OCTOBER 2015
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

ACCOUNTING

IRS Taxpayer guide to Identity Theft

By SURESH KUMAR, CPA

Identity theft has become one of the fastest growing crimes in America. Identity thieves may misuse the social security number and credit information fraudulently to obtain refunds, loans, or other financial transactions.

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Generally, an identity thief will use the SSN to file a false return early in the year. Tax payer may be unaware that they are a victim until they try to file the tax returns and find that the returns already has been filed using their SSN.

Warning signs

Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive an IRS notice or letter that states that: more than one tax return was filed using your SSN; or you owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return; or IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer unknown to you.

Steps to take if you become a victim

If your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, take these additional steps:

How to reduce your risk

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. Be very careful with any scam emails or telephone calls asking for tax payments.

2015 Tax tips:

Filings Deadlines:

Individual Extension - Form 1040 – Oct. 15

There are various limitations, thresholds and procedures for many of the deduction and filings. Please consult your CPA/Tax attorney/or tax consultant for proper guidance with the above subject matter.

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In accordance with IRS Circular 230, the above information is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used as or considered a "covered opinion" or other written tax advice and should not be relied upon for the purpose of avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or tax-related matter(s) addressed herein; for IRS audit, tax dispute or other purposes.

Suresh Kumar, CPA, MBA is the Principal of Kumar Consulting, PA, a CPA & Consulting firm licensed in the states of FL, KS and MO and maybe reached at (813) 421-5068 or info@kumarconsultingcpa.com/www.kumarconsultingcpa.com


FINANCE

How to Roll Over Your 401(K) To A Traditional IRA

By ADI KHORSANDIAN

When you leave your job, your 401(k) balance can come with you. You may be tempted to keep some or all of the money instead of rolling it over, but that is rarely a good idea. If you cash out your 401(k) plan balance, you generally pay the income taxes due on the entire amount withdrawn, as well as a 10 percent penalty tax, unless you are at least 59½ or unless you are retiring from your employer at age 55 or older.

If, however, you want to keep the money in place for retirement, a good strategy to consider is rolling the funds over into an Individual Retirement Account, or IRA.

The process is simple:

  1. Find an IRA investment (such as an annuity, a bank CD, or a mutual fund) that’s appropriate for you. You will have to do some research or talk to a financial professional to find out which options are right for you.
  2. Contact the administrator of your former employer’s plan and arrange the direct rollover to the custodian of your new IRA. (The exact procedure may vary a little from company to company, but don't worry – they've all dealt with this request before.)
  3. Sign documents to directly rollover the funds to your new account.
  4. The funds will arrive in your IRA for investment as you chose in step 1.

A word of caution: You can receive a distribution of your account balance from the plan instead of arranging for a direct rollover. This might not be the best idea. If you take a distribution, the plan administrator will have to withhold 20 percent of the distributable amount for federal income taxes. That is a credit toward taxes that may be due when you do your income tax return. When you do this indirect rollover, you can increase the rollover amount, from your own funds, equal to the 20% withholding amount. Doing a direct rollover, however, avoids this negative consequence. If you roll over the amount of the check you receive without adding that 20 percent back, then the amount withheld will be treated as a taxable distribution. You will generally have to pay income taxes on that amount as well as a 10 percent penalty tax if you are younger than 59½.

DISCLAIMER: Before investing, consider the funds' investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Contact State Farm VP Management Corp (1-800-447-4930) for a prospectus or summary prospectus containing this and other information.

Securities, insurance and annuity products are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed and are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of principal.

Neither State Farm nor its agents provide investment, tax, or legal advice.

State Farm VP Management Corp. is a separate entity from those State Farm entities which provide banking and insurance products.

Prior to rolling over assets from an employer-sponsored retirement plan into an IRA, it's important that customers understand their options and do a full comparison on the differences in the guarantees and protections offered by each respective type of account as well as the differences in liquidity/loans, types of investments, fees, and any potential penalties.

Adi Khorsandian, a State Farm agent providing insurance and financial services, can be reached at (813) 991-4111 or visit www.adikinsurance.com

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