Only One Week Left! Tax Day is July 15th

Ordinarily, with extra staff during tax season we are able to reach out to clients personally during tax season to make sure we have everything we need. 

Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources this year to contact clients individually, so we are asking everyone who still has not sent us their documents to contact us right away so we can determine if there is still enough time to file, or if we need to file an extension for you.

Please note: We must hear from you in order to file an extension on your behalf. 

Thank you again for your help as we near the finish line!

Filed in the Spring and Still Don’t Have Your Refund?

As we told you in our last update, IRS reports that it currently has more than 10 million pieces of unopened mail—many of which are paper returns—due to office shutdowns from COVID-19. In the meantime, on July 1st IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said that he expects all processing and call centers to be open and fully staffed by mid-month, to coincide with this year’s deadline. 

This is welcome news for anyone who filed in March or April and is still waiting for their refund. IRS indicates that they are working through oustanding returns in the order in which they were received, and asking people to be patient—and not to call—if you have already submitted your return.We do not have access to any information about the status of your refund, but you may find an update through the “Check My Refund Status” link on the IRS website.

Just make sure you are ready with the following before clicking through:

  1. your social security number
  2. your filing status
  3. your exact refund amount.

Here is a link to the Refunds page or your convenience: ​https://www.irs.gov/refunds

The Final Countdown to Tax Day! July 15th

School is officially over, we just celebrated the longest day of the year, and (illegal) fireworks are flying off the shelves—all signs that July is almost here. 
This year, it also signals that the automatic three-month tax day extension for 2020 has been whittled down to just a few weeks!

We continue to process returns as they come in, but one of the challenges we are facing is that part of our staff only works from January through April. That means we are short-staffed as we enter the home stretch this year, so it’s more important than ever that we have everything we need as soon as possible to keep things moving as the July 15th deadline approaches. 

So, for those of you who put aside your taxes to take care of other responsibilities during the pandemic, now is the time to get us your information to avoid having to file for another extension. Do it today! You won’t regret it.If we do have your information, thank you, and you should be hearing from us soon. We can’t overstate enough how much we have appreciated your patience and understanding.

IRS Operations Update

Like businesses  all over the country, IRS is facing work backlogs and staffing challenges that are causing delays in communication and processing—and frustration among taxpayers. 

Recently, we received a brief update from IRS with the good news that more than 11,000 employees were called back to work on June 1st. The bad news is that they are reportedly returning to more than 10 million pieces of unopened mail, and a case load that dates back to mid-March, when the shutdown began in earnest. We also learned that some IRS offices that had reopened had to close again due to local spikes in cases of the virus. What this means for all of us is that getting answers from IRS about specific personal tax situations will continue to be a difficult task for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, if you have more general questions, irs.gov provides many helpful tools and resources that don’t require endless hours on hold listening to muzak. We recommend starting there if you have questions. 

New! BBS Summer Office Hours & Procedures

We remain hopeful that we will be able to welcome you back for in-person meetings before the end of the year, but for now, our small entry way and social distancing guidelines make that impossible. Below are some updates, as well as protocols we will be following until we are confident that neither we nor our clients are at risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

  • Summer Hours are:
    Monday – Thursday: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
    Friday & Saturday: Call for availability 
  • If you need to come to our office to drop off or pick up documents, we ask that you call in advance to let us know you are coming, and if possible, schedule an exact time so we know when to expect you.
  • When you arrive, kindly call us from the parking lot so we can arrange to either meet you or leave your documents for retrieval in our office entryway.
  • We also request that you wear a mask during any interaction with our staff—for your protection as well as ours!
  • ​Although we are keeping regular hours, we are still not equipped to hold any in-person client meetings at this time.
  • Our entire office building remains locked on Sundays, so no documents can be dropped off or retrieved.​ 

We are all looking forward to the day when our doors are open and we can get back to some kind of “business as usual,” but for now, we thank you for helping us stay safe and healthy.

2019 Tax Deadline Is Almost Here

You know that feeling you get when a deadline approaches and you are afraid you might miss it? If you are someone who breathed a sigh of relief when the IRS announced a three-month extension to the filing deadline back in March, we want to help you avoid that feeling. Right now, we are urging all clients whose returns have not yet been filed to take a moment and make sure we have everything we need to process your return. And if we don’t, please send us your information as soon as possible! 

If we do have your information and you have not heard from us, we appreciate your continued patience.

Unlike any previous year, we expect June to be especially busy. And until all phases of the state’s reopening are complete, like so many other businesses we must continue to work with greatly reduced capacity. So, since we all need ways to reduce stress during this pandemic, think of getting your taxes out of the way as a wellness exercise—and one less thing to worry about. 

Debit Cards for Stimulus Payments … They’re Real

This is a public service reminder that it pays to open your mail. You may have heard that the US Treasury has issued four million prepaid debit cards instead of paper checks for stimulus payments. You may even have received one and, like many people who were expecting a check from the IRS, been confused and/or skeptical. We just hope you didn’t mistake it for junkmail.

It has been reported to us from clients who have received the debit cards that they arrive in a #10 standard white business envelope with first-class postage (not bulk mail). The return address is from Money Network Cardholder Services in Omaha, NE. Inside is a blue Visa debit card with white stars on it.There is a small sheet of paper enclosed that includes the blue and gold Treasury seal with Department of Treasury (see below). The insert reads: “This prepaid debit card is being sent to you on behalf of the US Department of the Treasury in place of a paper check. This card contains the money you are receiving as result of the Corona Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). For additional information on Economic Impact Payments visit irs.gov/eip. This is safe, convenient, and secure.”

debit-card-insert 5

The envelope also comes with instructions on how to activate your card, which you can also find here: https://www.eipcard.com/ . You will need to register as a new user before you can access the funds. If you received the card and threw it away by mistake, you can request a replacement card by calling MetaBank Customer Service at 1-800-240-8100. this is the same number to check your balance. 

IRS has also set up an FAQ page for taxpayers here.

Alert! MA Unemployment Identity Theft Scam

Before you throw away that unexpected envelope from the Mass Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), you need to be aware of a new identity theft scam related to COVID-19 unemployment claims.

We recently became aware of letters from the DUA indicating eligibility and a monetary determination have been showing up in the mailboxes of people who have not filed for, nor are currently collecting unemployment. The scary part is that the letters are legitimately from DUA, but if you haven’t filed, it means that a scammer has filed using your information and is banking on you throwing away that envelope without opening it. 

If this happens, the criminal can log on as “you” every week and request the funds be issued on debit cards. You would have no way of knowing until tax time, when you will have to prove that you never received unemployment benefits, and/or if later deemed ineligible, be required to pay the money back.

Like many scams, the perpetrators are hoping that you will ignore the unanticipated communication so that they can steal your identity and go undetected long enough to make some money and ruin your credit.

The lesson here is: Open your mail. Even if it looks like junk mail, the minute or so it takes to open the envelope and scan the contents is nothing compared to the time you might have to spend later on unraveling the damage and reinstating your good name and credit.

BBS Office Updates June 2020

  • We are currently staffing the office with one or two people most days in an effort to expedite the processing of outstanding returns, but are not equipped to conduct in-person client visits at this time.
  • Please remember that our entire office building is locked on Sundays, so no documents can be dropped off or retrieved.
  • ​Just another reminder, if we still need to prepare your 2019 return and don’t have all of your information, please send as soon as you can, through the portal if possible, or to our mailing address:

​​Business Bookkeeping Services
P. O.  Box 249
South Weymouth, MA  02190

Why Raiding Your IRA Can Be a Costly Mistake

With the global pandemic causing record-breaking job losses and wreaking havoc on our economy, it can be tempting to withdraw large amounts of cash from your IRA to have on hand. But before you raid your IRA at any time, we encourage you to think carefully about how much you actually need

Individual Retirement accounts are are designed to provide additional financial security as we get older, but unlike a traditional bank account, access to the money in these accounts—particularly in times of financial crisis—can come at a significant cost. 

For this year, the CARES Act has eased some restrictions and penalties for qualifying individuals whose income has suffered as a result of COVID-19, like allowing taxes on IRA withdrawals to be spread over three years, but it is still recommended to exhaust other cash resources before tapping into retirement accounts for emergency funds. 

Consider this: Any withdrawal from your IRA is treated as income for that year. So substantially large distribution amounts could potentially bump you into a higher tax bracket, which translates into giving up more of your hard-earned savings than you intended.

And while there are no restrictions or requirements on IRA distributions between age 60 and 70½, the more you take out, the more income tax you will pay—most likely at a higher rate than if you wait until your required minimum distributions kick in. 

So before you make any additional withdrawals from your IRA, we recommend taking a moment to determine how much you actually need right now. While the idea of using your retirement account as a rainy day fund might seem attractive in the short term—particularly in uncertain times—the tax ramifications down the road can prove far more costly than riding out the storm.