San Francisco Tax Tips – February 2016 – Newsletter

Filed in CPA Blog by on January 21, 2016
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With February just around the corner, we’re wondering a) if the groundhog will see his shadow and tell us there’s six more weeks of winter (oops, we mean rain in San Francisco), b) if we (and our clients) will get everything together in time for the upcoming tax deadlines (e.g., corporate and individual). And, amongst the tax rush, you need to always be looking at the future. Continuing education is so important. Our February tax tips newsletter for San Francisco, is – therefore – available in that spirit, here.

The IRS May Put You on Hold!

Usually, in our San Francisco Tax Tips newsletter, we focus on the complexities of tax laws – what you can deduct, what you can’t, insights and tips about how to minimize the tax bite. All of that remains important as – after all – “knowledge is power.” That said, there’s something new in this month’s newsletter: some facts about the disgraceful state of technical support for tax payers at the IRS. Unfortunately, the IRS is in a bind. On the one hand, it’s not the most popular agency in the US government, and Congress responds to this by cutting its budget. Yet on the other hand, it performs the necessary function of raising revenue for a civilized society and, because of complexity, its agents should be available to help the public.

Unfortunately, this is not only the case. In this month’s Tax Tips newsletter, we learn some discouraging facts.  The government has a feature called a “courtesy disconnect.” This is essentially when the IRS hangs up on an incoming call from a tax payer, because its switchboard is overloaded.  Only George Orwell could think of naming such a feature a “courtesy.” If Bank of America “hung up” on you, or if the local Pizza joint “hung up” on you… we wouldn’t exactly call it a “Courtesy Disconnect.” However… that’s what the IRS calls them.San  Francisco Tax Tips 2016 - Feb

Here’s the bad news. These “courtesy disconnects” skyrocketed from about 1/2 a million in 2014 to about 8.8 million in 2015 (!).  Hold times increased to over twenty minutes, and even the priority line for CPAs (like us), increased the hold time to 45 minutes, and answered only 45% of the calls. If any business, answered ONLY 45% of its inbound calls… it would be a) a disgrace and b) soon out of business.

However, such is the mess of the government these days. The bottom line for you is that you will save a lot of time if you work with a CPA firm like ours rather than try to “do your own taxes.” We’re experts at tax, know the rules, and do our utmost to maximize your deductions, and minimize your taxes.  The other interesting article in the newsletter is on “Deducting Interest Paid.” It explains the interest you can generally deduct (home loan interest) vs. what you cannot (e.g., credit card interest). Enjoy the reading!

About Safe Harbor LLP – a Professional CPA Firm in San Francisco

Safe Harbor LLP is a CPA firm that specializes in accounting and tax services for individuals and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and greater California. Safe Harbor CPAs helps both individuals and businesses with tax preparation, IRS audit defense, and audited financial statements. The firm prides itself on friendly yet professional service and utilizes state-of-the-art Internet technology to provide quality customer service. Its goal: to be the best CPA firm in San Francisco.

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