2017 Tax Planning Guide Is Now Available

With the possibility of significant tax reform legislation this year, tax planning is more complicated yet more important than ever. To save the most, you need to be sure you’re taking advantage of every tax break you’re entitled to.  Our 2017 Tax Planning Guide can help you follow current tax law with an eye on what could happen in the future with any possible legislation.


To view it, simply click here or visit our website, where you can view the guide and learn about important tax law changes and ways to minimize your income tax liability.

As you look through the guide, please note the strategies and tax law provisions that apply to your situation or that you would like to know more about. Then contact us with any questions you may have about these or other tax matters.

At Mitz & Rozansky, SC, our professionals are thoroughly familiar with the latest tax law and tax-reduction strategies and are eager to help you take advantage of them. So please call us today (414) 352-3200 to schedule a time to talk about ways to lighten your tax burden and better achieve your financial objectives.

Why Your Tax Returns Need to be Prepared by a Qualified Professional

Now more than ever, it is extremely important that as tax payers you utilize qualified tax professionals who will prepare your tax returns and will represent you should you be audited. Too often, tax payers hire someone who does not have the proper licenses and credentials required to be qualified to represent them, particularly given the complexity of the ever changing tax code.

The Tax Code Has Changed
As of January 1, 2016 the IRS tax code requires that anyone representing a taxpayer be qualified according to IRS specifications.  To be sure that you will not have to seek additional services to represent you to the IRS, your tax preparation needs to be done by a CPA, Enrolled Agent (EA) or an attorney who is IRS qualified. Tax preparers, who do not otherwise qualify, can also complete the IRS’s voluntary Annual Filling Season Program. Only those who successfully complete the program, receive a Record of Completion allowing them to represent you to the IRS.

Employing qualified professionals not only assures that your tax returns are properly prepared, but it also provides you with a representative who can stand in for you at appearances before the IRS for such issues as audits, appeals and collections. They can speak to directly to an IRS representative on your behalf as well as make appearances for you at IRS hearings involving your tax returns.

At Mitz & Rozansky, LLC our CPA’s and tax preparation specialists prepare your tax return with the utmost care. They work diligently to ensure that you pay only the taxes required and they stand ready to represent you up should any tax related issues arise with the IRS. For additional information about this or any other accounting related matters, please contact us by phone at (414)352-3200 or via email at info@mrsc.com.

Beware of Fake Tax Bills Attached to Emails from the IRS

The IRS and its Summit Security partners are warning taxpayers about another email scam involving tax bills. The bill arrives as an attachment to an email that states that the bill is for taxes due in connection to the Affordable Care Act (click here to see IRS advisory).

The IRS has received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email that includes the fake CP2000 as an attachment.

The CP2000 is a notice commonly mailed to taxpayers through the United States Postal Service. It is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers. It is a good practice to never open an attachment or click on a link within an email sent by any sources you do not know or are suspicious of. The issue has been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.

Should you receive such a notice, please follow the instructions laid out in the article link shown above or contact Mitz & Rozansky. As always, the staff at Mitz & Rozansky is ready to assist you if you should happen to receive one of these emails or if you have any questions about your taxes or other financial matters. We can be reached by phone at (414)352-3200 or via email at info@mrsc.com.

Ryan Walsh Returns to Mitz & Rozansky


Ryan Walsh is returning to Mitz & Rozansky as a Manager.

Ryan began his career at MRSC in 2008 and worked closely with small to mid-size businesses and individuals, helping them with their accounting and tax planning/compliance needs. Ryan left MRSC to broaden his education and experience base in a wide range of accounting related activities. Each step along the way was a step forward in responsibility and encompassed substantial growth of his knowledge base. Those steps included:

Ernst & Young, Senior Tax Consultant
Tax compliance and audit provisions for large corporations

Quad Graphics, Employment Tax Manager
Employment tax compliance for 30+ entities, with roughly 25,000 employees

Monster Worldwide, Inc., Senior Accountant
Established and maintained monthly accounting procedures for several of their large European markets

Ryan stayed in regular contact with the principals at MRSC throughout his career advancement with the idea that one day he would return to our organization. Early this year Ryan met with Steve Rozansky and Sandy Mitz to discuss a possible return to MRSC. Everyone agreed that the time was fast approaching for Ryan’s return. Now that he has fulfilled his obligations to his previous employer and honed his skills, Ryan is returning to MRSC as a Manager effective August 15. We are all extremely excited to have him back and look forward to introducing him to our clients and integrating him into our account services group.

What should I do if I am contacted by the IRS?

What should I do if I am contacted by the IRS?
First of all, please note that the IRS sends notices by mail, they will not contact you initially by phone or email. If you receive a phone or email inquiry, do not give the person any information as they are likely not with the IRS.

If you receive a letter or notice from the IRS consider the following:
It is never a good idea to disregard and IRS letter or notice. The issue in question needs resolution and will not go away if you ignore it. In fact, you may be subject to more severe penalties if you do not respond in a timely manner.

So first determine the nature of the inquiry. Then find the stated deadline for a response and determine if you will need additional time to respond. It is often possible to get additional time to respond to a notice, and you might even be able to resolve the issue by simply calling the telephone number provided on the notice.

It is a good rule of thumb to contact your tax professional for advice whenever you have dealings with the IRS. Mitz & Rozansky clients should call (414)352-3200 and speak to a member of our staff. We will assist you in compiling the necessary tax related information information and then guide you in properly responding to the IRS. If legal advice is required, we can even refer you to a qualified legal counsel specializing in dealing with the IRS on tax matters.

Here are three helpful tax return filing tips

Get a free copy of your tax return
You can request a Tax Return Transcript free of charge using Form 4506-T rather than pay $50 per return to request a copy from the IRS by using Form 450: Request for Copy of Tax Return, Go to www.irs.gov and click “Get a Tax Transcript” to utilize the automated self-help service. You can also call 800-908-9946. If you are a Mitz & Rozansky tax client we will also supply you with a free copy of your return, if it was prepared by our firm.

Electronic Fund Transfer
The fastest way for you to receive your refund is to combine e-file with Direct Deposit. About 8 in 10 taxpayers use direct deposit likely because the IRS issues 9 out of 10 of these refunds in less than 21 days. If money is to flow the other direction because you owe taxes, the best way make the payment is with IRS Direct Pay. This free service can transfer money using the client’s checking/savings account, debit/credit card or Electronic Funds Withdrawal. Refer to the “Payments” tab at www.irs.gov for further guidance on transferring money electronically. If you are a Mitz & Rozansky tax client we assist you with electronic fund transfer procedures.

File your return even if you have a payment issue
By all means, file your tax return even if you are unable to pay some or all of the taxes you owe. If you owe money to the IRS and cannot make the entire payment, you should pay as much as possible to reduce interest and penalties for late payments. You need to file a Form 9465: Installment Agreement Request, with your tax return to request to pay in installments. You may also use the Online Payment Agreement tool to request more time to pay. If you are a Mitz & Rozansky tax client we assist you with instituting a payment plan.

Mitz & Rozansky will guide you every step of the way. Please contact us at (414)352-3200 for assistance with these and any other tax filing procedures.

Business Accounts Are Vulnerable Targets for Cyberattacks

Business accounts are vulnerable targets for cyberattacks. The owner of a small business discovers someone has stolen thousands of dollars from the company checking account. Turns out it was a hacker. Unfortunately, it’s a scenario that happens every day.

According to a survey of owners by the National Small Business Association, cybercriminals took an average $32,000 from small business accounts. Sadly, unlike consumers, businesses don’t have the same legal protection from bank account fraud.

Passed in 1978, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act is designed to protect individual consumers from bank account theft, but is silent about businesses. A business’ protection depends on the agreement it signs with a bank which generally requires strict compliance with the banks’ security requirements.

Small companies are usually more vulnerable because of a lack of internal safeguard and seldom have resources to recover from such an unprotected theft. Not to mention the time and money spent installing new safeguards.

How it happens
As quickly as companies and banks change their practices, cybercriminals find new ways to infiltrate bank accounts. A popular scam is to trick companies into bogus wire transfers where an unwitting employee responds to an email from another employee to make a payment via wire transfer to an external account. Too often employees comply without checking the legitimacy of the request.

According to the government there has been a 270% increase in such activity in the first 8 months of 2015 and organized crime groups in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa are most often responsible.

Planting malicious software or “malware” on a company computer, often via an email containing a link or attachment that, when opened, embeds a program that can record the company’s bank login and password and send it back to the criminals, who then can withdraw funds. Using a computer or smartphone in a public place that has a Wi-Fi environment can also be risky, Some Wi-Fi spots may have weak security, and savvy hackers know how to steal information that someone keys into their device.

Thankfully many banks today have procedures designed to protect against stolen logins. If bank computers don’t recognize a device trying to log in, the bank will send a one-time access code to the account holder on a separate device like a phone. Without that code, a fraudster can’t log in.

What you can do
Sophisticated banks have software that flags emails or attempted logins from unfamiliar Internet service providers and use what’s known as two-factor authentication, requiring unfamiliar account users or devices to supply additional information like one-time access codes.
Additional steps owners can take:

* Everyone in the company must be hypervigilant about emails, being wary about clicking on links and attachments and checking the addresses that emails came from. Criminals often create email addresses that look similar to your companies’ format but have an extra character like an “I” or “i” which is not readily apparent.

* Initiate or strengthen procedures so several managers must sign off before a transfer can made.

* Check your bank balance daily and initiate a text alert system whenever there’s a withdrawal.

* Avoid logging into your bank from public spaces like coffee shops, airports, hotel lobbies, basically anywhere that offers free Wi-Fi. It is a sound practice to safely log in when you have access to a secure Internet connective such as in your home or office.

Update: Scam – Requests for Information Returns

There are multiple phishing scams being reported of requests of employees, employers, and HR departments to submit copies of information returns (W-2s and 1099s) by email to resolve tax issues. The Department of Revenue (DOR) does not make requests for copies of information returns by email and does not request that information returns be submitted to it via email due to the personally identifiable information they contain.

DOR is currently reconciling millions of information returns (e.g., W-2s, 1099s) it received in January and February with the withholding reported by payers on Form WT-7 and individuals on income tax returns. In doing so, DOR may request copies of information returns it has not received or needs to verify. DOR makes such requests by letter though the U.S. Mail – not by email.

DOR is currently reconciling millions of information returns (e.g., W-2s, 1099s) it received in January and February with the withholding reported by payers on Form WT-7 and individuals on income tax returns. In doing so, DOR may request copies of information returns it has not received or needs to verify. DOR makes such requests by letter though the U.S. Mail – not by email.

For more information on this and other topics affecting your finances and taxes, please contact a member of our staff at (414)352-3200 or at info@mrsc.com.


Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015

Prior to recessing for the holidays, the House and Senate passed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act). The President signed the Act and a FY 2016 omnibus on December 18. The Act goes well beyond the typical tax extenders legislation seen in prior years.

Listed below are overviews of several of the key provisions impacting businesses and individuals. Please contact us for a complete rundown of all of the changes and specifically those that apply to your particular tax returns.

Code Sec. 179 Expensing
The dollar limit for Code Sec. 179 expensing for 2015 had reverted to $25,000 with an investment limit of $200,000. The Act permanently sets the Code Sec. 179 expensing limit at $500,000 with a $2 million overall investment limit before the phase out (both amounts are indexed for inflation beginning in 2016).

The Act also makes permanent the special Code Sec. 179 expensing for qualified real property. The Act also removes the $250,000 cap related to this category of expenditure beginning in 2016.

Bonus depreciation
The Act extends bonus depreciation (additional first-year depreciation) under a phase-down schedule through 2019:
• at 50 percent for 2015-2017
• at 40 percent in 2018
• at 30 percent in 2019
The Act also continues the election to accelerate the use of AMT credits in lieu of bonus depreciation and increases the amount of unused AMT credits that may be claimed in lieu of bonus depreciation. In addition, the Act modifies bonus depreciation to include qualified improvement property, and permits certain trees, vines and plants bearing fruits or nuts to be eligible for bonus depreciation when planted or grafted.

Certain longer-lived and transportation property may qualify for an additional one-year placed in service date.

Research tax credit
The research and development (R&D) tax credit is available to taxpayers with specified increases in business-related qualified research expenditures and for increases in payments to universities and other qualified organizations for basic research. The Act permanently extends and modifies the credit. This provision is likely the result of complaints that research investment requires years to realize potential and short extensions of the research credit were counterproductive.

American Opportunity Tax Credit
The Act makes permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), an enhanced version of the Hope education credit. The AOTC has been available at an increased level of $2,500, with adjusted gross income (AGI) phase-out amounts of $80,000 (single) and $160,000 (married filing jointly). The AOTC had been scheduled to expire after 2017.

Tuition & Fees Deduction
The Act extends through 2016 the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and fees for post-secondary education.

Child Tax Credit
The Act makes permanent the reduced earned income threshold amount of an unindexed $3,000. This provision had been scheduled to expire after 2017. Under the Act, the child tax credit, available up to $1,000 for qualifying dependents under age 17, may be refundable to the extent of 15 percent of the taxpayer’s earned income in excess of $3,000.

Charitable Distributions Direct from IRA
The Act permanently extends the provision for individuals age 70 1/2 and older to be allowed to make tax-free distributions from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to a qualified charitable organization. The treatment continues to be capped at a maximum of $100,000 per taxpayer each year. Amounts in excess of $100,000 must be included in income but may be taken as an itemized charitable deduction, subject to the usual AGI annual caps for contributions. The Act also includes a provision on the deductibility of charitable contributions to agricultural research organizations.

Please note that the Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting individual tax returns on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016.

Tax Deductible Donations

The IRS allows tax deductible donation expenses from your federal income taxes for donations made to charity. These donations can reduce your taxable income and lower your tax bill. Not everyone will be able to deduct their charitable contributions, however. You will need to itemize your tax deductions in order to claim any charity.

Any deduction for items donated is based on the fair market value of those items. In order to ensure a proper paper trail, be sure to get a receipt from the charitable organization to authenticate your donations. Consider taking a picture of your donations. In the rare event you are audited, the IRS may distrust your written documentation. Having a picture handy of what you donated may be useful, especially if you are donating lots of items.

The government provides guidance on various categories of donated items that can be deducted. Click here to view the document. In addition, the Salvation Army has published a helpful valuation guide for donated items. Click here to view the guide.