Don't be Scammed by Cyber Criminals

January 12, 2012

The Internal Revenue Service receives thousands of reports each year from taxpayers who receive suspicious emails, phone calls, faxes or notices claiming to be from the IRS. Many of these scams fraudulently use the IRS name or logo as a lure to make the communication appear more authentic and enticing. The goal of these scams – known as phishing – is to trick you into revealing your personal and financial information. The scammers can then use your information – like your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers – to commit identity theft or steal your money.

Here are five things the IRS wants you to know about phishing scams.

1. The IRS never asks for detailed personal and financial information like PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.

2. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to an IRS site:

• Do not reply to the message.
• Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
• Do not click on any links. If you clicked on links in a suspicious e-mail or phishing website and entered confidential information, visit the IRS website and enter the search term 'identity theft' for more information and resources to help.

3. The address of the official IRS website is Do not be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is bogus, do not provide any personal information on the suspicious site and report it to the IRS.

4. If you receive a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine if the IRS has a legitimate need to contact you. Report any bogus correspondence.  You can forward a suspicious email to

5. You can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. Details on how to report specific types of scams and what to do if you’ve been victimized are available at Click on "phishing" on the home page.


7 Tax Tips for Recently Married Taxpayers (or soon to be married)

August 21, 2011
Summer and Fall are usually big for wedding season. Soon-to-be-married taxpayers or "just married" taxpayers should be aware of their changing tax status. Although the last thing on your mind is taxes, while planning a wedding or coming home from your honeymoon, there are some important steps you should take to avoid stress at tax time.
  1. Notify the Social Security Administration. Report any name change to the Social Security Administration so your name and Social Security number will match when...

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IRS Increses Mileage Rates

July 19, 2011
The IRS has increased the standard mileage rates to be used in computing the deductile costs of operating a vehicle for business or when driving for medical or moving reasons. The new rates will apply to vehicle mileage from July 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.

The revised rates are 55.5 cents per mile for business driving and 23.5 cents for medical and moving driving. The rate for charitable driving is fixed by law and remains at 14 cents per mile.

According to the IRS, mileage rates were r...
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Don't Lend Money to the IRS

June 8, 2011
Were you among the thousands of taxpayers who got a big tax refund this year? While most Americans happily accept their tax refund checks, smart taxpayers understand that refunds actually cost them money. Here's why:
  • The government pays no interest on refunds. Kept in your hands, those dollars could have been productive. For example, you could have invested the money or used it to pay off your debt during the year. If the money had been added to a 401(K) plan, tax would have been deferred ...

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10 Important Facts About Capital Gains and Losses

February 19, 2011
Did you know that almost everything you own and use for personal or investment purposes is a capital asset? Capital assets include a home, household furnishings, and stocks and bonds held in a personal account. When a capital asset is sold, the difference between the amount you paid for the asset and the amount you sold it for is capital gain or capital loss.

Here are 10 facts you should know about gains and losses and how they can affect your Federal income tax return:
  1. Almost everything you ow...

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Late Tax Legislation Impacts Tax Filing

February 12, 2011
The IRS estimates that as many as 9 million taxpayers will experience a delay in filing their tax return because of the late passage of the Tax Relief Act on December 17th, 2010.

Here is What You Need to Know.

Most tax returns can be filed immediately with no delay.Only returns with activity in areas that experienced tax law changes will be affected.

Delayed returns include the following:

  • Schedule A, Itemized Deductions
  • Form 3800, General Business Credit
  • Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts
  • Form ...

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January Tax Updates

January 12, 2011

America Gets a Raise

As part of the Tax Relief Act of 2010, Social Security tax rates will be lowered by two percent. The employee-portion of Social Security taxes will be reduced from 6.2% to a temporary rate of 4.2% for 2011 only.This 2% tax break also applies to self-employed individuals. Medicare taxes are unchanged, the employer-portion of Social Security remains 6.2%, and the Social Security wage base remains $106,800 for 2011.

What it means: You could get a raise in your pay by as...

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Hardge Connections, LLC Blog

The purpose of this blog is to educate and empower my readers with tax and small business news and tips to help maximize your tax returns and keep you informed on topics that matter with your money and business.
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