January 19, 2017

Forms 1099-MISC and W-2: Your IRS filing due dates may have changed this year.

If you are a business entity that issues Form W-2 or Form 1099-MISC to workers, your IRS filing due dates may have changed for 2016 forms.

The IRS has provided very little communication about this due date change to the general public.  Some due dates for filing 2016 and future Forms W-2 and Forms 1099-MISC with the IRS have been moved up from February 28 to January 31.  Supposedly the change will help prevent tax fraud by permitting the IRS to more quickly verify filed tax return entries with corresponding W-2 and 1099-MISC information.

To see if your filing due dates have changed, visit the IRS Employment Tax Due Date page.  

Tax Concerns?

Mary Rae Fouts, EA, CFP provides tax planning, preparation, and representation services for taxpayers with complex or technical tax issues.  As an Enrolled Agent licensed by the United States Department of the Treasury, Mary is allowed to provide tax services in all 50 states and U.S. territories.  For more information about Mary's fee-only Consulting, Tax, and Expert Witness Services visit Fouts Financial Group.

Mary Rae Fouts

January 17, 2017

Non Sequitur Comic Strip: Thank you for speaking out against backyard puppy mills

I couldn't agree more with this recent Non Sequitur comic strip:

Credit:  gocomics.com
This so hit home for me and my husband Jim.  As I posted about before (see my August 2016 post about Lexi here), our Faithful Canine Companion Chow-mix Lexi was seized by Antioch, CA police for severe abuse and neglect in a backyard puppy mill.  One of 7 dogs seized, and the only dog to survive.

Lexi spent 3 months recuperating in the Antioch Animal Shelter while legal proceedings about her neglect and abuse case made their way through courts.  We adopted her as soon as she became available in October 2014.  When we brought Lexi home, she was about 2 years old, skinny, thin furred, and scared so that she held her tail between her legs and shook with fear.  Thankfully, Lexi's fear never turned into fear aggression, her reaction to fear was an urge to flee.  She wouldn't go up more than 2 stairs.  Terrified of garden hoses, brooms, and any stick-like object.  Lexi bonded with me immediately, but was initially terrified of men.  Clearly, a man had been her primary abuser.

Every experience was new, she clearly had never experienced a normal dog life, including daily walks.  Our Husky-mix Sid was instrumental in helping Lexi learn how to be a real dog.  Within 5 days Sid and Lexi bonded as if littermates, a bond that has continued to grow and flourish.

With love (LOTS of love), patience, positive experiences, and care, Lexi blossomed into a healthy, confident, and simply wonderful and beautiful dog.  The fearful Lexi is of another time, she thrives each day and is an excellent alert watch dog.  Loves her human Daddy Jim.  She has a voluptuous body build, an extremely thick long coat of fur, and a set of furry haunches the Kardashian sisters would envy!  So proud of you, Sweetheart.

Take a look for yourself ...

Here is Lexi at adoption in late October 2014.
Skinny, thin fur, scared with tail between legs.

And Lexi now, on the right below in December 2016.
She had just snagged the Pooh Christmas Tree topper and took it outside.  (Yes, Lexi is a spirited dog and can be a sneaky playful thief!)  Sid is examining Pooh while Lexi stretches. 

Below is Lexi enjoying a trip to beautiful Carmel, CA in November.
She had a wonderful time and loved the beach!

Lexi peacefully naps by the Christmas tree this past Christmas 2016. 

Would you ever think these are the same dog?!

We love you so, Lexi.  You will never be abused or neglected again, Sweetheart.  Good dog!  

Mary Rae Fouts

January 9, 2017

Meatless Monday - Mediterranean Vegetable Noodle Soup

Are you part of the Meatless Monday movement?  Or perhaps you would like to incorporate more vegetables, dried beans, and whole grains into your diet?

I love making homemade soups and stews; came across this delicious sounding recipe for Minestrone style soup on the Meatless Monday website.  Haven't made it yet, but plan to soon.  And yes, you could adjust the recipe and add a poultry or meat protein to it, such as chicken, hamburger, or small meatballs.  Get the recipe at the link below.  Enjoy!

Mediterranean Vegetable Noodle Soup - Meatless Monday: Greens are stewed with tomatoes, fresh basil, sage and rosemary.  Whole wheat macaroni and chickpeas transform this otherwise light soup into a hearty lunch

Mary Rae Fouts

January 5, 2017

Carrie Fisher: Will the alleged $50 million Contract Protection Insurance Policy pay out?

According to The Insurance Insider and other media outlets, Disney allegedly took out a $50 million contract protection insurance policy through Lloyd's of London for insurance protection in the event Carrie Fisher was unable to fulfill her contractual obligations for the 3 Star Wars Movies.  Such insurance coverage is common for star actors and actresses in movie and other performance productions.

Ms. Fisher died on December 27, several days after reportedly suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles.  She had completed filming for 2 of the 3 Star Wars movies, including The Force Awakens which debuted in 2015.  She had not, however, begun filming the 3rd movie.

However, questions remain:  What did the contract protection insurance policy actually cover?  Will their truly be a payout?

The Daily Mail has reported the contract protection policy covering Ms. Fisher was a personal accident insurance policy.  The kicker in this insurance coverage is that the policy is generally triggered in the event serious illness or death resulting from an accidental cause, and not a naturally occurring disease or illness.  If this is, in fact, the coverage Disney obtained on Ms. Fisher, it is highly questionable that a heart attack (if determined to be the cause of death) would be considered an "accident" per standard definitions in such policies.

A windfall insurance payout for Disney?  Perhaps not.

Some media outlets are labeling the $50 million insurance payout (if, in fact, their is insurance coverage payable) as a  "windfall" for Disney.  But wait a minute, let's look at the production costs for Ms. Fisher's most recent Star Wars movie, the Force Awakens.  Industry estimates of the total production costs for making and marketing the movie, and producing DVDs to be an astonishing $423 million dollars.  And that's just one movie, and doesn't not include similar costs for the 2 additional movies, Star Wars Episode VIII and Star Wars Episode IX.

Granted, Disney made a handsome profit with the Force Awakens movie.  Reports of total worldwide earnings vary, but estimates average at total revenue of about $1.5 billion.  But for any movie, blockbuster status is never guaranteed.  Remember the movie flop Ronin?  It debuted in 2013 with grand illusions of a box office blockbuster, but flopped big time and resulted in an estimated loss of $150 million.  The same flop could happen - or could have happened - with any of the Star Wars movies.

Insurance Concerns?

As a licensed Life and Disability Insurance Analyst, Life Agent, and a Fire and Casualty Broker-Agent, I provide consulting services and expert witness services to clients for a wide array of insurance matters, including life insurance and accidental death benefit insurance concerns.  No commission, fee-only compensation.

Visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com for more information about my nationwide Consulting, Tax, and Expert Witness Services.

January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and safe 2017.
And a prosperous year, too.

Garden Winter Roses, Picked Christmas day 2016.

Mary Rae Fouts