We would like to extend our sincere thanks to each of you who decided to use Hughes Szuberla CPAs to prepare and file your taxes this last filing season! It’s our pleasure to serve you each year!
Now that the 2017 filing season is officially over it is time to start thinking about filing your 2018 tax returns. One of the key topics that has come up throughout the year is security.
Even though reports of tax-related identity theft have declined markedly in recent years, the Internal Revenue Service warns that this practice is still widespread and remains a serious concern especially during tax season.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file a fraudulent tax return claiming a refund.
The IRS, the states and the tax industry began working together in 2015 as the Security Summit to fight tax-related identity theft. Security Summit partners enacted a series of safeguards that are making inroads against identity thieves.
For example, the number of taxpayers reporting themselves as identity theft victims declined by 40 percent in 2017 from 2016. In 2017, the IRS received 242,000 reports from taxpayers compared to 401,000 in 2016. This was the second year in a row this number fell, dropping from 677,000 victim reports in 2015. Overall, the number of identity theft victims has fallen nearly 65 percent between 2015 and 2017.
Because of these successes, criminals are devising more creative ways to steal more in-depth personal information to impersonate taxpayers. Taxpayers and tax professionals must remain vigilant to the various scams and schemes used for data thefts.
One of these scams discussed by the IRS on November 30th targets unassuming taxpayers by tricking them into providing their W2 to a thief. You can watch a quick video of how they operate here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2XngO2oVpw
Hughes Szuberla CPAs will be a using a Secure Client Portal starting in 2019
To help protect you going into the 2018 filing season we are incorporating a Client Portal. There are many benefits to using the Portal but the primary purpose is increased security. The Portal includes secure document transfer so we encourage all clients filing with us to use it going forward. Once you register your account you will be able to login through our website and upload your tax documents, pay invoices, sign e-file authorizations and schedule meetings with us. In addition, we will be able to send your final 2018 tax returns through the Portal. We will be sending links to clients that filed with us in 2017 the first two weeks of January. If you do not receive a link or would like it sent sooner please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Face, Personnel Changes, Same Great Service:
Message from Chris Hughes: My role over the years has always been focused on direct client service and I have enjoyed working closely with each of you. Many of you have worked with me nearly exclusively. Over the last couple of years my partner, Mason Szuberla, took on an ever-greater number of our existing clients and new referrals as the growth of our practice swelled. I’m truly grateful for Mason’s dedication to our clients as we simply would have been overwhelmed without her. Mason’s steadfast commitment continues today and she is an irreplaceable asset to the firm. Going forward, Mason will be the primary partner in charge of client service. I will continue to be part of the firm and available but my commitments outside of the tax practice have grown considerably which will affect my ability to deliver excellent service during the filing season, a standard I’m unwilling to compromise. I’m confident that your experience with Mason will equal or exceed your expectations.
In addition, starting on January 1, 2019 we will have a new partner in the office! Brian Szuberla has over 10 years of experience working at one of the top international CPA firms; Deloitte. Brian has extensive tax experience helping individuals who work abroad and possesses a deep knowledge base of business taxation for corporations and partnerships including US shareholder level taxation on foreign owned businesses. Adding Brian to the team reinforces our commitment to provide exceptional service highlighted by superior advice, professional and timely communication, and total client dedication. We’re here for you whenever — or wherever – you need us.
Social Media Presence and New Website:
Hughes Szuberla CPAs will be on Facebook and LinkedIn by the end of the year. Please follow us to receive timely tax tips and news throughout the year. In addition, we are updating our website and it will be up and running by the end of the year. You’ll be able to login directly from the website to the Client Portal starting in January.
Thank you! We look forward to serving you again in the future and we’ll be in touch again during the holidays with our final newsletter of the year!