Phone Scam is Catching Taxpayers

I had a doctor tell me that his spouse received a phone call, apparently from the IRS, requesting that she pay a sum of money immediately or they would have to arrest her.  Needless to say, the client was a bit befuddled, and it turned out to be another scam to solicit money from innocent taxpayers.

On August 13, the IRS issued a warning to taxpayers to be extra vigilant regarding a telephone scam in which taxpayers receive unsolicited calls from individuals demanding payment while fraudulently claiming to be from the agency. According to IRS, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has already received 90,000 complaints regarding this type of scam and has identified some 1,100 victims who have lost a total of $5 million as a result. “There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail.” Angry and threatening calls from people claiming to be from IRS, combined with demands for immediate payment, should be a “big red flag,” Koskinen said, adding that people should immediately hang up and contact TIGTA or IRS. Additional information is available at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Repeats-Warning-about-Phone-Scams .

Mike DeVries is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, Enrolled Agent,  and a Certified Healthcare Business Consultant focusing on helping healthcare professionals. If you would like to learn more about becoming a client, contact Mike at www.vmde.com.

11 Steps to Plan Your Estate

TaxTipBanner

What do you think of when you think about estate planning?  Do you think is just about the amount of assets you have accumulated? Not so!  While not everyone needs to set up a family foundation or create complex trusts to pass assets on to their beneficiaries, everyone should take the time to do some basic estate planning.  Give your family an awesome gift and have things organized, and in order by taking the following basic steps.  

Basic Steps in Estate Planning

  1. Make a complete and accurate inventory of all assets and their values.
  2. Determine the form of ownership of each asset; understand its effect on the transfer of property at death.
  3. Verify beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts.
  4. Estimate the size of the estate to determine whether estate tax planning is needed.
  5. Decide whether certain family members or assets need special protection (minor children, those with special needs, family business).
  6. Select beneficiaries and determine what provisions should be made for each.
  7. Determine how financial and health care decisions will be made in the case of illness or disability.
  8. Determine how health care will be funded.
  9. Estimate the cost of alternative estate planning methods that will meet the goals.
  10. Select and implement the estate plan.
  11. Laws and family circumstances change. Review plan regularly. 

Mike DeVries is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ and a Certified Healthcare Business Consultant focusing on helping healthcare professionals. If you would like to learn more about becoming a client of Mike’s, contact him at www.vmde.com

Making your Smile Right!

 

“Smile at each other. Smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other- it doesn’t matter who it is- and that will help to grow up in greater love for each other.”
― Mother Teresa

In an effort to “mind my own business”, I signed up for the Launch Conference.  Going to any conference takes work and, let’s face it, it is an investment.  The investment often includes a monetary cost as well as a cost of time – time away from my family and the clients with whom I work.  So, when I participate in a conference I look for a return on my investment.  This could consist of something that will help me be better at what I do, who I am, or something that I can share with you that will enhance your life.  The Launch Conference, for me, has been incredibly beneficial.  The speakers have been great, and what I find equally as great are the people I get to meet who are attending this conference.

This afternoon, during a work session on discovering personal life assets, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Derrick Tennant, who I learned is a comedian with a powerful life story of his own.  He shared that one of his life assets is his sister , Julie.  Derrick introduced Julie to me by way of this video that I suggest you watch.  I believe Julie can be a life asset for all of us.

Enjoy and share a smile with Julie – smiling is good for you and it’s contagious!  Hey, Julie, I Love My Life Too!

 

Leadership – Caring Enough to Make a Difference

It’s been said that Leadership cannot really be taught.  It can only be learned – Harold S. Geneen.

If a music student wishes to learn to play the piano, he or she must have a teacher and then be dedicated to practicing until the movement of one’s fingers quickly across the row of ivory becomes second nature and ultimately creates a sound that moves the spirit.

Like learning to play a piano, to be a leader you need to follow a similar process of learning.  You need an instructor, or a mentor – someone to model the characteristics of being a good leader.  But, having a teacher will not be enough. No, the student of leadership must also practice being a leader so that the responsibility and passion for guiding others becomes part of their nature to the point of stepping in confidence.

Betsy and Nathan Russell are dedicated to not only being mentors to youth, but also to creating an environment and opportunities for youth to practice being a leader, which takes endurance! Let’s face it; we live in a world today that could benefit from good leadership.  Whether we seek leadership in our business, government, schools, or simply in family life providing opportunities for our youth to walk with a mentor and practice leadership will pay dividends for generations to come.

This year, as I begin a busy time of work, fondly referred to as “Tax Season”, I have decided to provide this year’s tax clients with an opportunity to help support a cooperative effort with Betsy and Nathan for the purpose of mentoring youth to make a difference for the future.  After all, caring for a better tomorrow starts close to home.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Not just for kids!

Yesterday, our Pastor asked the kids of the congregation what they were going to do to make the Year, 2012, a good year.  He challenged them to think of some ways in which they could make the world a better place.  As we move forward into a year of changes and opportunities in the business of healthcare, this is a question that we should all contemplate.

Walt Disney once wrote that there were three types of people in this world: “Well Poisoners,” who criticize and try to tear people down rather than build them up; “Lawn Mowers, ” good people who do their jobs, pay their taxes, and take care of their families and homes but never venture beyond their own yards to help others; and “Life Enhancers,” who by their kind words and deeds enhance the lives of others and leave their world a better place for having lived.

As we set our goals for 2012, let’s look for ways in which we can be “Life Enhancers”.  Be an encourager to your staff, show compassion to your patients, be a mentor, a leader, a friend.  Begin this year by Minding Your Own Business and giving yourself to enhancing life of those around you. How will you make the Year, 2012, a good year? – It’s not just a question for kids.

Go ahead, Practice with a Purpose!