January 28, 2019

Individual Income Taxes: Are you getting ready for your 2018 tax return preparation?

2018 Individual Income Tax Return Preparation

The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017 was the largest overhaul to the US Tax Code in 30 years.  Tax regulations for individual income tax payers were significantly change, as were individual income tax forms.  Regarding forms, the 2 page Form 1040 was reduced to 2 1/2 pages ... Don't ask me why the IRS didn't simply put the form on 1 page!  However, the omitted entries from Form 1040 were replaced with 6 ... yep, 6 ... new Schedule pages.  They are numerically numbered as Schedules 1,2,3,4,5,and 6.  So much for efficiency, right?  Not!

Time does fly by, and April will be here before you know it.  And, along with it, the deadline for paying 2018 individual income taxes, and either filing individual income tax returns or an extension of time to file.  Given all of the changes in 2018 taxes, don't delay preparing for this new tax return season!

Tax Concerns?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

January 25, 2019

Page Mandarins: One Of My Favorite Fruits Is In Season Now!

Page Mandarins.

One of my favorite fruits, these yummies are in season in California now.   If you haven't had a Page Mandarin, you are really, really missing out!

This exceptionally delicious, small-to-medium-sized citrus is a cross between a Minneola Tangelo and a Clementine Mandarin.  Page Mandarins typically arrive at your grocer in very ripe condition.  They are very sweet, juicy (!) and fragrant.  Easy to peel, too.  Paige Mandarins pair exceptionally well with other fruit, including banana, berries, and pineapple.

And Page Mandarins are good for you, too.  1 medium Page Mandarin has only 47 calories, but is packed with vitamins and minerals, including 39% of recommended daily Vitamin C, and 11% of recommended Vitamin A.  Plus 6% of recommended daily fiber intake.

Here was my breakfast fruit this morning:  2 Paige Mandarins and a sliced Banana.  Plus a slice of toasted homemade Sourdough Bread.  Delish!  Do try this delicious fruit if your local market carries it.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.   For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

January 22, 2019

Billy McFarland: Imprisoned Fyre Festival Fraudster the Subject of Competing Documentaries

Billy McFarland.

Here's an update about the pretty boy Fyre Festival Fraudster (that's a mouthful!) who is currently better known as Federal Convict Number 91186-054.

Remember the Fyre Festival Hoax?

Well, two competing documentaries have been released about the Fyre Festival hoax, apparently with more than a little trash talking amongst those involved with the documentaries.

I don't care to watch either documentary.  Nor do I care to follow the trash talking that is supposedly going on.  However, I thought I'd take a moment to revisit the Fyre Festival hoax.  I followed reporting about the hoax, and authored 3 blog posting about my thoughts on the bogus festival and Billy McFarland in 2017-2018.

Here's my post #3 after McFarland was sentenced to 6 years in the Big Boy's Slammer.  He's an Artist of Cons, for certain.


Originally posted October 20, 2018   

Pretty Boy Fraudster Billy McFarland is headed to the big boy's slammer.  You remember, the infamous fraudster who promoted the fake Fyre Music Festival.  He was sentenced to 6 years in Federal prison for pleading guilty to fraud charges.

But wait ... There's more!

Last year I posted twice about Mr. McFarland, and opined that he appeared to be a criminal Con Artist rather than a brazen 25-year-old pretty boy salesman.  (Read my last post here, after he was arrested for wire fraud related to the Fyre Festival that was really never to be.)  And the Federal Court in Manhattan agreed with me.

But get this for taken brazen to an out-of-this-world level ...

In March of this year, Billy McFarland pleaded guilty to 2 counts of wire fraud related to defrauding investors and the bogus Fyre Festival.  He remained out on bending sentencing.

And just what did Mr. McFarland do while out on bail?  You guessed it!  He had so much time on his hands, he created a new company that sold fake tickets to high end music, fashion, and sporting events.  The tickets were completely bogus, and the purchasers of said tickets were denied entry to the events.  Mr. McFarland pleaded guilty in July of this year to 2 additional counts of fraud related to this new illegal scheme.

No update immediately available about the status civil cases filed against Billy McFarland and his ventures.

Head shaking how brazen this guy is.  Awaiting sentencing after being convicted of felony wire fraud, only to start a new fraud while awaiting sentencing.  This guy is one sick dude, and all of 26-years old at sentencing.  He will never be rehabilitated.  No doubt he'll spend his years in prison AKA Club Fed concocting his next schemes.

Billy McFarland

Anyhoo, if you wish to send a letter to Mr. McFarland, or perhaps pay him a visit, here is his current incarceration information:

Register Number: 91186-054
Age: 26
Race: White
Sex: Male
Located at: Brooklyn MDC, 80 29TH STREET, BROOKLYN, NY 11232
Release Date: UNKNOWN

Yet another example of reality being stranger than fiction!

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

January 20, 2019

Forms 1099-MISC and W-2: 2018 Due Dates Coming Soon!

Form W-2 and Form 1099-MISC Due Dates

If you are a business entity that issues Form W-2 or Form 1099-MISC to workers, your 2018 IRS filing due dates are soon approaching.

Beginning with the 2016 tax filing season, the IRS moved up some due dates for filing Forms W-2 and Forms 1099-MISC, 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 verify your 1099-MISC and W-2 filing due dates, visit the IRS Employment Tax Due Date page.  

Tax Concerns?

Mary Rae Fouts, EA 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 Tax, Insurance Consulting, and Expert Witness Services visit Fouts Financial Group.

Mary Rae Fouts

January 17, 2019

Trupanion Pet Insurance: Don't Waste Your Money On This Worthless Insurance

The tag line should read:
"No medical insurance for your pet
because we won't pay your claims, Sucker!"

Trupanion Pet Insurance Denial of Claims Complaints

Blog Post Flashback:  I originally posted this entry in April 2016, about Trupanion Pet Insurance and its slimy company culture of doing anything and everything possible to deny claims.

This Trupanion entry has been one of the most visited entries on my blog.  Unfortunately, from complaints that pop up on current internet searches, Trupanions' abusive denial of claims continues to this day.  Here's what I had to say about my mind numbing experience with Trupanion.  Feel free to comment if you have Trupanion experiences and complaints you'd like to share.

Trupanion Pet Insurance Denial of Claims Practices

~ Originally posted April 13, 2016 ~

When we adopted our dogs Husky-mix Sid  (in late Sept. 2014) and Chow-mix Lexi (in late Oct. 2014) we decided to purchase pet health insurance from Trupanion.  The coverage seemed to have improved since we looked at it (but didn't purchase) for our late Chow-mix Titus.  We provide our dogs with the best veterinary care possible, and knowing what costs can be (Titus had 2 TPLO surgeries and also surgery and chemotherapy treatment for canine cancer) thought it prudent to purchase coverage for catastrophic events.

Boy.  Were We Wrong.

Our Trupanion policy supposedly ... and I stress the word supposedly ... provided coverage for 90% of of vet costs, excluding ordinary and routine care including exams, following a $1000 deductible.  The most recently monthly premium for both dogs (currently about 4 years and 3.5 years old) was $54.40.

Sid the Dog snoozes in "his room" (a guest room) on a rainy Spring 2016 afternoon.

Lexi relaxes in the backyard on a glorious Spring 2016 afternoon.

We didn't file any Trupanion claims for Lexi, but we did file claims for Sid.  While Sid's claims did not meet the $1000 deductible, we wanted to get claims started in the event the conditions manifested to need additional care that would meet the deductible.  For three claims - the last one being this week, when we threw our hands up in the air and cancelled the coverage to avoid more money going down the drain - Trupanion denied the claims.  Reason?  Sid had an infection in 1 ear when we adopted him from the local county animal shelter.  We treated it, it cleared up in 2-3 weeks.  Our 3 claims involved separate and distinct acute infections, yet Trupanion insisted that since Sid had an ear infection prior to coverage, that infections were pre-existing conditions and not covered.  Claims denied.  (And by the way, I am a licensed insurance agent and insurance analyst, and have worked with insurance matters, including insurance coverage and claims, since 1988.)

No kidding.  Infections ... unrelated, newly-onset infections ... not covered because Sid happened to have an ear infection more than 18 months before that was treated then and completely cleared up within 2-3 weeks.   We could see the writing on the wall that Trupanion will do whatever they can to deny a claim.  Surely the same would have held true with Lexi, they likely would have denied claims tying some connection to her prior neglect and abuse, or her surgically-removed fractured lower canine teeth.

A quick search on the Internet reveals many similar complaints from both current and former Trupanion Pet Insurance policyholders.  Denied claims time and time again.

Don't waste your money on Trupanion Pet Insurance.

If you have pets, don't waste your money on Trupanions' worthless pet insurance.  Based on our experience and that of many other pet owners, the policy premiums are (or were) simply money down the drain.  Set the money aside for the day when you need it for unexpected pet veterinary needs.  Don't expect Trupanion to be there when you need them, although they will gladly take your premium money each month.

California Insurance Complaints

If you live in California, are a Trupanion Pet Insurance policyholder, and believe all or part of a claim has been wrongfully denied, you may have the matter reviewed by the California Department of Insurance:
California Department of Insurance
Consumer Services and Market Conduct Branch, Claims Services Bureau,
300 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone:  800-927-4357

You can also file an online complaint with the California Department of Insurance.

Questions about insurance coverage? I welcome your call at (510) 421-5457 or email to Mary@FoutsFinancialGroup.com. For information about my nationwide Consulting, Expert Witness, and Tax Services visit Fouts Financial Group.

Once again, another life lesson learned with help from my Faithful Canine Companions!

Mary Rae Fouts

January 14, 2019

Lexi Waits Patiently for a Sample of One of Her Favorite Foods ... Roast Turkey!

Chow Chow-Pomeranian Mix Lexi

Lexi, my Faithful Canine Companion and can-be-stubborn princess lioness.  She has blossomed and grown so very much since we adopted her as a skinny, scared of everything, thin furred dog in October 2014.  One of Lexi's favorite foods is roast turkey,  a staple in my meal rotation.  Here Lexi waits patiently near my chair at dinner for a few samples of slow roasted turkey breast.

Lexi gave the roast turkey breast a 4 paws up rating!

And remember, unconditional love is as close as your nearest animal shelter.

Lexi.  💗💜💚
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  She enjoys life with her husband Jim and Faithful Canine Companions Lexi and Sid.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2019!

Back in a couple of weeks.

It seemed like 2018 flew by in a whirlwind.  Time surely seems to move faster each year.  For me, anyway.

I'm taking a New Year break from the blog; will be back posting in a couple of weeks.  Best wishes for a Very Happy New Year and a rewarding 2019.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.