-Profit Committee of the Missouri Society of CPAs and is a member of both the MSCPA and AICPA. Linda also serves as a fiscal volunteer on United Way panels.

Click to Register

Written by in: Events
Dec
14
2016

Comparison of Current Tax Rates, Trump Proposed Rates and Republican Blueprint Proposed Rates

While there is considerable uncertainty among wealth planners and tax professionals regarding how the incoming administration will impact the federal tax code, nearly everyone agrees that change is imminent. With that in mind, we have assembled this chart, which compares current tax rates with President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan, and the House Republicans’ Blueprint plan (released in June, 2016).  Click here.

Dec
08
2016

Employers & Health Coverage Providers: You Have More Time in 2017 to Provide Information Forms to Covered Individuals

The IRS extended the 2017 due date for employers and coverage providers to furnish information statements to individuals. The due dates to file those returns with the IRS are not extended. This chart can help you understand the upcoming deadlines.

Action 2017 Reporting Due Dates for…
Applicable Large Employers – Including Those That Are Self-Insured Self-insured Employers That Are Not Applicable Large Employers Coverage Providers  – other than Self-Insured Applicable Large Employers*
 Provide 1095-B to responsible individuals

 

Not Applicable** Mar. 2 Mar. 2
File 1094-B and  1095-B with the IRS Not Applicable** Paper: Feb. 28E-file: Mar. 31* Paper: Feb. 28E-file: Mar. 31*
Provide 1095-C to full-time employees Mar. 2 Not Applicable Not Applicable
File 1095-C and 1094-C with the IRS Paper: Feb. 28E-file: Mar. 31* Not Applicable Not Applicable

* If you file 250 or more Forms 1095-B or Forms 1095-C, you must electronically file them with the IRS. Electronically filing ACA information returns requires an application process separate from other electronic filing systems. Additional information about electronic filing of ACA Information Returns is on the Affordable Care Act Information Reporting (AIR) Program page on IRS.gov and in Publications 5164 and 5165.

** Applicable large employers that provide employer-sponsored self-insured health coverage to non-employees may use either Forms 1095-B or Form 1095-C to report coverage for those individuals and other family members.

This chart applies only for reporting in 2017 for coverage in 2016.

See IRS Notice 2016-70 for more information.

Nov
30
2016

Private Foundations and Impact Investing

Bryan Cave recently organized a half-day symposium examining the opportunities and legal considerations related to responsible and impact investing strategies. The Responsible and Impact Investing Symposium, held on November 10, was co-presented by Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business and featured leaders in this growing field who discussed opportunities and legal considerations for investors, private foundations, financial advisers and for-profit entities, from start-ups to established ventures. More than 135 guests attended the event.  With respect to private foundations, we focused our discussion on the use of program related investments and what we hope is a growing trend to use these tax-advantaged tools to make a difference in our communities.   Below are the foundation slides from the event.  Special thanks to my co-speakers, John Oddy from Foundation Source and Dana Bezerra from the Heron Foundation.

For a complete list of speakers and the program agenda, please click here

For additional information about this program, please click here

Program Related Investments and Private Foundations

Impact Investing and Private Foundations

Written by in: Events
Nov
22
2016

TE/GE Announces New Information Document Request Management Process

The Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the Internal Revenue Service has issued new internal guidance for its agents on issuing information document requests (IDRs). The IRS issues IDRs to gather information during an examination. The new process will go into effect on April 1, 2017. Prior to its implementation, TE/GE will provide training to its agents on the new process.

Under the new process:

  1. Taxpayers will be involved in the IDR process.
  2. Examiners will discuss the issue being examined and the information needed with the taxpayer prior to issuing an IDR.
  3. Examiners will ensure that the IDR clearly states the issue and the relevant information they are requesting.
  4. If the taxpayer does not timely provide the information requested in the IDR by the agreed upon date, including extensions, the examiner will issue a delinquency notice.
  5. If the taxpayer fails to respond to the delinquency notice or provides an incomplete response, the examiner will issue a pre-summons notice to advise the taxpayer that the IRS will issue a summons unless the missing items are fully provided.
  6. A summons will be issued if the taxpayer fails to provide a complete response to the pre-summons letter by its response due date.

The new process requires the examiners’ managers to be actively involved early in the process and ensures that IRS Counsel is prepared to enforce IDRs through the issuance of a summons when necessary. Throughout this process, the IRS will respect taxpayer rights‎ and the changes will reflect the agency’s commitment to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

The updated process will:

  • Provide for open and meaningful communication between the IRS and taxpayers.
  • Reduce taxpayer burden and provide consistent treatment of taxpayers.
  • Allow the IRS to secure more complete and timely responses to IDRs.
  • Provide consistent timelines for IRS agents to review IDR responses.
  • Promote timely issue resolution.
Written by in: Governance

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