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TAX SCAM ALERT: BEWARE OF FAKE IRS CALLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--The U.S. Treasury Inspector General  has issued a warning to taxpayers to beware of phone calls from people claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) but in reality these are scamsters seeking to defraud taxpayers.

“This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. He said the agency has received reports of over 20,000 contacts and has become aware of thousands of victims who have collectively paid over $1 million as a result of the scam.

HELP FOR TAXPAYERS FALLING BEHIND ON STATEMENTS

State Board of Equalization Now Accepts Online Requests for Payment Plans

Sacramento – The California State Board of Equalization’s (BOE) newest convenient website service allows qualifying tax or fee payers to request a payment plan online. Payment plans allow tax or fee payers to pay down a past due balance over time, helping them avoid additional penalties and interest.

GOOD MONEY: TAX LOWERING INVESTMENT IDEAS FOR 2013

“Your guide to financial planning & socially responsible investing”

By Judith L. Seid, CFP ®, President, Blue Summit Wealth Management

April 11, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) --The “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” has created a number of changes that may impact your taxes in 2013. Below are a few investment ideas that may help mitigate your tax liability and/or increase your net income for 2013.

Keep in mind that you should always consult with your tax professional for specific questions regarding your particular tax circumstances.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

SOCIAL SECURITY CARDS AND NUMBERS

By Erika Lawrence

Social Security District Manager, El Cajon

February 19, 2013 (El Cajon)--Do you know where your Social Security card is located? Hopefully, it’s in a safe place, tucked away securely with your other important papers. It certainly should not be in your purse or wallet and should not be carried with you every day since it can be more valuable than cash to an identity thief.

CLAIM YOUR EITC DOLLARS: IT’S EASY AND FREE

$10 Million Returned to San Diegans in 2012

January 25, 2012 (San Diego)--County officials and community partners kick off the 2013 campaign to help low-income families and individuals boost their federal tax refunds by taking advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and applying for CalFresh (food stamps). 

From Jan. 30 through April 15, hundreds of volunteers and college students will file income taxes for free at nearly 100 sites across the County. They will also screen families to determine if they qualify for CalFresh benefits. Residents can call 2-1-1 for more information. 

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: REPUBLICANS WIN THE "FISCAL CLIFF" DEBATE

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

The views expressed in this column reflect the views of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.

January 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- The first part of the “fiscal cliff” debate is over — and the Republicans won. That’s not the impression you’ll get from the corporate media, either the “objective” mainstream or the Right-wing media party of talk radio and Fox News. The mainstream media are reporting the swift passage of a bill through both houses of Congress continuing the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans making $400,000 per year ($450,000 per couple) as a triumph for President Obama and at least a partial fulfillment of his pledge in both Presidential campaigns for a (slight) tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. (Ironically, the $400,000 at which the restored tax rates kick in also happens to be the salary of the President.) But the bill is actually a slap-dash scheme thrown together at the last minute to keep taxes from returning to Clinton-era levels for all Americans — and it leaves the Republicans with yet another opportunity to hold the American economy hostage and demand draconian cuts to what’s left of the social safety net when Congress next has to raise the U.S. debt ceiling in two months.

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

November 8, 2012 --  (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflecting all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

WORLD

CALIFORNIANS SAY YES TO FIVE OF ELEVEN PROPOSITIONS

By Mayan Avitable

November 8, 2012 (San Diego) -- The most watched proposition by many who are involved in education was California's Proposition 30. This proposition was highly promoted by Governor Jerry Brown as a solution to school funding in the time of budget cutting. During the evening, the proposition changed from passing to not passing as the vote counts came in. Ultimately, the measure passed 53.9% to 46.1%, increasing taxes on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and sales taxes by ¼ cent for four years, to fund schools. In addition, it guarantees public safety realignment funding. School districts had prepared for spending reductions in case the proposition didn't pass.

RECREATION, REDEVELOPMENT, TAXES FLASH POINTS IN LEMON GROVE COUNCIL RACE

Upate: Patch.com has coverage of a Lemon Grove Council candidate debate:  http://patch.com/A-zfM4

Six candidates vie for seats

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

October 14, 2012 (Lemon Grove)--When the Republican Party swept the 2010 elections nationwide, their triumph stretched as far down as the small city of Lemon Grove in east San Diego County. The Lemon Grove City Council switched from a Democratic to a Republican majority, and in looking for items to cut from their budget they zeroed in on the city’s recreation department.

The vote wasn’t totally party-line. Democratic Mayor Mary Sessom joined Republican Councilmembers Mary England and Howard Cook in eliminating the recreation department and its annual budget of up to $260,000 per year, while Republican Councilmember Jerry Jones joined Democrat George Gastil in voting to keep it.

But the debate over community services versus fiscal responsibility, and the lingering bitterness of some Lemon Grove residents and civic activists over the Council targeting recreation to balance the city’s budget, has become the main theme of the 2012 Lemon Grove City Council race.

BAFFLED BY THE BALLOT INITIATIVES? OUR GUIDE TO THE PROS AND CONS OF CA'S NOV. 2012 PROPOSITIONS

October 12, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – There are numerous important initiatives on the November 6 ballot. Topics include education funding, clean energy, criminal penalties, taxes and labeling what’s in your food. For our nonpartisan analysis and arguments on both sides of each proposition, click the links below.

Prop 30 aims to raise funds to stem budget cuts in public education

Prop 31 seeks to change state budget cycle

Prop 32: Political reforms or silencing voices?

Prop 33: Insurance reforms or consumer scam?

LOCAL DEMOCRATS “WELCOME” MITT ROMNEY TO SAN DIEGO

By Nadin Abbott

September 23, 2012 (Del Mar)-- Democrats gathered on the off ramp of Ted Williams Parkway at Carmel Country Road, waving protest signs as Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s motorcade passed by yesterday.

Among the crowd of about 50 people were veterans, senior citizens and workers, a cross-section of the “47 percent” slammed by Romney in remarks caught on video released last week. In the video, recorded secretly at a fundraiser with wealthy donors, Romney denigrated the 47 percent of Americans who receive some form of government assistance (including Social Security retirees, the military, disabled and poor Americans) as well as those who pay no taxes.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

September 20, 2012  --  (San Diego’s East County)--East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL/REGIONAL

  • County invokes state suspension of meeting laws (UT San Diego)
  • SDG&E to pay federal government $643 million for fire damage (North County Times)
  • Cal-Trans wins fatal crash suit, asks family to pay (UT San Diego)
  • 2 former Navy Seals from San Diego killed in embassy attack (10 News)
  • Scientists weigh effects of climate change: Scripps conference seeks solution to sea level rise (North County Times)
  • Sycamore landfill approved after years of litigation (Santee Patch)
  • Lawsuit aims to reveal misuse of baseball funds at Grossmont High (La Mesa Patch)

STATE

  • Cal State system to hike tuition 5% if Prop 30 fails (Los Angeles Times)
  • Jerry Brown and Molly Munger both want to raise taxes to help schools, but differ on approach (Sacramento Bee)
  • Brown signs overhaul of California’s worker compensation (Sacramento Bee)
  • 700 bills on Brown’s desk (Sacramento Bee)
  • State restricts military funeral protests (UT San Diego)
  • California Legislature approves public pension changes (Sacramento Bee)
  • The Salton Sea: Death and Politics in the Great American Water War (Wired)

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

READER'S EDITORIAL: CALIFORNIA TO BUSINESSES - 'HERE'S YOUR HAT, WHAT'S YOUR HURRY?'

By Assemblyman Brian Jones
 
 
August 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Have you ever sat down with friends to enjoy a meal at a restaurant, only to be handed the bill before you have even taken your first bite? Maybe the server mentioned you could pay at your convenience, but still signaled that it was “time to go?”
 
In other words: “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?”

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

 

 
August 9, 2012 --  (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflecting all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:   
 
 
 
  
U.S.
 
General news
  • Sikh temple shooting to be probed as domestic terror (CNN)
  • Sikh temple shooter tied to hate groups (Washington Post)
  • Despite Supreme Court ruling, many minors may stay in prison for life (Pro Publica)
  • CDC warns about reemergence of swine flu (NPR)
  • Firefighters battling wildfires in Sequoia national forest (Los Angeles Times)
  • At least 18 blazes scorch Oklahoma; one  nears record size (Los Angeles Times)
Presidential campaign
  • Santorum, Jeb, Ron Paul get convention speaking spots (Politico)
  • ‘Romneyhood’: Obama derides Mitt’s tax plan (RawStory)
  • Romney campaign on fundraising winning streak (USA Today)
  • Reid puts Romney in a bind over taxes (CNN)
  • The massive policy gap between Obama and Romney (Washington Post)
 
WORLD
  • Syria’s prime minister leaves regime (CNN)
  • Floods paralyze Philipine capitol, Manila (BBC)
  • Suicide bombers attack as Somali delegates approve new constitution (ABC)
  • Islamists kill 15 Egyptians, Israel strikes attackers (Reuters)
  • Chemo may make cancer stronger (iScienceTimes and BBC) 
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

READER'S EDITORIAL: JOIN PETITION DRIVE FOR ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL TO BE BUILT THROUGH UNIFICATION OF AUSD

By Bill Weaver
 
July 30, 2012 (Alpine) -- An Alpine School District Unification Drive Has Begun. It is predicted that if the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) itself builds an Alpine High School, there will be millions of dollars that will be gained by the GUHSD, via a recovery of current LOST students, and some gained new students. If the GUHSD does not build it, and the Alpine Unified School District does, these millions from new student revenues will flow into the Alpine Unified School District (AUSD).

MEDIA WATCHDOG GROUP WARNS OF “SMALL BUSINESS BALONEY”, SAYS MEDIA FAILED TO FACT-CHECK GOP TAX CLAIMS

 
July 14, 2012 (New York)-- Barack Obama's July 9 announcement that he would extend the Bush tax cuts for income below $250,000 prompted Republican politicians and presidential candidate Mitt Romney to claim the policy is a tax increase on small businesses."

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

 
July 12, 2012 --  (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflecting all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:   
 
 

 
U.S.
  • Senate Dems  plan tax offensive (The Hill)
  • U.S. beefs up Gulf naval force amid tensions with Iran (Reuters)
  • NOAA: Last 12 months hottest ever (The Hill)
  • U.S. delivers ‘powerful commitment’ to Afghanistan (UT San Diego)
  • Has ‘organics’ been oversized? (New York Times)
  • The tax man cometh to police you on healthcare (UT San Diego)
WORLD
  • Iran says it has plan to close Strait of Hormuz (UT San Diego)
  • What does London’s LIBOR mean to the US? (NPR)
  • Polonium found on Arafat’s clothes was planted (Jerusalem Post)
  • New projects help 3D printing materialize (NPR)
 
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

STATE TO CANCEL LICENSES FOR TOP TAX DEADBEATS STARTING JULY 1

 
June 26, 2012 (Sacramento)—If you owe a hefty tax bill to the state, time to pay up or pay the consequences is running out. Starting July 1, California will suspend most occupational, professional and driver’s licenses for people with the highest unpaid state tax bills. 

PETERS MAKES CASE FOR ELECTABILITY IN NEW 52ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

 
In exclusive interview with East County Magazine, Peters talks about key issues in our region
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
May 30, 2012 (San Diego) –“I’m the candidate with the best record of working across the aisle to get things done,”  says Scott Peters, a Democrat. He is  one of ten candidates vying for the new 52nd Congressional district seat currently held by Republican Brian Bilbray.

ASSEMBLYMEMBER JONES PLEDGES STRONG SUPPORT OF VETERANS BILL PACKAGE

 

March 26 2012 (Sacramento) -- Assemblymember Brian Jones has joined his Republican colleagues in supporting a new legislative package that he says would improve services for California veterans.
 
“Nearly two million veterans call California home,” Jones said. “The fact that this state has not placed veteran’s services as a top priority is just another example of how misguided Sacramento has been. These men and women have sacrificed greatly for this country—it’s time we show how appreciative we truly are. That is why I am proud to support these bills.”

 

COUNTY OFFERS FREE TAX SERVICES FOR LOW INCOME PEOPLE

 

March 21, 2011 (San Diego) - With about four weeks left until the tax filing deadline, the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) is reminding families and individuals that free tax assistance is available to help them claim their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
 

Low-income families and individuals can have their taxes prepared, at no cost, at more than 70 locations throughout the region. The tax assistance will be provided countywide until mid-April. People should call 2-1-1 to make an appointment.

BBB WARNS CONSUMERS OF PHONY IRS CALLS IN LATEST ID THEFT SCAM

 

March 20, 2011 (San Diego)--The San Diego Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers about a new identity theft scam involving phony e-mails supposedly from the federal government’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The phishing e-mails are requesting personal information from a W-2 form that are prepared by employers.

FREE TAX HELP FOR SENIORS & LOW INCOME CALIFORNIANS

Update January 22, 2012:  Here is a link to locations that are providing free tax services this year for seniors, low income individuals and others in need, from the American Association of Retired Persons: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/8479.

March 14, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- Does Grandma need help with her taxes?  Now there's help!

 

Under a State of California program, low-income individuals and people over age 60 are eligible for free help to complete simple federal and state income tax returns. Assistance is available through April 15, and is limited to full-year residents.
 

To find the nearest assistance center in San Diego County, visit www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/vita/sites.asp or contact the California Franchise Tax Board at (800) 540-3453.

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