June 20, 2018

IRS Impersonator Scams: Is that really the IRS calling me?

IRS Impersonator Tax Scams are, unfortunately, ever present.   Here is one easy tool to help prevent you from becoming a Tax Scam victim.

If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect the person is not an IRS employee:
  1. Record the caller's name, badge number (an IRS employee is always required to provide his or her badge number), call back number,  and caller ID if available.
  2. Call the IRS Identification Validation Hotline at 800-829-1040 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you.
  3. If the person calling you is in fact  an IRS employee, call the person back.
  4. If the person is not an IRS employee, report the incident to both TIGTA (the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the prior link will take you to an online reporting form) and to the IRS via email at phishing@irs.gov , with the subject 'IRS Phone Scam'.  
Have Tax Concerns?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

June 18, 2018

Sid Wonders: Is Daddy Every Coming Home?

Aw, life is always good with our Faithful Canine Companions, Husky-Malamute Mix Sid and Chow Chow-Pomeranian Mix Lexi.

Yep, Sid is a bit of a Daddy's boy ....


"Mommy, is Daddy ever ever coming home?  He's been gone for like 20 minutes.  That's like almost forever in Doggy time!" 
-- Sid the Dog

Every day is a good day with our Faithful Canine Companions Sid and Lexi!

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

June 16, 2018

Slim Jims Meat Snack Sticks: Can You Guess How Many Pieces Are Produced Each Year?

Slim Jims. The worldwide meat-and-other-flavors snack stick that has been around since 1929.

The Troy, Ohio plant that produces all of the Slim Jims snack sticks - yep, just 1 factory does all the work - recently made headlines.  And in a good way.  Efficiency changes made to the plant both (1) eliminated unplanned production interruptions,and (2) reduced waste by 504 tons in a single year.  That's more than 1 million pounds of waste eliminated each year!  From a single factory!

But what really caught my eye was learning how many pieces of Slim Jims the factory produces each year.

Any guesses?
A Billion Pieces of Slim Jims!!

Now that's a lotta high sodium meat snack!

Read more about Slim Jims' production and waste saving efforts in this Troy, Ohio news article.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

June 14, 2018

AB 626 Homemade Food Bill - A public food poisoning crisis waiting to happen.

California Politicians are at it again.   And this time they are placing public health in great jeopardy.

So what's going on?  Glad you asked.  You see, AB 626, titled the Homemade Food Act, is pending in the California legislature.  If passed, the bill would would amend California's health and safety code by defining “microenterprise home kitchen operations” as legitimate food facilities. Supporters of this bill are supporting it as a way to "decriminalize" (they're word, not mine!) home cooks and bakers who want to legally sell food to the public that is made in their residential kitchens.

As an avid home cook and baker, I have a big .... BIG ... problem with AB 626. Absolutely do not support it. And here's why.

There is simply too much... WAY to much ... public health risk associated with this misguided venture.  Consider the free church-sponsored Thanksgiving meal in nearby Antioch, California 2 years ago.  3 people died and 26 others were violently sickened from food poisoning, suspected to come from roast turkey and/or mashed potatoes that were prepared in private homes and brought to the event to be served.

Do we want a catastrophic state-wide outbreak of similar avoidable events?  We could very well have it if AB 626 passes.

How many of these home-based kitchen operators are aware of critical food preparation factors, such as proper hot and cold holding/cooking temperatures?   Get this:  The AB 626 would "exempt a microenterprise home kitchen operation from various provisions applicable to food facilities, including, among others, provisions relating to handwashing, sinks, ventilation, and animals." That's flat out wrong, with perhaps the exception to certain animals, and a threat to general public safety.  I mean, give me a break!  No handwashing regulations for home kitchen operations?!

Moreover, the bill does not define what the 'other' unnamed food facility safety provisions the microenterprise home kitchen operations would be exempted from.   Can you believe that?!  Guess the politicians just plan on defining 'other' at their leisure, after the bill becomes law.  How convenient. 

Oh, and the bill mentions no requirement of a bond or liability insurance.

A solution alread exists for this issue.  (I'm not going to call this issue a problem, because I do not think it is a problem.)  Solution?  Home cooks and bakers who want to sell their goods to the public can do so by renting shared commercial kitchen space for food preparation.

Another solution for a problem that doesn't exist.  And a disasterous solution at that, one which poses a great life safety risk to California's general public.

Say no to California's Homemade Food Bill, AB 626.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

June 12, 2018

Sid: Do You Think Sid Loves His Daddy?

Sid.

Our goofy and lovable Faithful Canine Companion.  75-pounds of Husky-Malamute mix.  Found as a stray by an Animal Control Officer, we adopted Sid from a local public animal shelter in September 2014.  He's about 5 1/2 years old now.

And did I say lovable?  I'd say Sid loves his Daddy ... and that Sid truly thinks he's a small lap dog!  😊


Every day is truly a good day with our Faithful Canine Companions Sid and Lexi.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts